• Red Nichols, Holstorian

A Ripley's Believe it or Not of gunleather

Updated: Nov 19

It's unlikely you all have ever seen any of these anywhere except some of them in the pages of Holstory 'the book'.

This first one is a Myres! A forward draw from LaCroix's ownership period:

Made entirely of vinyl-coated wire:

Paris Theodore's 'vampire' crossdraw for use in automobiles:

Mounted on a Lawrence belt for Elmer Keith; a headed stud on his Colt engages with the hook, the revolver is drawn forward out of the device:

The Sterling forward draw holster. A version was used by Texas Ranger Lone Wolf Gonzaullas (a matched left/right pair for autos):

A form of IWB called the Seldeen:

An uncatalogued inverted shoulder holster from Seventrees:

One of several security holsters from Seventrees:

Another of the security holsters from Paris Theodore:

The Interarms Luger holster was sold to complement its newly made Lugers in the '70s. Designed by yours truly for Bianchi:

The Pink Simms suspender holster from Myres:

Ken Null's inverted shoulder holster for the automatics; this one is for the M39 and entirely plastic perhaps to cause it to spring open when unsnapped:

Likely only one was ever made: this is a Myres Berns-Martin speed holster that surely has been made after sacrificing an original B-M for the spring inside it:

An uncatalogued Myres:

Another uncatalogued Myres! This type of inverted shoulder holster for revolvers was the rage during the 1960s:

A Buntline Arvo Ojala:

Berns-Martin made an IWB, and indeed after the Berns-Martin shoulder holster debacle in Dr. No, James Bond used the IWB ever after.

By Bianchi, this one is marked for the Mercox. Notice there is a spring closure, too, from the X-15 shoulder holster (named for the rocket plane of the era):

By coincidence this similar shaped pair of Heiser's is quite small and so not for the Mauser pistol it seems to be otherwise. Witty has kept to himself its true purpose:

Bill Myres claimed many patents but had just three. This one was his effort at an inverted shoulder holster. The muzzle of the revolver goes into the upper pocket, the grip end goes into the lower pocket:

The Hersey looks the same on the other side; inverting it changed it to crossdraw, too:

A Gaylord crossdraw holster made of shagreen leather (sharkskin):

I show it because it's truly one-of-a-kind: Elmer Keith's original Berns-Martin set has its holsters sewn directly to the belt's face, then the lining sewn on last!

A Heiser from its Keyston era, that has an adjustable angle by reversing its belt loop (see also next pic):

Texas maker Clay is the only chap known to use this construction: the 'welt' is instead a wall of leather that has been edge-stitched as was typical of muzzle plugs. Seems clever but isn't because the wall doesn't replace the pressure on the pistol frame of conventional welts, it's also weak construction and these are often found torn out at the upper end:

Who knows why this Sparks has not only the 'keeper' straps at each side as by Earl Clark, but also has a paddle that likely is reinforced only with annealed steel:

Made for the CIA by JB and yet without markings. Few exist; this one is owned by a retired agent:

It's a Bucheimer Clark! Ankle holster:

A Bucheimer Clark inverted spring shoulder holster for revolvers:

Rare Brill with extended shank. Notice that maker Rabensburg has kept the leather cuff in its standard position and extended the hank; completing the belt loop tunnel with a pair of hand-stitchings vs. using the upper edges of the cuff:

It's a clamshell by the original inventor/maker, Jewett. It's for the 1911 auto and has a bullet hole through the muzzle end of its backside!

Bedell Rogers' earliest interpretation of what we call a 'slide' holster today. The crescent-shaped ledge is to hold the mag button off the inside of the holster:

Ever seen much less handled a .38 Super ASP?

Arvo Ojala called these his 'long arm' sets:

Skeeter Skelton wanted crossdraws for his special Rugers; I made him a pair way back when:

The Snick was the first Kydex holster, 1970 and predated Bill Rogers. A tab at upper right of it clips into the ejection port. So-called because the hard plastic on steel makes a 'snicking' sound during the draw:

An Angell that is sometimes confused with a Seventrees. A tall stud inside it is through the trigger guard; releasing the strap allows the pistol to be freed from it. Likely a crossdraw:

The first of the plastic thermoformed holster is from the mid 1960s, shaped from ABS, and offered by a mob called JCG. It's a pair of springy shells, one inside the other:

The first of the inside-out IWB's from which Bruce Nelson drew his inspiration for his Summer Special. By Heiser during its The Denver years (1940s):

Ohlemeyer worked for Sam Myres and left there around 1945 with this patent for the 1911 of WWII. The pocket rotates inside the cuff and you will recognize copies of it by Gaylord, then by Alessi and DeSantis:

It's a retention holster! Patented by Sam Myres' namesake son who used the name Dale (their middle name) there is a cleaning brush in the muzzle; when the pistol is inserted over it, the now-backwards bristles keep the pistol from slipping out. Uses the Medley patent:

Said to be Jeff Cooper's personal version of Bianchi's 'Cooper Combat', the strap is backwards (it is a leftie; the tip of the strap is meant to be pointing forward):

The first Berns-Martin 'Lightnin' spring loaded, inverted shoulder holsters were made all in one leather, which was the soft harness leather. Keith had one in his estate:

Now this, is a BAD idea. An inverted shoulder holster from John Bianchi's earliest days, there was nothing to keep that heavy revolver from falling out when the thumbsnap was released:

Below is a common Hoyt spring security holster that Bill Rogers kept hidden from the patent examiners when he applied for his 070 security holster patent; his strategy being to cite NO prior art and let the examiner find the art. Hoyt's prior art was significant but was not reflected in a patent -- like the 070 it is a police service holster that included retention means and drew from the expandable rear wall:

You won't have realized that Buck Knives was briefly in the gunleather business, in the 1980s I recall? It would've seemed a natural if they were making their own knife sheaths. And they started off with this clone of the Bianchi 5B -- which was already obsolete because of the 5BH revision:

Jim Buffaloe invented the 'bandolier' hunting chest holster but we did it better in padded fabric at Bianchi. Jim worked for Lawrence, for Baker, for Mixson, for Gould & Goodrich.

Pachmayer had a go at the holster biz, too, but used a rubber-modified polymer as with his successful grips range. Unlike Buck that copied the older 5B, Frank Pachmayer emulated (hard to say 'copied', it's not even leather) Bianchi's later 5BH.

You'll have heard little of Chet's, a company that made Steve Herrett's Jordan-branded gunleather early 1960s. This one is a clever 'rotating hood' flap holster that is not unlike the Bianchi M66 military holster that was also ambidextrous:

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