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  • Red Nichols, Holstorian

Post 63: Ever wondered?

Updated: Jun 15

I know I have. 'Wondered' how the M1916 holster's sewing could have been accomplished by machine. Answer: it wasn't, not entirely.



The parts that could be sewn on a Randall/Campbell/Landis that had appeared by the turn of the 20th century, indeed were sewn on them. In the above image, for example, the obvious marks from the sewing machine are along the main seam (that little leather tab a the muzzle is, like the eyeletted hole there, for encouraging water to leak away).


The below image is 1918 at Graton & Knight for WW1 and they are the row of machines in the background:



No we didn't have color film then :-). The image has been colorized. In the foreground the men are seated at stitching 'horses' that hold the holsters for hand sewing:




The above image being of a WWII version. At the very least the boxes (one on the front side, too) of sewing at center right had to be sewn by hand. It holds a patch of leather inside the seam that prevents it from being torn open by the leverage on the 1911's grip.


Inside and obviously machine sewn, is the plug. Inside is a slab of timber that's been specially cut and contoured to hold the mag button off the inside of the holster (so it doesn't end up releasing the magazine)(what a loss on a battlefield such as Flanders Field) and to turn the grip of the pistol outwards for the draw. No, it is not a cocking shelf despite them being used that way because the pistols were carried hammer down on an empty chamber.


Above and below one can spot the patch of leather inside the main seam that has been hand sewn into position to prevent ripping the seam open in use.


The M1916 holster was made by many companies for WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam. A list by C. Flick:




One will recognize a handful of the names above as being well-known civilian gunleather makers. Some of their many marks:



The holster was replaced in 1985 with the M12 that was developed at Bianchi Holsters and itself has been replaced since then by an injection-molded product from parent company Safariland.



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