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  • Red Nichols, Holstorian

Post 81: What's in a word?

Updated: Jun 26

I've a request for a visual identification of the various elements of gunleather, and I think this is worthwhile. Respected books like Packing Iron, which was written by a museum curator, don't necessarily use trade terms and some that are used are downright 'made up' by novices.


That said I reckon I'll split this into more than one blog post. This one to illustrate the names of the elements, another to identify the styles (likely two posts to outline how belts are identifed), and another to identify the options. Then we'll see if more are required.


I've chosen the Great State of Texas to be our representative for 'elements'. Below is an early Brill (so by the Kluge Bros) that I opened up and turned into patterns, as an 'exploded view'.


And an assembled one:


And the common loop, this one on a flap holster:



Sometimes we simply must rely on words vs images in a conversation. So please take special note of the concepts like 'up' and 'down' and 'forward' and 'backside' because agreeing on them for a conversation, avoids miscommunication. For example, when prosecuting a patent application before the USPTO, one must define your use of the terms for the examiner; and that's a healthy exercise because it makes us realize that what we think of us 'up' or 'down' is downright arbitrary. What's up on a holster when you move from a standing position to a prone position to shoot, for example? Well, it's changed suddenly, hasn't it. So during what's called 'prosecution' of a patent application, one learns to 'say what you mean'.


Below, then, a pair of Andersons. The uppermost one has a 'forward fold' and the lowermost one a 'rear fold'.



I, then, use 'backside' for the sidewall of the holster that's nearest the wearer. I don't then ever use the term 'rear' because some use that to refer to, say, where the welted seam is located. Ditto I try not to refer to the main seam as the 'welt' or 'welted seam' because there isn't always a welt in it! Indeed welts weren't used by the Western School until the 1930s; and not at all by the Eastern School beginning in the 1950s.


I do expect that the rest of the nomenclature for holsters and other gunleather will fall into styles, for example; such as the term 'drop loop' :-).

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