• Red Nichols, Holstorian

Post 84: What good is a holster?

Updated: Jun 26

I swiped this title from a Jeff Cooper article of 1946 titled 'what good is a pistol?' (it's a personal defense weapon, Jeff). And I thought of his article when I stumbled across a Wikipedia entry about custom holster makers that is awesomely bad. And I'm not even tempted to log in and start over again there; there's not a word in it worth keeping. Just as I haven't ever rewritten the entry on Wiki for Tom Threepersons; all wrong but not my job to fix it.

Or as from another site -- then is THIS what a holster does?

No, no, no. And no. Those are incidentals, listed unthinkingly by non-makers. Think about just that first line of the 'Good Holster' list and then read on.

The point being: what does a holster DO? Certainly not what the 'good holster' entry above says, or what the Wiki entry says; and instead more like what the USPTO thinks they are. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office categorizes or 'classifies' the various types of inventions it reviews and there are many subclasses for holsters in a class it calls 'article carriers'. In there, one also will find postman's satchels! And that's the humbling truth about pistol holsters: holsters are things, to carry other things in. No more than that.

So I define a pistol holster as a 'hand weapon carrier for attachment to a person'. I even hold myself out to be a designer of 'personal weapons carriers' because I've a portfolio that includes rifle/shotgun cases and bayonets/knives; ammunition and restraints; etc. like tear gas cannisters.

Which then brings us to the specific purpose for pistol holsters. Leave out all the 'security etc.' b.s. A pistol holster solves the problem, that a handgun can't be left in the hand! Pistol makers have virtually never attempted to resolve this beyond some antiques made with clips for the sash. They're not shaped to be carried but to be fired; they're not made to be attached to the person without an intermediate carrier. Been that way forever. So we holster makers are 'providing for the passive portability of a hand weapon'.

Buyers of pistol holsters simply want to have the damned thing go with them, wherever they go. THEN they want, if they're sophisticated enough, more than that: they don't want the pistol falling out, for example, although Jelly Bryce didn't worry about that so long as it drew easily. They might like to protect the pistol from the weather. If they really know what they're doing they've chosen the holster to position the grip in exactly the same, accessible spot every time. They might want it to be unobtrusive, as a private investigator. Or want (!) their holster to be a giant bulky thing strapped to their thigh, as an LEO; Safariland makes a lot of these monstrosities.

But bottom line, when one considers the natural standards of 'pistol needs to stay in the holster', all we want of a holster is that it make the pistol follow us around and be at our beck and call. It's a hand weapon carrier. Just like the USPTO thinks it is. It's not something more glorious.


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