• Red Nichols, Holstorian

Post 84: T. Rybka

Updated: Oct 12

Thad Rybka and I have not ever met but we have a mutual friend in Roy Huntington, editor of American Handgunner. At least I think we might still be friends even though I once objected to some of his titles being ads that looked like articles. Now he's like my former neighbor in England, John Lennon: never calls, never writes. Nor Yoko, either. Been years.

Anyway, as a designer/maker I like Rybka's gunleather. They're super simple in construction and hew to Paris Theodore's construction methodology and so are of the NY School although records suggest Thad has not ever ventured far from AL. B. 06 Feb 1946 he is only a few years older than I, and that tells me he has 'had the bug' since the '60s just as I have. And a big shadow over gunleather in the '60s was Paris Theodore; more so than Chic Gaylord who founded the NY School. By apparently not knowing how holsters were made! He did us a favor.

I admire his styling including its nuances as well as the overall effect. Are his holsters any better than the rest of ours? Of course not, any more than mine are better than anyone else's. They're just holsters; it's a science but it's not rocket science. There's are several of 'us' who have been at it since the '60s and 'bout time to retire; and were heavily influenced by Paris Theodore's work. Whose designs it now appears were neither his nor Gaylord's, after all, but Angell's. Such is the lot of the man behind the scenes; not everyone wants to be in front of the camera in the film of life; some just want to make it all happen.

Here's some of what I have on Thad's work. It's readily recognized when you know what you're looking for; at the very least look for his maker's mark that is cut into the leather with a swivel knife rather than stamped in like every other maker for a hundred years! And dated.

One could dash off a letter for a must-have holster from his shop; but we all make very much the same thing (or copies of 'my things'), so you could stick with a brand you know already.

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