Restored Post 18: the So-called 'FBI Tilt'
Updated: Jan 4
OK, so this blog post is about more than 'tilt' which is carry angle. Everything about the position on your waistline of a holstered pistol is a decision by its designer: ride height, carry angle, 'twist'.
That latter concept you'll be least familiar with.
In his writings, one self-proclaimed holster designer (Tony at Sparks) has written about his struggles to keep the rear sight of a 1911 from 'peeking' out from the waistline with his avenger copy. And he had trouble because he didn't understand the need to control 'twist'. That need doesn't exist in, say, a pancake holster because the forces at the forward wall of the holster, caused by the waistbelt, are equal to those at the rearward wall of the holster: there is a slot ahead of both the forward wall and rearward wall.
But an avenger has only one true slot, at the rear, so the natural tendency of the waistbelt is to pull the grip inwards and push the rear sight outwards (on an auto only) -- called 'twist'. So to control twist, one either must raise the ride height, which is what we did at Bianchi with the original Avenger and said Kanaley at Sparks did with his copy; OR to to construct the rear belt loop at the fold of the holster to mimic a forward slot. This was not grasped in the 20th century but I did work this out for my Berns-Martin (R) (Australia) marque early this century so that the pistol could ride lower:
Twist exists even in the earliest scabbards of the 20th century. This one below is downright ancient and the two green lines show the natural line of the waistbelt at left, and the 'twist' of the revolver away from following that line:
Bill Jordan speaks to that issue, in the design and construction of his River holster, in his book "No Second Place Winner". I reckon that went completely unnoticed by his readership who only wanted to know how to draw fast. There he explicitly notes that he wanted his holster to place the grip of his revolver parallel to his torso.
Read all about the evolution of today's gunleather during the 20th century in the second edition of my book, published 2022 and available at www.holstory.com .