Updated: Apr 13
The original blog post (above) focused on the evolution of the paddle holster as an example of how NOT copying the earliest leather ones led to truly high-performance polymer paddles during this century.
We innovators see copying most everywhere we look. The most egregious example is the Summer Special, claimed by Bruce Nelson but derived from Paris Theodore who got his from Bob Angell; copied 'with permission' by Milt Sparks; and 'tribute' versions made by the likes of Galco and others. This image contrasts the Sparks version with the DelFatti version. Did Matt 'innovate' by changing a bit at the backside? Really, to the point where one doesn't have to look for the maker's mark to know which is which? No, not really. Change everything! Or a maker is simply wanting to transfer the money from the innovator's pocket, to his/her own (yes, even our lone gal maker was a copyist in her time).
Where's the adventure in copying?! Come up with your own damned stuff, kids.
One could not mistake my Berns-Martin Australia IWB (below) for a Sparks. Looks different, works better (but n/a today, I'm retired 3 years now):
The spring shoulder holsters of the last half of the twentieth century show us the benefits of eschewing the past and embracing the present to create a different future. This is LAPD's chief showing the photographer the business end of a .45 Colt, of which 5-1/2" barrel was the norm:
Testing all of the below on a purpose-built test rig tells us that all but one apply about 10 pounds' pressure to clamp the holster shut with the pistol inside. That is coincidence only in the sense that careful men agreed over different eras and with different training that 10 pounds worked -- for the big revolvers used in those very eras. Not so much for the autos tho, being minus that bulging .44 cylinder. The below image shows a set of (1) the earliest Clark 15 spring holsters of the 30s-60s, (2) the subsequent 'improved' Bucheimer-Clark 15L (is for 'lined') of the '70s and '80s, and (3) the very different Bianchi holsters of the '70s and '80s.
The black USAF holster shown of the late 1960s (the Bucheimer companies) has the original construction of the Dirty Harry holster and has a clamping pressure of just 8# while the Bianchi X-15 of the '70s has up to double that at 16#. The testing was done on a simple rig, with the holster spread to a 1" gap to simulate a 1911 passing through the opening:
The palest holster in the pack is a Bianchi X-2000 for the autos. Its spring is stronger yet and is the most flexible; in that way it's more like the Hoyts then and quite different to the original Clarks that are as stiff as machining the holster pocket from billet aluminium.
Read more in my book titled "Holstory -- Gunleather of the Twentieth Century -- the Second Edition" that is available at www.holstory.com and printed for you/shipped to you in USA.