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Restored Post 55: Elmer Keith and Gunleather

Updated: Apr 15

At his death Elmer left a lot of guns and gunleather in his estate, including a shoulder holster I made for him at Bianchi in the '70s. Dunno why he would've kept it. Elmer is someone that holstorians take most seriously because of his role in the development of the Berns-Martin 'Speed' holster in 1930, when Elmer and John Berns had a look at Elmer's forward draw holster by E.E. Clark and decided they could do better! Clark disagreed! And the first surviving Speed holsters outside of Elmer's own custom set are marked only with the Clark patent that was issued before Bern's.

55 keith and reed (2)
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I like the article in this next PDF that restored a post of mine, because it shows an early hero of mine who was/is Thell Reed. While Reed was getting press coverage I was reading it and aspiring to become a gunleather designer/maker.

55 keith and reed (1)
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Reed returned to America's consciousness during the Rust shooting controversy, in which actor Baldwin resurrected the Presidential Pardon clause: "Ah did not pull the trigger, with that revolver. I never told anybody to lie, not one time" and like Clinton, was proven to be a liar (by the F.B.I. no less).

Below, on the occasion of Berns-Martin's transfer from Blackie Collins to John Bianchi:

Not content with the fiasco of joining with Berns to copy the patented Clark in the '30s, in the '70s Elmer joined with Milt Sparks to combine the patented Sloan holster for the FBI with the Gaylord below; J.M. Bucheimer had made this mistake of sending an example of the new Sloan to someone they thought was just a writer (Keith) when instead he was an opportunist. Like Jeff Cooper and Theodore's designs with Nelson, then Nelson's with Sparks, these men saw no intellectual property rights in the originals that they had copied by third parties. None of the originators were in any position to fight back . . ..

Read more in my book titled "Holstory -- Gunleather of the Twentieth Century -- the Second Edition" that is available at and printed for you/shipped to you in USA.

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