1970s Holsters

So I picked up a 1978 dated PD the other day, and it's in great shape and very shiny. It has made me think that it deserves a proper holster. 

It fits into my leftover 1911 stuff, but the Arratoonian is for a 5" and both it and the Kydex are just a little too modern. But then I realized I have a generalized gap in my knowledge. 

Whether cops or mobsters (half my family was low-level Sicilian mobsters) or if Cooper or Awerbuck ever said so, what DID people carry in during the 70s for concealment, specifically? 

Not super interested in tracking down an original Jackass, so belt holsters of a style someone makes today, I hope. 

But I also love history so anything about how holster design moved onward from the post war era would be interesting. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

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Not that I'd recommend it, but I carried mine in a Bianchi inside-the-waistband clip on holster.  You know, rough suede on the outside, smooth leather on the inside, collapsed flat when you drew the gun.  It will also squeeze the gun out like toothpaste while you are running across a street, allowing your Star PD to bounce on the pavement.  Don't ask.

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Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

I didn't say so but I also ask this because my first holster c. 1990 was... that exactly.  I think I took it apart to steal the clip for something (the older ones did at least have a nice clip) in the last few years so don't have my suede gunbucket anymore. It was awful, and I was hoping there was better! 

Even so, it was better than Mexican carry. Same era, friend had his 5" 1911 fall through his pants, to the floor, on a crowded elevator. Clang/clatter/clatter. No one makes the slightest sign they notice. Crowded enough he has to wait till the doors open and people move to bend over and scoop it up. No one notices. He stopped doing that, but options felt so limited even in the early 90s, before the internet helped us discover all the better makers. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

When I was working in a large gun shop in Peoria back in the mid to late 70's, I tried every holster I could find. Most belt holsters put the pistol  (1911 Colt) at the exact height as the counters, so unless I was extremely careful, I would constantly bang the crap out of my grips as I walked around the shop.   My next evolution was trying a shoulder holster.  Without a doubt and nothing even came a close second was--of all things---a Smith and Wesson brand shoulder holster.  I traded it away after I left the gunshop, and regret it. I still look through the $5 boxes of old stuff at the gun shows hoping I find another one.

Believe it or not, back in the late '70s, I used that same suede Bianchi IWB clip holster for full sized 1911s. As a matter of fact, I've still got mine. Haven't worn it in years, but it held up nicely to a lot of previous carry.

A holster company that was cutting edge in the 1970s was DeSantis.  They were a still new '70s holster startup. If you wanted boned to fit concealed gunfighter leather back then, they were a definite top choice. Their classic Speed Scabbard was the heat when I first encountered an OGA type using one at an early Army SF SOT course. I bought mine immediately after seeing his. Not an inexpensive holster choice at that time. Used it to CCW full sized Government Models for many years. Stupidly traded that holster away with a gun. Still an excellent leather choice. A holster equally at home for open carry w/ jeans or CCW under a suit coat.

https://www.desantisholster.com/speed-scabbard/

Also available as a Thumb Break Scabbard version. 

 

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Dorsai posted:

Not that I'd recommend it, but I carried mine in a Bianchi inside-the-waistband clip on holster.  You know, rough suede on the outside, smooth leather on the inside, collapsed flat when you drew the gun.  It will also squeeze the gun out like toothpaste while you are running across a street, allowing your Star PD to bounce on the pavement.  Don't ask.

...and that is why Dorsai uses a lanyard to this very day!

shoobe01 posted:

Even so, it was better than Mexican carry. Same era, friend had his 5" 1911 fall through his pants, to the floor, on a crowded elevator. Clang/clatter/clatter. No one makes the slightest sign they notice.

They were hoping desperately theirs wouldn't do the same?

sub posted:

I think Bruce Nelson and Milt Sparks started in the 70's maybe earlier. Survival Guns by Mel Tappen was a mid 70s book and he recommended Milt Sparks.

Thanks. 

I have a Milt Sparks Executive Companion I've been wearing since at least 2000.  Wonder how long that particular holster has been out there.

Great history thread. 

___________________________________________________________________

Men who carry rifles for a living do not seek reward outside the guild. The most cherished gift...is a nod from his peers.

I've got a Milt Sparks Executive Companion for 1911s that I've had since about 1983/4, still going strong. 

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“Speak softly and carry a big stick;  you will go far. “

 Theodore Roosevelt

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Joined: 29 May 2008          Location: AZ

The big dogs of the time were leather holsters from Bianchi, Don Hume, & Safariland.

Other players on the 1970s holster scene:

Bucheimer-Clark, Lawrence, Jackass Leather Company (later renamed Galco),  Hunter, Triple K, Roy Baker (original concealment pancake design), S.D. Myres, El Paso Saddlery, Alessi, Michaels of Oregon (later renamed Uncle Mikes), & Safety Speed (LAPD police clam shell).

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Ken Null is about 20 minutes up the road from me. He use to make holsters at Seventrees Ltd.

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I've been falling so long it's like gravity's gone & I'm just floating...

Been taking a lot of your names (99% of which I know, just not the history/relevance) and googling. Fair number are available used on eBay cheap. Enticing. 

I may have to go with this one: 

El Paso, but IWB with that same single steel clip as on the shapeless suede ones mentioned above. It's kinda a perfect merger of the good and bad of the era. Yeah, it looks 5: length, so... maybe. 

Reminds me of Dead Bang (really, a rather good movie I always thought) where Don Johnson gets out of being kidnapped in the car by crashing headlong (at low speed) into a local police car. Recovers from the accident to find... his stupid paddle has come undone and flown off. He misses much of the resulting fight and bad guys escaping finding it on the floor. 

This always seemed too specific to not be from a real story. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Seventrees Ltd. ,  Damn that's one from the "Way Back Machine."  

Had afrind with one of their J-Frame shoulder rigs, minimalistic, but fast as hell. 

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“Speak softly and carry a big stick;  you will go far. “

 Theodore Roosevelt

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Joined: 29 May 2008          Location: AZ

 I have a bunch of early Desantis speed and thumbbreak scabbards that still rock. Best concealment color, I felt ,was a cordovan/ oxblood that looked awesome too, not available any more from them ,sadly. Bucheimer was another manufacturer, I think,from 1970s. Ive got some of there holsters for S&W J and K frames somewhere in the Rubbermaid tote of holsters. Always good to see where we've been and where were at!!

DLehr posted:

Hoyt Holster Company was big in the 70's.

Shit, they were big (at least here in Washington) into the early 90s.  Most of the cops in Skagit and Island Counties used Hoyt leather, and I'm really not sure how far they reached into other places, but, they were popular.  Living here, it was easy to jot down  to Coupeville on Whidbey Island to the factory for a lot of guys.

- Gene

____ "Fight like you're the third monkey trying to get on Noah's Ark...".

____ "If you can't do something smart, do something right." - Jayne Cobb

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Joined: 4/28/08   Location:  Seattle

 

My first centerfire handgun was a Colt Combat Commander that I bought in 1978. It came with a Roy Baker pancake holster. I still have both.

Pancake style holsters were popular for concealment around here as were the original horizontal shoulder rigs from the Famous Jackass Leather Company of Chicago. There for a while every time I bought a used gun, it came with a Jackass rig. (I still have all those guns and all those holsters . . . )

The Askins Avenger and The Chapman Hi-Ride were popular with people I knew but I always preferred a holster with a thumb break on it. 

**********************

arm yourself, because no one else here will save you . . .

 

he found faith in danger, a lifestyle he lived by

 

Assemble the Kingsmen

I DO have lots of rubber bands! 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

GNX posted:

 Bucheimer was another manufacturer, I think,from 1970s. 

Bucheimer products have probably adjusted more attitudes over the years than any other manufacturer of police goods. 

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The life of a Warrior is not deciding when, where or who to fight. The life of a Warrior is simply to always avail himself of those little opportunities life presents from time to time to bust a cap in somebody's ass.-----Sneaky SF Dude 21 June 2005 09:49 PM

Reality is the true test of ones mettle

You must find a "Roy's Custom Leather Goods" from Magnolia, AR for that blaster.  Roy made "THE" pancake holster that became the must have for all of the cool kids in the 1970's .  The grandfather of my best friend when growing up in Louisiana was a high speed spook working Latin America in the 70's.  We made many trips to Roy's shop in the early 80's to pick up holsters that were being shipped down South to support friends and interests of the U.S.  I still use  three different Roy's "Hidden Thunder" or pancake to carry my Colt 10mm "Elite Team" 1911.  My Dad still uses one to carry a Smith.

Another must have is an original Lou Alessi.  On occasion I still use one of his shoulder rigs.  The leather is a true work of art. 

Just my opinions, like other things, everyone's got 'em....

I found many of the suggested holster makers, and models... but none for the right size in anything like affordable and good condition. E.g. plenty of 5" 1911 holsters, but not commander length. 

So gave up and went with a cheap and modern version of the shitty old things. Got a Blackhawk! suede holster. Sad it has plastic instead of a badly chromed steel clip, but not bad. Now need to carry the thing a bit to get some authentic wear on it. Too new!

It is super uncomfortable in most of the good positions, but works SOB (ha!) and AIWB. Which, we must remember, isn't new. When moving from vest to belt carry, a lot of guns ended up well forward, and some went in waistband for security or concealment. 

Some of the first (not patrol police) armed folks I knew of and thought were sorta cool were (of all things, but I was a kid) Crown Center security. Back in the 70s they were helpful guys in moustaches, slacks, and sport jackets with the shopping center logo on it. And... stainless AIWB J frames and two speedloaders. Not in your face and I bet no one else noticed as they were worn real deep, but I thought very cool. 

They eventually switched to the supervisors only wearing jackets, and now have some lame ass contract security and only moonlighting police are armed (I think) but it was cool back in the day. 

 

Speaking of which, and only because I feel that Bad Holsters Anonymous is a safe space, I have worn these sorts of soft holsters before. I didn't know what I didn't know, and holsters are certainly not one that is talked about nearly enough. So, my first holster was this: 

Not like this, this is my actual first c. 1990 shitty little holster. Originally carried a Star M30PK, but I haven't had that for years, so the similar-sized 5946 (also now retired due to no parts from age! I feel old now!) is filling in.

Note, it's supposed to be black. I just have used it so much, it's worn to whatever off-white the lining is showing through the microfiber outer cover.

It was probably 10 years before I knew of good holsters. Somewhere in between I got myself a Shooting Systems shoulder holster, straight from the factory showroom (what a hella cool gun store, btw) in St Louis county. I started to get the gist that a better fitting holster was a good thing, as I scrupulously followed the instructions with the shoulder rig to adjust the holster to my gun. 

Okay, now really bear with me here. 

I still use this microfiber Uncle Mikes holster. I wore it today.

It is what I used to decide that AIWB was going to work for some of my guns. Because it was so soft it didn't matter what you put in it, it fit. Smaller guns ride lower, so work better if anything. Eventually I got a good holster for it, but recently I upgraded the configuration of my Kahr, and it doesn't fit.

And... it's three months for the new one to arrive. So, when I don't take the time or have the wardrobe to handle the Crossbreed (it does take forever to put on, doesn't it?) I just toss the gun in here. 

 

The nose is a bit floppy, but on the other hand the gun rides real deep so is very hidden, and surprisingly secure. 

Seriously. I have, before you laugh too much, used this to great success. I have done stupid things like put this into drawstring shorts, and run with it. Not run after a ball but run a couple miles. Works fine. AIWB has some intrinsic biomechanical advantages so guns don't fall out it seems. 

Soon I will get a real holster, but this is nice to have as backup. I may never get rid of it. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

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The first holster I was issued was a Bucheimer security holsterin 1980. I wasn;t impressed to transition to a high-gloss finger snap holster when I  transferred a few months later.  I upgraded to a thumb break high gloss as soon as i could.  I led the transition to breakffront security holsters with a personal purchase Bianchi  Hurricane and later the department issue security holster.  Neither of those equaled the Bucheimer holster I had originally been issued by my first department, but they served until the transition to semiautomatic pistols.  

During the seventies, San Diego SO issued the Hoyt for duty but I don't recall that they made anything for off duty. The Hoyt was so much more secure than the old clam  shell.

The pancake holster made a big hit from a guy named John Bianchi out of Temecula. If you wanted it made he would build it for you. He made nice shoulder holsters, these worked for small and large guns.  I worked the east county of San Diego then and during the winter it was cold. I would carry a 2 inch S&W in a shoulder holster under my coat. This all changed when they issued that stupid stuff called body armor, it was so stiff I couldn't reach my second gun. I still have one of his shoulder holsters for a full size 45.

 

Not recommended but there were more than a few that carried a 45 Govt in their belt. We were issued a model 66 Smiths but could carry any second gun you wanted. There were several of us carried 45s, inside the belt in a cross draw configuration, as second guns. Fights, foot pursuits and climbing over fences I never had it come out.  The inside the belt holsters were all held in place using a clip just like above, most of these were made by Triple K. I understand they are still in San Diego.  

fmfbest posted:

I wore a M9 across Central America in that velvetine uncle mikes IWB with the plastic clip

Doesn’t typing that word “velvetine” break some kind of LF rule.

Mojo/Mark
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Joined: 9/30/09
Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

“Tell me about the rabbits, George...”

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The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:
from bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complacency to apathy;
from apathy to dependency;
from dependency back again to bondage."

MOJONIXON posted:
fmfbest posted:

I wore a M9 across Central America in that velvetine uncle mikes IWB with the plastic clip

Doesn’t typing that word “velvetine” break some kind of LF rule.

Velveteen Rabbit.  Still a good story.  Which could be re-written to describe a gun that is used and loved for so long it seems to be sentient and alive in your hand.  You think and point and it shoots and hits.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

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