Of Leather

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with leather. There are cartridge belts and pouches, saddlebags, rifle slings and scabbards and much more around the place here. I’ve even still got my custom ordered, handmade saddle first sat upon in 1971. It’s been kept even though I’ve not been on a horse for over 20 years.

My all-time favorite leather gear has been holsters. I’ve owned more than I can remember, each and every one crafted of leather. The majority of holsters on my racks are Western types for single-action revolvers. There are double rigs, single rigs, crossdraw, reverse draw, Mexican loop types, California Slim Jim types and full-flap cavalry holsters. They are made for barrel lengths as short as 3″ and as long as 8″. I even had one for a 12″-barreled Colt Buntline .45 but it went with that awkward sixgun when it was sold.

Holsters for double-action revolvers are at a minimum for me now. In fact I can only find a few in the closet. One for 6-1/2″-barreled Smith & Wesson N-frame revolvers is still here. I had it made in 1973 by the famous but now long gone S.D. Myres Saddle Company of El Paso. It was the first one on which I had my “MLV” initials carved but far from the last.

In the years since I’ve been building a collection of World War II firearms, numerous holsters for semi-auto pistols have migrated into my gun vault. Original military holsters for the US Model 1911 are still fairly common, hence priced fairly reasonable. Not so with military holsters for German or Japanese military handguns. Just yesterday while browsing a firearms auction site I spied an original pouch-type holster for a Japanese Type 14 “Nambu” pistol. It was priced higher than what I paid for my “Nambu” 8mm pistol just a couple years ago.

Luckily, however, reproduction holsters for most WWII handguns are being made. I’ve bought ones for my Type 14, a German Luger, a P38, and even a duplicate of what the Germans had made for the Belgian FN Hi-Power P35s. I even found a new made military-type holster fitting both Smith & Wesson and Colt Model 1917 revolvers.

I consider myself as having a good eye for quality leather and leather craftsmanship. These replica military holsters have no maker’s names on them: I’ve just bought them off of Internet firearms auction sites. Still they are beautifully made and cut from fine leather. I have not the slightest need to actually carry one of my WWII handguns but the holsters still make fine photo props.
By Mike “Duke” Venturino

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