Monday, November 29, 2010


Just yesterday I found a Christmas present for myself, a copy of John Bianchi's book called BLUE STEEL AND GUNLEATHER. It was in a half-priced book store, and so Mrs. El Fisho was kind enough to get it for me. We do some surprise gifts, but like yesterday, well it seems more prudent these days to economize when possible, and I know I'd be getting it anyway.

Here's a blurb from John's website shown below:

Bianchi authored for firearms industry best selling textbook, Blue Steel and Gunleather, the definitive book on the history, development and use of holsters. He has designed and manufactured over twenty million belts and holsters during his career as the world's best known holster maker.

So I will be excited, perhaps Christmas night or the night after, after a day of gifts and toys and games and food and TV and such, things will settle down and I can read through this book on the couch. I remember back when it was first out, many years ago in 1978. I already owned a few Bianchi holsters by then, and had ordered their catalogs when I was in high school.

Soon, when I became a police officer, our duty gear was detailed as clarino leather (patent leather) on a double 2 1/2 inch Sam Brown belt. I'm not sure if Bianchi made that type of gear, but all of my off-duty and plainclothes holsters were Bianchi.

And guess what? Thirty years later, those holsters still look like new and more importantly, work as designed. Over the years, I've bought and sold various Bianchi holster, but there are a core group I've kept, and since the advent of internet auction sites, I've added to the collection.

I hesitate to call it collection, because my holsters are either working concealment holsters or IWB holsters. I have a very nice ankle holster for the Colt Cobra that saw frequent use as a backup in my police days, but I don't find it near as comfortable to wear now as I did then.

Same with the upside down shoulder holster. Yeah, I know, it's not a secure holster in a physical altercation, but it does conceal well under a fairly well tailored suit or sports jacket with a small gripped J frame and it conceals great under a medium or bigger jacket or hoodie. Yet, after my good friend a partner Smitty was on a knife weilding mental health call as a backup, his Smith J frame dislodged from the upside down shoulder holster in physical altercation and he had to kick his gun across the room under the couch to keep said mental patient from grabbing it. It was a doozy of a wrasslin' match, judging by their ripped suits and shirts afterwards. I don't recall Smitty every using that holster again.

Yet, I retain several upside down shoulder holsters as well as my old ankle holster. All of them look near new and work like new.

But there are favorites that I do frequently use.

The Model 6 IWB holster made of single layer suede with a belt clip. This is my favorite J frame holster and I just got a second one, new old stock one with the silver clip as a backup to my first one, although this 29 year old Model 6 is just getting broken in right about now.

I also like the Model 56 paddle holster and have one each for the Cobra and for J frames with hammers. The 56 has a suede covered paddle and is very comfortable.

I also like various belt holster, low profile ones for both revolvers and autos, with thumb breaks.

And I have several Askin's Avengers, the finest leather belt holster for an auto ever made, for Glocks, 1911's and several other guns.

I've never had any issue whatsoever with a Bianchi Holster.

And now, John Bianchi has a new Holster operation. Very custom. Very nice. Read about it here. I know I'll be getting some kind of single action holster rig from him this next year, I can feel it in my bones...

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