Guns and Holsters Part 2

Guns and Holsters Part 2 Part 1

Packing Alloy

By Dennis Adler

This trio of new holsters for CO2 Single Action Colts, Schofields and Remingtons follow the lines of classic Western styles developed throughout the 1870s and 1880s. Many of these slim, contoured rigs were wet formed for specific pistols to ensure solid retention, and ease of draw and re-holstering. These three new historically-based holsters are for the Umarex Colt Peacemakers and the 1875 Remington (left in Gunfighter black with the Remington and center in Cowboy brown with a 5-1/2 inch Peacemaker), and far right for Bear River Schofield models. The 1875 and 7-1/2 inch Peacemakers use the same holster.

Quality gunleather is not hard to come by; you just need to throw down some serious cash for an authentic holster and cartridge belt. In Cowboy Action Shooting a good gun rig is just as important as a good gun. This was also true back in the Old West among professional gunfighters and lawmen, as well as outlaws like Jesse and Frank James, the Dalton Brothers, Billy the Kid, and others who lived and died by the gun. With the latest CO2 powered Colt Peacemaker 5-1/2 inch and 7-1/2 inch Single Action revolvers, the Schofield, and 1875 Remington, high quality holsters make the shooting experience all the more realistic and enjoyable. But they often come at a high price. Shortly, there will be an entire line of high-quality American made leather holsters and cartridge belts designed especially for the Colt, Schofield, and Remington CO2 models that will be comparably priced to the airguns, so that anyone can have a period correct gun rig that will not only improve their Cowboy look, but their shooting skills when it comes to skinning that smokewagon.

The Gunfighter black California Pattern rig for 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemakers shows how well wet forming contours the holster to the frame, barrel and ejector for a perfect fit. This also works with the 1875 Remington. Interestingly, an 1875 will fit a 7-1/2 inch Colt Peacemaker holster, but a Colt won’t fit a holster made for a Remington!

The new series of holsters are being made by Chisholm’s Trail, a company well known for its historically accurate holsters and cartridge belts. All of the new Chisholm’s Trail holster designs for the Colt, Remington, and Schofield CO2 models are based on an original fold back loop Slim Jim belt holster in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Museum in Oklahoma City. Following original Slim Jim or “California Pattern” holster designs, they have a double recurved throat accented by a double edge groove around the mouth, along the side stitching and the toe. American made in the Old West tradition, each holster will be handcrafted from premium 7-8 gauge vegetable tanned cow hides and stained (Gunfighter black or Cowboy brown) with Fiebings premium oil based color stain. All the edges are rounded, colored and burnished smooth (as pictured) and the holsters also have a hand rubbed saddle finish inside and out.

The devil is in the details and it takes extra time and material to make a high-quality holster that’s built to last. Two of the key elements are the cut of the fold back loop (which is part of the holster pattern, not an added piece, and thus of the same weight and finish leather), the heavy stitching for the loop, and rather than the holster simply being folded and stitched, a leather welt is added between the two edges to provide a solid “backbone” for the holster. All of the edges are rounded, colored and burnished smooth for a perfectly finished look.

All holsters are available in Gunfighter black or Cowboy brown for the Colts, Remington and Schofield models.

Original Holsters  

California Pattern holsters used either a rounded and sewn toe, a sewn in toe plug (the most intricate variation), or an open toe design. The open toe is used for the airgun holsters. The most important feature, however, is that like many original California Pattern holsters, these heavy duty airgun rigs are individually wet formed to the model gun they are designed for to ensure a proper fit, making them as close to a custom built holster as you can get for under $100. Cartridge belts will also be available from Chisholm’s Trail with correctly sized .38 Colt bullet loops to fit BB and pellet-loading cartridges.

The California Pattern was designed to make drawing faster. In the Old West some gunmen even twisted the triggerguard over the edge of the recurved throat to expose it entirely. The airgun models have a flared mouth (upper edge) to make drawing and re-holstering easier.

There are specific advantages to wet forming a holster, a technique that dates back to original California Pattern holsters for pistols like the Colt 1860 Army, Colt conversions and the Model 1873 Peacemaker. Many such holsters are featured in Richard C. Rattenbury’s superb book on American gunleather Packing Iron which has an entire section on California Pattern holsters. You’ll even see a few that look like the Chisholm’s Trail models in this article.

The Schofield holster is specifically contoured and formed to fit the gun. Note the lines of the pouch that wrap around the gun’s frame to keep it in perfect position for a clean, fast draw. The double edge groove follows the recurved throat, stitches and ends around the toe of the holster. The mouth is also slightly flared to improve draw and re-holstering.

Good quality gunleather is not a rarity, affordable quality gunleather is and very soon those of us who own CO2 models of the Peacemaker, Schofield and Model 1875 will be Packing Alloy with the best of them!

Watch for an update on the availability of the 5-1/2 inch and 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker, Schofield, and Remington Model 1875 holsters.

10 thoughts on “Guns and Holsters Part 2

  1. nice holsters. I like the Slim Jim style holsters for several reasons. The work well for strong side and cross draw.They also work pretty well concealed under a coat A pr of holsters , one strong side and one cross draw gives you the option of strong hand use only or strong hand and weak hand or off side hand twist draw. Not using a thick lining and slicking up the leather inside is the way to go. Would like to see border stamped models as an option


  2. Skiveing the the holster leather where it stitches to the welt is proof that this is a quality rig. It would have been much easier and cheaper to just stitch the two halves together. Were the original tanning methods gun finish friendly, especially in damp or humid situations?


    • Wet leather is never gun finish friendly. But tanning methods were very similar to those used by fine holster makers today, vegetable tanning and oil coloring for the most part. A Cowboy on the range had to take meticulous care of his guns to avoid rust even in arid climates.




      • The gunfighter length is long overdue , as are optional grips to customize the revolvers. Lightning revolvers and the 1878 da frontier are also overdue . Umarex has put out the Ace in the Hole Shopkeeper style. revolver , so hopefully Colt marked versions in high polish blue and bright nickel will be in the future.



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