Hello to All Shooters!
I only just learned of this site a couple of days ago. And after looking at various sites devoted to or discussing the subject of famous guns and holsters, I thought it would be nice to contribute in order to clear up misconceptions, myths etc.; to add new facts, never before told. There is also a bit of Chicago Police Gun use and types of guns used in my book: EXTREME COP: CHICAGO PD by JERRY ARDOLINO, [Model 29 .44 Mags in 4" or 6 1/2"; The BIG SNAKES (Colt Python six-inchers)etc. The book has been quoted in PLAYBOY and reviewed very nicely in GUN WORLD by JAN LIBOUREL; in S.W.A.T. by LEROY THOMPSON and, is available at www.ExtremeCop.com
My name is JERRY ARDOLINO, the Original trademark owner and Original manufacturer of The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster for the public for the S & W Model 29, 6 ½” .44 Magnum; a fact well-documented over the last few decades by JERRY AHERN in SOLDIER of FORTUNE, Elmer Keith, in GUNS & AMMO, October, 1978; SKEETER SKELTON in SHOOTING TIMES; BOB ZWIRZ in GUN WORLD, January, 1980 and scores of other notable gun writers such as LEROY THOMPSON, HAL SWIGGETT, CHRIS McLOUGHLIN and PETER KOKALIS. I am the successor to the Bucheimer-Clark Holster Company of California and own the Original Pattern from them used to make the holsters for the films as well as a holster cut from the leather at that time for the films—a holster which I wore to carry my “backup” S & W Model 29, .44 Magnum when I was a Chicago Cop working the West Side projects and high-crime Lakefront areas of Chicago back in the late-Seventies. So, here is a brief History of the Most Famous Holster in The World:
HISTORY and ORIGINS of The Original Dirty Harry ® Shoulder Holster
by JERRY ARDOLINO, Original Manufacturer and Founder of LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS:
Copyright 2008 by Jerry Ardolino
“The holsters that Bucheimer-Clark Holster Company originally made for the films were, requested and ordered by ELLIS MERCANTILE (prop house), later called: ELLIS PROPS & GRAPHICS and now out of business. I, Jerry Ardolino, am also owner of the FIRST die pattern ever made to produce that holster as well as, the ORIGINAL Bucheimer-Clark dies used to make the Harness and all other dies to make that holster for any guns with barrel lengths longer than 5”. They hang alongside the Original film/hard-use/working, real-world Original Dirty Harry ® Shoulder Holster, in my office in Las Vegas, Nevada. The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® is still produced by LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS™. Only whereas, I—LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS™ (Sole Proprietor) used to produce it for 744 different handguns; we, (LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS CORPORATION™) now produce The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® for EVERY Handgun, EVERY Caliber, EVERY Barrel Length ever manufactured, in the history of firearms. We do this through the VEX™ Program, a program which, I invented and developed over the last 2 ½ years. We are the ONLY Holster Company in the world to have this technology. This means that we now can produce a holster for over many thousands of handgun models without dies. Patterns and disposable dies are produced by VEX™. Another company would have to spend a couple of million dollars and wait years for the dies to be made, in order to achieve this.
I have been in the gun and leather goods business since 1975 and producing The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster for the public since 1976 and have, in my own factories or shops as well as in contracted companies, licensed by me; been producing The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster in my own shop in Texas since 1990, when I took over from a company I had an interest in that was producing it for me. I have produced, supervised the production of and sold TENS of THOUSANDS of THE ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster since then. And, I must say, that it has been a pleasure to see the constant interest in THE ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® over the past 32 years. Especially the record-high bucks being paid for vintage models: $1000.00. (Incidentally, we now offer a CERTIFICATION SERVICE if someone is thinking of purchasing a vintage model. Visit our website: LawmanLeatherGoods.com for info)
I’ve produced—on a limited, but brisk basis—The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® for shooters all over the USA from 1990 through the millennium—for vintage 8” barreled Colt Pythons, 4” Colt Diamondbacks, 8 3/8” S & W Model 29s and of course, 6 ½” Model 29s--in my aforementioned Texas shop. I purposely did not publicize; I only dealt with former customers, dealers and by word-of-mouth in order to avoid tremendous volume production, making holsters for old clients, cop friends and doing small contracts; plenty of money was taken in. I had other business interests as well and my book publishing firm to contend with. However; I was constantly getting bothered by my daughter, ( a pre-med student and raised around firearms) and my son (ex-Navy and a gun enthusiast) to once again, beef-up the company. It was at that time, 2005, I started to work on the program enabling production for a huge range of models. The two kids finally urged me enough in 2007 to expand the company; some business associates also wanted on-board really badly; and we incorporated the EXISTING Lawman Leather Goods in mid-2008 And, in 2008, because of the tremendous amount in recent years, of new model revolvers made available by the “big four” handgun manufacturers; I decided to step things back up to “factory, mass-production-capability- level.” I am now, Executive Vive-President/ Operations-Manufacturing of LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS CORPORATION, with Corporate Headquarters and Factory in Las Vegas, Nevada. We also have business offices in Texas and in Tokyo, Japan.
For those of you who don’t realize it; The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® was the First Shoulder Holster ever made on a production basis for handguns with barrel lengths greater than 6 ½”. That was my doing. There is a lot to the story of the holster. To write a complete and detailed history would take up many pages of this site. So, I’ll condense the events. I shall now separate the fact from fiction, the urban myths from truth and the fake from the real thing; time for a history and hard facts lesson!
The Real HISTORY of THE ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® (and some hard facts):
*The beginnings of The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster is well documented in the later chapters of my book, EXTREME COP:CHICAGO PD, by JERRY ARDOLINO, 2006, Xlibris and Big City Crime Publishing, Library of Congress Catalog # 2006909745.
Bucheimer-Clark started as the Clark Holster Company of California. They made the Shoulder Holster for a variety of revolvers (No semi-Autos) in barrel lengths up to 5” ONLY. Bucheimer-Clark was acquired as a division of J.M. Buchheimer, a company that had been around since the 1880s. The holsters were use in other films in the sixties. And the holster was used by LAPD cops and California private eyes for years.
I acquired exclusive rights to the 6 ½” Model 29 Holster and other models from J.M. Bucheimer in a detailed contract agreement in the late seventies (and later was awarded full rights to the dies as well as acquired the patterns and rights to the Old Clark Holster Co. of Los Angeles); and, I had the pleasure to work alongside Ed Clark, son of the Clark Company Founder. Ed was in his fifties back then and had been making holsters since the forties when he was a kid. It was Ed who hand-cut the holsters for ELLIS MERCANTILE and the one I own for the films. The FIRST Dies made for the holster were made for me. As I mentioned, I still have them and he original holster my company has duplicates. About the infamous Tension Screw: yes, there was one in the film models and some didn’t have them. ELLIS MERCANTILE probably chose the ones with the screw because of the gleam or something. Ed Clark had long since eliminated the screws. They served no useful purpose and, in fact, couldn’t possibly adjust tension as they were on the wrong side. But because they couldn’t be put on the opposite side as it was an open side; they were eliminated. Another big reason was the act that the leather washer used around them would wear off; scratching the user’s gun’s sight or top strap. It was strictly cosmetic. And by the way, on the holsters used in the films, the screws showed on the front and the entire affair is nickel, not brass.
The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster which, I, as mentioned before, have been producing for over 3 decades, is made to EXACT specs as the film versions and from the EXACT leather specs and QUALITY level as the first ones: “Beware of Imitations.” And as far as Cathey Enterprise holsters go; I had licensed them to produce some back in the nineties to catch my overplay; but Cathey was dis-honest regarding payments; I sued them and won (they settled out of court for a nice sum in a vacant courtroom in Mason, Texas). So, SOME Catheys are real (meaning: officially licensed by me) and some are incorrect as to Specs, material etc.—bootlegged copies. We ate LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS offer a Certification Service for Vintage DH holsters. We charge 55.00 and I, the Original Manufacturer for the public, sign a letter on our stationary certifying it or the fact that it is a copy and not real. From looking at copies, then and now, there are gross differences that contribute to poor gun retention, terrible balance and discomfort. Any person always carries a gun more than they use it. So, COMFORT is a HUGE FACTOR in a quality shoulder holster. I’m really not showing any malice here; just giving you the hard facts. You deserve them. Copies are way off and the pathetic thing is some newly-made copies are selling for more than the Originals that we, LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS the ORIGINAL Manufacturer make!
URBAN MYTH DESTRUCTION: Myth 1:Contrary to many blogs, the gun in the films was a 6 ½”, Model 29, .44 Mag; and the scenes where it looks longer is because of camera lens distortion. It was a 6 ½”. Myth 2:The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® is not just a “movie holster.” It IS and has for over 32 YEARS been a real-world holster for professionals like myself, who carry a gun for a living. That’s “R-E-A-L W-O-R-L-D” as in: Police, Sheriffs, Constables, Licensed Private Detectives, Security Agents, certain Federal Agents, certain Foreign Police, certain US. Navy SEALS, certain Army Rangers, many Force RECON Marines, many British SAS members, many British SBS members, the old Royal Hong Kong Police, Former Prince Ali Ben Nayif of Jordan’s Royal Bodyguard, Japanese undercover Police, French Gigene members, Italian Caribinieri members and German GSG-9 Anti-Terrorist forces troops. YES, we have sold to all of the aforementioned.
Elmer Keith, the greatest, and most honored handgunner and I met on the telephone when I first started selling my ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® out of my apartment in Chicago. He was very old at the time and had been a real cowpuncher in Montana. As a kid, he had witnessed gun fights. He was real. We finally got to meet when I was an invited guest at a GUNS & AMMO luncheon during the 1979 NSGA show in Houston, Texas (see EXTREME COP: CHICAGO PD). That was a great experience. I thanked him for the great write up that he had given the rig in the previous fall issue. We had no ads in the magazine, not even a classified. Yet, Elmer Keith got the rig, loved it and stated that it was the most comfortable rig for heavy guns.
Hey shooters---this is all real. The “copy harrys” is not. Now, if you want the Real ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster, made from the REAL HAND SELECTED, HEAVY LEATHER, by the ORIGINAL MAKERS from the ORIGINAL DIES for ANY Handgun in the World—visit LawmanLeatherGoods.com (contact info all over the site) or if you’re in Florida for the S.H.O.T. Show, SEE US AT BOOTH 23119. We’ll be unveiling something for Western Gun Shooters that’s never been done before! “
The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster from
LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS CORPORATION “Beware of Imitations”
The Original Dirty Harry ® Shoulder Holster
Available in Our Rich-Russet® or Marauder(TM) Black
Available For Every Handgun in the World!(TM)
Visit our new, very active website to order: www.LawmanLeatherGoods.com
JERRY ARDOLINO, Original Trademark owner: The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster; Original Manufacturer and Founder/ Executive Vice-President: LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS CORPORATION www.LawmanLeatherGoods.com