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Old June 9, 2010, 07:01 PM   #1
Big Caliber
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Lil Joe Cartwright's rig

I'm wondering...That gun belt of his hangs pretty low. Did any of the real west frontier men wear their belts like that or is that just a fine example of Hollywood spin?
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Old June 9, 2010, 07:37 PM   #2
johnwilliamson062
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I think pretty much all gunfighters wore their pistols that low. Just like drop leg/thigh holsters today. Much easier to draw from there than up on your hip. Hip is easier to support the weight and you don't need 2 belts or a cord around your leg which makes pants look weird.

Relax your arm straight down your side. Where your palm ends up is pretty much the best spot for the butt of a holster.
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Old June 9, 2010, 10:06 PM   #3
Don H
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Period photos of Hickock, etc., show their sidearms to be rather high on the waist:


Elisha Green, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody,Texas Jack Omohundro, & Eugene Overton.




Wild Bill Hickok


Billy the Kid
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Old June 9, 2010, 11:09 PM   #4
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Low riding holsters and the drop loop are modern movie inventions. They were not available in the old wesr.
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Old June 9, 2010, 11:46 PM   #5
hoghunting
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you don't need 2 belts or a cord around your leg which makes pants look weird.
The cord around the leg is to hold the holster tight to the leg so it won't beat you to death while on horseback. That's one of the reasons many holsters weren't slung low on the hip.
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Old June 10, 2010, 05:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Relax your arm straight down your side. Where your palm ends up is pretty much the best spot for the butt of a holster.
Used to think that, tried it for a long time, then tried it with gun high. Turns out I had been wrong. I've been wrong about a lot of things.
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Old June 10, 2010, 07:07 PM   #7
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Old June 11, 2010, 05:52 PM   #8
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Elisha-"Darn it Bill, get your boot off my rifle"
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Old June 12, 2010, 10:52 AM   #9
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I would think "best designs" would come out, no matter "when" the time.

LE agencies have learned a waist high holster works, so have the amazing quick-draw folks, as have the IPSC guys.

Those guys were all working guys, who lived and worked in the field, a low-slung pistol would get in the way, and flop like crazy, a thong wrapped around the leg....how the heck would you tie it so it wouldn't be in the way? Nor cut off circulation?
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Old June 12, 2010, 03:03 PM   #10
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The high cavalry draw was popular, with the gun reversed and shoved through a belt or sash (Wild Bill used a sash most of the time) with the butt to the front on the strong side.

When seated at a card table, this was the fastest way to draw and fire a single action.

The cavalry draw had its source in Civil War issue holsters. At that time, the sword was the main weapon for a cavalry officer and the new revolvers were #2. The full-flap holster was designed for wear on the left side with the butt to the rear. It didn't take long for soldiers to move the holster to the right side where they could get to the gun faster.

After the war, men cut off the flap and tightened up the holster so the gun would stay put when they were on horseback. When the cheap issue holsters fell apart, men made their own or did without.

The cavalry draw, especially from a high, tilted rig, is very fast. It isn't seen much, because the muzzle sweeps the shooter during the draw. ROs don't want to see that. I don't blame them.

As has been said, the "Buscadero" holster seen in the movies and on TV appeared after 1900 as fancy crap sold to tourists in mexico. Hollywood loved them and pretty soon, they were standard.

Some of the best Hollywod rigs were on The Virginian TV show. They had steel liners and good tilt for fast draw.
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Old June 12, 2010, 03:40 PM   #11
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The Hollywood low slung holster would be kind of silly if you think about it. Every time you sat down your piece would fall on the floor unless you had it looped in, but then it would hardly be a quick-draw rig, would it?
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Old June 15, 2010, 04:00 PM   #12
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
I think pretty much all gunfighters wore their pistols that low. Just like drop leg/thigh holsters today. Much easier to draw from there than up on your hip.
Having used a drop leg rig, all I can say is my times are much faster from the hip. The only purpose I can see for the drop leg rig is to get your pistol clear of your body armor or MOLLE gear.
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Old June 15, 2010, 05:59 PM   #13
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These were copied from an original mexican double loop holster. Typical of old west only without hammer thong and leg ties weren't used either.
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Old June 15, 2010, 06:10 PM   #14
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I wonder about photographic (tin-types, daguerreotypes or ambrotype) images of the period. I suspect that the photo-grapher had them ham it up for the image. Sometimes guns or knives were studio props the person was asked to wear to project a more fearsome or martial image. At least that's the impression I get from the Civil War images I've seen. I don't know if the practice was continued into the post-Civil War period.
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Old June 15, 2010, 10:08 PM   #15
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"Wild Bill" Hickok. Real "gunfighter". Betcha his guns aren't props.

That's not what ya would call low slung is it?
Horse theif and outlaw William "Buffalo Bill" Brooks. Real gunfighter.

Not low slung either.
Working cowboy Joe Ming. Not low slung either.

Like has already been said, hollywood low slung holsters are a post 1900 invention.
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Old June 15, 2010, 10:11 PM   #16
MJN77
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Another authentic style holster. Notice how it covers the whole pistol.


The "quick draw" is a BS hollywierd invention too. Granted if a man was trying to kill you, you would most likely get to your pistol asap. In the old days holsters were made to keep your gun securly at your side and not hit the ground when you move. That's it.

Last edited by MJN77; June 15, 2010 at 10:21 PM.
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Old June 16, 2010, 09:20 AM   #17
aarondhgraham
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Hollywood did not "invent" the drop loop holster,,,

They did however popularize them,,,

They were never authentic "old west" either.

Buscadero rigs started coming up from south of the border,,,
They started right around the turn of the century,,,
They were the original drop-loop rigs.

In the 30's Hollywood started using fancy buscadero rigs for the hero,,,
Notice that the bad guy never had a fancy rig,,,
Theirs were the most authentic.

There is a good book out by Richard C. Rattenbury called Packing Iron,,,
So far it's the definitive work on the history and development of holsters and gun leather in general.

In all of the pictures of old west people there is no one wearing any kind of drop loop gunbelt or cutaway fast draw holster.

The book has a great example and schematic of an Arvo Ojala gunslinger rig,,,
That's the type worm by most 1960's TV western heroes.

Arvo Ojala invented the "cutaway" gunslinger holster,,,
Minimal leather with none around the trigger guard of the revolver,,,
His holsters all had to have the hammer loop to keep the pistol from falling out on horseback.

It also has some great examples of the studded and bejeweled buscadero rigs worn by Hopalong Cassidy and other "West That Never Was" heroes.

It's a great book to have in your shelf,,,

Quote:
Relax your arm straight down your side. Where your palm ends up is pretty much the best spot for the butt of a holster.
This works for walking but try and ride a horse wearing a leg-strapped gunslinger rig,,,
It's not very comfortable after about 30 seconds.

Also notice that the modern fast draw holsters are not low slung at all,,,
They ride rather high and have a severe backwards cant.

When I lived in Riverside, California and was a CAS shooter,,,
I knew a SASS member who was a production assistant on the Have Gun-Will Travel series.

Paladin's rig was an extreme cutaway low-slung Arvo Ojala gunslinger rig,,,
He told me there was one kid on the set whose sole job was to walk behind Richard Boone,,,
His job was to pick his revolver up and hand it back to him whenever it fell out of his holster and hit the ground.

Apparently it did this quite often.

.
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Last edited by aarondhgraham; June 16, 2010 at 09:32 AM.
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Old June 16, 2010, 10:37 AM   #18
OldMarksman
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Post #17

Great note.

It cost me money, though. I just ordered the book. I'm not a CAS shooter, and I've managed to get along without it for decades, but I do like books on guns of the west and the ones in the westerns.
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Old June 16, 2010, 01:08 PM   #19
BlueTrain
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I have seen a few photographs of cavalry troopers from sometime in the Old West, probably in the Southwest in the ones I'm remembering. They are all wearing revolvers in the standard issue (which was probably not a cheap holster after all) reverse-draw holster and several of them had the flap turned back and tucked behind the belt with the butt of the revolver to the rear. Apparently they had their own ideas of how to carry their revolvers. The revolvers are Colt double-action and they are all in blue uniforms, which probably puts the photographs in the 1890s. I have a photo of my father probably taken in 1945 also wearing a reverse draw holster. The uniform was olive drab. And do you remember that issue holsters for the .45 auto came with a leather thong, I guess to tie around your leg. They were invariably all pleated in some fashion. Earlier ones, the ones on swivels, had straps for that purpose.

I wonder what "buscadero" means, literally translated?
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Old June 16, 2010, 02:11 PM   #20
aarondhgraham
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Possible definition of "buscadero",,,

I got this stuff from this web-page,,,
As with all info found on the web,,,
Take your "grain of salt".

One gentleman had this to say:

Quote:
The Buscadero Rig came about in the 1920's and was designed for the Texas Rangers and the cowboy movie actors during that time frame. What you saw was a single individual with an inovative mind that found he could draw faster with the gun at hand level while walking.
I find the words "while walking" to be of some significance,,,
Buscadero belts are the pits to wear on horseback,,,
Walking though they are great to wear.

Here is one man's definition (or derivation) of the word buscadero:

Quote:
An interesting sidebar to this is Ramon Adams' definition of buscadero as, "From the Spanish buscar, meaning to search for, to seek. Used in the Southwest for a tough, gun-carrying officer of the law. Later occasionally used to mean any gunman."
I'm going to have to get into Packing Iron when I get home tonight,,,
I don't know if there was a definition in those pages or not.

Anyways, I thought these statements were interesting.

Sorry OldMarksman,,,
But it's money well spent,,,
You will enjoy the book greatly,,,
It's been a source of great patterns for me.

Here's one holster I made from a pic out of the book,,,


.
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Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
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Old June 17, 2010, 11:49 AM   #21
aarondhgraham
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Another definition of Buscadero...

I searched for the etymology of the word Buscadero,,,
I found this website document.

Quote:
buscadero - someone who seeks, usually applied to lawmen.
I can't find a more definitive source for the root of the world.

.
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Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
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Old June 17, 2010, 12:58 PM   #22
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Busca is to seek or search. Ero, is a suffix used to assign the verb or noun root to a person - caballero, pistolero, buscadero (horse-man, pistol-man, search-man).
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Old June 20, 2010, 09:37 PM   #23
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The cavalry draw had its source in Civil War issue holsters. At that time, the sword was the main weapon for a cavalry officer and the new revolvers were #2. The full-flap holster was designed for wear on the left side with the butt to the rear. It didn't take long for soldiers to move the holster to the right side where they could get to the gun faster.
My understanding of this is the saber was carried on the left side, for a right handed draw (if you were a lefty, apparently it was tough luck). The pistol was worn on the right side, butt forward to allow for a draw with either hand. With the saber in the right hand, the left could reach the butt forward revolver. With the right hand empty, you could draw the reverse butt revolver by twisting your right wrist around "backward". The full flap of course was to protect the pistol.
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Old June 21, 2010, 03:14 AM   #24
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well, lil' joe cartwright was ahead of his time in more ways than one. his saddle horn had a bicycle innertube wrapped around it!
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Old June 21, 2010, 01:45 PM   #25
aarondhgraham
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One of the worst westerns for authenticity,,,

Wrong guns, wrong saddles, wrong clothing, and wrong actors.

Everyone loved the sons but as far as western TV goes,,,
It truly was a "west that never was" depiction.
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Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
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