View Full Version : 1870's concealed carry

March 6, 2012, 12:39 PM
In a previous post I said after 1876 my choice of rifle would be the Winchester model of that year. Researching S&W I found most of their (break open) sales to be 38 S&W. Which makes a far better Concealed Carry weapon than a 45 on your hip. Merwin and Hulbert made small guns in 44-40. which makes the 44-40 the way to go. Rifle sidearm and concealed carry all in the same caliber.
My choice (and teddy Roosevelt's for G.Bear) is 1876 Winchester carbine. Anything hit by it 2 legs or 4 is going to know they have been hit. A 45 colt from a 7.5" barrel has as much stopping power as a 1873 Winchester in 44-40. Colt didn't sell so many CC guns as S&W.
Considering my choices listed above any CC Gun is a bonus but if one was available in 45 colt so much better. I have seen pictures of Colts with 3" 4" and 4.75" barrels and always thought even the 3" job was to hard to hide.
My question is how hard would it be to hide a 3" 45 colt in a shoulder holster. If comfortable it could be worn all the time. Movies give you the impression a 45 gunbelt rig would be worn all the time. I own one for a replica 45 and know this would be both tiring and uncomfortable if worn all the time. I enclose some pictures of S&W baby Russian, 3" 45 and something similar in a holster all from this site.

March 6, 2012, 01:31 PM
If I've got a jacket on, I can hide a full size 1911 in a shoulder holster, so I suppose that it wouldn't be too hard to conceal a snubbish Colt.

My research has involved the gold mining basin in central Idaho back in that era. What appears to me is that everybody had some kind of firearm, typically a .36 Navy Colt. The old fellers didn't wear them while they were working, but they were close at hand - usually to defend against bear or cougar attacks, but also for the occasional bushwhacker.

My great grandmother said that her father told her that it was pretty common for the miners to come to town wearing their rigs. In fact, her mother (my great, great grandmother) was absolutely aghast at the carryings on at the saloons and dance halls in Idaho City, especially since the children had to walk by them on their way to school. Gunfire was common, though deaths and injuries were relatively rare, at least by her recollection.

One thing that was a hard and fast rule, though, at least in Idaho City, was that concealed weapons were a big no-no. I'm not sure if you'd end up in the clink or not, but if you were packing concealed, you'd be in trouble. The reasoning was that if a couple of the boys decided to throw down, if they were both armed, then any subsequent gunfire would be considered self defense. But if one of them was unarmed, why, that would be murder. Now, if one of them was hiding a piece, that put the other fella at a disadvantage - he wouldn't draw on an unarmed man, but if that "unarmed" man pulled his gun out of hiding, why, that just wasn't fair.

March 6, 2012, 04:44 PM
Which is exactly why I carry concealed....

Strafer Gott
March 6, 2012, 04:57 PM
A while back I picked up one of the British Bulldogs in .44 like the one on the last page of American Rifleman. That puppy pretty much fills the pocket, vest, whatever, like a j-frame. I understand that this was widely copied, popular revolver. Hope I didn't hijack you, but this definitely fits cc.

March 6, 2012, 05:15 PM
I recall an article by Phil Spangenberger in G&A years ago in which he noted people generally wore more clothes back then, plus the cut was a bit different from what we are used. A man's suit would have been a frock coat, which went down to the knees-think of a modern overcoat. Hence concealing
a full size revolver was easier. Then there's Doc Holliday with his sawed-off
shotgun concealed under his duster.
I have read of John Wesley Hardin's vest with two leather lined pockets for his Colt .41s (has anyone ever seen it, or at least a picture or a reproduction?). In general, we can say that concealment was quite a bit easier back.

March 6, 2012, 06:32 PM
The factory I once worked at in Scotland was visited by the Queen, about 15 mins before she arrived her bodyguards arrived to check the place out. I didn't get too close but I would bet they all had some kind of pistol. Which was not visible from about 20yds. I don't think I would have seen much at arms length.
Don't want to start an argument but how can a man obviously carrying a gun be less threatening than a man not obviously carrying a gun. Attitudes differ, Attitudes change.
Just remembered reading Merwin Hulbert revolvers were very popular with city police forces. Presumably the police were allowed CC weapons.

March 7, 2012, 07:57 AM
I have a sholder holster for my 4 5/8 .357 Vaquero and it conceals pretty well under a Levi Jacket.
Face it, even a short barreled, full sized S/A is a BIG gun and not easilly concealled even under a oversized Hawian Shirt!
I like the balance when carrying the Vaquero in the sholder rig and it draws OK too! It's nowhere near as fast as a low slung hip ho;ster but it's every bit as fast as drawing a .45 ACP or a big Beretta 92 from the same sort of rig.
My sholder rig is a copy of an 1880's design and it's really comfortable and the gun is out of the way for most movements.

March 9, 2012, 12:15 AM
its been proven that the pants worn in 1870 had a large enough front pocket that you could get a military issue 1860 down, and all youd have is maybe an inch of grip sticking out.