A Brief History of Gun Holsters

Gun HolstersHolsters have been around longer than you might think – almost as long as Cher has been parading around wearing doilies. In fact, holsters actually pre-dated guns. Do you really think bands of wooly mammoth hunters carried spears and rocks in their hands? After all, they couldn’t invent important things like fire and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts with their hands all full of weapons.

While we don’t have the space to cover all of the many interesting and important developments in the history of holsters, we can touch on some of the highlights.

11th Century BC
Future King of Israel, David, popularizes the concept of holsters by toting around large round stones with which he kills big bullies. This earliest form of holster is known, from careful study and translation of ancient texts, to be called a ‘sack.’

1297
William Wallace, otherwise known as Braveheart, popularizes the SmartCarry holster design – then known as a sporran. Sporrans were, and continue to be, worn on most fashionable kilts. As guns were not yet invented, historians believe that Wallace carried spare breath mints and a copy of his film rights agreement in his sporran. Wallace’s aggressive attitude prompts officials to ban sporrans in New York City.

1770
Europeans discover that kangaroos were designed with natural inside-the-waistband carry holsters when James Cooks’ ship Endeavor runs aground off Queensland, Australia. Kangaroos are immediately banned in New York City.

1800
Western style pommel bags serve as carry devices for multiple large handguns. They quickly fall out of fashion when Clint Eastwood refers to them as ‘man purses.’

1805
Historians believe that French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte invents a predecessor to the FlashBang Bra Holster, as evidenced by many portraits showing him fondling a derringer underneath his blouse.

1840’s
From careful frame-by-frame analysis of period documentaries like Blazing Saddles, historians have learned that belt holsters became fashionable for single shot pistols and early revolvers.

1966
Leather sixgun holsters become popular when a series of low budget spaghetti western films are produced like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Early design ideas are scrapped when it is determined that spaghetti does not ride well in leather holsters. And it makes many holsters soggy.

1969
Richard Gallagher founds The Original Jackass Leather Company in Chicago, IL. When he discovers that few Jackasses carry guns, the company is renamed to Galco Gunleather and relocates to Phoenix, AZ. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg immediately bans Jackasses from carrying concealed. And the state of Arizona.

1986
Man purses become fashionable, primarily in Europe. Otherwise known as man bags or murses, they are still just purses. Some men, concerned about their metro-masculine image, encouraged folks to call these bags ‘satchels’, but let’s face it – if it looks like a purse, and acts like a purse, it’s a purse. While seemingly a great concealed carry holster innovation, the fad rapidly lost popularity when European men realize that handguns are banned in most of their countries.

1993
Inspired, and scared probably scared witless, by his pack failing and dumping “a ton” of gear into the middle of an Iraqi minefield, Navy SEAL Mike Noell founds Blackhawk!

EDITORS NOTE: We do not recommend or condone dumping your gear into an enemy minefield. Always hurl your gear into enemy minefields from a safe distance. For example, from central Idaho.

One of Blackhawk!’s successes is the Serpa retention holster designed to secure a handgun against accidental release or removal by evil d00dz. In a launch publicity stunt, illusionist David Copperfield attempts to escape from a 23x scale Serpa Holster.

1995
The Kydex revolution begins when Blade-Tech founder Tim Wegner melts several toaster ovens in his kitchen in early attempts to make Kydex knife sheaths. Wegner’s wife gently and lovingly encourages him to move the budding business to the garage – where companies are normally started. When associates point out to Wegner that one shouldn’t bring knives to gun fights, the business begins to focus on Kydex holsters for guns.

2009
Addressing concerns that holsters can make one’s butt look big, Lisa Looper invents the Flashbang bra holster. Apparently it’s better for one’s, umm, chest to look big. Ok then, moving on…

 

We hope you have enjoyed this preview from our forthcoming book, My Gun Culture’s Insanely Practical Holster Book.

Our free Insanely Practical Guide PDF is available here. While it contains a fraction of the information that is covered in the full book, there’s plenty of useful stuff in there, and it’s free, so check it out.

Comments

  1. You, sir, owe me a new keyboard. Well done!

  2. Nora Holloway says:

    Good read! I’ll have to check out that free practical guide… and then buy the book of course! :)

  3. Josh Kolbeson says:

    regarding Kydex, I hope this was mentioned:

    Bill Rogers
    1971: Inventor of the first all plastic holster, “Kydex”

    • Bill Rogers invented it? really, I didn’t know that. I have an antique Kydex that I got at a gun shop in Texas. Sounds silly I know but there’s just something about them that I love.

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