View Full Version : Question re. issue shoulder holster...
25th November 2006, 19:49
Is the proper nomenclature "M3"?
Every "vintage" photo of US troops I've seen with this holster show the holster to be natural tanned leather. I have one that has been dyed black, but I know for a fact that it originated from government stocks. The government gives "surplus" gear, up to and including weapons, to police departments who know how to finesse the system. This holster was one of a sack full that were in such a surplus package provided to my agency.
I was on SWAT at the time, and many of us grabbed these holsters and used them. We wear nomex flight suits when "dressed out", and there are times between ops and/or training when we gear down. Our issue Glock 35s are carried in thigh holsters on a cordura duty belt; the other leg has a CAR-15 magazine/flash-bang pouch, and cop accoutrements (magazine pouch for the pistol, handcuff case, etc.) are scatterd on the belt in various places to suit the individual . As you might imagine, this rig weighs a considerable amount, and is usually shucked off if the "down time" will be more than a few minutes.
But the flight suits have no convenient way to carry a weapon, other than a snubbie in one of the slash pockets. The GI shoulder holsters are ideal to carry your "big iron" in when on admin detail or just taking a break. The Glock 35 fits in there with bit of coaxing... :)
Anyway; sorry for the drift. My other question is this; were any of the WW I or II holsters issued in black dye? I'm working on getting a Colt 1911 repro, and think the holster would be kind of neat for a "period" extra. I'm off SWAT now, but I found that shoulder holster today while digging through my old kit bag looking for something else.
This site is a treasure trove of solid info. I have been bitten by the 1911 bug again, and I fear the 1911 repro is only the beginning... :scared:
25th November 2006, 21:07
Is the proper nomenclature "M3"?
My other question is this; were any of the WW I or II holsters issued in black dye?
There were 2 models of shoulder holster adopted in WW2 for the M1911A1. The first was the M3, which was replaced in 1944 by the M7. Both were issued in russet leather. The M7 is still being issued today, although it is intended to carry the M9 instead of the M1911A1.
As to your second question, there were no USGI shoulder holsters for the M1911 in WW1. As mentioned previously, the WW2 holsters were russet. However, in 1956 the US military changed from russet to black leather goods. Most of the existing stocks of leather goods were dyed black to conform to that change, which explains why WW2 dated holsters are now sometimes seen today in black. These dyed holsters are easily detected. Post-1956 M7 holsters were manufactured in black. Recently manufactured M7s are now seen in natural leather as well.
Hope this explanation helps you.
25th November 2006, 22:06
Closer inspection (this time with my glasses :o ) reveals that what I have is:
Guess that sort of kills it for a "period" accoutrement, eh? :D
27th November 2006, 07:05
Another question... I remember the great deal of fanfare that accompanied the army's adoption of the Bianchi "system" approach to holsters; back in the 80s, just before or after (cannot remember which) adoption of the Beretta. M-84 I believe was the nomenclature? A green nylon/plastic rig?
I also recall hearing that the belt holster was fine, but the shoulder holster variation was a real abortion that nobody liked. I wonder if this is the reason that these old M7s are stiil in the inventory?
Is the Bianchi "system" still an issue item? I also remember a Safariland product from that time frame; it was a look-alike of the old leather flap holster, but the flap was hinged and could be rotated forward out of the way for a reasonably fast presentation. This product was also advertised as authorized for official use by military personnel.
One last query; Charlie, you stated that natural (russet) M7s were being seen again. As issue, or repros from those few leather guys who specialize in vintage military leather?
27th November 2006, 11:35
My interest in USGI holsters stops around 1975, so I don't stay conversant on gear issued after that time. However, I can say that the Bianchi holster for the M9 pistol that you are referring to is the M-12. I believe that it is designed to be convertible to a shoulder holster, but I have not seen that feature in use. As far as I know, the M-12 is still an issue item.
The M7 is still a standardized item as well. See the pic below of former Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki with his M7 carrying an M9 Beretta.
Also below are a couple of pics of General Officers using another type of shoulder holster for their M9s. As I don't pay much attention to the current gear I can't tell you the model or maker, or if it is an item of issue.
I have observed photos US Army officers in Iraq and Afghanistan wearing russet leather M7 holsters. I believe that they are a standard item as well. I will post a pic of this if I can find one.
This shot is of Gen. John Abizaid. He is escorted by Polish troops. The US officer to his right is wearing what appears to be an M7.
This is Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli of the 1st Cavalry Division with the brown leather shoulder holster of make/model unknown to me.
27th November 2006, 12:23
I would bet the russet M7 holsters presently used are privately purchased ones made by El Paso Saddlery.
27th November 2006, 14:00
Three of those guys, including the general in the last pic, appear to be wearing Galco Miami Classics (I think that's what they're called, patterned after the holster worn my "Sonny Crockett" on Miami Vice TV show). They are adjusted very oddly, with the holster near the belt. Since they are the ones in the danger zone, I'll defer.
27th November 2006, 20:36
And I wonder who trained those Polish "bodyguards"? :D
The one in the middle even has a pair of Oakleys... gotta love good old US influence.
Of course, those could be Delta guys with their "east-bloc" kit on.
But I agree; the other two American officers in that photo have a Miami Classic or its clone on.
30th November 2006, 09:01
Out of curiousity.... what are the differences between the M3 and M7?
30th November 2006, 09:10
There are several minor differences, but the major difference was the addition of a second strap that crosses the chest. This allows the holster, if properly adjusted, to remain close to the body and not flop around as was the case with the M3.
30th November 2006, 17:48
Got it; thanks.
22nd January 2007, 21:46
while in iraq my unit had old stocks of m7 holsters and even the old m1916 1911 holsters on hand- especially in national guard units whole arms rooms were cleared out some containing some very old stock for deployment. very popular in Iraq for some reason were the galco miami classic style holster as well as a locally made cheap knockoff. the m12 nylon holster was oflen used attached directly to body armor.I preferred the gun on the thigh with a blackhawk rig.
23rd January 2007, 14:42
The M12 Bianchi holster was also used by the ARNG/USAR with the M1911A1's as late as '97. I personally have never seen a shoulder holster variant like Charlie suggested, however, the holster was ambidextrous and could be mounted in various directions.
23rd January 2007, 15:34
Lou Alessi recently told me via e-mail that his backlog is "about 24 weeks due to heavy military orders and two Homeland Security contacts."
I guess some folks in the military want the best, instead of GI!
15th February 2007, 10:10
there is a tan new made version of the M7 holster with a NSN -apparently according to my sources the black leather looks shiny and shows up bright in nigh vision and IR sighting devices. the military returned to the tan leather to reduce IR/NOD signature. Also I have one of the adaptor systems for the m12 nylon holster to convert into a shoulder rig- one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever worn!
While at my unit armory over the weekend they were rearranging the arms room and while looking thru the holster crate I found tan and black m7 and m1916 holsters besides the nylon bianchi's, and some of the hip holsters had WW1 dates!
vBulletin v3.0.13, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.