Double Action Retro and Western Rigs

Every holster got its start somewhere. When "self cockers" came on the scene, they were pretty much shaped the same way as single actions. As a result, holsters for double actions and single actions looked very similar. We encourage you to look over at our single action holsters for further inspiration.
When you look at the double action holster's history, you also begin to see the development of concealed carry. Many of these designs came about because of the need to carry heavier weapons against badder bad guys while still keeping things discreetly concealed. Concealed back in those times generally meant under a suit jacket or vest or some other garment. The holsters of the era may look like clumsy attempts at concealment when compared to todays high speed,low drag styles but they were in reality the perfect answer to carry in a more genteel time. They still have a role to play today.

"Closed Trigger" Brill


Brill (short barrel version)


People's concepts of the dream holster change with time and perceived purpose. Back in the roaring 20's, this one was considered the highest of high standard holsters.

In the early 1920's, 2 lawmen discussed their idea of a dream holster. The 1st went to Sam Myres and the Threepersons holster was born. The other, a Texas Ranger by the name of Lee Trimble went to Austin to see AW Brill. The rest is history.

The Brill style is marked by a racy loop which swoops from left to right like a cresting wave. No matter whether the holster is for a single action, double action or semi-auto, it is this holster loop that screams "I am Brill" to the world.

This one, for a 2" K-frame is shown with the high-on-the -trigger guard profile used for shorter barrels -- a good idea as the open top and open trigger design of the standard Brill style would surely have led to guns falling into the dirt!

Brill's other claim to fame was his extremely fine basketstamp work. We can replicate that but chose instead to do this one with a Hamley geometric.

CARVED "Open Trigger" Brill

Natural with dark background

Brill (long barrel version)


This holster, for a 4" S&W 1917, was built to Brill's default pattern. The open trigger was pretty well his standard for single and double action pistols with long barrels.

Most of Brill's holsters were stamped with a very fine basketstamp pattern. He was occassionally coerced into doing a carved holster, but they tend to be very rare because Brill truly dispised carved leather. When he did carve, the patterns were a bold bud and leaf design, a bit funky by modern standards, but correct for the time and for that area of Texas.




Mini Basketstamp

When you look at the throats of the Brill above and the Threepersons here, you can certainly see that the dream holster discussion was real. They are very similar. The pouch of the Threepersons varies from the Brill in that there is no skirt or loop giving the impression of a much sleeker holster. The Brill is much more difficult to build than the Threepersons, quite possibly the reason you see the occassional vague replica of the Brill while many, many highly accurate versions of the Threepersons exist. (We take pride in getting our Brill's looking as close to his originals as we can.)

Both the Brill and the Threepersons holsters were initially built as completely open- topped holsters. The Threepersons was outfitted with a safety strap almost immediately. The Brill is only rarely seen with a safety strap. They exist but the strap may have been retro-fitted by the owner after the fact rather than added by Brill.

Retro Ranger

Light Mahogany


George Lawrence Leaf

There is a certain scorn from many modern pistol-toters when it comes to wheel guns and the holsters they used to be carried in. We hear all the time about how these holsters are dinosaurs, totally unsuited to the task at hand and so on and on. Well... it seems strange how many of our customers aren't listening. The majority of our customers seem to like wood and steel and leather and respect both the older wheelguns as well as the venerable names that produced leather goods to house them. It gives us tremendous pleasure to make these holsters.

This holster is taken directly from an old Sam Myres holster that was sent to us for restoration. With permission, of course! It has a graceful trigger recurve that swoops down and then squares into a throat profile that mirrors the cylinder. It is a graceful and useful holster which is as functional today as it might have been on the hip of a member of the old Texas Rangers.


Polished Roughout "Sloan"

Golden (Polished Roughout)

Threepersons Sloan

SD Myres listed this style in their catalogues of the time. If you look at its general shape, you can see their famous Threepersons holster. The customer who asked us to make this requested it in a polished roughout and laced to match a belt he had on hand.

We loosely named this after Hank Sloan. He was the Special Agent in Charge of Firearms Training at Quantico when he designed a holster similar to this. His varied from the one shown in that it had afully enclosed trigger area with a retention toggle of leather built into it. This toggle could be loosened or tightened according to the wearer's personal draw preferences. What he retained from Sam Myres and other makers was the "dog ear" design. Technically, we should call it this, but it lacks something for verbal panache, so we are going to stick with the Sloan moniker.

The Dog Ear style was highly respected by law enforcement personnel at the time. The need to carry heavy revolvers with sharp hammers concealed under suit coat jackets tore the linings and often snagged the revolver when it was drawn. The dog ear prevented hammer snag and torn suits. It was an elegant solution for a time when dress codes were a bit less relaxed.


Sverker's "Sloan" Holster

British Tan with dark Background

"Sloan Ranger"

Scroll Floral with Ocean Flame Border

We took the pattern for this "Sloan"-style dog ear holster from the pages of SD Myre's catalogue as well. The tooling pattern is modern and our own but the holster is as close as we could pattern it after Sam's. If you look at the recurve at the trigger guard and that of the one in the Retro Ranger above, you will see why we dubbed it the "Sloan Ranger". It keeps things in the family so to speak.

While the heavy molding in the cylinder area of the Threepersons Sloan offers adequate retention, we really like the additional support the trigger area coverage on the Sloan Ranger offers.

A special thanks to Craig Spegal for the spectacular cocobola grips that grace this venerable old pin-barrel S&W Model 625!

Furstnow of Hollywood


British Tan with dark background

Furstnow of Hollywood


When "self-cockers" (double action revolvers) came on the scene, the Mexican loop holsters did not vanish. They were merely adapted to the new-fangled weapons as they came along. This holster is an exact-as-we-could-get-it copy of an original marked "Furstnow, Hollywood, Maker. The original was made for the Police Positive as depicted here and is period correct for the early 1900's on through to 1940. We also make this style for the earlier Single Actions and can even adapt it for a 1911!

Idaho John

Light Mahoganywith white rawhide laced main seam

Idaho John

Idaho John

The advent of the Hand Ejector and other double action revolvers did not immediately bring the modern holster into being. Makers continued to build holsters in the traditional Mexican Loop styles which they understood and which were understood and considered desireable by their customers. Many of our customers continue this tradition and request their holsters in the same styles. This one was made for a Smith and Wesson N-frame but can be adapted to any 6 shooter, double or single action.

Belts can be had to match along with accessory items such as knife sheaths.

Our thanks to Pat Henson for this photograph!





Once again, Roy Huntington and "American Handgunner" had a huge influence in the making of this holster. Essentially, the holster got its start with an article written by Michael Janich in the Nov/Dec 2011issue. The gauntlet was thrown! Could this Detective Wonder be replicated? The Applegate holster is the result. It is as close to the original as we could get by looking through the article and old catalogue info from SD Myers. The pistols is carried grips down positioned in what amounts to a belt-mounted shoulder rig but without harness. A fascinating rig!

While we would love to build this for everythinhg under the sun, we are only going to consider orders for the Colt Detective Special and Smith & Wesson J-Frames -- narrow grips or narrow grips with Tyler T inserts ONLY. We have found that the Applegate holster is extremely specific to grip and barrel length. The difference between a 1-7/8 and 2-1/8" J-frame is dramatic. You will be asked very specific questions on the gun in order to make the pivot points precise and functional.

If you have different barrel lengths, combat style grips or carry revolvers with varying grips, please consider the T Rex (in our Shoulder Rig and Personal Carry Sections) as a great alternative with an equal coolness factor.