Single Action "Halfbreed" Holsters
In western parlance, an item which is half of something and half of something else is referred to as a halfbreed. We do not wish to go into political correctness or incorrectness discussions on this. It is what they are called and we will continue in that historical tradition.. For the sake of these pages, a halfbreed holster is one in which a slim jim is fitted with a hidden skirt and a loop. It gives the effect of a slimmer profile to the holster overall with the eye-catching appeal of the conventional skirted western holster's loop. It also has the side benefit of greatly reducing the weight of a Mexican loop holster. The halfbreed was the favorite holster of John Wayne throughout his later movies for a reason. His holster has also influenced more makers than any other halfbreed style in history.
Double Shuffle Gun Rig
3" Gunfighter (no cartridge loops)
Double Shuffle Border (Holster loop with Vortex rosette)
When we started doing the Border we call the Double Shuffle, it became an instant hit with our customers. Many consider it much more beautiful than the ordinary Carlos border it stems from. And we agree! It is a most handsome border and lends grace and eye movenment over both holster and belt.
The holster itself is called the Duke for obvious reasons. It is a near but not exact repro (look below for that). We looked closely at the original and then decided to rework the throat just a bit to give a more eye-pleasing curve. We like it and so do our customers. It is our most popular style of halfbreed holster. We show it with several variations and tooling patterns throughout this page.
Holster: British Tan
2-1/2' Money Belt
No one knows who made the original for John Wayne. We are told that he apparently found it in New Mexico, liked it and then took it to Andy Anderson to have it replicated. It has been made by many other companies since. Ours is as close as possible. We make a special note that, sadly, the original buckle manufacturer closed its doors many years ago. We have substituted a buckle which is close but not exact.
The most curious thing about this rig is the belt. It is a money belt -- not a common belt in the Hollywood of the time.
A money belt is a piece of rather lightweight leather folded on itself and stitched to form a tube. You can see a slot below the buckle. The billet (tongue) of the belt passed through this slot creating a belt keeper effect and a lock to the tube. In old days, that was where money or valuable documents were kept. The Duke liked it because it was incredibly comfortable. Traditionally, the belts were smooth out. The roughout version is actually quite brilliant as its nappy nature grabs the body nicely, hugging every curve and staying where it should. It is a bit bland when new but as it ages develops a fascinating patina.
Meanea Half Breed Holster
Meanea Poinsettia with Repeating 9's Border
The Meanea part of this refers to the holster pouch. We took the pouch from a Meanea Cheyenne holster, eliminated the skirt and used a single cigar band loop instead of the requisite 2 loops on true Cheyenne holsters. We carved it with the same classic Meanea Poinsettia pattern. There were no modifications to the pouch.
Carolina Kid's Rig
3", 3-piece Taper Belt
Holster & Sheath: 1949 Main & Winchester Floral with Repeating 9's Border
Other than the carving pattern and barrel length of the contained firearm, this holster is virtually the same one as shown above. The pouch has been dropped a bit to give a 7-1/2" Colt a chance of an easy draw.
Hamley Halfbreed Rig
Light Mahogany (heavily oiled)
Modified Duke Halfbreed
2-1/2" Taper Belt
Hamleywith Teton Lace Border
The difference between this holster and our standard style Duke holsters is the squaring off of the toe so that a teardrop-shaped toeplug could be added. The toe plug was pretty much a standard part of military and cowboy holsters before the 1920's. They faded from popularity about then probably because the stitched- through toe required less labor and skill to do. Money talked even then!
Toe plugs serve several purposes. The 1st is to keep the barrel from getting dinged up and the second to keep mud, snowor ice from getting packed inside the barrel. The final one is that it keeps the toe area from collapsing which maintains the draw stroke and can help keep the bluing on one's sights.
We borrowed the loop on this holster from an old Heiser catalogue. The hammer loop is braided leather with a tassel of leather. The combination of geometric and braid give the entire holster a bit of class.
Borderstamped Great Plains Halfbreed Holster
Ocean Wave Border
This is another of our skirted holster which has been unskirted. The photo shows the gun sitting fairly deep in the holster. This is because it was made for an old Ruger Vaquero which we could not acess for the photo. The Colt SA sits much lower than the Ruger would as a result.
The borderstamp concept is an old one. It causes the eye to run around the perimeter of the holster and emphasises its own beauty along with the lines of the holster itself. You simply can't go wrong with a border.
Outlaw (Modified Duke with open trigger)
3' Taper Gunbelt
Furstnow with Bugle and Beartooth Border, Vortex rosette on holster loop
Some folks like an open trigger guard on their holsters. It didn't take much of an effort on our part to alter the cut of our standard Duke holster and give that desireable open trigger area to those who wanted it. This particular holster was also requested with a toe plug.
Old El Paso Great Plain Halfbreed Holster
Great Plains Halfbreed
Old El Paso Floral with Chill Wills Border
This is our Great Plains holster (with the smaller-than-the Ruger Vaquero Colt SA doing substitution duty yet again).
The tooling on this holster is a bold carved design with a strong Texas border heritage. The Chill Wills border is named so because of a belt we have in our collection which has that exact border on it with rumoured provenance to Chill Wills.
Doc Brant's Rig
3' Money Belt
Holster: 1890's Northern Plains Floral with Repeating 9's Border
This holster( once again) is our Cheyenne style with a hidden skirt. The cigar band is decorated with a simple rosette built up from individual stamped impressions.There is a traditional toe plug. The holster has been slightly dropped so that the bottom of the grips are at the top of the belt. But for hidden skirt and a slightly lowered trigger area and a deeper recurve at the front for speed, it would pass as a traditional holster.
3' Taper Belt
Holster: 1890's Main & Winchester Floral with Bugle Border
Another holster which would have been true to the era but for the fact that the skirt is hidden.
The tooling pattern on Rounder's holster was taken from the fender pattern of a saddle found in an old Main & Winchester catalogue. The scrollwork is a combination of robust and fine elements typical of California tooling at the turn of the last century.
Hired Gun's Rig
Golden with Brass Spots & Concho
Crowned Meander & Repeating 9's Border
We have discovered that our customers either love spots or hate them. Love them or loathe them, you have to admit that they add an appealing additional border effect to the elements in this rig.
Wild Bill Rapp's Rig
Modified Duke Halfbreed
3" Gunfighter with Contoured Billetsto us
Wild Bill Rapp Border
This is a completely matched set for a Colt 7-1/2" SA & a knife. (The knife and sterling buckle kit was provided to us by the customer.) The instructions were that we add a nicely-contoured billet set to compliment the buckle, tip & loop and a braided leather hammer loop with a leather tassel.
Cat Ballou's Rig
Duke Halfbreed with Modified Diamond Loop
2-1/2", 3-piece Taper Belt
Holster: 1890's Rose with Sunset Border
The holster is flaired slightly at the cylinder and has a custom-shaped cigar band loop with a diamond concho.(Sadly, This concho is no longer available. We do have others which are good substitutes, however.)
|All Contents Copyrighted 2005 All Photos Courtesy Don "Oso" Contreras|