There is an excellent book on the subject (Packing Iron - Gunleather of the Frontier West, by Richard C. Rattenbury).
In in you will find an extensive collection of photographs taken of holsters made from middle 1800's to current day Hollywood. If you examine those made during the "Old West" era two features become obvious. 1st. very few had any kind of hammer loop or other retaining strap. 2nd. Most of the holsters cover the entire revolver, except for the handle.
Those old timer's weren't interested in Hollywood style fast draws. Instead the prime requirement of a good rig (often called a "scabbard,") was to protect the gun against the elements.
January 10, 2011, 01:05 PM
Here are a couple of holsters I made 14-15 years ago. They were both based loosely off of examples pictured in Packing Iron. Neither one has any form of retention but they do cover much more of the gun than more modern style holsters. I prefer this as it offers better protection for your gun while hunting and working. I have used them both extensively while hunting and while working on a cattle ranch. I have never had any problems with the guns coming out.
Single Six crossdraw
Blackhawk double loop holster and cartridge belt
This is one holster of a double rig set I made for a customer last year. You can see that it does have a hammer thong but it also covers most of the gun.
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