Anyone use a revolver swivel holster?


March 12, 2013, 09:12 PM
I have a S&W L frame and a S&W N frame swivel holster. I don't open carry in public even though it's perfectly legal because the general populace is easily spooked and I live in a pretty crime free area.

Anyway my two holsters are twins in black basketweave with brass snaps and fittings. Looks very similar to the holster that the main protagonist wears in the AMC TV show 'The Walking Dead'.

I personally find it to be a very comfortable way to carry a large frame revolver. Never tried to run very fast or far with it - but just general physical tasks, very comfortable.

Anyone from back in the day, especially cops that used them, have some thoughts or experiences to share?


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March 17, 2013, 12:08 PM
I was issued a swivel holster in 1983, that retained the weapon with a flap. The fit of the flap was a bit generous, however, and the sixgun could slip out, particularly while we were seated. Don Hume was the maker, though they would not sell this rig to the general public; it was proprietary for our PD, made to spec for a very opinionated chief. A more enlightened chief came along, and we went to better holsters. To be clear, Don Hume makes good holsters, and if they still offer a swivel rig with a thumb break or old-school strap with a snap, it should be fine.

El Paso Saddlery does still offer some classic military-style swivel holsters.

March 17, 2013, 01:08 PM
I'm kinda thinking swivel holsters went out of usefulness when we stopped riding horse to work.

Police motorcycle officers used them in the past because of the poor holster designs of the time with no positive retention.

The military calvary used them too.
The swivel kept the gun hanging down instead of falling out.

I don't see a whole lot of use for them as they are just added weight on the belt, and a gun flopping around catching on car doors and stuff.


March 17, 2013, 03:01 PM
This is what we were initially issued way back when. They were sometimes referred to as widowmakers as your grip wasn't always in the same orientation if you went to draw it.

We later got upgraded to holsters that allowed you to swivel them to the desired angle but would then lock in place.

March 21, 2013, 07:59 PM
Yeah I would never carry a large frame revolver around town. If I even carried at all it would be my model 19 in a Galco holster that I have for it.

This is the picture of what I was referring to though. Practicality aside I think it looks pretty cool :cool:

Jim K
March 21, 2013, 09:10 PM
Well you would look like a 1950's uniformed cop without the uniform. I can't off hand think of a better way to attract attention and get asked a lot of questions. The swivel holster was not designed for motorcycle or horse mounted police, but for car cops who could have a low mounted holster that would swivel forward out of the way when they sat down. Most police ended up going to high ride or cross draw holsters that solved the problem without a swivel.


March 21, 2013, 09:53 PM
The swivel holster was not designed for motorcycle or horse mounted police, but for car copsMaybe that specific one for a 50's 60's revolver.

But the USGI Model 1912 swivel holster for the 1911 was designed for mounted calvery.

Cop squad cars were mighty scarce in 1912 I betcha!

The cop revolver rigs came along later and were favored by early motorcycle cops as I said earlier.


March 21, 2013, 10:59 PM
IIRC, they were still popular in the 60s...until the advent of Officer Survival training/awareness.

The problem with using a swivel holster on a duty belt was that...they swiveled. Officers would seldom snap them down into their fixed position when they got out of their they were impossible to draw out of while seated.

Bill Jordan sounded the death knell for the swivel holster in his book, No Second Place Winner

March 22, 2013, 12:17 AM
I have been using one of those old black basketweave swivel holsters for my 1911 when I stream fish. Mainly because I picked it up used from the "random bin" at my LGS, for $15. It is actually quite useful. I modified it so that I have a thick leather shoelace attached to the bottom. I tie that around my thigh, and the holster swivels in whatever direction my upper leg goes. This is especially useful when climbing large boulders and squatting. The gun doesn't "dangle", but I also have the flexibility for going into extreme positions with my leg.
That being said, I am a cheap SOB and there is probably a better option out there for me. I just haven't justified the purchase yet :D

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