Belt pistol carry between the Mexican War and the ACW?


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elhombreconnonombre
May 18, 2016, 01:24 AM
Was it the common practice to simply shove a revolver inside ones trouser waist band since the use of belts on trousers was not yet a common practice and flapped revolver holsters on waist belts were not in use yet?

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rcmodel
May 18, 2016, 02:38 AM
I doubt it.

Seems sashes & suspenders were a fashion statement before the cival war.

The pants of the time were not conductive to holding up themselves, let alone a 3 pound C&B pistol.

They were usually carried in saddle holsters when on horseback.

rc

4v50 Gary
May 18, 2016, 11:13 AM
Stuffing a pistol into an outer waist belt certainly imparted a ferocioius, manly martial appearance. However, many soldiers discarded their pistols and knives on the march as excess weight. I recall reading how soldiers would pass many things that were discarded along the line of march.

Iggy
May 18, 2016, 12:15 PM
Contrary to popular belief, the cowboys also left their sidearms in their bedrolls in the bunkhouse or chuckwagon most of the time.
No bigger pain in the butt than a gun bangin' on you on horse back or while wrasslin' critters.

When they put on their other pair of pants and slicked back their hair for a trip to town, they hung their shootin' iron on their hips and headed for the camera parlor and the saloon.

PainlessWolf
May 18, 2016, 07:22 PM
Four or five pounds worth of Saddle Revolver is a thing to deal with even when properly belted and holstered. I wanted to wear my LeMat, ala 'The Swede' from 'Quick and the Dead' and had a cross draw holster made up and bought a stiff 3" belt to wear it on. Still tried to fall down by virtue of sheer weight all the time. I didn't even try with the Walker or Dragoon. Waited until I had an 1860 Army, a proper Belt Pistol, to look into holsters for a revolver again.

Cooldill
May 18, 2016, 07:46 PM
I'd imagine the smaller pocket guns were popular, and would have been carried in the pocket of their coats and stuff. The little pocket Colts came out right after the Mexican War. Also, keep in mind there were PLENTY of single shot and pepperboxes still in used during the period, some big some small. The Colt's revolving pistols were amazing guns for the time, but certainly didn't automatically eliminate everything when they came out.

Berkley
May 18, 2016, 10:14 PM
between the Mexican War and the ACW ...flapped revolver holsters on waist belts were not in use yet.
Belt holsters began to be issued about 1855:
http://i60.tinypic.com/1gr4zp.jpg
-“Pistol Cases: The Army’s Earliest Hip Holsters”, Lee A. Rutledge, The Gun Report, September 1990.

“Writing in 1856, George B.McClellan, then a captain with the First U.S Cavalry, and recently an observer of the Crimean War, remarked ‘For my own regiment, armed with revolvers, there need be no [pommel] holster, for the men should follow the Russian system and always carry the pistol on the waist belt.’ That same year, the army contracted with civilian manufacturers for nearly 3,400 ‘pistol cases'’’ for Colt navy and dragoon revolvers. -Packing Iron: Gunleather of the Frontier West, Richard C. Rattenbury.

LonesomePigeon
May 18, 2016, 11:06 PM
Berkley, what is the loop-like strap for?

Berkley
May 18, 2016, 11:34 PM
If I'm not mistaken (which I often am:confused:), that is the lower attachment for the sabre, with the bottom end in the up position fastened to the belt.

Cooldill
May 19, 2016, 12:02 AM
Berkley, what is the loop-like strap for?
That's the part that fits around the pony's head so you can ride backwards while shooting at your pursuers. :)

Just kidding, all I know is somebody should get one of the holster makers to make a reproduction of this. It would be perfect for carrying around a Colt's Dragoon!

LonesomePigeon
May 19, 2016, 02:00 AM
"If I'm not mistaken (which I often am), that is the lower attachment for the sabre, with the bottom end in the up position fastened to the belt."

Ah, ok. I was thinking it might be a shoulder strap to hold up the rig but your explanation makes more sense... doesn't look long enough for a shoulder strap.

Cooldill, I second that notion.

Crawdad1
May 19, 2016, 07:41 AM
They already do.

http://www.dellsleatherworks.com/m62coltpoliceholster.htm

LonesomePigeon
May 19, 2016, 01:09 PM
Crawdad, that link is for a Pocket Police. It would not fit a Dragoon.

Cooldill
May 19, 2016, 06:00 PM
Crawdad, that link is for a Pocket Police. It would not fit a Dragoon.
I noticed that as well. :)

Crawdad1
May 19, 2016, 08:39 PM
Is this better.

http://www.dellsleatherworks.com/walkerholster.htm

LonesomePigeon
May 21, 2016, 12:55 AM
Yes.:D

Crawdad1
May 21, 2016, 07:32 AM
Some people like fancy leather while some like authentic and some like both but if you want authentic leather accoutrements that's the place to get it. :)

dickydalton
May 21, 2016, 10:49 AM
I have two of their flap holsters and one shoulder holster for my pocket Colts and they are fine holsters.

Crawdad1
May 23, 2016, 08:21 AM
I have their shoulder holster for my 1860 repro and it is nice. Real high quality leather. I wish I would have got my belt flap holster from them.

Time-Life Books did a series called 'The Old West' and had one book called 'The Cowboys' Real nice leather bound books. In there they mentioned a cowboy recalling that, "The 'Ramrod' on the last day of the drive allowed us to take our holster belts out from our saddlebags and strap on our revolvers."

I can't see how anyone could possibly perform such physically hard work in that kind of heat and humidity and feel comfortable wearing an additional 3 pounds of revolver hanging on their waste. But finding original sources for what they actually did is difficult probably as most were young and couldn't read or write. Or most didn't have revolvers but a single shot rifle whether a breechloader or a muzzleloader. Don't discount the single shot pistols either that were more numerous than people realize.

Mr Woody
May 23, 2016, 08:37 AM
I don't image the Dragoon was a real popular carry gun because of it's size but no doubt some did it on occasion. From what I have read the most popular place to pack your pocket pistol or 1851 Colt was in your coat pocket.

Coats had a different status back then and were worn year around and often. Cowboys may have had a greater need for an actual holster if they had a revolver but the town folks and farmers would have just used their coat pocket. Hollywood is not history.

Ironhand54
May 23, 2016, 11:02 PM
According to the sources I have seen Colt's highest production model was the 31 cal pocket model . Maybe belt carry wasn't that common, at least in town.

Ironhand

StrawHat
May 24, 2016, 07:46 AM
Anyone have a copy of the book "packing Iron"? Quite a lot of history in there.

Here is a brief overview of the evolution of holsters

http://www.cochiseleather.com/western-gun-leather-history.aspx

Kevin

dbtk44
June 26, 2016, 08:21 PM
When I was in my 20's I used to carry an 1847 Walker in a side holster, sometimes for 6-7 hours at a time. Took about half an hour for the "listing to the right" to stop..lol
But surprisingly, after the initial getting used to it, I really didn't feel the extra 4 lbs hanging from my belt. I wasn't riding or doing anything more strenuous than just walking around though.

rodwha
June 26, 2016, 08:52 PM
Nice!

I'm wanting to see just what 5 lbs hanging from my skinny frame will be like. Alas the Walker is a bit lower on my list.

Sistema1927
June 26, 2016, 10:02 PM
Those guys were also wearing wool clothing during all seasons and in all climes.

Oohrah!
July 1, 2016, 11:12 AM
The hook was for the top ferrule of the sabre scabbard, when walking about with sword on hip. The two straps allowed the scabbard to be disconnected from the hip to hang down to the side when mounted. This made it easier to reach and draw the sword when mounted. The long strap went to a lower ferrule, and the short strap to the top one.

AlexanderA
July 1, 2016, 02:17 PM
That cavalry belt, when fully loaded, is heavy. (Besides the pistol, saber, and cap box, it usually carried a carbine cartridge box and a pistol cartridge box.) And the weight distribution is terrible. Unlike the Civil War infantry equipment, which spreads most of the load to the shoulders (the infantry waist belt only carries the bayonet and cap box), the cavalry equipment concentrates all this weight on the waist. The only major item of equipment carried on a shoulder sling was the carbine itself. (There was a narrow diagonal shoulder strap to help take some of the weight from the saber side of the belt, but it wasn't always used.) No wonder CW cavalry troopers suffered from severe back problems.

4v50 Gary
July 1, 2016, 04:22 PM
That loop on the belt was for hanging the carbine. You fired your one shot, drew your sabre and engaged the foeman.

AlexanderA - In my Civil War research, I confess never reading pension records for cavalrymen and I never read too much cavalry related material. Where did you get the information on cavalryment having bad backs? It's not surprising if they did (especially on a galloping horse with all that weight carried by the trooper) have back problems later.

kBob
July 2, 2016, 09:58 AM
Gary,

There is no loop on the belt for carrying the carbine.

There was a loop sling very much like the modern Single point slings that had a clip on the end that snapped into the ring on the carbine. Carbines had either a simple ring or most had a ring on a bar that this snap went to.

The Carbine sling was worn over the shoulder so the top was on one side of the head and the snap at the waist on the other side, pretty much as our modern AR "Operators" do today.

Some saddles had a small loop or cup to hold the muzzle of the carbine when mounted to help take off some of the weight and prevent the carbine from flopping about. Leaving the carbine snapped to the carbine sling and laying the balance I one's lap with the muzzle to the left and stock to the right while riding at the walk was not uncommon at all.

When the trooper had his carbine snapped into his carbine strap it meant he could not loose his carbine in rough riding or if he was unhorsed. Of course it also meant if he fell off his horse he did so with a couple of feet of steel and another foot of hard wood flopping about his person. Might not have been fun to land on.

In heavily wooded areas one held the carbine in hand while guiding the beast with the other to prevent the carbine sling from catching on every tree branch available and snatching the poor trooper off his ride.

Speaking of beasts of the devilish hooved variety....I have missed the 9 AM feeding and must sign off to do so. They will no doubt be complaining mightily upon my arrival as though it had been a week since feeding them rather than 14 hours.

-kBob

The orgy of hooks and straps on the left side of that pictured belt are in fact for hanging the sabre.

Ephraim Kibbey
July 3, 2016, 09:46 PM
The first picture is of a cavalry carbine and shoulder sling.

The second picture is of a carbine "boot" or "socket" that attached to the saddle by its strap and held the weight of the carbine muzzle down while mounted.

The third picture is of a properly outfitted Civil War Cavalryman.

Ephraim Kibbey
July 3, 2016, 10:07 PM
Here is an interesting thread although the pages seem to take forever to load tonight:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=777016

Cooldill
July 4, 2016, 12:41 AM
Nice little CARBINE in that last picture. The mans looks to be well armed for sure and for certain.

4v50 Gary
July 4, 2016, 01:06 PM
Thanks guys. I stand corrected.

AlexanderA
July 4, 2016, 04:53 PM
Cooldill wrote:

Nice little CARBINE in that last picture. The mans looks to be well armed for sure and for certain.

That's one of a series of pictures, in which the same guy models all sorts of different uniforms. This series was commissioned by the Quartermaster Corps at the end of the Civil War, to provide a historical record. Keep in mind that these uniforms were the ideal, and not necessarily what was actually worn in every case.

Cooldill
July 4, 2016, 05:57 PM
Cooldill wrote:



That's one of a series of pictures, in which the same guy models all sorts of different uniforms. This series was commissioned by the Quartermaster Corps at the end of the Civil War, to provide a historical record. Keep in mind that these uniforms were the ideal, and not necessarily what was actually worn in every case.
Thanks, Alex.

I like those small cavalry carbines. Good hitters in a smaller package than a rifle musket.

kBob
July 4, 2016, 07:47 PM
Looks like a Spencer from that angle.

-kBob

kBob
July 4, 2016, 08:05 PM
I am currently reading "Mark Twain's" Innocence Abroad" about his 1867 trip to the Holly land, Europe and Egypt.

He makes mention of some tourist causing trouble by laying hands on weapons and he indicated that handguns, even the "heavy navy revolvers" they were encouraged to carry were best and most often concealed even in the American west of the time( again 1867).

Unfortunately Kindle does not feature page numbers but it is near the end of the section on travelling in "Palistine"

Warning this book was before he was married into being liberal and he speaks harshly and jointly of some nationalities and races.

I plan to read "Roughing It" next about his earlier travels across through and about the American West. I believe this is the book he gives an early review of the S&W #1 .22 Short revolver in.

Oh and re Rockwell......the incident in which he supposedly had 24 pistols and the capability of firing over 90 times was immediately after the martyrdom of The Prophet. It was Rockwell that had rowed him back across the river to surrender and Rockwell was instructed by his long time friend and religious leader to NOT come to Carthage with him. Upon word of the martyrdom Rockwell armed himself and began shooting up the town, concentrating on business signs and lamps, but making a nuisance of himself. Naturally his fellow Mormons arrested him and searched him before things got worse.

Brother Rockwell appeared to not be real strong on obeying the rules for Mormons on strong drink and I have often suspected this came into play in this event.

-kBob

AlexanderA
July 4, 2016, 09:48 PM
Looks like a Spencer from that angle.

Yes, it's probably a Spencer. Spencers were very common in the Union cavalry by the end of the war.

Troops armed with Spencers would often carry their ammo in Blakeslee patent cartridge boxes, which came in 6-tube and 10-tube versions. The Blakeslee box contained a wooden block, which was bored for the tin tubes. Each tube held 7 rounds, ready to be slid into the carbine's magazine.

The Blakeslee box, when filled, was very heavy -- especially the 10-tube version. It had a belt loop, and also an auxiliary shoulder strap. Use of the shoulder strap would have been a practical necessity.

Ephraim Kibbey
July 5, 2016, 11:33 PM
A cavalryman loading a Spencer from a Blakeslee cartridge box is shown in a picture in the old THR thread linked in my second post above.

One of the reenactment sutlers (Blockade Runner) makes a very nice replica Blakeslee box for you original and replica Spencer shooters out there.

AlexanderA
July 6, 2016, 12:14 AM
One of the reenactment sutlers (Blockade Runner) makes a very nice replica Blakeslee box for you original and replica Spencer shooters out there.

I have one of the Blockade Runner Blakeslee boxes. I find the quality to be OK for the price.

Blockade Runner has the lowest price on the market for these. That price is possible because his boxes are made in India or Pakistan. Some people object to them because they show typical Indian materials and workmanship.

You can pay more than twice as much for American-made boxes. To my mind, more than $200 for a replica Blakeslee box is too much.

jgh4445
July 6, 2016, 09:58 PM
In reading about all of the controversy of late about CCW and concealed carry, pocket vs, holster etc. I ran across some articles that said that concealed carry was made against the law in many states especially in the South. Pocket pistols were especially dastardly. This was in pre civil war days. Can't find the articles now. As I recall TN and AL were among the states making it illegal.

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