Handgun Carry in the Old West

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I assume there were far more longguns of some type being carried. Depending on your financial status a rifle or shotgun would be far more useful and practical.

My grandfather died in the 70's he was almost 100 years old. He wasn't a cowdriving cowhand in Texas but a Minnesota farmer. This was still indian country, he told stories to my dad of having to hide in the sloughs as a child when the indians would come to raid the house.

He was also in the cavalry in ww1 and a sharpshooter. The only firearm he ever kept around and used all his life was a shotgun. He did bring back a handgun from the war but never used it.

Some employers today ask you to leave your guns at home and people do everyday. If you worked on a ranch back then you do what the boss says or got fired....nothing different then or now. The difference is that work = home back then. Here lemme hold your revolver so you don't shoot yer foot off, heres a rifle for critters and stuff.

If that ranch paid well, had a good cook and a draftfree bunkhouse with a good wood stove I'm in.

Just like today:) Good enough pay and benefits and you kinda like your job or need it. Your gun gets locked up by the boss(at home) and if you need one.....use mine.

I do find crossdraw more comfortable for a working gun, I try to find a holster with a slant but mostly just a right hander slid around. I'm sure back then some felt as I do.

Just like i'm sure some carried a matched pair of lovely engraved pearl handeled colts, The same applies today.
You got it, pardner!!
I know I posted this picture in another thread, but it kind of works here. 1913 isn't exactly old west, but it is certainly pre-hollywierd. No luck in my search for info though.
That young feller reminds me of my growin' up years. A ranch kid among a bunch of town folks.

I'll bet them is Pappy's guns. That young feller sure couldn't afford one of them 95 Winchesters.

You'll notice he hasn't got a regular belt on. Braces that are saggin' under the weight of that six gun. He ain't wearin' cowboy boots neither. Rolled up britches was the style back then and into the 40's and 50's.

The 4 with guns has honkers on them that makes me wonder if they if they're kin.

Be interesting to know what those fellers had been up to.
Be interesting to know what those fellers had been up to.

They're the UMWA's negotiators.;) Still trying to peg down where it was taken in 1913. I thought that might be the Tercio company store in the background, but it had evenly spaced dormers.
I had two ideas of who they might be.. Strikers or a Posse, but a posse would have had more guns.
Here's some fellers that got themselves in a fix back in 1887. Don't see any Hollywood low slung sidearms here.:cool:
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I'll bet them is Pappy's guns. That young feller sure couldn't afford one of them 95 Winchesters.

I'm not so sure of that. Unlike the others in that picture he has gone out of his way to make sure that the guns are shown off well.

It may well be that this is the 1913 equivalent of the late teens deal where the young stud rushes out and buys a hot muscle car using every last cent provided by the new job. Or they could be pappy's guns and he's just simply proud to be trusted with them. Either way I think he's tickled to be carrying them around and is prideful enough of them to ensure that they are showing their best side.
I had an opportunity to speak with an old gentleman a few years back in Montana about guns and cowboys. His recollection was that he rarely saw handguns but everyone owned a rifle or shotgun. He said that if he saw someone carrying a pistol he thought they were either a city punk or someone to be avoided. He told me that most of the rifles were single shot and most were bigger calibers; if you were shooting at dinner you didn't want it to get away. He said his rifle was an old breech loader, he couldn't remember what kind (Sharps?) but it used a "big 45 bullet". The first pistol he ever owned was a .22 automatic "that jammed a lot" made in the 40's. Very enlightening...
Not sure if it was the case out west, but in the east the union was known to provide arms to the strikers.
Iggy, you sure are making me want to wander up your way.
Snakes or no snakes.
Too bad I can't seem to wander back up north of the shenanigans for more than a day and a half at a time.
Thanks, 45Guy. Great link. Old photos fascinate me. I'm frustrated, though, because I can't talk to the long-gone people in the photos.
Packing Iron by Richard C. Rattenbury ISBN 0-939549-08-5 is a great book & gives a look into the real not (reel) west.

Comparing some of Charlie Russels paintings, they seem to give a glimps into the real life too. I think he painted what he saw.
Tell me about it Krogen. I have been attempting to piece together my families history from that period, which is apparently another one of the proverbial skeletons in the closet. My grandfather only told a few stories about Colorado, but he was only 3 when all this happened. Hell, I just found out from the 1920 Census that there was a Great-great uncle that I'm named after living with them at the time. Frustrating to say the least.
In the large photo I posted, does it look like a small revolver sticking out of the far right man's pocket?
Tom Threepersons leatherwork

Driftwood Johnson :> The Duke style was first made for John Wayne by Tom Threepersons in the 1930s.

I did not know it went back that far. Driftwood you are the only source for this that I can find, about who made his first personal holster. Where did you hear that Tom Threepersons made the rig John Wayne first used in the movie Hondo?
Not much pay


>I owe my soul to the company store<

Tennessee Ernie Ford had the hit with Sixteen Tons, it was #1 for a few months.

>Make good money, five dollars a day. Made anymore, I might move away ~ Grateful Dead
Tom Threepersons was a life long peace officer who never "made" any holster himself. The Threepersons design resulted from collaboration between Tom, and leather workers in the S.D. Myers shop in El Paso, TX. Myers named the holster after Threepersons because he believed (correctly) that his reputation would spur sales (which it did). My source for this is a conversation I had with William "Bill" Myers, who was Sam Myers son.

The rig worn by John Wayne in many of his western movies was in no way related to the Threepersons design, and was consistent with those made by many makers during the late 1880's and 1890's. The holster had a 1/2 skirt on the back and the major part of the trigger guard was covered. The Threepersons pattern eliminated both of these features.
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