Old West Holsters

Holstory: Custom Western Holsters of the 20th Century

There's a long and rich history in western gun leather, that's a result of the need to find the best way to carry a handgun. The evolution started with the pommel bag holster—the first form of gun leather for military use. At the time, it was the easiest way to carry pistols and all the accessories. By the early twentieth century, the evolution of western gun leather continued with Cartridge Belts, Holsters, Gunbelts, Hip Pocket, and Shoulder Holsters.


Holstory is the history of custom western holsters that took place between 1905 -1985 when innovations in western gun leather flourished. Artisans refashioned old west holsters to suit the repeating cartridge pistol and revolutionized an industry. Renowned craftsman Red Nichols and holster guru John Witty teamed up to create this coffee-table volume in the American history of western gun leather and custom western holsters, full of beautiful, full-color photography from Witty's collection. You'll learn about gun leather through an in-depth review of holsters, catalogs, and advertisements from the most significant gun holster makers of the twentieth century.


Witty's carefully chosen photos illustrate the most significant developments in the history of gun holsters. His photographs enhance the rich detail we see in the old west holsters, with detailed history on holster-makers such as Chic Gaylord. Red Nichols holsters reimagined the construction of the old west holsters. These new 20th century holsters provided a quick release that could accommodate shooters. One example from the book is FBI agent Jell Bryce, who drew his Smith and Wesson .44 from his Myres' holster and fired off five shots in a gangster's head before the guy could get in one shot. Nichols and Witty's Holstory tracks fifty significant holster makers whose companies produced old west holsters that provide the foundation in which we still use to create western gun leather today.


Holstory is a gorgeous coffee table book containing 360 color images along with footnotes to support the history of old west holsters. It highlights how custom western holsters mean a better draw because they fit a specific weapon. Red Nichols is the guru of custom western holsters. He learned about western gun leather through his apprenticeship with world-renowned John Bianchi in 1970. Nichols made a reputation for himself in western gun leather, producing custom western holsters that set new benchmarks in western gun leather performance and construction for holster companies such as Aker, DeSantis, Galco, Shooting Systems, and many more.


If you want to find out more about old west holsters, check out our blog. We offer lots of information about custom leather holsters and western gun leather. You can also purchase Holstory online.

'Berns-Martin' is a registered trademark of R.E.D. Nichols

'Holstory - Gunleather of the 20th Century' is (c) 2018

'Holstory' is a trademark of Red Nichols & John Witty 

'Red Nichols Holsters' is a trademark of R.E.D. Nichols

Send an Enquiry:
Buy The Book:
Subscribe:

© 2020 by Red Nichols Group, Qld Australia.  Proudly created with Wix.com