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Can anyone tell me how often theypop up for sale?I've been enamoured with this holsterforever, and my idea vintage perfectioninvolves a Lightin' rig paired with my '34-era DS.Samcol45
 

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Berns Martin Triple Draw Lightnin' rig

Not very often & as with everything else prices continue to rise.The Triple Draw Lightnin' holster was designed with a shoulder harness & belt loop for wear on the belt strong side draw, upside down cross draw & upside down under the shoulder on the harness. You can also find them made for use with just the harness or without the harness buckles for belt use. Here is a Triple Draw Lightnin' made for a Detective Special with an original cotton web shoulder harness. They are more frequently seen for the S&W Chiefs Special revolver. Regards, Turnerriver
 

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I should have added that the Triple Draw Lightnin' had belt loop, buckles & harness- a holster with just a belt loop & no buckles or buckles & harness with no belt loop would be a Lightnin' model. Regards, turnerriver
 

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You'll more often see the Bianchi near-copy for sale.
They sold this as the Model 9R "Special Agent". Later versions included belt slots on both sides to make it an ambidextrous belt holster.
They sold this at least as late as 1995, which is the last catalog I have from them.

The Berns-Martin is now a collectors item while the Bianchi is regarded as just a holster.
 

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I have the Bianchi. I'd prefer the older Berns Martin just because.
I like either one over the upside down Safariland version with the elastic patch that hold the gun. The B.M. and the Bianchi use a spring steel clip (as you all know) which won't stretch like that elastic does. I bet the spring clip outlasts the owners.





 

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The holster above was made in Calhoun City Ms. Berns- Martin moved to Elberton, Ga. in the early 1960's. The latest price list I have from Calhoun City is 1959; the earliest list for Elberton is dated 1963. That makes the DS holster at least 50 years old. It's tight and looks almost new.
I have a Bianchi 9R holster with a sticker in it that says "Berns-Martin Lightnin' (T. M.)
by Bianchi" & another one stamped " A BIANCHI PROTOTYPE".

Regards, turnerriver
 

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The holster above was made in Calhoun City Ms. Berns- Martin moved to Elberton, Ga. in the early 1960's. The latest price list I have from Calhoun City is 1959; the earliest list for Elberton is dated 1963. That makes the DS holster at least 50 years old. It's tight and looks almost new.
I have a Bianchi 9R holster with a sticker in it that says "Berns-Martin Lightnin' (T. M.)
by Bianchi" & another one stamped " A BIANCHI PROTOTYPE".

Regards, turnerriver

I have one of the Bianchi 9R's made to fit a a Colt Detective Special. Bianchi used to set up at the old Great Western Show in SouCal and sell their holsters that had minor blems, cosmetic flaws or samples that were not in packaging. You had to root through stacks of them looking at the markings to see what they fit but they had great deals. I also bought an M1907 military pattern sling, and it too is stamped "prototype" which I have always found interesting.
 

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I wore out a Berns- Martin Lightening Triple draw in the mid sixties.I had it made in Elberton Ga.[I believe the makers name was George IIRC] I sent it back to the maker and he relined the part over the 90 degree bend in the spring for no charge.That holster was stolen in a box of leather goods from government shipping when I went to Germany. I recently was able to purchase a Lightening for harness only [buckles but no belt loops]. I sure wish I could find a Triple draw for a S&W Chiefs. I'll even buy one for a gun I don't have.What a great excuse to buy a gun!!! I am fond of the Bianchi 9R and have several but I wish Bianchi had made more sizes for more guns and I wish they had continued that line. I believe Bianchi bought out the patent to keep other companies from making them. Too bad. Nick
 

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The Bianchi I have fits Detective Specials but it also fits S&W J frames. It fits both equally well. It's not the model that doubles as a belt holster so it's not a true copy of the Triple Draw. I'll have to take a look at the model number stamped on the back.

* I checked this holster today. It is stamped Bianchi 9R on the back. But it doesn't have belt slots and there's no indication it ever did.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Can anyone tell me how often theypop up for sale?I've been enamoured with this holsterforever, and my idea vintage perfectioninvolves a Lightin' rig paired with my '34-era DS.Samcol45
turnerriver,

Lady Luck has shined on me.
The other night I won an eBay auction for a Berns-Martin Lightnin' Rig for a S&W J-frame. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near the condition of the one in your photos.

I could use some advice, when it arrived, the harness was not attached. To make things even more interesting, I believe the seller included some unrelated accessories.

The thin-strap cotton harness was there, but so was a wider, light-colored harness that loosely resembles one from a Bianchi 9R Special Agent. (which I also own an example of by the way) However, unlike my 9R harness, this one doesn't contain any obvious way to attach it to the buckles on each end of the holsters. My gut tells me it is not original to the holster, so can you tell me how to go about attaching the original thin-strap cotton harness to the holster?

Please let me know.

Thanks,

Samcolt45
 

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Sam, you do know that a 1934 DS predates the Berns Martin holsters by a lot of years? I think at earliest the 1950s for the holster, maybe a little later.
It's OK if you want to use them together but if you are looking for a period correct set up you'll need an earlier holster.
 

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Sam, the BM harness should look like a figure 8 with an open side. The 2 ends attach to the buckles by just pushing the brass tongue through the cotton strap wherever it's right for you size wise. I'll see if I can take a photo when I return home next week to show you what I mean. Regards, turnerriver
 

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Sam,Malysh and Turneriver have it right,however,I've come across some that the cotton strap had been washed and has shrunk to an unserviceable size[like a skinney 10year old!] they can be easily made by any one with a sewing machine and some common cotton strapping. BTW; if you can't use the Bianchi like harness,I would take it off of your hands. Thanks, Nick
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sam, you do know that a 1934 DS predates the Berns Martin holsters by a lot of years? I think at earliest the 1950s for the holster, maybe a little later. It's OK if you want to use them together but if you are looking for a period correct set up you'll need an earlier holster.
What would you suggest?I have a tooled SDM, which I'm not sure what it was made for.My DS fits loose
 

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Sam, turnerriver would be the best guy to give you advice about that.

One holster of the 20s-40s that was very popular for both service length revolvers and snubbys was the Audley. It's a belt holster. Eventually, Jay-Pee started to make the Audley pattern holster. Audleys and Jay-Pees are pretty hard to find, especially for the snubbys. It's a specific model that has a steel retention clip that goes around the trigger guard. Do a forum search under Audley and I think you will find some examples.I've been casually looking for one for about a year.
I should think holsters by Myers, Lawrence, Heiser, Clark, etal would be appropriate, but here's where you definitely need the expert because I can't look at one and generally tell what the time period was. Only a few models......
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sam, turnerriver would be the best guy to give you advice about that. One holster of the 20s-40s that was very popular for both service length revolvers and snubbys was the Audley. It's a belt holster. Eventually, Jay-Pee started to make the Audley pattern holster. Audleys and Jay-Pees are pretty hard to find, especially for the snubbys. It's a specific model that has a steel retention clip that goes around the trigger guard. Do a forum search under Audley and I think you will find some examples.I've been casually looking for one for about a year. I should think holsters by Myers, Lawrence, Heiser, Clark, etal would be appropriate, but here's where you definitely need the expert because I can't look at one and generally tell what the time period was. Only a few models......
Thanks so much for the advice. I'll start looking. To complicate matters, I'm left handed.
 

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Hi, I know this is a very old thread but am new and didn’t know how to start a new one. I have a very good condition Berns Martin “lightnin” triple draw holster made in Elberton Georgia CS. I was wondering if anyone knew the approximate value of these? Not sure how to post pictures. Any help or info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. ~Vince
 
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