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The Model 1916 Dismounted holster had belt slots in the back so a Garrison belt could be used to wear the holster.
Often this system was used by MP's.
Most everyone else attached the holster to a standard web belt or cartridge belt.

The hook on the back was used on the Model 1912 Mounted holster, the Model 1912 Dismounted holster, the Model 1916 Dismounted holster and most all US gear so it could be attached to a cartridge belt or a web pistol belt's eyelets.

Until WWII the hook was brass, then it was changed to steel.
If you look at pictures of US personnel you will see many photos of holsters, bayonets, etc hanging from a pistol belt or cartridge belt eyelets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Model 1916 Dismounted holster had belt slots in the back so a Garrison belt could be used to wear the holster.
Often this system was used by MP's.

The hook on the back was used on the Model 1912 Mounted holster, the Model 1912 Dismounted holster, the Model 1916 Dismounted holster and most all US gear so it could be attached to a cartridge belt or a web pistol belt's eyelets.

Until WWII the hook was brass, then it was changed to steel.
If you look at pictures of US personnel you will see many photos of holsters hanging from a pistol belts eyelets.
Ah, OK that makes sense. Great info, thanks for sharing! At the risk of asking a dumb question, what's the advantage of attaching via belt eyelets vs going through the belt slot? I would think the belt slot would be more secure.
 

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The holsters can't be attacked to a standard cartridge belt or web pistol belt because it won't fit over the cartridge belts pouches, or the pistol belt's buckles.
That's just how they designed it to mount.
This started with the Model 1912 holsters that had long drop loops and was the only way to attach the holsters to a belt.
These early holsters were worn low on the thigh and secured with a strap or thong around the leg.
The first US 1911 holster was the Model 1912 Mounted (Cavalry) holster that had a long drop loop with a swivel. Worn low and strapped to the leg the holster would swivel as the soldier mounted or dismounted.
The holster for all other users was the Model 1912 Dismounted (Infantry) holster.
It also had a long drop loop but no swivel. Instead it had a second brass stud up on the loop so the flap could be pinned up for a faster draw. It has a thong so it could be secured on the leg.
Since these were intended to mount to the standard cartridge belt or pistol belt, slots on the holster wouldn't work and the holster would ride too high and interfere with the other gear.

Bottom line, the holsters were just designed to be used with the standard belts which had eyelets to mount all the other gear like bayonets, canteens, etc.

Here's how a Model 1916 is attached to a standard web pistol belt. Note that there's also a snap on the left side so a magazine pouch can be attached so it won't slide around.
s-l640.jpg
 

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Those hooks were the ubiquitous attachment method for generations for US Army (Navy and Marines too). You'd have to ask them why they were used so long, but they were. If you look at any photo of any soldier from WWI to Korea, look at their web belts and all the items hanging off of them.
WWI:


Korea:


 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The holsters can't be attacked to a standard cartridge belt or web pistol belt because it won't fit over the cartridge belts pouches, or the pistol belt's buckles.
That's just how they designed it to mount.
This started with the Model 1912 holsters that had long drop loops and was the only way to attach the holsters to a belt.

Here's how a Model 1916 is attached to a standard web pistol belt. Note that there's also a snap on the left side so a magazine pouch can be attached so it won't slide around. View attachment 745521
Awesome, thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Those hooks were the ubiquitous attachment method for generations for US Army (Navy and Marines too). You'd have to ask them why they were used so long, but they were. If you look at any photo of any soldier from WWI to Korea, look at their web belts and all the items hanging off of them.
To me it doesn't look like an entirely reliable way of attaching a holster to a belt, especially if you're crawling around in a battlefield somewhere but it must have worked just fine if they used it for that long.
 

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That's why the US Government tested, proved, and retained the system for 40 years or so....because it DID work.
 

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During the Vietnam era the military started using other methods of attaching gear to the pistol belt, including metal "ALICE" sliding clips that locked to the the belt.

However, since the old 1916 belt hook worked, and LOTS of gear from WWII was still in the system they used the belt hook for holsters up until 1984 when the M9 pistol was adopted.
Even after that, the Model 1916 type holster was made for a few years to be used with the Beretta M9 for parade wear.

One complaint about the belt hook Model 1916 holster was that it flopped around if you had to run.
For that reason, in the 1960's Bianchi (actually Red Nichols?) designed the Bianchi ambidextrous M-66 leather holster.
It was bought by a few military units but never officially adopted.
I was designed with slots that would fit over the standard web belt, and since a cartridge belt was no longer used by the military it would work.
Since it wasn't adopted, Bianchi designed the nylon M84 holster for the Beretta M9 and it's still official issue.

I don't know when the belt hook mounting system and eyelet belts were first used for other gear, but the hook was used for holsters from 1912 to 1984.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
During the Vietnam era the military started using other methods of attaching gear to the pistol belt, including metal "ALICE" sliding clips that locked to the the belt.

However, since the old 1916 belt hook worked, and LOTS of gear from WWII was still in the system they used the belt hook for holsters up until 1984 when the M9 pistol was adopted.
Even after that, the Model 1916 type holster was made for a few years to be used with the Beretta M9 for parade wear.

One complaint about the belt hook Model 1916 holster was that it flopped around if you had to run.
For that reason, in the 1960's Bianchi (actually Red Nichols?) designed the Bianchi ambidextrous M-66 leather holster.
It was bought by a few military units but never officially adopted.
I was designed with slots that would fit over the standard web belt, and since a cartridge belt was no longer used by the military it would work.
Since it wasn't adopted, Bianchi designed the nylon M84 holster for the Beretta M9 and it's still official issue.

I don't know when the belt hook mounting system and eyelet belts were first used for other gear, but the hook was used for holsters from 1912 to 1984.
Wouldn't the leather strap that threads through the bottom hole and ties to your leg have prevented the holster from flopping around?
 

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The Model 1912 holster was issued to all troops, and within a short time the swivel arrangement proved to be less than satisfactory. The Model 1916 Holster replaced the Model 1912 with a much simpler design and continued in use for the next 70 years.

The Model 1916 was issued with a leather thong which could be used to tie the holster down.

A private purchase Model 1912 style holster, and a Model 1916 holster.

 

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Wouldn't the leather strap that threads through the bottom hole and ties to your leg have prevented the holster from flopping around?
The leather thong was included with the Model 1912 Dismounted and Model 1916 Dismounted holsters specifically so it could be tied to the leg and not flop around.
Most troops didn't use it and tied it up in various knotted forms to keep it out of the way.

There's a famous photo of General Gavin of the 82nd Airborne preparing for the Market Garden drop.
His M1916 holster is tied to his leg so it won't get fouled with his parachute.
There are photos of him with the thong tied in a knot to keep it out of the way.

The reason for the hook method of attaching a holster was due to the introduction of the bolt action service rifle.
Prior to that, rifles were single shot and a belt pouch was used for loose cartridges.
Since bolt rifles loaded with 5 round clips a method had to be found to carry a load of ammo, so cartridge belts covered with pouches were developed.
This prevented simply threading a holster or other gear on the belt, so the belts were covered with eyelets so gear could be hooked on.
Some troops were not issued cartridge belts so a pistol belt was developed that was basically a cartridge belt without any pouches.

Since the major user of pistols was the Cavalry, a special cartridge belt was developed for their use.
This was a cartridge belt with a blank place on the left-front so a standard web magazine pouch could be slipped on and secured with a snap.

One thing I've wondered about is what was the purpose of the row of smaller eyelets running down the middle of the pistol belt ???
 

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The original (Model 1912) pistol belt did not have a snap for the magazine pocket, nor did the magazine pocket. Some time around 1914/15 a snap was added to the pistol belt and magazine pocket.

A well used Mills magazine pocket dated 1912.



 
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