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Anyone ever see - maybe you HAVE? - a Lawrence holster outfit for, "dress use?" If memory serves, it was done out of neutral sort of very soft leather; thumbreak, strong side, FBI type holster, optional cuff case and 6 bullet slide? If you've got one - maybe you'd like to sell? If you know what I'm talking about - can you supply more information? Anyone making anything like that now? Let's talk holsters!? ( I think this one was only for small frame Colt/S&W .38's.)
 

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rcwambold,

This may be a misunderstanding of your query, but in the FWIW department:

The George Lawrence Company of Portland, Oregon made a full line of holsters. The top line was full skirting leather. None of them should have been soft to begin with unless someone doused them with oil.

There is a new company using the Lawrence name that I saw at the SHOT Show and their leather IS thinner and somewhat softer than the originals.

I'm not sure exactly what a presentation set from Lawrence would be since their line could be ordered with a variety of options of carving, stamping, stitching. I've got Lawrence rigs that range from plain russet and fully floral carved with buckskin whipstitching around the edges. I've got saddle scabbards that appear to be floral stamped rather than carved. They also made a cheaper line of scabbards for field use of very basic design, though even those look good compared to some of the leather sold out there today.

Colors varied based on what one stipulated in the order, though I think the standard was what is typically called russet. One sees some in a darker mahogany tone as well.

Cheers.

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...for iron, cold iron is master of men all...
 

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It's interesting that here we are in the early 21st Century, and early 20th Century holster makers are re-forming.

In addition to Lawrence, I've heard that somebody is resurrecting S.D. Myers Leather Company somewhere in Texas.

All this can't be attributed to the surge in Cowboy shooters, since many of these designs date from the early 1900's to the 30's.
 

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dfariswheel,

Yes it is an interesting phenomenon. Will be interested in seeing the new SD Myer's rigs.

Surely was underwhelmed by those bearing Lawrence's name nowadays and was somewhat less enthusiastic when I received some rather evasive answers about how they were marking them to distinguish between what I prefer to call the REAL George Lawrence rigs and the current production.

Sorta like trying to talk about the Pre-64 Model 70 and the NEW Pre-64 Model 70....confusing at best, at the worst, at least nibbling on the edges of mis-representation.

There's also an outfit currently claiming to be in production of the old Chic Gaylord line of Holsters.

Colt's on the bandwagon with its "retro" (damn, I hate that term) line of Series 70 guns, though that appears to be a good thing in terms of quality control. Dunno how Smith's Heritage pieces fit in since they were/are something in between the old and the new. Clearly an attempt though to sell on the idea of old guns/high quality.

Maybe Heiser Juniors will be in the offing before long.

Cheers,


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...for iron, cold iron is master of men all...
 

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I don't have a problem with Colt, or anybody else making true reproduction items, but it looks like most of these holster makers are people who obtain the name and the old patterns, and set up shop under the old name and reputation.

This gets kind of "edgy" as to are they "reproductions" or "replicas"?

The terms replica and reproduction are used interchangeably, but here's a good standard for which is which:

A "reproduction" is an item that is a more or less exact duplicate of an item, made by the ORIGINAL company, or a DIRECT successor to them.

A good example between the two is a Ka-Bar Marine knife as made by Ka-bar.
Ka-Bar originally made USMC knives in WWII, the company (I think) changed hands since then, but it's still a direct descendant of the WWII Ka-Bar.

The 1970's-80's knives were even made by some people who had made them during the war.
So, the Ka-bar USMC is a "Reproduction", or a knife Ka-Bar has Re-produced.

A Ka-Bar "type" knife made in Japan is a "Replica".
That is a copy of a Ka-Bar NOT made by an original producing company, and often NOT an exact copy.
You can't "reproduce" something you never "produced" to start with.

It seems that these "new/old" holster companies are "replicas" in that the people who are starting them up have no direct connection to the original companies.

Buying a moribund company's name and patterns, and making holsters does not a "reproduction" make.
 

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for your info.. i bought the lawrance, the nylon and other holsters off and on for 25 years.. when i wanted a cowboy 45 rig i went to a custom holster maker.. i said i wanted a hammer strap, he said i didnt need one .. i wanted it short as possiblel he said no, a longer holster will keep the dirt out.. i finally gave up and let HIM make the holster.. it is horse hide lined,I keep the gun in it all the time NO BLUING LOSS ANYWHERE, and the pistol dont fall out. i dont know how to put it but some people know how to make a holster and lawrence aint one of them.. i went back and said i had trouble with the loops loosining up on the bullets, he said dont store it with bullets, and dont curve it tighter than your waist circumference with bullets in it as it will streach the loops.. some people know their stuff.. its a shame i cant deal with him anymore as he is an unreliable buisinessman, but sure knows his leather... he was taoght by his dad who is now retired.. the old world craftsmen ideal is about gone now.. they cant make a decent living.. good luck dave..
 

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I THINK I tend to use replica and repro pretty interchangeably. I guess I'm really only concerned when lesser folk take a fine old name or design and muck up the product.

Colt ain't the Colt of Sam Colt and S&W surely ain't the company run by the Wesson family nor Winchester the same company that Oliver started. Like most operations that expand massively, quality reduces as production increases. Same with organizations in the military and the civilian world.

As far as Lawrence leather goes, I suppose anyone could have a bad experience, but back when Lawrence and Myers were making gunleather, there were only a handful of "custom" makers that were more than hobbyists--and they really stood out. Actually, that's still true.

All I can speak from is my own experience and that of a small number of friends and associates. My Lawrence leather with one exception dates to the late 50's thru mid-60's and that includes holsters, two saddle scabbards, and a variety of accessories.

From one man's standpoint, I'm happy to still have them and use them. They have held up better than a number of current mfgrs' products. Same with my Myers gear. Only qualitative complaint I have is that their gunbelts seem to have pretty consistently shrunk over the years.

I will say on Lawrence's behalf that Elmer Keith was right satisfied with the Lawrence 120--his simplified version of the old Myer's Threepersons rig to which he gave his name. I'm surely right happy with mine, too, though forced to choose, I prefer the Myers' version.

Haven't bought anything that other than what is termed custom leather in 30 years anyway, but if Myers and Lawrence still produced the leather they made as late as the early sixties, I'd still be buying it for field holsters rather than any custom product. Concealment holsters are another issue, and a couple of innovative makers like Chic Gaylord and Paris Theodore were as innovative in that field in the sixties as Tom Threepersons was with his single design in the '20's.

Custom holsters in general tend to be a bit of misnomer, anyway. Like custom knife makers, most makers offer basic models with a number of options. It's standard production, just more limited to one man or a small group to keep quality control high if the maker has the standards. And, of course, there are pretty sorry small makers just like large makers, though

My only serious complaint about George Lawrence or SD Myers leather is that I don't own a lot more of it and can't get it without paying "collector's" premiums. Fortunately, we do have some fine makers today and there is apparently enough disposable income out there to support them.

Excuse the long post...please.

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...for iron, cold iron is master of men all...
 

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more info.. the leatherworker said a lot of mfg companies are using mexican tanned leather to compeat becouse its cheaper.. they use urine in the tanning process and it will strip the bluing right of your 1000 dollar gun in little time if you keep it in this type of leather.. it has other problems also.. would like to emphasize that good holsters are horse hide lined.. good luck dave..
 

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More and more leather used in the US is coming from overseas sources because of environmental restrictions on tanneries. Thank the gods for Herman Oak....

The bulk of Mexican leather has always been a problem, but a bigger problem is companies choosing to use thinner leather rather than proper skirting leather because it's more cost effective.

A number of the better limited production makers will offer horsehide or steerhide and the better ones at no premium. Most contend there's no difference between the two--especially with the quality horsehide available today.

SevenTrees Ltd had some really unique horsehide but it was always in short supply. It came from Russia from the same people that provided it for making boots for KGB officers and even then most of it was discarded as unsatisfactory. Paris was able to make some lovely, thin, concealable, but still rigid holsters out of this material. It WAS truly superior to anything I've seen before of since with cowhide or horsehide. Haven't seen that in years, but I've some 30 year old horsehide rigs from SevenTrees that are as good today as when they were made.

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...for iron, cold iron is master of men all...
 

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The GOOD American holster makers like Bianchi, SafariLand, Galco, and the top custom shops all use American-made double shoulder leather.

These are hand picked by the tanner expressly for the makers, and is the best available cowhide.

No good maker uses any part of the hide BUT the double shoulder, since that's the best part of a cowhide.

Horsehide makes a holster that's thinner, but has the same strength as thicker cowhide holsters, and is firmer/harder also.

A good MODERN holster should be as hard as a piece of plastic. That's why many holsters today are all plastic, or plastic/leather laminates.

What causes wear on a holstered gun is MOVEMENT. A gun should actually "Click" into a good holster.

Any movement once it's in place causes abrasion to the finish.
Many people complain that plastic holsters wear the finish faster, but the wear is only on the points of contact in a good rig.
In a good Kydex holster, the wear is only to the contact points, and is self-limiting. It only wears those point.

A leather holster, especially an old fashioned or cheap "soft" holster is like holstering your gun in a bag made of super-fine sandpaper. The soft holster wears the gun everywhere, since it makes contact everywhere.

In the old days, the soft holster was good in that it did retain the gun well, without any type of retention strap.
Looking at an original Old West holster, and all you can see is part of the gun butt sticking up.

Hopefully, these new "old" companies will offer the old patterns, but made with firmer, top-of-the-line leather.
The old patterns only worked well when made from the finest, thicker leather.

The old holster makers were saddle and horse tack makers, not holster makers, in the beginning.
They offered holsters as a service to their saddle customers, and the holsters were designed to be secure and to LAST, not to be FAST.

It was only in the 1920's and 30's that the first true Police or "speed" holsters began to appear, with the custom rigs designed by people like Tom Threepersons, or Bill Jordan.
These were mostly used by individuals, with the holsters not being widely adopted by agencies until the late 40's.

Most sportsman used the old saddle maker type holsters up until the 1960's, when a few makers like John Bianchi popularized the newer rigs.
Up until the 60's most people bought their holsters from the local hardware store.

The old S.D. Myers and Lawrence rigs are more "retro" rigs, but do work, AS LONG as the leather is thick/hard, and is properly sized and molded to the gun.
Make them from thinner leather, or use the "one size fits all" method, and they'll eat your gun.
 

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I think you're referring to the Undercover series that Lawrence made-several holster designs made in unoiled pigskin including a Special Agent Pigskin trio that included a dress belt,holster & cartridge belt slide.Several standard designs were offered in this series including the model 34V FBI style quick draw holster,the model 31V for autos & the model 36V for small frame revolvers.These were standard models w/ the "V" signifying external unoiled pigskin covering over smooth grain saddle leather.I'll read the posts associated w/ this thread & answer any questions I can but the 1st thing I have to tell you all is that the correct name is S.D. Myres-not Myers.Myers Made holsters are inferior Mexican holsters that bear no resemblance to Myres leather.I collect 20th Century American made quality gun leather by most makers-Heiser,Lawrence,Myres,Berns-Martin,Hardy,Nelson(A.E. Nelson of Salem,Or.-not the Scio,Or.police holsters) & most other quality makers.I have catalogs,articles,etc. about most makers & will answer any questions I can.Pairing correct quality period gun leather w/ your valued vintage handguns is a great pursuit & worth,like any collecting efforts,doing properly.
Regards,turnerriver
[email protected]

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turnerriver:

Thanks for your offer.
I'll take you up on it with a historical question:

About the time I was getting into it, there was a company getting out.

The Stein Holster Company of Brooklyn, NY made an intriguing shoulder holster named "The Snatch" holster.

This was because the rig used no spring or elastic, just a "pull through" type snap arrangement very similar to a thumb break, except it didn't loop over the hammer.
To draw, you just grabbed the butt, and "snatched" it out.

The rig was odd in that it was a cross between the upside-down Berns-Martin, and the modern horizontal "Miami Vice" types.

This holster had a big influence on my horizontal shoulder holster designs.

If you have any info or a picture, please post it here.
 

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Gentlemen,as soon as you set yourself up as an "expert" you'll get knocked on your butt-
Stein holster co. is a new 1 on me although I have a fair amount of New York &/or police oriented litearture from that time period.A positive note-as soon as a better man than I calls my attention to something unfamiliar,I usually run into a reference,example,etc. in the ensuing months.I'll keep us both apprised if/when this happens-the "Snatch" holster is intriguingly named & I hope I learn something new soon.I don't get to this forum as often as I'd like(insert shameless plug here) as most of my 'net time is spent buying/selling holsters on Ebay & estate firearms on Gunbroker or AuctionArms,but I enjoy what you guys come up w/ & I sure enjoy the Colts I continue to search for & occasionally run into.I'll try to get here more often in the new year.Merry Christmas & happy New Year to all.
Regards,[email protected]
turnerriver

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I would comment that Lawrence made custom items for me in the early 1970s that I still have. The quality is magnificant, and they made what I wanted, not what they thought I should have.

I always recall seeing Bill (I think it was Bill) Lawrence at the SHOT Shows with his Abe Lincoln beard and height. Nice fella. Sorry to see the old family businesses go.
 

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turnerriver, welcome back old timer, glad to see your back on the forum. Try not to be stranger in 2004, we missed you and your inputs.

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Dick

IN GOD WE TRUST,
BUT KEEP YOUR
SIDEARM HANDY!
 
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