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Antique Holsters

Holsters predate firearms, with the earliest-known mention of a makeshift holster in the biblical story of David. David slew the giant Goliath using a well-aimed stone taken from a sack: the first known holster.

Since the invention of handguns, there has been a need for holsters to tote them. The first widely used form of gunleather was the pommel holster, which was originally adopted by the military in Europe and then spread to the U.S. colonies. This led to development of the pommel bag holster, which is believed to have roots in the California Gold Rush era when they were favored by armed Wells Fargo escorts.

Early antique holsters like the Slim Jim or California design were among the earliest to bear decorative flourishes like elaborate hand-carved detailing and decorative gold, silver, and brass accents. The arrival of the Mexican loop gun holster into the United States from northern Mexico filled a need for more flexible carry options that incorporated gun and cartridge belts for then-new metal cartridges. Frontier-friendly rifle scabbards and cases made from leather, deerskin, and elk hide carried and shrouded long arms during horseback travel.

From the earliest simple loops to fully-tooled flap holsters, antique gunleather pieces are some of the most sought-after items among Western-focused collectors.

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