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Old 02-26-2016, 05:25 PM
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Default Old Bianchi Breakfront...

Guess these were a copy of the old Berns-Martin
rigs. I assume they are out of production.
Dang thing weighs near as much as the Smith...
IIRC they had some sort of nickname for these back in
the 70's.
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Old 02-26-2016, 05:36 PM
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Marketed as "The Judge."
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Old 02-26-2016, 07:12 PM
4330Inroute 4330Inroute is offline
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If memory serves me correctly these were marked as Model 27 for the N frame and Model 27k for the K frame. 4 and 6 inch models were available. In my area we bought them because we couldn't afford a Hoyt holster. Yours is the first I've seen in brown. They are heavy. Only a youngster would carry a Model 28 6 inch in one for an 8 hour shift. I really liked mine until I was shown a gun snatch technique taught in jails. Really opens your eyes when you see that the bad guys practice too.
The Judge was a variation with a recess to try and lock the cylinder in place.

Last edited by 4330Inroute; 02-26-2016 at 07:14 PM. Reason: Spelling mistake
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Old 02-26-2016, 07:55 PM
just plain joe just plain joe is offline
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The holster that you have pictured there is the Bianchi Model 27. It was revolutionary in its day and was, I believe, patterned after the old Berns-Martin speed holster. It is a thumb-break holster. The snap showing on the side of the holster is "false" and it was believed that should someone try to take your weapon they would grab for the false snap thus giving the officer time to react and defeat the attempt. In order to draw you broke the thumb-snap and then pivoted the gun forward on its muzzle. As the frame cleared the holster you snapped the muzzle free and then up and forward to the target.

I still have mine for my 4" Colt Python. In the brochure that came with the holster it is simply referred to as the "Bianchi Break Front Holster". The bottom of the holster enclosed the muzzle of the revolver. At one time it was standard issue for the LAPD & California Highway Patrol. With practice you can be very fast. Like all holsters, including those in use today, it was not "snatch-proof".

The holster that followed this was the Bianchi Model 2800 holster. It had an open muzzle at the bottom of the holster and was known as "The Judge". I had one of those for a S & W Model 66 revolver and wish I would have kept it also.

I found neither of them heavy and both were very well engineered and manufactured.

Joe
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:25 PM
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We were issued this model in the '70s as a safety holster and they were very heavy. Most officers I worked with did not care for them. I liked my border patrol style holster better.
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:29 PM
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This one is marked 27k on the back.
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:06 PM
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Liked my Judge. Carred a mdl 10 bull barrel in it.
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:50 PM
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From the introduction to the 1976 Bianchi catalog:

"Bianchi celebrates 50 years of service to law enforcement and sportsmen. Since acquiring the famous old Berns-Martin Holster Company, founded in 1925 and merged with Bianchi, we have a 50 year history of producing premium quality leather products for the discriminating shooter."

Also with a tribute to the US Border Patrol on their 50th.
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:00 AM
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I remember them as pretty nice holsters and bought one to use with my model 15 before I was hired by LASO. LASO issued a break-front Safety Speed that was ok but not what I wanted exactly. Found a fellow Deputy who really wanted the Bianchi 27 and I gave it to him and saved my money for a Hoyt and drove to Costa Mesa to buy my Hoyt. Used Hoyt for the rest of my revolver carrying days. Best holster for me. I subsequently discovered A.E. Nelson and looked at their break-front holsters that were very, very similar to the Hoyt. Well made, widely used in the Northwest as they have been made in the Salem/Scio area of Oregon for years.

The Bianchi was a very good holster but I never warmed up to it....just one of those personal things. I did, however, use many of the other Bianchi holsters and equipment. Always top shelf materials and workmanship.
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Old 02-27-2016, 08:53 AM
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Still have both of mine. Carried a 58 when I was on motors, and really liked the security that holster gave me. I also had one for my m-65 that I competed with in IPSC, I liked using the same type of holster in competition that I carried for duty. The IPSC matches I shot also had rules about weapon retention when it came to holsters, never had any issues there.
The draw from the holster was an acquired skill, but once you had done it about a million times, it became easier.
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Old 02-27-2016, 11:55 AM
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Did they make this model come with a belt loop for anything other than a wide duty belt?
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:43 AM
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A lot of memories of developing all those holsters at Bianchi and the various bits and bobs that were on them. The reasoning behind these various features would surprise you. Perhaps tomorrow my tired brain will feel like summoning up what is, really, minutiae to anyone but the most committed holsterphile.
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:19 AM
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I used that holster for years until we switched to auto pistols. Never really pulled the gun through the front entirely just rocked forward until the trigger guard cleared and then up and out to the target. Great holster.
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Old 02-29-2016, 08:52 AM
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Carried my model 19, 4" in a Bianchi front break for a while back int he early '70's. Nice, sturdy holster. Had the cylinder relief inside the holster to prevent a side or rear grab. Only complaint was I couldn't properly position my 3rd finger when drawing the weapon, required a re-grip once the gun cleared the holster.

Finally went back to the Safariland border patrol holster.

Last edited by elpac3; 03-01-2016 at 02:13 PM. Reason: typo in original post could should have read couldn't
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Old 03-01-2016, 03:19 AM
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Okay, clearer head this arvo (afternoon).

The original Model 27 was entirely John's work, and I bought one from his company in the late 60s as being 'cooler' than a Hoyt while I was in Police Science at JC and a member of their PPC team. Within n a year I built my own Hoyt, Spring and all tempered in Mom's oven and oil quenched, without a Hoyt in hand to copy!

That holster was part of my portfolio when I interviewed with John age 20. For $2.00 an hour. Which was a pay rise from being a security guard. I started out at Bianchi in the police holster section, and the volume version of the 27 (see a Safari Ltd catalogue for the early version I had) was a big part of what we did.

But criticism came back from LAPD and CHP that the K frames swam in them. Understandable, it was for N and Python frames. And one or both agencies wanted a thimbsnap like the Hoyt already had, to keep the hammer from being cocked in the holster by a uniformed elbow. And fraying said uniform shirt elbows.

Remember that such a high riding, vertical carry holster was all-new to large agencies then. Even the Hoyt was positive caster (grip forward) carry.

So the 27K was created for the smaller revolver, and more leather sculpted away from the base of the trigger gua d because of the interference with a good grip mentioned here.

But these had already been issued, so how to retrifit them? Si I created the thumb snap you know now; and made it a n two pieces joined with the outer snap Botton to get good cutting economy. Sure, we 'sold' it on the dummy snap notion; but that's not why it was created.

Many more hidden stories in all of my designs for Bianchi and later, at Nichols Innovation for 30 other holster companies. One of those stories, told to the judge assigned to mediate the case, won a lawsuit for me.

Yes, there were mini 27s for three inch J frames and narrow belts, created for the NYPD bids that we never won. Their resemblance to similar Berns-Martins is striking, given that I'd didn't know of them until this century.

Perhaps it really IS the Devil who is in the details.
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Last edited by rednichols; 03-01-2016 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:22 AM
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Thanks to rednichols

for a realy coool + very interesting and informative story !!



He should write a book (with a lot of pictures)....otherwise...
someday...all his knowhow + knowledge is lost


...and we and/or our desccendants only can guess (like in the
actual "dog ear " posts /thanks to crazyphil also !) how all these
things happend + came together.

P.44

I order a book copy in advance !

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Old 03-01-2016, 08:27 AM
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I wore one of those holsters for many years on duty with my S&W Model 28 4" Highway Patrolman.
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