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Old 01-03-2017, 08:21 PM
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Default Bianchi Catalog 1967-1968

Picked this up for cheap on EBAY. Since I buy about every "old" Bianchi holster I find, it looked like a good reference. Missing are the backs of the holsters. Two of my questions still go unanswered. When did they use the fancy snaps with Bianchi and a star on them? When were they cutting the Bianchi star into the leather on the back side of the holster? I am assuming the early holsters had these features. Still a good reference with lots of pages and pictures and prices. 50 years ago this year. Kind of neat. I just had to show the page with the 5B since it is my favorite all-time holster. . .unlined with the old basic belt loop on the back.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:11 PM
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And you didn't think to ask the Bianchi expert directly, the "Roy Jinks" of Bianchi holster history? :-)

1964, John and Neale are joint venturing with Safari Ltd. 1965 Neale takes the company off John (Neale's father is funding operations), John is out of business until he founds Bianchi Holster in 1966 with the funding of his own dad, who we called Mr. B. The holsters then are marked BIANCHI HOLSTER. By 1972 we are changing the stamp to BIANCHI MONROVIA and have shifted to Temecula down south and are now removing the MONROVIA. Middle of the 70s we discover photo engraving and start plate embossing the entire holster, including the stitchlines and the Bianchi badge, into at least the holster belt loop. The Bianchi star imprint on the snaps we started in the mid 80s (who knew that it had already been done by so many holster companies?!). The Made in Mexico stamp begins to appear after my time, in the 90s. So, back to 1966: though John likes to claim his business began in 1958, in fact he had just left the Army then and was a full-time peace officer; the holster thing was strictly part-time/small-time until he left the P.D. and opened Bianchi Holster in 1966: so 50 years in 2016.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:39 PM
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So, back to 1966: though John likes to claim his business began in 1958, in fact he had just left the Army then and was a full-time peace officer; the holster thing was strictly part-time/small-time until he left the P.D. and opened Bianchi Holster in 1966: so 50 years in 2016.
May I respectfully disagree. Being full-time is not what determines when a business becomes a business. If he was making holsters for a profit, even though on a part-time basis....that is when his business started. Even if it may not have been incorporated until later.
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Old 01-03-2017, 10:19 PM
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Their quality is in the tank these days. I've been wearing one of their B26 belts for at least 20 years. Nice belt, except that it seems to have shrunk and now I'm on my last hole. OK, seemed like a simple solution. Wife is always clueless on what to get me for Christmas. So I showed her the stamp saying it was 38 and I needed a 40. So I opened my present and its really cheaply made. The same model, but no stitching just a groove. And its shorter than the one I'm wearing. I might buy new/old stock if I find one and can try it first. Like so many old American companies, they just can't be trusted to produce the quality they once did.

So I'm going to give it to a son and be done with them. Galco here I come.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:25 AM
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Their quality is in the tank these days. I've been wearing one of their B26 belts for at least 20 years. Nice belt, except that it seems to have shrunk and now I'm on my last hole. OK, seemed like a simple solution. Wife is always clueless on what to get me for Christmas. So I showed her the stamp saying it was 38 and I needed a 40. So I opened my present and its really cheaply made. The same model, but no stitching just a groove. And its shorter than the one I'm wearing. I might buy new/old stock if I find one and can try it first. Like so many old American companies, they just can't be trusted to produce the quality they once did.

So I'm going to give it to a son and be done with them. Galco here I come.
Indeed Galco's quality of design and build is superb. I recommend them, and Aker, and DeSantis (all three are former design customers of mine) to any who want a first-class holsters without the wait.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:42 AM
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May I respectfully disagree. Being full-time is not what determines when a business becomes a business. If he was making holsters for a profit, even though on a part-time basis....that is when his business started. Even if it may not have been incorporated until later.
And I respect that view. Personally and professionallly I don't follow that view and although I began making holsters professionally (made to order and got paid for them) by 1968, they weren't world class until I went to work for John in 1970 after realising that I didn't need to reinvent the wheel -- I could learn from the Master instead! So I only count 1970 onwards for myself. At some point, one amasses so much experience that having the need to claw back a few years (or more) because the market simply doesn't know any better, is unseemly. Heiser himself counted his years as an apprentice for his company founding date (which was incorporated after he died!) and Myres did the very same (founding date, incorporation). Does it count as experience? Sure. Does it mean the company can claim its founding date that way -- it's quite literally untrue.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:12 PM
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Nice catalog, Doctor. I've been picking up Bianchi literature and early holsters for some time, they're collectible as far as this collector is concerned.
I have a catalog dated 1963 with the improbably long Bianchi Combat Action Protector Brand logo, not hard to see why that was an early and short lived effort. After a lot of steady looking I finally found a holster marked as shown. My example was ordered with a safety strap despite being described as "no safety strap needed ".





The next holster is significant to me because it expanded my list of makers that provided holsters to Abercrombie and Fitch. Heiser, Colorado Saddlery and Lawrence were known to me so I was happy to find the Bianchi holster shown.


Great discussion about Bianchi holsters, we even have the designer of many of the well known Bianchi products right here to weigh in.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:28 PM
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The 5B was my first good holster, from that catalog. Mike kindly put my scans in an album.

My second good holster came from the 67-68 Safariland catalog, also in one of his albums.

Can we post album links??

Last edited by SG-688; 01-04-2017 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:39 AM
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The 5B was my first good holster, from that catalog. Mike kindly put my scans in an album.

My second good holster came from the 67-68 Safariland catalog, also in one of his albums.

Can we post album links??
Yes, you can post a link to your public album, I believe to individual photos.
I'll dig out my catalogs, I have other early ones, and I'll look at what Bianchi holsters I have as well.
Again, great thread.
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:28 PM
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Sounds like we think alike, I also snap up any nice ones I come across even if I do not have the gun it fits, never know what revolver/pistol I'll buy next. I tried one of the made in Mexico belts someone had on sale last year, not good at all. Will get around to buy another at Bianchi Frontier Leather Co, I know I will get quality there.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:19 PM
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Default Cooper Combat

My favorite page out of many good ones from the Bianchi catalog - The Cooper Combat holster. While my previously mentioned shooting buddy bought an Arvo Ojala, our other partner bought a Cooper Combat. I wanted black and a thumb break, so went Safariland 55 when that one came out.

The really interesting part: That is Jeff Cooper's .38 Super pictured in the holster - identifiable by the King rear sight and the Sanderson stocks. Might that also be Cooper's hand?

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