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Old 02-19-2017, 01:42 PM
Naphtali Naphtali is offline
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Default Comparing Bianchi models 27 and 2800?

Being partial to Bianchi's long out of production OWB spring-retention CD1xx cross-draw break-front holsters, I've wondered about Bianchi's strong-side break-front duty holsters.

Their first iteration appears to have been the Model 27. In all honesty it is not aesthetically pleasing. Their next (final??) version appears to have been the Model 2800. It is more conventional looking and might function differently.

Anyone who has owned, used, or carefully examined these holsters, as best you can, please describe how they function in use. Also what are their mechanical differences, including how they rest on duty belt and how high they ride?
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Old 02-19-2017, 03:37 PM
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Red Nichols will probably be along to straighten us out, but I can tell
you what little I know. In the 1960s Berns-Martin ceased operations.
Bianchi acquired their patents in a merger and went to work updating
and improving their designs.

Bianchi patented the name "Break Front" in 1971, which was perfected
in the belt model #27. The model 2800 "Judge" came later. In some
ways like the #27, but with a thumb break instead of a safety strap.

The judge also has a swivel in the drop loop so when getting into an
automobile the police officer could unsnap the belt loop and swivel the
holster back, to avoid it poking into the car seat, and also allowing a
draw from the seated position if necessary.

The model 27 ride places the grip just barely above the belt. Because
of the swivel, the Judge rides with the grip almost totally below the belt.

Model 27 on the left and the Judge on the right below.
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Old 02-19-2017, 05:42 PM
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Certainly John had an interest in Berns-Martin's designs, and his Model 27 introduced around 1964 is an example, as is the Model 9 shoulder holster. Though it's true that he bought B-M in 1972, there was nothing left but the trademarks and a pile of unfilled orders. But it did enable him to claim having been in the holster biz for 50 years!

The Judge (which I named after Laugh-in's "here come da judge, here come da judge, the court is in session, now here come da judge") was created to address the 27's weakness: muzzle drag. Hoyt's entry didn't have this problem, and the B-M Speed Holster was not suited to large production. Hence The Judge.

The 27 has/had a simple 'U' spring inserted from the muzzle up to the rear sight. Even making that 'U' quite large, as on the 27K (created just for the LAPD, as was that special thumb snap for it) didn't eliminate muzzle drag.

The 2800 has a wire form spring that is quite like the Hoyt's but in two pieces because the Hoyt's has to be inserted into the unstitched mouth of the holster, then stitched, then trimmed into a finished holster. The Judge has its spring clipped together inside just under the revolver frame: holster done.

John convinced me that he had come up with this new idea that it should have pronounced external cylinder pockets, and there they are on The Judge. Little did I know at that young age (The Judge was my first patent age 25) that Lewis, Clark, and Bucheimer had beaten him to it decades before!!

Like 'em both, would choose a Hoyt though if I wanted a 'period' '60s forward draw holster. Man, when the other chaps in Police Science on our pistol team had 'em and I didn't -- I hand made my own, spring and all, relying only on having seen one once! Used it in my portfolio interviewing for a job with John in 1970; must've helped, got the job: with a 35 cent pay rise over my security guard job. Whoo whoo!
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Old 02-19-2017, 06:21 PM
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And here, on the left, is one of those mentioned.
A Lewis with cylinder pockets,that came before Bianchi's model.

And the Hoyt that Red mentioned in photo 2, 3, & 4.
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Old 02-19-2017, 09:19 PM
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Red , was there ever a break front holster for the civilian market, by Bianchi?
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyphil View Post
Red Nichols will probably be along to straighten us out, but I can tell
you what little I know. In the 1960s Berns-Martin ceased operations.
Bianchi acquired their patents in a merger and went to work updating
and improving their designs.

Bianchi patented the name "Break Front" in 1971, which was perfected
in the belt model #27. The model 2800 "Judge" came later. In some
ways like the #27, but with a thumb break instead of a safety strap.

The judge also has a swivel in the drop loop so when getting into an
automobile the police officer could unsnap the belt loop and swivel the
holster back, to avoid it poking into the car seat, and also allowing a
draw from the seated position if necessary.

The model 27 ride places the grip just barely above the belt. Because
of the swivel, the Judge rides with the grip almost totally below the belt.

Model 27 on the left and the Judge on the right below.
My first duty holster was the first one in 1977. I carried my 28-2 4" in it throughout the academy and the early days of my career until I could afford a 19.
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pig Hunter View Post
Red , was there ever a break front holster for the civilian market, by Bianchi?
Well, kind of: the third iteration of the upside down holster -- first was the #9 with elastic to hold in the pistol; second the #9R mit spring; then the #9R-2 was third, which has/had in addition to the hammer guard, a pair of belt slots on BOTH sides of the holster for a trousers belt (so RH and LH). Only in 2" and 3" Chief, and 2" and 3" Colt, and 2-1/2" K frame (no Python).

You may or may not know that the B-M with a single slot, was actually meant to be worn upside down as a crossdraw on the belt. I recall the third model Bianchi had the slots angled for FBI carry so likely not ideal for the upside down on a belt carry (what a mouthful that is).
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by crazyphil View Post
And here, on the left, is one of those mentioned.
A Lewis with cylinder pockets,that came before Bianchi's model.

And the Hoyt that Red mentioned in photo 2, 3, & 4.
Bearing in mind that THE Hoyt was a forward draw vs. the crossdraw that Phil is showing; but fair enough since I mentioned the crossdraw Lewis, Clark, and Bucheimer holsters because of their cylinder pockets.

The first 2800s had stamped metal cups, covered with a thin moulded leather against the pistol; then John had the rather excellent idea of converting that set (another was stamped into the rear metal stiffener for the belt loop) to a plastic injection moulded part with a wide flange that was stitched through when the pocket was stitched 'round.

Don't think it was ever successfully copied by another maker. Figuring out how we clipped that spring together on the inside would've done anyone's head in! Though I saw a pic of an A.E. Nelson for the auto that suggests that they may have had a go at it.

The Judge's weakness was rear assaults, something that we didn't resolve as well as Hoyt and Nelson did with theirs (their weakness was side grabs, though). Heck, I reckon even Safety Speed (a simpler approach still with a U spring) and old Tex Shoemaker (every complex, more like the Hoyt spring -- but harder!) dealt with that better than we did. Turns out that muzzle drag in the 27 and 27K at least had the benefit of trapping the muzzle and preventing rear takeaways. Then we discovered that takeaways were being taught in U.S. prisons and went an entirely different direction, with the Hurricane #350.
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Old 02-20-2017, 05:00 PM
Naphtali Naphtali is offline
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. . .

The first 2800s had stamped metal cups, covered with a thin moulded leather against the pistol; then John had the rather excellent idea of converting that set (another was stamped into the rear metal stiffener for the belt loop) to a plastic injection moulded part with a wide flange that was stitched through when the pocket was stitched 'round.

. . .

The Judge's weakness was rear assaults, something that we didn't resolve as well as Hoyt and Nelson did with theirs (their weakness was side grabs, though). Heck, I reckon even Safety Speed (a simpler approach still with a U spring) and old Tex Shoemaker (every complex, more like the Hoyt spring -- but harder!) dealt with that better than we did. Turns out that muzzle drag in the 27 and 27K at least had the benefit of trapping the muzzle and preventing rear takeaways. Then we discovered that takeaways were being taught in U.S. prisons and went an entirely different direction, with the Hurricane #350.
#350? From this post I believe this holster design followed the 2800? Please describe the 350. How is it an improvement compared with previous designs? Were the Bianchi strong-side break-fronts we have been discussing manufactured at the same time, or did each replace its predecessor? Was the 350 the final Bianchi break-front design? Is anything comparable currently manufactured? . . . Whew.
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Old 02-20-2017, 06:17 PM
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I tried to alter the belt loop on a 2700 to use on an 1 3/4 " belt. The spring was so strong I could hardly make a draw. I am wearing an #9-R right now and really like it. The Berns Martin fascinates me , but I can see that the motion is so different than a normal holster. It would really mess you up if you switched back and forth between a front break and a normal draw.
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Old 02-21-2017, 12:06 AM
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#350? From this post I believe this holster design followed the 2800? Please describe the 350. How is it an improvement compared with previous designs? Were the Bianchi strong-side break-fronts we have been discussing manufactured at the same time, or did each replace its predecessor? Was the 350 the final Bianchi break-front design? Is anything comparable currently manufactured? . . . Whew.
All the Bianchi forward draw holster co-existed. The #350 was a semi-front opening holster; that is, only the top split open. That eliminated both the rear snatch, and the side snatch. Somehow Bill Rogers convinced Police America that rear snatch was not as dangerous as a front snatch, and sold 'em the SSIII (which draws/drew to the rear; i.e., literally a spring crossdraw holster worn on the strong side). What a salesman!!!
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:33 PM
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Default CHP markings on Model 27 holster ...

Quote:
Red , was there ever a break front holster for the civilian market, by Bianchi?
Glad I found this discussion.

I have a Model 27 holster along with a CHP Model 68 revolver.
They were bought at different times. NOT an original paring.
I thought that they belonged together.

My holster is marked/stamped with CHP on the back with other markings.

Were all of the Model 27 holsters marked with the "CHP"?

Later Edit: After reading more posts, I will mention the my Model 27 has K stamped toward the muzzle end.
So it must have been a later manufacture when they were sized for the K frames.
The CHP Model 68 is a K frame.

Bekeart

Last edited by Bekeart; 02-23-2017 at 01:20 PM. Reason: spelling - typo / Added info about marked K
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:55 PM
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I don't think all the 27s were marked CHP. I had one in the 1970s that I carried a 6" 25-2 in. A big difference between the 27 and the 2800 is the way the holster covers the rear of the trigger guard. The rear seam on the 27 goes all the way around the trigger guard till it bumps up against the grips. This kind of interferes with getting your middle finger all the way up against the grip especially when using target grips. The 2800 leaves a small portion of the bottom of the trigger guard exposed and covers the rear of the trigger guard with part of the holster that acts sort of like a strap. It makes it much better for getting a good grip on the revolver during the draw. The 27 was the first holster I know of that had a "jacket slot". The belt loop was attached to the holster near the muzzle end so your jacket could go between the holster and the belt.
The original idea of the Berns-Martin was a high ride holster (to keep the gun out of the snow) that you didn't have to pull a long barreled revolver so high to get it out. In law enforcement, this meant a four or six inch barrel revolver could be high enough on the belt to clear the car seat plus it was difficult for a suspect to snatch especially from the rear.
I still have a Speed Safety holster for a 4 inch N frame which was similar. I don't use it on duty because we wear nylon gear now. I also have a break front holster for a 1911 that is not an Auto Draw model 3000. I'll have to find it an see who made it an what it is called.
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Old 02-22-2017, 03:48 PM
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Here is a little visual help.
Left to right:
Bianchi model #27 (front)
Bianchi model #27 (back)
Bianchi model 2800 Judge (front)
Bianchi model 2800 Judge (back)

Hope the photos help.
In case you can't make out the writing on the backs:
#27 BIANCHI Model #27 Break-Front & patent number.
#2800 BIANCHI #2800S "The Judge" & patent number.
I assume the S after 2800 means swivel?
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Old 02-22-2017, 05:15 PM
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I assume the S after 2800 means swivel?
I think you are correct. The 2800 was available with or without the swivel. Swivels seemed to be very popular on the west coast. We very seldom saw them in Texas. They seem like a good idea, but make drawing a little awkward when sitting in the car.
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Old 02-22-2017, 08:18 PM
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I don't think all the 27s were marked CHP. I had one in the 1970s that I carried a 6" 25-2 in. A big difference between the 27 and the 2800 is the way the holster covers the rear of the trigger guard. The rear seam on the 27 goes all the way around the trigger guard till it bumps up against the grips. This kind of interferes with getting your middle finger all the way up against the grip especially when using target grips. The 2800 leaves a small portion of the bottom of the trigger guard exposed and covers the rear of the trigger guard with part of the holster that acts sort of like a strap. It makes it much better for getting a good grip on the revolver during the draw. The 27 was the first holster I know of that had a "jacket slot". The belt loop was attached to the holster near the muzzle end so your jacket could go between the holster and the belt.
The original idea of the Berns-Martin was a high ride holster (to keep the gun out of the snow) that you didn't have to pull a long barreled revolver so high to get it out. In law enforcement, this meant a four or six inch barrel revolver could be high enough on the belt to clear the car seat plus it was difficult for a suspect to snatch especially from the rear.
I still have a Speed Safety holster for a 4 inch N frame which was similar. I don't use it on duty because we wear nylon gear now. I also have a break front holster for a 1911 that is not an Auto Draw model 3000. I'll have to find it an see who made it an what it is called.
Yup, all that is correct. The Model 27 is Bianchi's original 'hit' forward draw and was built around the N frame so popular with CHP and others; and was sold for the Python and K frame, the latter of which really rattled around inside it. The oversized body also interfered with grasping the K frame revolver grip because the revolvers all indexed off the internal cylinder recesses; so the K dropped into the holster too far to clear the grip properly. And the magnum grips were increasing in popularity whereas the N frames (think the 38/44 and the M28) used previously were rather more used in police work with the small grips.

The 27K was created specifically to make the holster itself more compact -- recall that the K Magnum was still relatively new -- and to clear the grip as best we could. The thumbsnap 'adaptor' strap was created for LAPD's existing holsters; made in two parts, its stampings were created to allow them to be assembled in one way for the N frame and another for the K frame, yet attach to the existing snap studs on the holster. The original 27 was then used only for the bigger N frames which had renewed popularity with the 41 mag and with the Dirty Harry movies and the 44 mag, especially in California where we at Bianchi were based.

I still believe the 41s would have 'taken off' if there had been a 41 Special round for them; I had a Model 58 that was as punishing to shoot with Magnums as a 44 Mag, and of course heavier with the smaller bore in barrel and cylinder; whereas the 44 Mag could be fired with 44 Spl. Yes, tried the so-called Police loading of the 41 Mag, didn't feel much different to shoot to this particular 98 pound weakling! Aha!! I thought, I'll get a pair of Herrett's Jordan Trooper grips. So bloody big that no ordinary human could get his hands around them!
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:10 PM
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And here is a picture of those Herrett's Jordan Trooper stocks, so bloody
big that no ordinary human could get his hands around them.
And here is Crazy Phil, who must be extra-ordinary because he is
shown "gripping" those stocks.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:42 AM
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And here is a picture of those Herrett's Jordan Trooper stocks, so bloody
big that no ordinary human could get his hands around them.
And here is Crazy Phil, who must be extra-ordinary because he is
shown "gripping" those stocks.
Not surprised, Phil, we all know you're no ordinary human being! My good friend, isn't having big hands a sign of something that's even better!? Being an ordinary human being I carved mine into something smaller (no comments please!).
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Old 02-23-2017, 05:06 AM
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Not surprised, Phil, we all know you're no ordinary human being! My good friend, isn't having big hands a sign of something that's even better!? Being an ordinary human being I carved mine into something smaller (no comments please!).
What can I say? TOUCHE!
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Old 02-23-2017, 07:37 AM
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Ha ! I used a 2800 , circa late '80s . Not the swivel, but the standard one . And I more or less liked it .

The 27 I disliked, because of the aforementioned finger clearence issues ( Jordan Troopers fit me just about right). I also liked the bit of butt foreward rake.

Every snatch resistant holster is to some degree a tradeoff of security vs speed . The 2800 had more speed at the expense of the aforementioned rear grab. For my requirements/ preferences at the time, it worked for me, YMMV.

. I will give the plug that the 2800 was far better as a real holster than the 1st Gen S&W Safety Holster that then dominated in my region.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:33 PM
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Default SP101 in 2800?

This has been an informative and interesting thread for me. I am considering buying a Bianchi 2800 holster to hold a Ruger SP101 4.2-inch barrel. While I have essentially no doubt of its ability to handle slightly longer 4.2-inch barrel, the SP101 is smaller than the "K" frame Smith & Wesson for which it was designed. Its cylinder's diameter is approximately 1.34 inches while "K" frame's cylinder diameter is 1.446 inches.

Does its cylinder pocket plus spring retention allow the holster to maintain snug control of the SP101?
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Old 03-13-2017, 12:22 AM
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I was issued a B27 on my second job. It was marked for a Colt and my 66 literally swam in it. When I sat in any chair with arms the front strap would usually release and when I would stand up the revolver would partially or completely fall out. It wasn't really a fault of the holster but the result of a department too cheap to buy appropriate holsters when they purchased new guns. After a few close calls, I started wearing my beloved K frame sized Hoyt. Back in the 70s the Hoyts were made by the Hoyt family on Whidby island in Washington state. It took three to four months to receive your holster.

I always thought the 2800 was as good as the Hoyt but it arrived a few years before the mass exodus to auto pistols. I still have five or six Hoyts in my holster box but they seldom get used since 98% of the time I carry an auto pistol now.

The good old days of steel six shooters and real basketweave leather are long gone. I feel nostalgic but reality intervenes.
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Old 03-13-2017, 01:26 AM
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This has been an informative and interesting thread for me. I am considering buying a Bianchi 2800 holster to hold a Ruger SP101 4.2-inch barrel. While I have essentially no doubt of its ability to handle slightly longer 4.2-inch barrel, the SP101 is smaller than the "K" frame Smith & Wesson for which it was designed. Its cylinder's diameter is approximately 1.34 inches while "K" frame's cylinder diameter is 1.446 inches.

Does its cylinder pocket plus spring retention allow the holster to maintain snug control of the SP101?
It's nice that a 'like' directed me back to this thread 'cause otherwise . . .. The Rugers are unsuited to any of the cylinder pocket holsters for two reasons: the large rounded recoil shields prevent the pockets from gripping the cylinder for retention and the holster front doesn't close, advertising that fact; and the release latch is IN the recoil shield so the spring loaded holster is actively working to defeat the latch. The growing popularity of the Rugers for PDs pushed all us makers over to the type exemplified by the 350 Hurricane, which retains only by the back of the guard. All this applies to the 9R, too, and is why the 209 reintroduced the original #9 grip method by the guard.
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Old 03-13-2017, 01:39 PM
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Thank you for saving me from my own acquisitiveness.

Am I correct that the semibreak-front Model 350 for "K" frame will prove satisfactory as holster for Ruger SP101 with 4.2 inch barrel? If the 350 is not a satisfactory holster, in the universe of strong-side break-front holsters, what holsters would do the job?

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It's nice that a 'like' directed me back to this thread 'cause otherwise . . .. The Rugers are unsuited to any of the cylinder pocket holsters for two reasons: the large rounded recoil shields prevent the pockets from gripping the cylinder for retention and the holster front doesn't close, advertising that fact; and the release latch is IN the recoil shield so the spring loaded holster is actively working to defeat the latch. The growing popularity of the Rugers for PDs pushed all us makers over to the type exemplified by the 350 Hurricane, which retains only by the back of the guard. All this applies to the 9R, too, and is why the 209 reintroduced the original #9 grip method by the guard.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:39 AM
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Thank you for saving me from my own acquisitiveness.

Am I correct that the semibreak-front Model 350 for "K" frame will prove satisfactory as holster for Ruger SP101 with 4.2 inch barrel? If the 350 is not a satisfactory holster, in the universe of strong-side break-front holsters, what holsters would do the job?
The 350 was built for the 6-shot revolvers and the SP101 was developed to compete with the smaller Chiefs Special and Colt Detective. So: no on the 350 with the SP101. Unaware of any uniform forward-draw holsters suited to it, either.
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Old 03-14-2017, 07:38 AM
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I doubt you will find a ready made front break holster for a Ruger SP101 with
4+ inch barrel. I suggest you look at Rusty Sherrick's web page.
C. Rusty Sherrick Custom Leather Works - Custom Concealment Holsters
He makes an (almost) exact copy of the Berns-Martin Universal Speed
Scabbard, on which Bianchi's 27 & 2800 were based.
Being a custom maker he can probably make what you are trying
to get.


As I recall, we have been down this road before, a year or so ago
You are left handed, even more reason to think custom maker.
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Old 07-31-2017, 01:55 PM
Naphtali Naphtali is offline
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Red:

The holster-leather books you recommended I read, Packing Iron: Gunleather of the Frontier West and Blue Steel and Gunleather, I just picked up at the post office. I'm looking forward to several days of enjoyment during education.
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Old 07-31-2017, 03:41 PM
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Red:

The holster-leather books you recommended I read, Packing Iron: Gunleather of the Frontier West and Blue Steel and Gunleather, I just picked up at the post office. I'm looking forward to several days of enjoyment during education.
Fun test: in P.I., find the only Threepersons holster in it (outside of the similar 1950s fast draw holsters) despite its coverage well into the 20th century :-). There is only one and it's not called out as such. Hint: very obscure maker.
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