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Old 01-02-2012, 11:20 AM
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Default Khaki holsters for Victory model

I got to thinking about what would be a reasonably correct holster for a 5" barrel Victory model used by British, Australian or New Zealand forces in WWII. Khaki seems to be the most common material, based on what I've seen and read. The Victory was supplied to supplement supplies of the Webley .38/200 Mk IV and the larger Webley Mk VI (.455) revolver. I'm not sure if there were khaki holsters made specifically for the Victory, or if they just stuffed them in the Webley holsters. Times were tough then, I think they just made do.

Without much trouble I acquired two similar khaki models for about $20. each. There is no shortage of these things if you look, and most are in unused condition. I'm not trying to advertise here, just report on these things and whether they fit my Victory. Let me know if I'm out of line.

The top one (with the rounded flap) is Canadian, dated 1942. The bottom one (with the squared flap) is British, dated 1941. They are a blue/grey color rather than tan khaki. The pre-Victory pictured was lettered to 1942.

The Canadian one is the larger of the two. It pretty much swallows up the Victory. It might have been made for the larger Webley .455. You can fit a Colt 1911 in it, but it's a tight fit.

The British one is smaller, and fits the Victory like it was made for it. It's the one I like best. I included more pics of the British one for that reason.

These aren't the kind of holster I'd wear to the range, but they compliment the NZ marked pre-Victory 5" model and the price was right.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:16 PM
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As you have noted, the smaller holster ( British)is the correct one for the Victory Model revolvers. Many WW2 photos of British & Commonwealth countries, show troops with these revolvers in that style holster. Handguns were usually only issued to officers in those countries, so be sure to acquire a proper swagger stick to carry while on the range. This will impress your shooting buddies that you have taken the next step towards properly demonstrating your revolver's place in history! Ed.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:26 PM
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In Pate's book he shows a NZ machinegun crew in Italy with "that" holster.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:00 PM
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That's a British one size fits all holster for the 38 Enfield & Webley, Victory, 1911 and BHP.

The Blue/Grey color IIRC was for RAF issue and holsters were usually (not always) marked AM (Air Ministry) and dated.
Manufacturers markings are also usually inside the flap. Sometimes inventory numbers, etc put on in the field.

Markings can be hard to read.
WW2 mfg has the (P37) Brit belt attachment brass hooks on the back only.
Post WW2 mfg holsters look identicle except they have a brass hooks belt hanger on the back allowing not only attachment to the Brit issue belt, but the US GI web belt as well.

You used to be able to buy the matching canvas belt and (revolver)ammo pouch that went with them quite inexpensively also. Or the entire set.
Possibly you still can.

Some leather holsters were issue. I had and sold not to long ago an Australian property marked&dated 1941 flap holster for the Victory. It had an english makers stamp on it also.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:13 PM
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International Military Antiques has them for a reasonable price. I got an RAF holster with a belt a few months ago.

Military Antiques, Military Collectibles and Militaria Original: Multi-Nationial - Holsters & Cases - MILITARIA IMA-USA.COM
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:38 PM
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Your larger holster is for the MK VI .455 Webley. These are canvas webbing material. "Khaki" normally refers to a tan cloth for clothing. But it is also a color.

One poster above says that these are one size fits all. Sometimes, that was true. I've seen two photos of RAF and RAAF pilots with six-inch barrelled .38-200's with the butts hanging 'way out of the holsters! They must have been hard pressed to close the flaps!

The holsters specifically for the Browning 9mm were different, and came in at least two models. They have pouches for a spare magazine. And I've seen a photo of a slightly larger P-37 holster with a different fastener that was for the Colt .45 auto, a standard arm for Commando units. It otherwise looks like a larger P-37 for the .38.

It is true that the gray holsters were for RAF use. The Army had olive, and Royal Navy holsters were often white! The Royal Military Police also often used white holsters and belts. They had red caps, so you can tell them in photos, and an MP armband. I suspect that they had olive holsters and belts in combat zones.

Enlisted men in the Commonwealth forces DID sometimes have revolvers, unlike what was posted by one man above. In the case of the Webleys (.455), the leather holsters were open-topped for Other Ranks (enlisted) and with flaps for officers. I've not seen any of those Enlisted holsters for the .38's; everyone got the same holsters. (Tankers had open-topped holsters that hung low on the belt. Spare ctg. loops were sewn on the holster, which also had a place to carry a cleaning rod.)

One man above referred to a New Zealand machinegunner wearing a S&W .38. You can tell because he has the holster flap folded back, and the gun's butt is distinctive. I think it was taken during the battle for Monte Cassino in Italy.

Besides machinegunners and MP's, other enlisted men had revolvers. Dispatch riders are a good example. And Commando and other special units had handguns for all personnel. Paratroops also had a lot. The Special Air Service is the best known example of specialty troops. They could carry any sidearm available in Britain or which could be taken from the enemy.

In WW I and earlier days, officers often wore revolvers with six-inch barrels, while the issued arms for Enlisted had four-inch barrels. Officers then supplied their own weapons. But I've seen a photo of an officer and two NCO's in the Royal Household Cavalry in 1914 where all three were wearing Webley MK IV .455's, the officer's holster having a flap. (Could be MK V's, which came out in 1913. The difference was that the MK V had a slightly thicker-walled cylinder, for added safety with smokless ammo.) The officer might have had a brightly blued one, or he may have had the standard one, bought Out of Stores, as they phrased purchases from Govt. stocks. Many officers then also bought revolvers from ordinary retailers, and some, like Wilkinson Sword and Daniel Fraser, offered them nicely cased. Many preferred commercial models, like the splendid Wilkinson-Webleys or the WG model, finely finished with honed actions. And some, by WWI, carried Colt 1911 .45's. One was a politician who entered Army service after losing a post as the Naval cabinet minister. His name was Winston Churchill, and in WW II, as Prime Minister, he conceived the Commando units, based on the similar Boer Commandos whom he had fought in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. He insisted that they receive Colt .45 autos, and it was their sidearm of preference. It also took the same ammo as the Thompson guns that they frequently carried, even after the Sten replaced the Tommygun in most units. In WW I, there were leather holsters specifically for the Colt auto. They remind me of some made much later for the Spanish Star. Think of the German-made Browning 9mm holsters with a wider tip and no side flap. Mills also made canvas webbing .45 auto holsters. You can see things like this on Gunboards.com, in the British Gun Pub forum.

Last edited by Texas Star; 01-04-2012 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:54 PM
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If you search for Canadian Military Police you'll come across a site that contains pics of just about every piece of web gear that their MP's used over the years, including revolver holsters and ammunition pouches. Off the top of my head, the revolver holster would fit a variety of weapons, ranging from 1917's on.
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:58 PM
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Here's the link:
CANADIAN MILITARY POLICE 1914 - 2001
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1911, browning, colt, commercial, leather, military, thompson, victory, webley, wwi, wwii

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