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Old 01-01-2021, 11:20 AM
imarangemaster imarangemaster is offline
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I grew up in Chicago in the 50s and 60s. I was a gun nut from an early age. When other kids bought comic books, I bought Guns and ammo and "Small Arms of the World". My first recollection of the Model 39 was when I was a kid (I'm 68 now). My older cousin was a US Postal Inspector. He was my gun mentor as I grew up. He taught me how to shoot. He bought a S&W Model 39 steel frame that he kept in his glove compartment when he was off duty. He used that and a DCM M1 Carbine he kept for a trunk weapon to teach me.

My dad worked for the State of Illinois. He was the chief Engineer for Children and Family Services, and was responsible for physical plant of all those hospitals in the state. He travelled the state regularly, and if I was off school, I would often go with him. In this job, he would sometimes have contact with the ISP. I of course immediately locked on to the fact that they were wearing 39s like my cousin Bill had and I shot.

Here's the question for the ISP folks: I seem to remember the Troopers not wearing a Sam Brown, but rather a heavy basketweave trouser belt with a strong side holster with the magazine pouch for one on the holster. The only other thing on the belt was a cuff case and a baton ring. I honestly don't remember if they were Troopers or ISP brass that we were meeting those couple times. Was this the set up or am I mis-remembering.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-01-2021, 12:54 PM
imarangemaster imarangemaster is offline
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Found this on a Google search. Much like I remember



I found info saying this was in the late 1970s, but I thought it was in the early 70s....

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Old 01-01-2021, 01:01 PM
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Initially the 39 was carried in a flapped crossdraw with an extra mag pouch sewed on the back of the flap. Belt was a plain black shiny leather and then clarino. No Sam Browne. Belt went thru the pants belt loops.
Then went to a strong side thumb break on the same style belt. Off side was a flapped handcuffed case and baton ring. No extra mag case was issued. You could buy your own mag pouch to match the belt/holster. Then a single mag pouch was issued.
Later went with a plain clarino gun belt, velcro to an inner belt, holster strong side. Fill out the rest of the belt with double mag pouch, handcuff case, expandable baton, radio, and whatever else you had room for that you wanted to buy like 2nd cuffs, rubber gloves case, baton/flashlight ring.
We never issued basketweave. Always plain smooth.
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Old 01-01-2021, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by imarangemaster View Post
Found this on a Google search. Much like I remember

I found info saying this was in the late 1970s, but I thought it was in the early 70s....
Nope, not our issued holster. The crossdraw had a magazine pouch sewed on the back of the flap so the mag was horizontal to the ground.
The strong side thumb break was a like this Bianchi 99 Border Patrol style. I can't recall if they were Bianchi or Safariland.
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Old 01-01-2021, 01:41 PM
imarangemaster imarangemaster is offline
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Thanks Captain! With 50-60 years passing under the bridge, and I am sure it got jumbled in my mind! Could a high ranking brass maybe had one like that? Maybe private purchase?

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Old 01-01-2021, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by imarangemaster View Post
Thanks Captain! With 50-60 years passing under the bridge, and I am sure it got jumbled in my mind! Could a high ranking brass maybe had one like that? Maybe private purchase?
Could be personal purchase. Not for wearing with the uniform tho. For plain clothes tho it was whatever you want to buy.
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Old 01-01-2021, 04:22 PM
imarangemaster imarangemaster is offline
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With this predisposition towards Smith 9mms, it opened the door for me into the world of Wonder Nines:

In 1975 I was at the Central Coast Counties Police Academy in Gilroy CA. The Salinas PD guys ALL had Model 59s. I was obsessed by it. Finally in 1978 I bought one as an off duty gun (our department carried Model 66 S&Ws.

In 1979, I moved to a small PD in Washington state and carried it as a duty weapon. The Chief was an old wheel gun IPSC shooter and pooh-poohed the "Wonder Nine!" That was until Range day when I put 43 rounds into the 10 ring of a B27 before he finished his third 6 rounds loaded with a speed loader! He bought a Nickel plated 59 the next day.

A couple years later (1981), I transferred to Bellevue PD in the Seattle area. We were issued 59s, being the first department in Washington state to carry autos. It was there that I was a range master and a couple years later that I was introduced to the pre-production sample of the 469 by the S&W LE rep. I was smitten! I bought one the first year they were released...

We shortly later switched from 59s to 439s to make the female officers (10% of the dept.) happy....but that's another story!

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Old 01-01-2021, 05:31 PM
imarangemaster imarangemaster is offline
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A sad postscript to the story, my cousin passed away last year, and all of his guns (including the steel framed 39) were passed down to his 50ish year old adult son, who still lives at home off his mom and dad, and hasn't worked his entire life. I am sure they have all been pawned at this point...sad
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Old 01-01-2021, 05:38 PM
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The first 59 (actually 2) that I ever saw was a few months after they came out. FBI SAs weren't authorized to carry autos. Hoover considered them gangsters' guns. An SA from NYC was here in the midwest working a case and he was carrying a pair of 59s in a shoulder holster. Got talking to him one night about why the 59s. A bunch of them in the late 60s had gone to arrest a hitman who was with one of the 60s radical groups and he opened up with a auto, can't recall what. It was a running gun battle. The SA said as soon as the 59s came out he bought 2.
We had a local SA in the mid 70s who also carried an unauthorized 59. He was running errands with his kids one Saturday morning and stopped by a drug store. When he walked up to the door a guy was coming out and Jerry held the door open for the guy to leave and then Jerry's girls went in with Jerry following. No one else was in the story. At the back near the drug counter Jerry found 3 employees beat bloody with a hammer. The guy he opened the door for and let leave was the subject.
Those were the first 59s I saw being carried. Everyone else around except the ISP was still toting revolvers. Occasionally would find a detective carrying a 1911.

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A sad postscript to the story, my cousin passed away last year, and all of his guns (including the steel framed 39) were passed down to his 50ish year old adult son, who still lives at home off his mom and dad, and hasn't worked his entire life. I am sure they have all been pawned at this point...sad
Sorry for the loss of your cousin.
Hate to hear those kind of stories. Sadly, probably a lot of situations like that.
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Old 01-01-2021, 05:58 PM
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From about 1976: Special order Safariland model 254 holsters with an extra wide 2 1/4 inch belt loop to better stabilize the holster on the narrow belt yet also able to be worn on a 2 1/4 in. Sam Brown belt with the dress blouse - as with the prior flap holster. Clarino.

(I'd want to forget the blouse too.)

I remember especially because I was wearing the 254 - a jacket-loop border-patrol style holster - with a local agency.

I saw some troopers "beta testing" other brands in the same pattern before the Safariland.

Later, I guess in the 459 era, a soft, formless Hume thumb snap in Clarino.
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Old 01-01-2021, 06:13 PM
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Many small Illinois agencies, like mine, copied ISP with 39 and 59's in the early 1970's. The state making the switch in '66/67 made it politically possible for the rest of us. I briefly had an issue 59 that was a terrific, accurate pistol. Carried a 1911 too.

And then, on the state level, the Illinois Bureau of Investigation (IBI) was about half auto packers, with lots of S&W 9's and Walther PPK's, until a non-auto agent picked up a .45 that was not his and let off a round, nicking a secretary. Then, even the DA autos were banned.

Sangamon County (There was a cowboy agency.) had a significant number in uniform with 1911's - again until an accident ended that.

Now, there are probably more Illinois cops with 1911's than there are with S&W 39's and 59's. Who would have thought that was possible?
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Old 01-01-2021, 07:38 PM
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Here are some pictures of ISP Duty holster and cuff case. The holster was issued with the 5904 and is a Don Hume marked H738 SH L NO 5M. The handcuff case is a Jay Pee. I was issue this cuff case in the Academy in 1988.





The S&W 5904 was not my issue pistol but I bought it a few years ago and the only difference is this 5904 doesn’t have Trijicon tritium night sights.

The next picture is of my S&W 39-2 in a Safariland basketweave swivel holster and is only marked 9 S&W 9 MM. I bought the model 39-2, holster and double mag pouch from a co-worker at a Sheriff’s department. The holster was Brown but I died it Black when I went to work for a small PD.





Notice how this holster is old enough that the rear sight opening is to small for the adjustable rear sight used on some 439 and 5904 pistols.



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Old 01-01-2021, 07:50 PM
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That was a great post .
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Old 01-01-2021, 07:55 PM
VASCAR2 VASCAR2 is offline
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Thanks but at the moment I can’t remember where I put the black basketweave double mag pouch. Old age strikes again.
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Old 01-01-2021, 10:55 PM
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Here are some pictures of ISP Duty holster and cuff case. The holster was issued with the 5904 and is a Don Hume marked H738 SH L NO 5M. The handcuff case is a Jay Pee. I was issue this cuff case in the Academy in 1988.

That's our holster and cuff case for sure. I didn't think ours was Bianchi because the only Bianchi picture I could find was like the 2nd holster you pictured with the stitching along the front. Ours was the smooth wrap around front.


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The S&W 5904 was not my issue pistol but I bought it a few years ago and the only difference is this 5904 doesn’t have Trijicon tritium night sights.
This is my issued 5904. I didn't carry it much. I was in investigations when we had the 3rd gen and carried a 6904. Towards the end of our S&W time I had a drug task force assigned to me and often carried a 645, 457, and/or Glock 23. One day at the range one of the guys said if I also wanted a 5904 he'd issue me one of those too. No reason to turn down that offer. The only time I carried it was when there was a detail where we were in uniform. When we went to the Glock I bought both the 5904 and 6904. The 5904 is the one I usually use for my LEOSA shoot.
When we went to Glock I usually carried a Glock 23 in a Safariland Level 3 model 070. I liked it for working crowds like the state fair, dignitary details, etc. I still have it but unfortunately it hasn't aged well. But then neither have I. Both of us are cracked in a few places and the finish wearing off.
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Old 01-02-2021, 11:18 AM
imarangemaster imarangemaster is offline
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Captain, you mentioning Level III holster reminded me of a funny that happened to me. As one of the Rangemasters, besides training and qualifying officers, I also did Beta testing and evaluations of firearms and equipment. In the 80s, Rogers holsters came out with the first Level III holster (Safariland later bought out Rogers to acquire the design).

I was given a test sample to use on patrol with my 59. It was radically different from the jacket slot border patrol we used for them. It was a jacket slot design, that had the loop portion screwed to the body with three screws in a stud (important for later!). Being new equipment, I knew I would have to acquire new muscle memory. I did probably 200 presentations of the weapon before I used it on the street.

One afternoon I was on solo patrol east of the business district. Dispatch put out a BOLO for a vehicle that was just stolen. It was the vehicle immediately in front of me at the stop light we were stopped at. As the light changed, I notified dispatch I was following the vehicle, and to send back up for a felony stop. (Not being a cowboy and wanting to stop a car jacker by myself!). As we cruised down NE 8th St, he had apparently seen me talking on the radio. He jammed on the brakes and jumped from the car and took leg bail (which was still in drive and drove into a curb).

As he did this, I threw the patrol vehicle into park, as I notified dispatch of location. I jumped from the vehicle, adrenaline pumping to pursue. I tugged repeatedly at my 59, trying to draw it. Apparently I did not create sufficient muscle memory, as my brain was saying "border patrol holster!' The adrenaline, however, overcame and I tore the holster off the belt loop shank! I now had a pistol encased in leather in my hand....

After being the butt of many jokes in the training division, we stayed with border patrol holsters...

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Old 01-02-2021, 11:48 AM
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Now, there are probably more Illinois cops with 1911's than there are with S&W 39's and 59's. Who would have thought that was possible?
I was visiting the Shorewood, IL PD last year and saw a bunch of guys carrying 1911s. When I asked about it, I was told that almost everyone on the force carries 1911s. That kinda made me happy.
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Old 01-02-2021, 01:19 PM
imarangemaster imarangemaster is offline
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In my career, I occasionally carried a 1911 platform. I like it, but it is harder to train new recruits on than a GLOCK or S&W. When we had the SA/DA Smiths, we never had an AD. Our detectives, though, carried HK P7 M8 squeeze cockers. Like NJ State Police, we had several close calls with those, and IIRC they were pulled from service after a couple years.
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Old 01-02-2021, 01:48 PM
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Back in the late 80’s early 90’s a lot of Elgin PD Officers were carrying 1911’s. One trick I observed EPD use was having a combative arrestee walk backwards. If a handcuffed arrestee resist you can drag him backwards on his heels very easily with an officer on each arm. It makes it very difficult for the arrestee to kick or fight being pulled backwards.


If memory serves me correctly the last Academy Class or two got fixed sight 5904’s just prior to transitioning to Glocks in about 2000.
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Old 01-02-2021, 04:59 PM
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A couple of points about 1911s and having arrestees walk backwards in Illinois.

1) The cops that attended PTI (Police Training Institute, University of Illinois) were more likely to have 1911s. When I went (1989), every member of the range staff were Gunsite alumni as far as I can recall, and most if not all were range masters at Gunsite. They really pushed the 1911, for lots of reasons. I never carried a 1911 as a duty weapon in Illinois, but did here for a couple years after they were authorized. We had a pretty demanding standard to be allowed to do so, and few made it.

2) Walking arrestees backward was taught at PTI - the tactics taught were pretty cutting edge at the time and PTI was far ahead of the curve. As far as I know, they no longer are - politics took over and ended that.
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Old 01-02-2021, 05:44 PM
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There were some cutting edge training outfits in the 80s. At the time, Washington state's WSCJTC as a whole was not particularly cutting edge in their training. They did not even have a standard of training for Reserve Officers. I was a training officer, and worked with them to create a standard 400 hour curriculum for reserves.

Our department, however, was very advanced. We regularly hosted advance training at our training center. Caliber Press had an excellent multi day Officer Survival school that we would send officers to attend. Something or other "Edge" was the name of it. The training was absolute cutting edge for the time.

I went to one of Caliber Press' schools, hosted by Seattle PD. On one day, the wives of officers were asked to attend. It really helped my wife understand me and my career much better.

California POST really evolved since I went to the basic academy there in 1975. (I left CA to go to WA in 1979) It was 12 weeks at the time. In 1998/1999 when I taught there as I was going out on retirement, it was just over 6 months long. I must confess, though, that much of that increased time was spent teaching the recruits how to avoid being sued!

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Old 01-02-2021, 07:02 PM
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Groups within the UI have tried to close down the PTI the past several years, but have not had any luck so far. I am sure they will keep trying.

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A couple of points about 1911s and having arrestees walk backwards in Illinois.

1) The cops that attended PTI (Police Training Institute, University of Illinois) were more likely to have 1911s. When I went (1989), every member of the range staff were Gunsite alumni as far as I can recall, and most if not all were range masters at Gunsite. They really pushed the 1911, for lots of reasons. I never carried a 1911 as a duty weapon in Illinois, but did here for a couple years after they were authorized. We had a pretty demanding standard to be allowed to do so, and few made it.

2) Walking arrestees backward was taught at PTI - the tactics taught were pretty cutting edge at the time and PTI was far ahead of the curve. As far as I know, they no longer are - politics took over and ended that.
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:10 PM
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Our academies were part of local Junior college campuses (Evergreen Community College for one branch and Gavilan Community College for the other.. The academics regularly tried to push out us "Barbarians...."

When I attended in 1975, it was a live in, 24/7 academy with barracks and inspections by the DIs twice daily. Under pressure from the academics they shipped recruits off to local motels a number of years after I attended.

One of the Caliber press classes I went to was the "Street Survival Seminar." It was three or 4 days long. Really intensive and good stuff. Had a night component. Another great course I also went to was a two week firearms instructor course in Washington. We did things like live fire from inside patrol vehicles with handguns and shotguns, from driver seat across passenger seat and out the window. Even did some off the roof at downward angle shooting.

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Old 01-03-2021, 12:27 AM
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I attended PTI in 1974. I remember that the firearms training was done with S&W model 64's with skinny barrels. The Training for Police Officers was not mandatory at that time. I had served as a full time officer for several months before attending the academy. The Instructors were all wonderful people. I had just retuned from RVN in 1971 so I had a attitude I guess plus I had worked about 2 years as a Correctional Officer at Menard Penitentiary. S0 I was kind of a smart *** but they Tolerated me at both the Academy and the prison. The weapons at Menard were S&W M&P's and Colt Official Police revolvers.
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Old 01-03-2021, 03:01 PM
VASCAR2 VASCAR2 is offline
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I attended PTI in Champaign in 1977 where the course lasted six weeks. PTI had the thin barrel M&P model 64 or 65. PTI also had nickel 59’s for Agencies that issued semi auto’s. Most Officers brought their department or personally owned weapon. I shot my Department model 66 and a classmate from the same county shot a nickel 1911 Government model.

All revolver training was with 38 Special wadcutter ammo provided by PTI. PTI also provided 9 MM FMJ but the range staff was not fond of the S&W 59’s. My classmate was required to supply his own ammo and I think he shot 230 FMJ and used Remington 185 grain JHP for duty.

My Agency used Star reloads (148 grain HBWC) for qualification and whatever (last guy turned in or you could scrounge) for duty. My Department didn’t provide fresh duty ammo so I bought my own.

I don’t remember anybody using speed loaders for the revolvers. Most used dump pouches but a couple had cartridge loops.

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Old 01-03-2021, 04:42 PM
Rick H. Rick H. is offline
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As long as the subject has come up, I gained employment with the Addison, Ill. Police Department in 1978 and attended PTI for the basic LEO class there. It was somewhat interesting going there because of the interaction with "normal" college students and at times university instructors. Occasionally there was some friction between the trainees and regular college students, but nothing serious. Overall I enjoyed the experience, but the drive to PTI was a pain in the butt. I forget the class coordinators name but he was an interesting sort. I think he was originally from Oakland, CA and he had a handlebar moustache. Quite a guy. They say you only recall the really good instructors in your life and the really bad ones, he was a good one. They allowed us to use of department issued sidearm, if we had one, for range training. I had been sworn in a week or so prior so I had one, a Model 19 S&W. It was okay and I shot it well, but it was a used gun that lived a hard life prior to me getting it, so I never bonded with that gun.

Just prior to being sworn in I was sent to a large uniform store in the City of Chicago for my initial uniform and equipment purchase. I recall walking into the place and being shocked at the number of coppers in there, mainly from the City. There were a few others from the area, but mostly Chicago. Oddly enough many were just there to shoot the bull and hangout, but I specifically remember one Chicago cop who had the nastiest looking sidearm and ammunition I had ever seen up to that point on his duty belt. The tops of the cartridges in his loop carrier were turning green and I thought WTH?? He saw me looking at his equipment and he looked at me and said, "Something wrong? You a cop?" I was totally embarrassed and said "Nope nothing wrong, but why are your cartridges green on the top and yes I was just hired by a department." He then opened up his leather jacket and said, "this is my REAL gun if I need it, it's a .44 Maggie and it does what I need it to." He had it in a shoulder holster with extra rounds on the carrier straps. One of his pals looked at me and said, "Listen rook, we all carry extra shooters and if you last long enough you will too." Thankfully the clerk behind the counter said "Can I help you" and got me out of that mess before I did something else stupid.

Anyway the seed was planted and as soon as I could I carried a supplemental weapon whenever possible. At first I carried small frame S&W revolvers, but when I left Illinois and started working for the Wisconsin State Patrol I switched to a PPK which served me well for many years. Fortunately for me when I started on the Patrol I was issued a brand new Model 66 4" revolver and I bonded with that gun. We could only carry 158 grain semi-jacketed soft points as hollow points were frowned on by our admin at the time. All our leather gear was made by Dehners in Omaha and was polished plain black, but not Clarino.

I started attending some of the Street Survival seminars in the early 80's ( 1st one was in Morton Grove, IL )and they were quite interesting and I learned a lot. What I really learned was my agency fell woefully short in any type of tactical, or combat training. It was more about being polite and looking like a professional trooper should. Believe it or not, part of our training was how to iron 5 creases into your duty shirt!! No sewn in creases for us by golly! Around 1984 things started to change dramatically for us though, as we had Academy staff finally in place that understood what we needed for better training and we got it. Many of the senior troopers weren't at all ready for intense tactical training and it showed. I can honestly say I was embarrassed for some of them and how they reacted when placed in high stress situations. A few actually resigned/retired and went into other occupations, but it was for the best.

My first duty assignment out of the Academy was to the southeast region and I occasionally ran into some troops from Illinois State Police. Most were from District 15 and I would go to one of the Tollway Maintenance buildings to shoot the bull with them, or they would come up and meet me at the Kenosha Scale. One guy in particular was a real card because he used to love to tease me about how much more money they made than me. He would make sure to show me their projected pay increase sheets and then needle me about how much I was making versus him. The last sheet I ever saw reflected that an ISP recruit was making more than I was with 10 years on the job. I never bothered to look at the ISP pay sheets again. It was too deflating to my ego! Several years after I retired I ended up as a police motorcycle instructor working for NUCPS and I spent several weeks at the Pawnee, IL ISP driving track and that's where I first heard the term "Trooper Lane". It's an unwritten rule in Illinois that lane #1 of any multi-lane roadway is reserved for troopers so you better stay out of it except to pass a slower vehicle. I got a lot of mileage out of that one over many years LOL! I will add that the troopers we trained in that ISP only motorcycle operation class were some of the most dedicated and hardest working people I have ever run across. They not only put up with a tornado that came thru the area, but the cold and snow conditions at times were incredible. On a few days they actually had to salt the track and drive their cruisers on it to break up the snow and ice for us to use the motorcycles. Getting warm was on everyone's mind as soon as you stepped outside. I was teased a lot being from Wisconsin and that I should be used to cold weather. Great bunch of people and I and my partner were very proud of them. In 23 years of training LEO's how to operate a police motorcycle, those back to back classes in Pawnee had the worst weather conditions I ever experienced!

Rick H.
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Old 01-07-2021, 04:43 PM
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I followed a couple of links that landed me at the Troopers' Lodge page with a picture of a sergeant wearing his S&W 439 in a Safariland SSIII.

The old "lasts forever" Porvair turned out to be so bad that it's no longer made. However, I'd guess for most issued purchases, a 5 year life span is close enough to forever for government work.

edit to add that Safarilaminate was Porvair.
Whatever Rogers was using was bad too. My Rogers SSIII virtually melted.
I didn't use the SSIII; I bought it to have an example of the breed.

I asked the youngest of our group - and HE just retired: he confirmed seeing troopers in the Glock era with SSIII holsters.
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Old 01-07-2021, 06:47 PM
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I followed a couple of links that landed me at the Troopers' Lodge page with a picture of a sergeant wearing his S&W 439 in a Safariland SSIII.
Retired from District 9. Good guy.
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:42 PM
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Were SSIII's issue? Allowed personal purchase - like Pachmayr grips? Or?

I was reminded of a picture of a friend in 2016 with a Safariland 200 (I think it is) straight-drop level 2 holster. No light on her Glock.
Seems like now everybody has the Safariland plastic bucket with a light.
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Old 01-07-2021, 10:13 PM
ispcapt ispcapt is offline
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Were SSIII's issue? Allowed personal purchase - like Pachmayr grips? Or?
I was reminded of a picture of a friend in 2016 with a Safariland 200 (I think it is) straight-drop level 2 holster. No light on her Glock.
Seems like now everybody has the Safariland plastic bucket with a light.
There was a test period in 1986, 87, 88, thereabouts when we were still wearing the garrison belt (shown in Buddy's picture) with holster, etc and various gun belts were tested in the field. I don't recall which holsters were tested. The SSIII could have been tested but I don't recall.
After we went to the gun belt the SSIII was not issued. It was the holster like VASCAR2 shows. SSIII weren't actually authorized. Altho some of us bought our own and wore it I never heard of anyone being told not to. I was in plain clothes 1988 to 1998. I bought my SSIII soon after I went back in uniform to wear for crowd control details and kept wearing it. At that point in my career if anyone objected they never said anything.
The issued holster was like VASCAR2 posted. It had a rear cant.
They started carrying lights after I retired so don't know what the current is.
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Old 01-08-2021, 12:16 AM
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With the advantage of having the full size photo -- Buddy is wearing a 2 1/4 inch Sam Brown belt with the SSIII.

That Hume holster is/was the "Tiger." Never understood that name.
Listed as H738 in my 2010 catalog.

My "pre-Tiger" - before the tension screw was added - was a good holster.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:43 AM
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With the advantage of having the full size photo -- Buddy is wearing a 2 1/4 inch Sam Brown belt with the SSIII.
You are correct. I see that now that I've zoomed it. He was probably one of those selected to test it. He's wearing a Dept of Law Enforcement patch and D-4 squad behind him. It sort of looks like the fence around the fairgrounds near the old radio lab. Wonder if he was working the State Fair detail when this picture was taken. If I remember the next time I see him I'll ask if he remembers the picture.
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:08 AM
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The old "lasts forever" Porvair turned out to be so bad that it's no longer made. However, I'd guess for most issued purchases, a 5 year life span is close enough to forever for government work.
The "Safarilaminate" stuff doesn't age well, either. Dug thru
some old stuff and all three Safariland holsters are crumbly/
shedding pieces...probably 30 years old, + or -.
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:33 AM
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What a wonderful thread, thank you all! I still remember the first time I saw "The Blues Brothers" film and I nudged my then wife and told her the troopers were using the S&W model 39, very authentic! I had a 59 at the time lol.
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Old 01-08-2021, 12:19 PM
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I too grew up in Chicagoland in the 60's and 70's. Us gun nut kids were kind of outnumbered. There were only two other kids in my Catholic school who hunted. We would take slingshots and pellet guns out to the woods by the tollways and railroad tracks on our days off.
I remember being surprised when the ISP went to semi-autos.
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:16 PM
rincar rincar is offline
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The first time I put my Glock in a Safariland SS3 holster I thought that I would never get the Glock out. It took a lot of draws to get the Safarailand SS3 holster to break in. Even after it was broke in it was not a holster you could get a fast draw out of. But it was a very secure holster. IMHO.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:28 PM
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Doug M. Doug M. is offline
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I had that model for several guns, including a 1911, 4" N frame, Glock 17, and H&K USP. I think I still have all of those. I found it easy to draw fast with a little training - but re-holstering fast to go hands on was hard to do because it was not a fast holster to secure. I would eventually go to other holsters as a result.

The Safariland ALS system is pretty good, and generally works well with the modern trend to weapon lights and Red Dot sights. I have one coming for that purpose just for training; I have no other needs of duty gear except to use it when I assist with the reserve academy. I have relatively small hands and developing arthritis, so the SLS is not a good choice for me. My last duty holster was the Tactical Design Labs duty holster, which worked pretty well in the non-light/non-RDS era. I had one for issued G21, and another for training classes for my G17s.

On the rare occasions I might open carry (woods stuff), I would use the TDL or that SSIII.
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Old 01-09-2021, 06:01 PM
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The first time I put my Glock in a Safariland SS3 holster I thought that I would never get the Glock out. It took a lot of draws to get the Safarailand SS3 holster to break in. Even after it was broke in it was not a holster you could get a fast draw out of. But it was a very secure holster. IMHO.
Definitely not a "buy today, wear on duty tomorrow" holster
--at least not the first time.

We did have an instructor in academy with one, and he was
fast out of it. I'm sure there was a lot of practice-draws
behind that.

I settled for a Level II, and practiced enough to be faster than
most guys with generic border patrols, during qual fire. I don't
think an agency could reasonably mandate IIIs, unless it had a
small number of very weapons-proficient officers.
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:01 AM
BigDaddy7972 BigDaddy7972 is offline
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Rick H-
By General Order, everyone at that time was required to carry the prescribed weapon which was a 4 inch 38 Special revolver. No matter what. We didn't place to much faith in the 38 so we all carried something else as a "secondary weapon". Most carried a 1911 or a BHP. But no matter what you had to carry that 38 revolver hence the green colored bullet. No one cared about that gun, the only gun we really cared about was our BUG.
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Old 01-20-2021, 06:50 PM
imarangemaster imarangemaster is offline
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As a kid in Chicago in the 50s and 60s, I remember lots of Chicago cops carrying a second gun in a cross draw holster, usually a semi-auto, but occasionally a 2" revolver. A neighbor down the block was a Chicago cop (I dated his daughter in 8th grade and freshman year), carried a Colt Commander in a cross draw on his duty belt.
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Old 01-20-2021, 07:27 PM
imarangemaster imarangemaster is offline
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I was an MP at Fort Ord when I attended in California Basic POST in 1975. I had completed the Army's 12 Week MP school in 1974. It was OK, but not POST. The three of us that went TDY to the POST academy were issued 1911A1s for the Academy. I actually shot about 3rd in the class with the 1911 (I always shot the 1911 really well).

Back then, you did not have to go to the academy when you got hired, but many had a year on the street already doing OJT with an FTO. A few years later, it was required before you went on the street.

A Gilroy PD recruit had a BHP and Ithaca Deerslayer for issue guns, Union City PD had 1911s like us, and of course the Salinas PD guys with their beloved Model 59s. They really did think they were bad a$$ compared to the revolver shooters (75%). I managed to shoot both the BHP and 59, and preferred the S&W "Wonder Nine!"

Note: An interesting anecdote about many recruits having been on the street before that academy and officers carrying BUGs. One Salinas officer had over a year on the street. When he got hired, his wife bought him a 2" Chief Special and an ankle holster. His first night he was to work, he was picked up by his FTO. They stopped at a 7-11 (affectionately known as Stop And Robs), and the rookie got out and went into the store to get a pack of gum.

Unknown to him, there was an armed robbery in progress inside. The robber got behind the door with his sawed off shotgun. When the recruit went in the door, the very experienced street wise ex-con robber stepped behind him, whacked him on the head with the sawed off, and grabbed his Model 59 from the holster when he was falling down. He rolled over and had the presence of mind to draw the BUG and shoot the surprised robber between the eyes as he was readying to kill him with the sawed off. That was his first night on duty! I heard about it at the academy barracks one night after that same recruit was having his repeat horrific nightmare, and the other Salinas guys were trying to wake him and calm him down. I heard he retire out after about 15 years later with a broken back suffered on duty...

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Old 01-20-2021, 08:17 PM
imarangemaster imarangemaster is offline
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Another BUG anecdote about Chicago PD. There was a restaurant on the south side called "Aylward's Round-up" which had a Western motif. In 1969, I worked there (I was dating the owner's daughter for a long time). It was a popular lunch spot for cops (free lunch). The lunch counter was always full of cops, both uniformed and plain clothes - usually with suit coats or uniform jackets off. For a gun buff like me, it was a smorgasbord. Besides their issue 4" or 2" .38, many had BUGs: 1911s, S&W 39s, Walther P-38s, BHPs, 6" Colt Pythons, and I even saw a Luger in a back waistband. They were in cross draws, or shoulder rigs under suit coats or blue leather uniform jackets.

By that time I had already fired an S&W 39, a Walther PPK, and a number of other handguns, as my older cousin was a US Postal Inspector. He had been my firearms and later law enforcement mentor. He carried a steel frame Model 39 or Walther PPK when off duty, and I had fired them both by the time I was a teen.

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Old Today, 05:02 PM
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I am from south central Illinois about 45 miles east of St. Louis. A year ago in November I made my first trip to the show in Tulsa. What was the first thing I see laying on a table??? An Illinois state police marked model 39. What are the odds? Well it came back home to Illinois. I have a friend who retired from District 12 a couple of years ago who tried to research it and see where it was issued but had no luck. All these guns, holsters, belts and stuff have such a history. I wish I could hear some of their stories.


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Old Today, 05:37 PM
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About 35 years ago a gunshop in the Tulsa metro area got in a bunch of retired ISP 39's. This would explain why the probability of seeing them at the Tulsa show is high for more than just being a really big show. I remember seeing and handling some of the 39's at that dealer's shop. Lots of special ISP mod's done to them, including a beavertail extension and a variety of extractor types. These were well worn and were mostly refinished by the shop before sale.
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