Author Topic: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?  (Read 21299 times)

Offline sharps54

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How do you deal with it? Do you just wear a regular cowboy set up with your uniform, dual flap holsters (butt forward or back?), a single flap holster (again which way does it face) and a Slim Jim? I have considered a the latter two options, the option of wearing the regular set up and a second pistol belt with a second holster and thought about a single flap holster and "huckleberry" shoulder rig worn more vertical like a tanker holster. I am putting together a early 1870's cavalry set up and would like to stay as correct as I can, but the only photos I have seen with two handguns have the second one thrust in the belt, I doubt the Match Director and ROs will go for that!

A related question is how do your two handguns relate to your uniform? Do you shoot two 5 1/2" SAAs if Spanish-American War era, two 7 1/2 for IWs, two 1860, 1851, or Remington NMAs for CW or do you mix and match. I am thinking about one full size service revolver and then a smaller one (that would be used when going into town off duty or as a last ditch), maybe a 3" Sheriff's model (that is where the "tanker" holster would come in for me). I understand that in the case of a smaller hideout it would probably not be a Sheriff's model but since it will be used as a main match gun I didn't want to go down to a .31 1863 Remington or 1849 Colt pocket revolver!

Any comments you can give one how you picked your holster / gun set up would be appreciated as well.
Thanks,
Mild Myles

Offline Major Matt Lewis

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2007, 08:42:04 PM »
OK,

For SASS, you don't need to match your pistols and leather to your persona.  I generally dress as either Rough Rider, IW Cavalry or more often or not Spanish American War/Boxer Rebellion Marine.  So, I carry both pistols in flapped holsters, but when I shoot, I have both flaps folded behind the belt as not to hinder operation.  I also have both strong hand orientated.  I had the strongside draw built with a 10 degree cant and the cross draw with a 15 degree cant.  Trail Rider is my leather maker.  www.trailriderproducts.com

A lot depends on how competitive you wish to be.  I shoot a 5.5 inch barreled pair of Colt Single Action Army's.  If you want to shoot Bisley's, nobody cares.  If you have dreams of being competitive, you will want to avoid the holsters that are butt forward.  You may even run into an RO that thinks the Cavalry twist is unsafe.  Well, it's perfectly safe when done properly.  So, the big question to you, is do you care where you finish vs. style points or not?
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Offline Drydock

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2007, 09:52:20 PM »
For SASS I have uniforms for each decade from the 1860s to the 1890s.  For all these though I wear a 7.5" revolver, either an M1861 .36 C&B or a .45 SAA, in a strong side Tom Threepersons holster, with a 5.5" revolver (again, either a cut down M1861 or a .45 SAA) in a custom "Tanker" holster.  All by El Paso Saddelry.

The belts and other acoutrements are period related to the uniform, only the holsters themselves deviate, for both speed and practicality.  It is true that the use of sheath and loop type holsters was quite common in the military of the period.
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Offline Trailrider

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2007, 10:22:22 PM »
I have the honor to reply to your post.  I have pretty much stuck to the same holster/belt rig, viz: a strong-side (right) butt-REAR Miller-Fechet open-top holster for my 7-1/2" Ruger Vaquero, worn vertically on the belt; left-hand is an open-top "slim jim" worn butt-forward for a 5-1/2" Ruger Vaquero.  Belt is a prairie belt with M1851 Enlisted Eagle Sword Belt Plate (or, alternatively, the GAF plate, depending on my mood).  The belt is made with loops to accomodate .45-70 cartridges, but I almost never load from the belt.  I wear a M1874 Dyer pouch on the right, ahead of the holster, and a Pistol Cartridge Pouch behind, for packing extra pistol cartridges.  The Dyer pouch holds eight (8) 12 ga. shotshells, if required.

I am strongly thinking of seeing the reaction to a Pattern 1879 holster for the 7-1/2", worn butt-forward on the right and doing a cavalry draw...if the RO's don't throw a fit.

All leather is made by...ahem...Trailrider Products!   ;)
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Offline sharps54

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2007, 10:41:51 PM »
Thanks for the quick replies
Major, I'm not worried about where I finish, I have played plenty of shooting games where that matters, now I want to be safe, have fun, and if possible shoot clean. Folding the flaps out of the way makes sense, I think I have read that before.

SGT Drydock, sounds like a good setup! Similar to one of the combos I was thinking about.

Trailrider, thanks for the response! Always good to hear holster thoughts "from the horse's mouth" as it were. Once I get set up I will find out how the ROs around here react to cavalry draw, worse case scenario if I go double cavalry draw is that I switch the holsters on the belt. I was planning on using 1860 Armys but after playing with it weak hand only yesterday I think I might go with Navys or just move a year or two forward and use Colt clones.

Thanks for the information and insight on everyone's set ups.
Mild Myles

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Offline Drydock

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2007, 10:58:50 PM »
BTW, much of my period gear is by Trailrider, and it is excellent.  THe Miller-Fechet is an excellent answer to the question of a period correct military strong side holster, with clear period documentation of experimental issue.  Great over a wide Mills belt.
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Offline sharps54

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2007, 03:13:49 AM »
BTW, much of my period gear is by Trailrider, and it is excellent.  THe Miller-Fechet is an excellent answer to the question of a period correct military strong side holster, with clear period documentation of experimental issue.  Great over a wide Mills belt.

I have looked at Trailrider's website quite a bit, I need to get off my duff and get a catalog. The more I handle the 1860 Army with my weak hand the more I am leaning toward duelist instead of double duelist like I origninally intended. Either that or downsize to 1851 or 1861 Navys. I am really leaning toward getting a CW era flap holster and a slim jim or just getting two slim jims, either way one slim jim would be cross draw. I figure this sport is like IDPA and concealed carry, you end up with a box full of holsters anyway....

Is there any historical basis for the use of "tanker" holsters (or any shoulder rigs) during this period? Like the Major said there is no need to document your leather in SASS I'm just curious. I guess a related question is did they just stick the revolvers in their belts for photos or did they actually wear them like that in the field? It wouldn't seem the most secure way to carry an extra sidearm. I have seen one group picture of 5th US Cavalry officers, some of them having revolvers shoved in thier belts, it is captioned that they are carrying extra sidearms but I wonder. The photo is from the Souix Campaign, October 1876, in Gregory J.W. Urwin's The United States Cavalry: An Illustrated History, pgs 144-145.
Mild Myles

Offline US Scout

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2007, 11:12:37 AM »
I tend to use two of Trailrider's Miller-Fichet holsters to carry an unmatched pair of conversion pistols in.

I've tried to wear two military-style flapped holsters but the ROs around here can get a bit anal and insist I do the cross draw dance instead of the cavalry twist draw.  Consequently, I've gone for the Miller-Fichet holsters.  Not quite period for me (1870s), but close enough to avoid the cross drawn dance headaches.

I prefer to shoot duelist - usually what is called double-duelist - so both my pistols are worn with the butt facing rearward.

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Offline Captain Lee Bishop

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2007, 05:59:23 PM »
I do a span-am 1st Cav impression, but right now, I'm shooting with a civilian rig.

I do have an officer's belt with a bullet slide on the back (in the photo), and will probably eventually get two issue holsters to go with it. I thought for a while on making my issue belt a shotshell belt for SASS events, but I thought better of it. I've seriously considered getting two SAA holsters for my two (5.5 inch stainless) Rugers, but the flap issue is something I'm not sure I wanna deal with. I've considered getting a set (each with pistol butts facing rearward). What I was thinking was getting a pair of these 1885 Cavalry Holsters, cutting the flaps off, putting trigger loops onto them and making them into a pair of hybrid CAS/CAV holsters:
http://www.carricoleather.com/images/85_cav_holster.jpg
But still, I don't think there's any real reference to something like this being done. I'd never use this for a re-enactment or living history, but as the SASS folks keep reminding me, CAS ain't re-enactment.  ::)

Offline Old Top

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2007, 10:28:58 PM »
Sharps54,

I shoot with the half flap military holsters butt forward what I do is tuck the flap under the belt and turn the pistol in the holster to butt rear.  This seems to satisfy everyone and I do not have to do the cav twist, I carry the spare ammunition for the pistol and rifle in a Indian wars cap pouch and my shotgun in a dyers pouch this seems to work for most of the matches I shoot.

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Offline sharps54

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2007, 11:13:39 PM »
I really appreciate the responses coming in, it is nice to see how different people deal with this issue.

Old Top, your method makes a ton of sense, I know that the cavalry draw can be done safely but apparently it causes some concern. It sounds like you have come to a really good compromise for those of us that aren't trying to break any land speed records on the draw. Of course the big issue here is short of pre Civil War or I guess the Confederate Cavalry in that war it is awful hard to document a US trooper with two issue handguns. Since SASS requires the two revolvers it means we have to come up with a work around. Once I'm geared up and ready to travel a bit to matches I will shoot some of the same matches as US Scout which means I'll possibly run into the same problems with cavalry draw that he has. Of course by then hopefully I'll have my two revolvers and will know whether I am going to shoot duelist or double duelist. I had already planned on using the military pouches for ammo instead of loops.

Again thanks for all the answers so far!
Mild Myles

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2007, 01:17:38 AM »
I wear two strong sides. When shooting double duelist, pull and shoot. I'm right-handed so when shooting duelist or two-handed, I pull the left and transfer it to my right, holstering it again with my left. Minimal loss of time so I don't worry about it. I do match my holsters to my persona and like historically correct leather, or as close to it as possible within the limits of SASS needs, anyway.

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Offline Cpl. Henry

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2007, 12:31:40 PM »
   When I started shooting CAS, I used my 1874 belt and half flap holster on right, butt forward. Did the cavalry draw or if RO questioned it, I'd just turn my SAA with 7 1/2 barrel around in holster before starting. For second pistol I used a Navy frog on left side and cross drawed.
   Now I shoot double duelist and use slim jim style holsters with US stamped on the body of them. Made by Big Ed at San Pedro Saddlery. Carry these on the 1874 belt with the converted cap pouch for pistol ammo. For shotgun I put on a mills style web belt with US buckle. Same set up works for 1860 model percussions, conversions, or SAAs, depending on mood. Also like to use a version of 1874 belt with loops, either leather or canvas, sewed to carry extra rifle rounds, just in case.

Offline sharps54

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2007, 01:01:18 AM »
I don't know if this (in one of the early posts to this thread) got overlooked or if it is just a stupid question but I will repost it here:
"I guess a related question is did they just stick the revolvers in their belts for photos or did they actually wear them like that in the field? It wouldn't seem the most secure way to carry an extra sidearm. I have seen one group picture of 5th US Cavalry officers, some of them having revolvers shoved in thier belts, it is captioned that they are carrying extra sidearms but I wonder. The photo is from the Souix Campaign, October 1876, in Gregory J.W. Urwin's The United States Cavalry: An Illustrated History, pgs 144-145."

We always see Civil War and some later images of soldiers with revolvers shoved in thier belts. I know many (most?) of these are posed and that may explain the revolver in the belt but are there references to troops actually carrying them into battle shoved in thier belts? I'm not suggesting we do this in CAS but I am curious.
Thanks,
Mild Myles

Offline Mustang Gregg

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2007, 11:28:18 PM »
I wear a strong-side right & a strong-side left on a blue Mills belt. 
These black holsters look like 1890's period "US- marked" holsters with flaps cut off.
For the shot shell ammo belt, I use another blue Mills belt with 12 ga loops.

Ya might be able to see the set up on my profile picture.   ???

EDIT>>>  Aw heck---I have the black belt & pouches in that pic!  >:(

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Offline SGT John Chapman

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2007, 09:44:29 PM »


Usually I use a pair of '58 Remingtons in cut off CW Issue flap holsters, a M1855 Issue Cap Box Left front, three or four cylinder boxes across the back, a Dyer box behind my right pistol for rounds for the Henry, all on a  CW Issue Sword Belt,.......I also carry a 31Cal Remington pocket pistol (in a "Fob Holster" I designed and made) in my right boot and a Knife in my left..............Oh yeah,... I carry 6 SG rounds on a canvas slide ahead of my right pistol too......

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Offline Grapeshot

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2007, 06:31:28 AM »
Going over my OLD photos of Cavalry Troopers on campaign I came across on that had his 7.5 inch Colt in a Mexican Double Loop holster.  I purchased one from El Paso Saddlery in black, with a US embossed on the holster and a matching single loop for my 5.5 inch Artillery model to wear on my left hip.

I also used a Metcalf device that allows the use of a ammo slide with extenders on it to allow the holster to be worn lower, (check out my avatar), so the web cartridge belt could be worn on top of the sabre belt with the Metcalf device laced to the Web Belt so the trooper could have a supply of ammo and wear his holster without omifying the sabre belt.

There's a picture and discription of it in "American Military Belts and Related Equipments" by Stephen Dorsey, published by Pioneer Press, (Dixie Gun Works).  See pages 39 - 40 for pictures and text explaining the Metcalf belt in detail.
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Offline Captain Lee Bishop

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2007, 11:24:44 PM »
These black holsters look like 1890's period "US- marked" holsters with flaps cut off.
Could you post good photos of these? I want to get issue SAA holsters and cut the flaps off and make some kind of retention loop for the hammer but I'm not sure how it'd look...

Offline sharps54

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2007, 05:37:09 AM »
Thanks for the continuing replys here, it looks like we are all interested in how the others do it. SGT John Chapman and Grapeshot, thanks for the detailed explainations, they really help. Grapeshot, did I read somewhere that you are in MD? If so are you going to be at Thunder Valley Days? I would love to see your set up sometime.

I have settled on a pair of cap and ball Remingtons to start with and they should be here shortly. I am going to start with CW era flapped holsters (a left and a right both worn butt forward) on a CW era pistol belt I have. I will add a cap pouch for any extra .44-40 rounds I need for the Henry and need to pick a pouch for shotgun shells. Pony Racer has a modified McKeever box for his 12 gauge and I thought about going that route but it is a few years after my time (late 1860's). Does anyone have any recommendations on a CW era belt pouch to put loose shotgun shells in? I will be using 20 gauge until I can afford enough 10 gauge brass shells to shoot "the big 'un" in a match.  :o

Mild Myles

Offline Niederlander

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Re: For those that shoot SASS how do you carry your second handgun?
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2007, 11:11:22 PM »
Hello!
    I only shoot in our local CAS match, and we've recently expanded the kinds of guns you can shoot here.  I dress as a 1900 Marine Lieutenant and shoot a Krag infantry rifle with lead bullet loads (1400 fps) and carry a 6" nickel plated Smith & Wesson Military & Police (private purchase) revolver in an 1896 pattern holster.  In the interests of authenticity, I only use one revolver and reload on the clock.  My choice of weapons really slows me down but they're really cool to shoot!
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