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MODEL 1881 HOLSTER, SECOND TYPE FOR THE M1873 COLT & M1875 S&W REVOLVERS – VERY NICE SOLID SPECIMEN:    A Second Type, Model 1881 Holster as described in US Military Holsters and Pistol Cartridge Boxes, Meadows, page 106, manufactured between 1883 and 1885, with the belt loop slightly increased from the First Type to accommodate the holster carrier strap which was part of the Model 1882 “Sherman” Cavalry Belt intended to be worn concurrently, and under, the newly issued Mills Woven Cartridge Belt.  This period of the Indian Wars saw frequent and continued modifications and adaptations of the various accoutrements in order to streamline the soldier’s equipment load.  These Second Type Model 1881 Holsters were made and issued for a very short period of time before being replaced by the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Types as the belt loops were enlarged to accommodate the progression of Mills cartridge belts. 

As with so many of these earlier pattern holsters, the survival rate in their original configuration is quite low due to the extreme conditions in which they were used on the frontier during the Indian Wars, and the numbers of the surviving specimens that were modified in later years with the addition of wider and deeper belt loops to accommodate the double loop woven cartridge belts. 

Having survived the years in very good condition, this specimen has solid stitching throughout and all of the components are intact.  The body is very solid and full form, with light crazing on the front of the body and the top of the flap fold, but the leather retains a pleasing shiny finish overall.  The body retains a fully legible “US” embossed in the oval and the holster flap bears a light, partially legible “Rock Island Arsenal” stamp, as well as a unit applied inventory stamp just below the finial holes.  The belt loop and the rear of the holster still retain bright smooth leather surfaces with no crazing.  The belt loop is full form with no wear or weakness at the corners which is so often seen.  The original bottom plug is still present and intact.   

This holster is a very attractive specimen of one of the earlier scarce and more desirable variations of the Model 1881 Holster, and a much better than average example to complete your sabre belt or display with your Colt Single Action or Smith & Wesson Schofield.  (0133)  $1250



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