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MODEL 1872 HOLSTER WITH THE HOFFMAN SWIVEL FOR SINGLE ACTION REVOLVERS AND THE REMINGTON MODEL 1871 SINGLE SHOT PISTOL – WITH WIPING ROD POCKET – A SCARCE EARLY INDIAN WAR HOLSTER:   As discussed in US MILITARY HOLSTERS AND PISTOL CARTRIDGE BOXES by Scott Meadows, pages 88 – 91, these Model 1872 Holsters with the distinctive wiping rod pocket attached to the body of the holster and featuring the Hoffman Pattern Swivel Belt Loop were manufactured at Watervliet Arsenal early in the post-Civil War Frontier period in very limited numbers (estimated at just over 1300) and survive today in very few collections - less than 20 specimens are known to exist.   These holsters were produced by modifying existing stocks of surplus US Army Civil War revolver holsters by removing the standard belt loop, evidenced by the line of stitching that remains on this holster from where the original belt loop was attached.  The standard belt loop was replaced with the Hoffman Swivel assembly with the unrestricted stud which allowed the holster to swivel a full 360 degrees around the belt loop assembly.  The modification was completed with the addition of the wiping rod pocket, riveted to the length of the holster body and the application of an embossed “US” in the oval on the flap.  The unrestricted swivel belt loop proved to be one of the down falls of this design and efforts to correct that failing are evidenced in this particular holster, making it a particularly nice example for the collection of a serious student of early Indian Wars accoutrements.   

This particular specimen retains a nice, even overall smooth bright finish to all the surfaces, showing only minimal evidence of the expected wear and aging, and retaining the shape and form that it should have.  The “US” on the flap is no longer visible, either originally lightly struck as many were and worn away through use, or the US was never applied – it is well known that not all holsters of this pattern were US marked.  

The swivel assembly is complete, fully functional, and moves freely without being loose, but does show signs of having been repaired, a common necessity highlighting the aforementioned tendency of these swivels to fail.  As the swivel would rotate a full 360 degrees and was made of soft brass, the soldiers experienced the fairly regular, and I would imagine disconcerting, event where the swivel assembly subjected to the constant friction caused by the movement when worn on horse back ultimately fatigued and simply fell apart.  In addition to the repair to the swivel, there is a hole in the belt loop that is approximately the same size as the standard rivet burr in use at the time, and the hole is in a likely location where it appears as if the soldier riveted the belt loop in place on his belt to steady the holster and keep it in place.   

The wiping rod pocket is full length and is attached to the length of the holster body with two rivets.  There is a hole in the holster flap that lines up with the upper opening of the wiping rod pocket, and this is again an indication of the soldier’s attempt to cope with the nature of the holster.  One of the more common complaints received from officers in the field regarding this holster was when the holster rotated on the swivel 180 degrees, that is with the barrel in the upright position, the pistol would fall out of the holster and could or would be lost.  Apparently the closing tab, fitted over the closing finial was not sufficient to hold the weight of the pistol if the holster was upended.  The soldier who carried this holster came up with a fairly simple, yet ingenious solution for this problem.  Punching the hole in the flap to correspond to the wiping rod pocket, he used the wiping rod as a safety pin, relying on the friction of the leather of the pocket along the full length of the rod to hold the rod in place, and in turn hold the flap closed over his pistol.  The repaired swivel, the rivet hole in the belt loop and the wiping rod hole in the flap are not the troublesome inconsistencies that require explanations, but rather very desirable indications of soldier applied modifications and adjustments that they found necessary to maintain the equipment and adapt it to service in the field.  

The condition of this rare holster is overall excellent; all of the components are present and intact to include the seam, closing tab and plug; and the flap, belt loop and holster body all hold their shape and still retain the characteristics of strong, live leather.  There is a small repair at the front edge of the fold of the flap where the flap bent over the butt of the pistol, but it is well executed and is not readily noticeable and it does not affect the strength or integrity of the holster.  The inside surface of the flap has an inked inscription, “Frank Ramsy, Provo, Utah”, perhaps the soldier who carried the holster or a civilian who found a use for it after the army had disposed of it.   

These early Indian War Model 1872 Holsters are recognized by knowledgeable collectors as an important addition to an Indian War Accoutrement collection and this holster will be the perfect addition to display with your Colt Richard Conversion, Smith and Wesson American, or Model 1871 Remington Single Shot Army Pistol.  SOLD

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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