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U.S. MILITARY HOLSTERS AND RELATED ACCOUTREMENTS:  Newly released in September of 2015, Scott Meadows is now offering his latest, and long anticipated expanded study of the holsters issued to the U.S. Military throughout our nation’s history.   

For those of you not familiar with Scott’s work, a little literary history may be in order.  Scott has been a serious contributor to the body of knowledge collectors have come to depend upon to enjoy their collections, and to understand how these artifacts relate to each other and the soldiers they served.  More importantly, information that collectors need to make wise and prudent purchases. 

While the author of several important works, as it relates to this recent publication, Scott published U.S. MILITARY HOLSTERS AND PISTOL CARTRIDGE BOXES in 1987.  I purchased my copy in 1988, the first serious addition to my reference library.  I remember paying $60 – thought the price was outrageous at the time - but something told me it would be a good investment.  That book became the one of the keystone works in the field of collecting U.S. Military accoutrements, well respected in every quarter, and once it passed into the “out of print” status, the book became a collector’s item in its own right.  Collectors who didn’t have a chance to purchase a copy when they were first issued, have willingly paid as much as $350 for a copy in recent years.   

That 1987 edition consists of 431 pages and is right at 1 ¼” thick – a normal sized edition at the time.  I cannot begin to estimate the amount of money that original $60 purchase price saved me – keeping me from making bad purchases, and identifying uncountable truly special holsters I was able to add to my collection because I knew what I was buying.  It has been one of a handful of texts that I keep within arms reach of my desk due to the frequency I reach for it.  To put it in perspective, for all the value I have gleaned from that book, 27 years ago I paid the princely sum of .14 cents a page……………. 

The years have passed and Scott has continued to add to his collection and his body of knowledge regarding U.S. holsters, and the time came to produce a greatly expanded tome on the subject.  U.S. MILITARY HOLSTERS AND RELATED ACCOUTREMENTS consists of 831 pages, providing considerably more examples of holsters and related accoutrements, as well as more in-depth information.  This volume contains detailed photographs too numerous to count, as well as original Ordnance Department diagrams, production reports and charts, and period images of soldiers, sailors and marines wearing the various models of holsters.  In addition, the accompanying text details the development, design, reasoning, production rates and limitations, and the scope of the issue for each holster used by the military from the early 1800’s through the holsters carried currently by our troops around the world – truly a comprehensive work.  There are special sections for pistol ammunition pouches and carriers, associated waist and cartridge belts, and separate chapters for the holsters specific to the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Air Force.  A special mention needs to be made of Scott’s decision to include snippets of information such as, but not limited to, the production and types of leather used to manufacture the holsters, arsenal and unit issue and marking practices, and tools that were used to repair or modify the holsters.  By including this related information, Scott ensured it would continue to be available in the public forum.   

To give some sense of comparison, this current volume is almost 2 ½” thick and weighs right at 13 pounds…….this is not a typo – 13 pounds - just about the same weight as a Model 1874 Sharps Sporting Rifle with a decent sized, full length barrel.  The purchase price of $113.00 which includes shipping, factors out to 13.5 cents per page – less expensive per page than the 1987 edition described above. 

Two final thoughts I’ll share with you on reference books.  Through the years I've come to the conclusion the reference books that are worth having on hand break out into two basic groups - those that are so scholarly and so heavy with information that they are nigh impossible to use as a ready reference.  If you are seeking a particular piece of information, you have to be prepared to wade through the entire work to find it - every time you need the information.  Valuable in the content, but cumbersome to use.  Then there are those that have a lot of photos, but are light on information.  If the photos are well identified, this sort of book is a handy quick reference, but you aren't going to know much more about the subject after reading it than you did before.  Very seldom does the author strike the right balance, and those that have, provide us with a valuable tool.  

In the case of this book, Scott has mastered the combination in the tradition of the other “go to” books in my library.  For the "whatisit" search, the photos are beyond ample and well laid out, but for the true student who wants to understand the reasoning, experimentation, development and issue system of the Ordnance Department as reflected in the history of US holsters, the story is provided in an easy to follow, well thought out format.  

Lastly, a very long time ago a wise collector and dealer who I respect and have learned to heed much of his advice, gave me a gem that I’ve held close and it has never failed to serve me well.  In a quiet moment at a gun show, he cautioned me, “If you only have $100 to spend, buy a book on the subject that you’re collecting – you’ll never go wrong.”  It is no great secret that information is power, especially when you’re spending considerable amounts of money.  You simply cannot afford to enter any market place, much less the collectable market, without knowing what you are buying.  I witness on a daily basis collectors and dealers alike investing in pieces for which they have little, if any, knowledge and frankly I don’t understand it.  If for no other reason than being able to fully appreciate your collection, invest in a reference library – the books written by the respected researchers in our field are considerably more dependable than the advice you’ll get from Joe Scholck down at the local Texaco station.  

If you are going to collect U.S. Military holsters, you cannot afford not to buy this book.  With Christmas coming up, the timing couldn’t be better.  Contact Scott via his email, esmeadows@cableone.net or call him at (580) 223-3988 (Central Time). 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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