Author GP HUTCHINSON

2016 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award Winner

Author GP HUTCHINSON - 2016 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award Winner

Gun Leather Art

Halfbreed Holster

By Michael E. Cumpston – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The gun leather worn by those who tamed the Wild West was generally pragmatic gear–something to keep your pistol close at hand, more or less clean and dry. Then as now, however, some folks didn’t mind indulging in a little something special when it came to how they carried their weapons. So singular were a few of these holsters and belts that I’m sure you’ll agree, they’re nothing less than art.

Among the earliest non-military holsters were the slim jim styles that showed up in significant numbers among those who flocked to California during the gold rush years Continue reading

Who Really Did Pack Iron in the Old West?

Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

So did just about everyone who populated America’s frontier West pack iron? Or is that a misconception perpetuated by Western fiction, TV, and movies? While I make no claim to be an expert on the matter, and though my scholarship on the topic is superficial at best, I believe I can offer some legitimate observations in answer to the question.

One way to know the extent to which citizens of the Old West characteristically carried weapons is to go to period sources, including period photographs. Recalling that the latter half of the nineteenth century was not exactly the era of the “selfie,” getting one’s picture taken was something of a special event back in those days. Consequently, folks might not have behaved–or even dressed–the same as they would in day-to-day life. Continue reading