With the recent surge in popularity of the sport of Cowboy Action
Shooting, many holster makers are tooling up and producing some very good western-style belts and holsters to
meet the growing demand among the shooters of the Cowboy sport. A large part of the appeal of Cowboy Action
Shooting is found in the requirement to use the style of clothing, guns, and
leather associated with the period of circa 1860 to the later part of the nineteenth century.
Numerous new leather and clothing suppliers have sprung up to fill the needs
of today's shooters with a line of products that would rival that of any haberdasher or dry goods store of the
One such holster maker that seems to have gotten the jump on most if not
all other makers, is El Paso Saddlery. They have been producing top quality
leather goods since 1889 in El Paso, Texas. That's one hundred and eleven years, for some
election officials who have trouble counting.
The holster and belt rig sent to me for testing is what El Paso refers to
as their "Duke Outfit", in reference to the great similarity between this rig and
the one worn by John Wayne in many of his western movies. It is a 2 1/2 inch
rough-side-out money belt, with a fully lined open muzzle holster.
I had El Paso to make a matching holster for each side for a pair of Ruger
Vaqueros with 4 3/4 inch barrels. Centered on the belt are 24 cartridge loops to hold
extra ammunition. The holsters on my rig are lined with what appears to be pigskin. The lining is
lighter in color than the rest of the holster, and folds over the top edge,
making a beautiful contrast to the brown leather of the holster and belt.
The money belt is made of a thinner leather and folded at the bottom, as a
belt of this type should be. This makes for a very comfortable rig that forms
to the hips and doesn't shift around as does a thick, stiff belt. The guns fit
snugly in the holsters but can be further secured with the hammer thongs attached to each.
The quality of the materials and workmanship of this rig is absolutely first class. The
style and character of this design is harder to describe, but exudes a subdued, no
frills look and feel to it that is very appealing.
Many of the holsters seen these days look as if they were made
for some wild-west pimp with the bright, shiny patent leather and floral stampings. The Duke
outfit has none of this western fluff about it at all. You never saw John Wayne skipping
across the screen in such a fancy pretty-boy rig, and you'll find none of
that foolishness in this outfit from El Paso.
The people in west Texas who make these holsters know what a
good, everyday gun carrying rig needs to be, and in the case of their "Duke
Outfit", they have executed it to perfection.
In case you haven't guessed it by now, I am really impressed with this rig. You can
contact El Paso at www.epsaddlery.com and look over
their line of holsters, saddlebags, and scabbards. If you like, you can get a
Duke rig like this with one holster for $150 or $230 for a double rig.
But you can't buy this one. I'm keeping it.
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