First tell the readers all about yourself and vintage gun leather today and how did you decide to get into the vintage holster biz without giving away any secrets, how hard is it to track down all this NOS product from these vintage makers? About 10 years ago after retiring from law enforcement I began selling my old holsters which I no longer had guns for. The business began by buying holsters locally and selling them online.There was a lot to know about holsters and makers so I began tracking down holster catalogs from the 1900’s on to recent days which still continues. We have one of the largest holster catalog collections around. They actually assisted with a recent book on holsters filling in the blanks in holster history. In addition the book has about 40% of the books photos were our present or past sales stock. I became friends with Doug Shoemaker Tex Shoemakers Grandson through a bulk purchase of vintage holsters.. As Tex Shoemaker began to close down after 75 years we started purchasing their old stock. We eventually purchased the entire warehouse stock to include all of their cast dummy guns and a large portion of their clicker dies for holster and accessory making such as black jacks cartridge slides and knife sheaths among other products. At some point we expect to bring many of these items back when we partner with the right maker. To date we have not found the right person that we are confident would produce these items in the quality we would approve of. We also made large purchases over the last 2 years of new old stock from Alfonsos of Hollywood. Alfonso’s of Hollywood has been in business for over 62 years. They are well known for their high end products and attention to detail. We were able to purchase a huge selection of their holsters, belts and gear. Aside from Alfonso’s in California we are the largest retailer of their products. Almost all of what we are offering is no longer made and only available with us. Many old auto holsters and unique items that have not been seen in some time.
Recently we started a business relationship with Ken Aker from Aker Leather with over 40 years of holster making here in the U.S.. This brought us to the point where we are offering holster for older but more modern autos. All of our Aker stock is new old stock. They are holsters they are still making but just not for these firearms. Again we are the largest retailer of Aker new old stock from holsters to duty gear to accessories. Aker being heavily invested in law enforcement made several items for the California Highway Patrol. We have some holsters and shotgun shell cuffs marked C.H.P. which are a nice addition to a law enforcement collection.
New Old Stock is a huge part of our inventory we offer. We also purchase holsters from individuals. Those old holsters from a family member or your old guns you no longer have, we buy them. We offer cash or if you like a certain amount of stuff in your life thats good too we will give you store credit. That being said there is a steady flow of vintage holsters and gear shipped in and posted on our sites daily.
We also approach makers with special vintage products. We along with Eric Gonzalez of Cheating Death Custom Guns approached Sam Andrews of Andrews Leather for production of a 1980’s era holster he had not made since 1990 for a 1911 special project. This will be featured with a Cheating Death Customs 1911 Government build shortly. It will also be available with us along with the same vintage 80’s holster for the P7M8 / P7M13 again only available here. So theres lots of cool projects going on.
On occasion we offer holsters from smaller makers who produce a excellent product. Mike Taurisano is a retired Deputy Chief of 35 years from Utica N.Y. Police and s the owner of Tauris Holsters. Mike has been making and designing custom holsters for over 55 years in his shop located in Hartford N.Y. Tauris holsters have been recognized with write-ups in the following publications over the years:10 in American Handgunner , 20 in Combat Handguns, 3 in guns and ammo. So mike is a heavy hitter making extremely high quality holsters and we are happy to have a business relationship with smaller makers also.
Is there a brand/maker that seems to be clearly more in demand or popular than others?Lots of customers have a favorite maker or are looking for that nostalgia of having that specific make and style their father or grandfather had. They also want that period correct holster for that WW2 bring back or pistol in their collection. Many customers shop with us because 99% of what we offer is vintage. Made when America made things here and had pride standing behind their products. If its good we sell it if not we don’t its that simple. We on occasion have products made for our site. We offer waxed canvas shell and magazine carriers. Made in the Great State of North Carolina. High quality, made by hand from a female owned business. The types of items you can hand down to your son or daughter because they will last longer than you.
AS far as you can tell, is the younger generation interested in leather from these classic companies? Are they aware that these guys existed in this age of kydex?
Kydex? never heard of her. Lots of people were on the Kydex bandwagon. I have spoken to big holster makers who recall all the popular magazines and authors telling them leather was a thing of the past. They have seen so many of these Kydex makers come and go. At the end of the day old iron deserves old leather. If its not broke don’t fix it. I think many of the Kydex lovers have drifted back to leather after the excitement died down.
We are filling a niche which people like. Initially we began with the classic revolvers and 1911 autos. We have expanded into more modern handguns with and without rails to include holsters with light attachments. Magazine carriers? Yes, Single , double and quad. We have the duty gear accessories made to last a career. We have badge / ID wallets, citation book holders and note pad covers. Military we have that too though a smaller selection. If we don’t have what your looking for check back its likely coming in at some point though it may not be available long.
where can the readers find your product?Our main site is www.vintagegunleathertoday.com we are also on eBay EbayHttps://www.ebay.com/str/vintagegunleathertodayIG@vintagegunleathertoday Erick GonzalezIG@cheatingdeathguns