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Waterproof Pistol Covers


dustin
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One of the many unigue items developed during WWII was the vinylite waterproof pistol cover. Vinylite was a new innovation of the era patented by S Buchsbaum & Co. The first notable item to be adopted and manufactured in vinylite was the 1 qt. water bladder by the AAF in 1943 with many other items later manufactured in vinlylite to include the waterproof pistol cover.

Not all the details of these pistol covers have surfaced, to my knowledge, but thought I would share what I know to date. For most all items that are developed and adopted there is a need or demand for such an article. In this case the demand originates within the aviation services. The two standard issue sidearms of the AAF and BuAer was the 1911 .45 Auto and the .38 Victory Model held in either a hip or shoulder holster generally speaking for this reference. The were many problems that were reported in 1942 and 1943 in regards to sidearms, these are relative to the region of operation. In the PTO salt corrosion was a serious issue in which it was found that only after a few days afloat in a raft the sidearm was so corroded it was useless second was sand for land based units and on down. The CBI or other jungle terrain corrsion or rust was an issue as with various soils, dirt or sand.

For preventitive measures wether a personal preference or unit directive sidearms were protected by the use of an oil soaked cloth. This can be seen in some photographic evidence and various reports mentioning the practice. The methid was used by both the AAF and BuAer, pictured here is a couple army airmen. hopefully some of the naval aviation collectors here have a pic or two demonstarting this same practice.

This photo was taken in North Africa released for publication May 1943, AAF personal observing a volley match.

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From here we demonstarte the demand for a more effective method of protecting the firearm. It is arguable on which service prompted the development of the cover in which we are so familiar with but a few details point towards the Bureau of Ordnance. At this point it is important not to make the correlation with the C-1 vest. The C-1 vest was simply an item that utilized this article as a component. The AAF does not have a specification or drawing number for this cover but the BuOrd does covered under three 123111,123112 and 123113 BuOrd stock number 74c-307 titled as Cover, Protective for Pistol or Revolver. These covers were introduced in late 1944 and did not see wide spread use until 1945. Touching back briefly with the C-1 vest , there are three patterns the first two did not utilize this cover...why? because it did not exist. It was not unitl the distribution of the third pattern, early 1945, that these covers were utilized as standard. It is only in 1945 pictures that we see these covers in use from my observation up to this point.

Several examples... photo taken summer 1945 unkown bombarment grouppost-56-0-85093800-1371437267.jpg

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Hopefully some of the naval guys can post some pics of both the cloth use and vinylite covers for naval aviation personnel.

There are three known variations of the covers and two known manufacturers. There was third belived to have made these as well but has proven to be the green rectangular vinylite bag for pistols and personal effects as part of the family of the three other covers for machine gun, rifle and sub-machine gun this company being Visking.

Being that S Buchsbaum was the innovator and first manufacturer utilizing vinylite one could assume they are the first manufacturer but that is speculation. By the time these pistol covers were being manufactured Nation Carbon was also in the game making articles of vinylite so they could have made them simultaneously.

This is an example of the cover made by S Buchsbaum their part number SB 212

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Dustin, great info and photos!

 

I've got an example here but not sure which one it is... I'll have to get it out and take a good look at it.

 

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I would like to make a correction in post #3 " the first two did not utilize this cover...why? because it did not exist" i should read " the first pattern did not utlize this ...."

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This is a display of components for a second pattern C-1 vest. These vests became available in the supply system in late 1944
Note the tapered throat cover.
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Dustin, great info and photos!

 

I've got an example here but not sure which one it is... I'll have to get it out and take a good look at it.

 

Thank you and if the cover you are talking about is the same in the picture it is a National Carbon

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Dustin...

great topic with a lot of informations not previously seen neither in the books nor in the Forum. I have some mint covers made by National Carbon bought in the early 70s. They are not so easy to find today.

About the variations you speak about, as far as I know, the tapered one is not a real variation for the .45 pistol, but a cover specifically made for the Victory revolver. I add a picture posted years ago by Charlie Flick (if I remember well) where you can compare the two patterns. If the .45 covers are not easy to find, the Victory's ones are even more elusive and rare.

Thanks again!

Fausto

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While posting the above topic I found a nice picture of the President Bush recovered Victory. You can easily see the tapered cover which made a fine work when the President was shot down in the Pacific. It preserved his revolver in perfect condition...

Fausto

 

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I have a waterproof cover for the .45 and other sidearms which is not "tailored" like your example. It's made of thin OD "pliofilm" and has printed markings. It's like a miniature version of the similar covers used for M1 rifles during amphibious landings. If I can find it, I'll post a pic later!

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Hi Ian !

The not "tailored" waterproof pistol and personal effects covers are another great family which runs - I think - from late WWII to 60-70s in various colours and by various companies. Over the years I collected many of these covers but, you know, they have not the flavour of the tailored ones... Here some markings and manufactureres. Is your one one of these ?

Fausto

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Dustin...

great topic with a lot of informations not previously seen neither in the books nor in the Forum. I have some mint covers made by National Carbon bought in the early 70s. They are not so easy to find today.

About the variations you speak about, as far as I know, the tapered one is not a real variation for the .45 pistol, but a cover specifically made for the Victory revolver. I add a picture posted years ago by Charlie Flick (if I remember well) where you can compare the two patterns. If the .45 covers are not easy to find, the Victory's ones are even more elusive and rare.

Thanks again!

Fausto

Hello Fausto, I use to have the same thought but we have to change our thinking now. In post #5 is the tapered type that was once thought to be for the victory but you can see I have a 1911 .45 in the NOS cover and fits nicely. In post #6 is the nomenclature on the original wrapper, it specifically states "Automatic" pistol. Anything a auto can fit in a Victory surely can to. Also on the wrapper is the Mfg part number SB 212 as well on the cover in same photo. In the picture you posted of Charlies cover you will note the the blurred stamp of the part number and I will wager if that is examined it will read "part no SB 212". Some covers with the SB 212 part will not quite take a .45 which led us to believe these were for the victory. I believe this has to do with shrinkage of the material. The product by Buchsbaum is petroleum based making it a not so stable formula and when exposed to hight heat and moisture and time it will shrivel up, look at the cover from the Bush revolver it is hard and shrunk kinda like a condom in the back lot of the high school. The other covers pictured are from a different formula. This change of formula occured with the development of the desalting drinking water kits. Originally the bags in these kits utilized the forumla by Buchsbaum but was found to make the water almost un-palatable same complaint with their water bladders. The end result was a better more stable formula that has stood the test of time.

This is the area where it would be nice to see some reports. I bet after long use the SB covers probably recieved negative reviews which after exposure to sun and other elements it was difficult to remove the auto or victory. The other covers certainly have more space.

I breifly mentioned the QM covers but they are not really a specific pistol cover. It is apparent to me that these were intended for mass production hence the basic rectangular shape and more intended for general purpose. There is variation in nomenclature adding "personal effects". The first cover in post #20 was manufcatured by Buchsbaum purchase order 8652 on fixed price contract 36030-QM-11711 awarded in Dec. 1944. Buchsbaum also manufactured the utilitybags for the C-2raft part number SB 208 which look very similar to the QM bags.

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Hi Dustin !

Great and in deep explanation. So, no pistol covers expressely made for Victory revolvers, but just covers - in lightly different shapes - which would accomodate both .45 and Victory. Very good to know !

Once again the Forum - and its expert guys - teaches things that, up to date, are not in the books... Thanks again for this fine thread...

Fausto

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