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Audley Colt M1911 Holster


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I found this and already knew it was an Audley holster, and that the flap type was for the 1911 pistol.  There doesn't seem to be much information to discern whether this one is a "private purchase" type, or if the US Army every purchased them.  I read somewhere that even official US issue were not marked.  Does anyone know which this is?  

 

 

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I'd have to say, relative to the standard WWI issue holster, they're rare.  There are a few photos showing US officers wearing them, but I can't find them right now.  They're also in at least one book about the Colt 1911.  

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I'm hoping to make this thread an "Audley military use" database.  It's taking me a lot of searching to find much at all.  If anyone has photos of US mil wearing the Audley type, post them!  Or catalog pages.  

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That is a nice looking example of the Audley Safety Holster.  As you have learned this holster design, and similar designs by Audley, were submitted to the Army for consideration in 1912 and again in 1916.  On both occasions the holster was rejected, primarily because the Cavalry Board found it to be inferior to the previously adopted Model of 1912 and the later Model of 1916 holsters.  The rejection in 1916 was made with this comment:  "The Board does not consider this holster suitable for military service."   That ended any official consideration of the Audley holster by the US military.

 

This holster design was actually the first of the "retention" holsters.  Francis Audley filed a patent application for his design in 1912.  The patent was issued in 1914 but Audley died in 1916 without seeing his holster gain wide usage.  His basic design was later used in civilian holsters made by the H & D. Folsom Arms Co.  Later versions were made by Jay-Pee and even Colt in 1960.  These holsters were primarily intended for law enforcement use.

 

Versions of the Audley holster were sold on a private purchase basis to Army and Marine personnel.  I don't believe I have ever seen a photo of a soldier or Marine wearing an Audley holster. 

 

The  holster submitted for trial in 1916 by the Army was a swivel holster with a M1910 double hook feature.  It had US embossed on the flap.  As handsome and cleverly designed as it was, the holster was rejected.  Civilian users of the Audley holster found that the safety lock device tended to rapidly wear the finish of the trigger guard.

 

The Audley catalog had a description of your holster as follows.  "This style is made for military purposes, fitted with nickel plated steel spring catch lock which automatically locks pistol to holster.  Made with detachable leather loop for leather waist belt and bronzed metal wire prongs for attaching to web waist belt.  Flap can be folded back to be out of way for quick action.  Fitted with leg strap."  They were available in russet or black leather at a price of $6.00 each.

 

They are interesting holsters but never got any traction with the U.S. military and, thus, are now mostly a footnote in the history of U.S. military holsters.

 

Regards,

Charlie

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  • Charlie Flick changed the title to Audley Colt M1911 Holster

I have the same rig that Robin posted with a commercial 1911 that was made in 1917.  The pistol was carried by a naval dentist in wwii.  The Audley holster is the same without the flap. 

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Wow, great updates, thanks.  I have a line on another 1911 one.  I'm starting to see several versions. 

- One with a long flap that is attached with wire to a regular holster (mine), and could be removed and lost.

- One that has the swivel, and a long flap that is part of the holster body.  (above)

- One that has the long flap part of the body, but no swivel.  (or the first type that had it's flap cut off)

 

 

I have tracked several that have sold with 1911s or similar with provenance, so I'm sure they were used a lot with 45s, just few shown in photos.  

 

On the trigger catch, it does not scratch the trigger guard if you very carefully push the catch down while holstering.  Not many people would do that in the old days.  I glued a piece of thin plastic shimstock on one of mine for a New Service years ago, to try to help.  To me, Audley just missed the best period for this holster: the single action army.  If your gun is hammer down and can't fire without cocking it, the design seems safe enough.  1911s cocked and locked....not so much.  

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I'll add a paper item to the Audley thread.

 

In my Thompson Submachine Gun paper item collection, I have one of the Folsom catalogs that Charlie mentions, because it features a beautiful TSMG ad on the back of the catalog.  It is Folsom catalog #32, and includes an original envelope dated 1930.  Folsom featured commercial Audley holsters on the front of the catalog, and on the first 3 pages within, which are shown below.  This may help to make sense of some of the markings on commercial Audley holsters.

 

Charlie also mentioned trigger guard wear finish associated with Audley holsters.  I saw a pistol once that was being sold with an Audley holster, which was a testament to Charlie's remark.

 

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David Albert

dalbert@sturmgewehr.com

NRA Life Member
Past President, The American Thompson Association
American Society of Arms Collectors
Ohio Gun Collectors Association
Carbine Club
Garand Collectors Association

International Ammunition Association
Contributing Writer, Small Arms Review Magazine
Co-Author, "Thompson Manuals, Catalogs, & Other Paper Items" Collector Guide
One of the "Other Authors" of "The Ultimate Thompson Book," by Tracie L. Hill
Eagle Scout, and Member of NESA

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Oh, I've got a ton of Audleys.  But I was talking about the one for the 1911 automatic.  I strangely found another one this weekend.  It's in much better shape.  Unmarked on the back, obviously Audley though.  

 

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