Thursday, April 14, 2016


Some of you may remember that I found a revolver at Christmas-time that I simply couldn't pass up.

You may recall that it's a Ruger (old) Vaquero in .45 Colt, and it has that nice, lovely 7.5 inch barrel.  After I got it home, I realized that it is a Turnbull restoration, which certainly adds to the allure of the revolver.

The CFDA has something they call the Shootist Category.  Here's how they define it.
The Shootist category is for competitors that use Slim Jim Holsters and revolvers with a minimum barrel length of 7-1/2”. There shall also be a Men’s & Lady’s Division of this category, but the category will not be further divided into aged based sub-categories. Note: We have found factory tolerances in barrel lengths on some models actually measure less than 7-1/2”, this is acceptable as long as it is a true factory tolerance. A 7” S&W Schofield Revolver or reproductions are also allowed in this category, with same factory tolerances as mentioned above.
My Vaquero absolutely qualifies.  Many of the guns I've seen on the long-gun line are Vaqueros.  But I haven't done anything about a holster.  Before I got much farther, I scrolled down through the specs in the Gunslinger's Guidelines to find the specs on a Shootist Category holster.  The current definition is below.

1. The gun must fit the holster, no oversized holster boots or pouches allowed.
2. There will be no more than a 20-degree (front or back) holster cant while the shooter is in a normal standing position.
3.The holster pouch side-cut will cover all of the cylinder when viewed from the side.
4.The front holster pouch cut (top of the gun frame) will not be lower than 2” below the top of gun belt.
5.The gun belt must be of straight-cut design. Note: It is a natural occurrence for a belt to develop a contour by conforming to the shooter’s body during continuous use. It is also acceptable for manufacturers to simulate natural contours.
6. The gun belt may be notched to keep the holster in place (not to exceed ¼”).
7. The trigger guard of the gun must have a resting point within the rear of the holster pouch to constitute the legal start position.
8. The top and bottom of the belt loop must be sewn on the back of the holster, no part of the loop may extend above the holster pouch.
9. No tie downs may be used.
10. If there are specific questions in regards to what is and what is not a Slim Jim/California Pattern holster, we invite you to reference the book Packing Iron by Richard C. Rattenbury. Specifically Pages 74-95, with the exception of the bottom of page 94.
No tie downs?  Whatthehell are they talking about, no tie downs?

So, then I went over to El Paso Saddlery to get a visual idea of what the holster should look like.

 And, sure enough, I don't see a tie-down on any of those holsters.  That's very interesting, and certainly more research is in order.  I'll be at Texas State next week, where I can take pictures of what the guys and gals are using in that category.

When I get back fro Texas State, I'll get with my son and commission a holster.  Perhaps then, I'll have a better idea of what I need to compete in that category.

This might get interesting.


The Displaced Louisiana Guy said...

I started doing some looking last night, and I was going to ask you about tie-downs, and about the belt loop. It's interesting that they covered both of these things in the rules. The original slim-Jim's don't have tie-downs... when you go to the shoot next week, find out if they have to have a toe, or be fully enclosed on the muzzle end. Seems likeep a recipe for disaster in fast-draw.

Old NFO said...

That is strange... I seem to remember seeing antique Slim Jims with tie downs...

The Displaced Louisiana Guy said...

Also, see how they wear their belts. Do they have them low-slung off one hip? Or do they wear them tight around their waist over their trouser belt? Seems wearing it tight would aid in getting the gun out of the holster, without the tie-down, but slinging it low would help you get clearance with that long barrel.