Eastwood holster rig analysis

The man with no name uses across all three movies the same type of holster rig. It is a custom version based on a holster design by Andy Anderson called the Walk and Draw holster. Its typical features are the diamond stitch or gunfighter stitch on the front left part of the belt, a rough out leather holster held by a buckled loop, a metal insert to hold the holster in place, thus requiring no leg strap. It first appeared in the Rawhide show (season 5, episode 18 if I am not mistaken).

After looking at all available replicas on the market today, I might be paying too much attention to details, but they all seemed to be, in comparison with what I saw in the movies, correct on some specs, but wrong on others. Usually the stitch desing is incorrect and/or doesn’t align with the holster, the number of cartridges is incorrect.

But is it the same rig that is seen in all movies?

Here is my analysis based on all the screenshots I have collected. As I might also have missed some details I would love to get feedback on that. Before starting here are some precious sources of information :

My theory is the following : There are 2 different rigs.

The first version was used in Rawhide, Fistful of Dollars and The Good The Bad and The Ugly. The 4 spotable differences are :

  1. the height of the diamond on the front (slightly smaller in this version),
  2. the pattern hidden behind the holster (a loop and no diamond, so the pattern from left to right is loop-loop-loop-diamond-loop),
  3. the space in the back between the last loop and the cartridges) and lastly,
  4. the absence of the small stitch line below the trigger.

The second version was used in For a few Dollars More, Hang ‘Em High, High Plains Drifter, Joe Kidd, Two Mules for Sister Sarah, and maybe others I have missed. It has a slightly bigger diamond in the front stitch pattern, the pattern from left to right is loop-diamond-loop-diamond-loop-diamond-loop) which makes it a bit longer, thus ending up closer to the cartridges, and it has a stich line below the trigger guard.

Here are shared features :

  • both belts have 30 cartridges
  • 5 holes in the tip
  • it seems that they are both for .45 caliber. (I don’t think it one was made for the Navy as you see in the movie that the barrel is sticking out of the holster – which isn’t very aesthetic)
  • the cartridge loop is stiched inside and comes out of a hole on both ends and I believe that the rest is stiched (not going through holes)
  • A brass belt buckle, and a silver buckle for the holster

Here are the screenshots with comments :

Left TGTBATU (1:02:36), right HPD (12:45, 35:41). Notice on the left the gap between the loops below the cartridge and the diamond stitch loop. Also notice on the right the stitch line below the trigger guard
Left Rawhide, top center FOD (1:34:25), bottom center TGTBATU (2:46:05), top right FAFDM (17:48), bottom right HPD (44:03)
Difference in diamond size between TGTBABTU and HPD
A possible explanation for the difference of the diamond stitch
We can see the stitching on the inside of the gun belt (TGTBATU)
In Andy Anderson’s catalog this model seems the closest and you can see the stitching on the inside and a diagonal jointure in the bullet holes
Top and bottom left TGTBAU (1:05:16, 1:48:34), bottom right Hang ‘Em High (37:55) – 30 cartridges in both cases
A small part of the punched hole can be seen next to the straight stitch line
The bullets are set very close to each other which would indicate stitching inbetween instead of punched holes
The barrel is much longer than the holster. Probably because it was made for a 5 1/2 inches barrel and no specific holster was made for the Colt Navy 1851 cartridge conversion

For those who are interested in building their own holster rig I have also recreated the patterns of the belt and of the holster. I have only tested them with cardboard, so feel free to comment so that we can improve them together. As it is supposed to be close to the movie, the design is relative to the size of Clint Eastwood hips. From one of the website sources, it seems that the size was 41 inches (104 cm) from center tip hole to the buckle bar.

Top : first version, bottom : second version

As stated before, all of this is open for discussion as it is my own interpretation and only a personal attempt capture the design of a beautiful object. It was a lot of fun to investigate into this (very xD) crucial matter and I hope that somehow, this will help those who are looking for such a level of detail, just as others have helped me.

2 thoughts on “Eastwood holster rig analysis

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