90th IDPG Reviews


At The Front M1916 Holster Generation 2

Review Date: 3/2/2013
Author: Chris Guska



The M1916 holster was the predominantly issued holster for the M1911 45 caliber service pistol throughout WW2 for ground forces. While this holster saw service from WW1 through the modern era, it has not been accurately offered for the reenactment community in a quality reproduction.

At The Front now offers their own "In House" production M1916 holster. Their prior generation was sourced from SM Wholesale.

Cost: $75.00

The Reproduction:


First impressions of the holster weren't the most positive. The holster has a dyed finish which is normally something I stay away from. Furthermore the back panel being of a different colored dyed leather threw me.

Once I got past the colors and focused on the details - I was more pleased

Yes, GI 1911's do fit and quite well at that after a little break in and stretching.

44 Boyt, 42 Crump, ATF Gen 2, Warren Leather Goods, WW1?


Detailed Comparison:

I am comparing the ATF holster vs an unissued Boyt 44. ATF cut up an unissued Boyt to use as a pattern - so lets see how it came out.

Here's the side by side with commentary.

ATF Repro Left
NOS Boyt 44 Right
Overall shot - front and back.

Back stitching detail of the wood wedge insert, and side seam. This side seam was slightly jacked up on the previous generations.

There is a semi circle of stitching that is better placed and closer in shape than the previous generation. This is visible from the front and back.

Here's a lineup (Boyt 44, Crump 42, ATF G2, Warren Leather Goods, WW1?)

This shows general shape and size differences amongst original hostlers with regards to stitching differences in this area. The ATF is in the butter zone of being in the right style. The old one was screwed up here. It was lower and position and MUCH larger in size.



Rivet and stitching detail, both sides.

Rivets and washers are slightly larger on the repro, but I can live with this. Having a custom rivet done or finding NOS originals would be a pain in the ass.

Stitching stops in slightly different places - but I can live with that as the shape and style is the same. Could be improved.

1910 Hanger detail. The back panel of the holster isn't skived on the bottom layer, so it lays a bit differently where attached. More on this later.

The "belt loop" holes aren't tooled on the repro. I haven't found an original that wasn't tooled. This is a goof.

The stitching stops and doesn't run all the way across the top. This is an improvement from the prior run where the stitching went all the way across.

No markings are on the holster to identify it as to who made it. The good thing with no markings, is that there are no farby markings.

Toe / Nose detail. The tab on the bottom of the boyt has most likely shrunk with age. The eyelet is placed slightly higher on the repro.
The US markings are clearly stamped - albeit slightly different from the Boyt 44 example - are well within the range of acceptable.

Flap and stud detail. Flap hole and overall shape are good. Some minor detail differences on the stud with how it was made, but just getting anal there.

Minor stitching variations between the two.

Inside and flap details. The score line across the flap is present, which wasn't on the prior generation. This helps the flap close properly.
Detail of the toe plug. Nicely copied using rivets rather than sewn. These can be done in a couple of different ways, and the Boyt riveted was copied.


This block shows how the back panel is supposed to be attached. The middle layer of leather is to be thinned down (skived) at the edges. This aides in sewing as well as how everything lays when assembled.

I haven't seen (or noticed) an original holster that wasn't constructed in this way. Also, the prior generation of holsters got this detail right.

Crump 42 Warren Leather Goods
WW1? ATF (SM Wholesale) Gen 1

The top rivet in the holster wasn't set quite right - so every time I attempted to draw the 45 from the holster, the rear sight caught on the rivet. A few whacks with a ball peen hammer and this was fixed.


The holster comes pre-finished in a medium brown dye. I really don't like pre-dyed items, unless they came from the factory that way - such as Type 2 service shoes.

I've never seen one, but apparently there are USGI M1916 holsters out there that came from the factory with a brown dyed finish.

Based on how things came out with the Gen 2 M1907 Sling, I wasn't optimistic on oiling this holster.

I was totally shocked how nice the holster looks once i applied a coat of Pure Neatsfoot Oil. Totally unexpected how nice....


Fitting and "Breaking-In":

My "break in" process consisted of giving my 1911A1 a liberal coat of Hoppes CLP and then putting the 45 in the holster as far down as it could go. I cocked and locked the 45, with the thumb safety up - so that the slide stays locked forward. New / tight holsters have a tendency to push the slide backwards, so you want to keep the slide locked forward during this process.

After 3 or 4 days of the 45 in the holster, I checked the fit and proceeded to insert and withdraw the 45 several times- much like you would throw a baseball into the palm and web of a baseball mit. This is when I noticed the rivet being not set properly. Hammer time!


The good:

Pattern / cut is good
Leather is good quality
Finish looks awesome with some oil
Construction is solid
Markings = less is more

The annoying:

Finish looks stupid without oil
Edges of belt loop holes not tooled
Back panel wasn't skived prior to being attached
Little nit picky placement / stitching shit could be adjusted
Rivet needed some love from a hammer

I have no problem recommending this holster to any of my friends or group members. Is it the ultimate repro ever made? No. I still haven't seen a M1916 holster that was "Perfect" or "Ideal". This is getting pretty close to "Ideal".

If the back panel was fixed, and some of the chicken shit adjusted - I'd totally be ranting about how this is the "best evuh".

Until then, it's a solid holster that I'll enjoy using at events.



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