90th IDPG Reviews


El Paso Saddlery "M1940" M1916 Holster Review

Review Date: 8/27/2011
Author: Tom Kelly


Since I am in the process of correcting my Springfield Armory Inc., 1911a1 to resemble a WWII 1911a1 I took a second look at the holster I had purchased years ago. It was an old Hill Country Leather holster that did not have the proper amount of rivets, the sewing was mediocre, and the US stamp was cartoonish. I thought about buying an original, but I was concerned with how much hard use 65 year old leather could handle and with most good examples selling around $75 and up on Ebay I felt more comfortable buying a reproduction.

On G503.com a gentleman was selling a gently used El Paso Saddlery M1916 (or as they call it- the M1940) holster for $75 shipped, including a postwar pistol belt and mint 1942 first aid pouch. In order to finance the transaction I sold my old holster for $30. I was pretty happy with the deal because El Paso Saddlery has an almost cultish following among 1911 shooters for making the absolute best holsters. El Paso is also the most expensive retailer of reproduction M1916 holsters with the retail price for an M1940 holster being $125.


First Impressions

My first impression of the holster was that it was well made, at first glance I was impressed with how the stitching seemed to match my original (a 1944 Warren Leather Products cut down by a GI to fit a Browning Hi Power) and that there were the proper number of rivets in the correct positions. I was not overly impressed with the US stamp or the makers mark on the back. While El Paso does not seem to be marketing to reenactors, the “El Paso Saddlery Co./ MADE IN TEXAS .45 GOVT.” is conspicuously incorrect.



The pattern and strength of the stitching is very good overall, but there are differences between the El Paso and my original. The first is under the flap, instead of continuing along the upper edge of the leather the El Paso doubles back down the outer seam.

A similar sewing error occurs on the back below the belt loop. I assume this may have been done because it looks cleaner but it is a noticeable difference. On the right side beneath the two rivets the El Paso stitching ties in with the edge of the belt loop rather than ending abruptly like the original

The El Paso lacks the extra stitching along the top of the belt attachment and below the wire hanger which was the biggest flaw of the ATF reproduction. However, the pattern of the stitching along the back of the holster bows inward at the top rather than staying a consistent width as found on originals and the ATF reproduction.

As mentioned above the El Paso does have the correct number of rivets throughout the holster and in that respect separates itself from Hill Country and Pacific Canvas and Leather holsters which do not. The rivets appear to be brass, but oddly the stud on the front is silver colored and may be steel. Not a huge issue but remarkable.

The size and pattern of the US stamping is a real killer for this holster. The US letter stamps are very different from those on my Warren Leather holster, but I have found pictures of a Sears 1944 holster which appears to be similar. The biggest flaw is that the oval surrounding the letters is too small.

The surrounding outline should be more oblong and protrude further towards the edge of the holster flap.




For reenactors who want an authentic M1916 holster the El Paso is overpriced at $125. Even used I feel like I may have gotten better value from an ATF holster. Neither are 100% correct, which strengthens the argument that for the same money you can buy a good condition original holster. I think the El Paso holster is an acceptable piece, but it has shown me that though the ATF reproduction has some flaws it is the best reproduction on the market.


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