Original U.S. WWII M1916 .45 Colt 1911 Leather Holster dated 1942 by Boyt

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very rare totally original WW1 Model 1916 holster for the .45 auto. This holster is maker marked BOYT / -42-, for Boyt Harness Company manufacture in 1942.

During World War I, the company built the first of many firearm accessories, including a military pistol holster for the then-new Colt 1911 .45 pistol, along with cavalry saddle bags and harnesses for artillery and transport horses. After the war ended, Walter Boyt sold the company to his brother John and John’s three sons, Joseph Walter, Arthur John and Paul Alfred Boyt. They changed to name to The Boyt Harness Company and the next generation of Boyt brothers continued the tradition of making durable harnesses, saddles, bridles and tack for farmers and stockmen around the Midwest.

And then war rocked the country again.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor started another shift in production for the war effort. From 1941-1945, Boyt produced millions of pieces of equipment destined for American offensives in both the European and Pacific theaters. The equipment was integral to the tens of thousands of teachers, farmers, office workers and tradesmen transformed into the largest standing fighting force in the nation’s history. The Boyt Harness Company knew some of those soldiers were local kids from the neighborhoods directly across the river from the Boyt facility.

This M1916 holster is in very good condition, with a deep russet brown color to the leather, with no damage or tears. All stitches are still intact, with all brass parts still present, though there is some verdigris buildup around the rivets and hanger. The leg tie down is still present and neatly wrapped.

Just perfect for a WWII issue 1911 .45 pistol!

Many .45 pistols were acquired by troops who were not officially authorized to be issued them as called for in their unit’s TOE (Table of Organization and Equipment). However, such regulations were rarely enforced in combat zones, and many G.I.s and Marines who could acquire a .45 did so, and considered themselves lucky.

A leather hip holster, the Model of 1912, was standardized soon after the M1911’s adoption. This holster had a swivel attachment to make it better adapted to cavalry use. Just before America’s entry into World War I, the Model of 1916 holster was adopted, which differed from the M1912 primarily in the deletion of the swivel feature. Both were fitted with wire hooks that attached to the grommets on the bottom of the standard webbed pistol belt or cartridge belt. There were sufficient numbers of World War I-vintage M1916 holsters to meet the demand until the U.S. became actively involved in World War II. The M1916 holster was put back into production and almost 3 million were made by 18 different commercial firms between 1941 and 1945. These holsters were embossed with a large “U.S.” on the cover flap, with the name of the maker and year of production on back.

A leather shoulder holster for the .45 pistol, designated as the “M3,” was adopted in 1942 for use by aviators, tankers and others who preferred carrying the pistol over the hip holster. An improved shoulder holster design was standardized in 1944 as the M7. The pistol was secured in the shoulder holster by means of leather strap with a snap fastener. The shoulder holsters were also embossed with a large “U.S” on the front, with the identity of the manufacturer and year of production on the back.

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