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Article created: May 14, 2010
Article modified: July 21, 2010

Erstes Futteral zur Ordonnanzpistole 1900

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Featured above is a Type A1, first variation Swiss ordnance holster or Futteral, for a Swiss ordnance Pistol 1900. The makers name of L.G. WALTHER - SATTLER (Swiss leather maker) BERN is stamped in a dual border oval cartouche located on the front of the holster body entrance. The makers name was more commonly located on the rear of the holster between the belt loops. The truncated date 01 or 19 (01) is stamped in the inner cartouche. Also, stamped on the holster body to the right of the makers name, in a rectangular cartouche, is a Swiss Federal inspection cross over a B, representing the Swiss federal inspectors stamp or ID. The holster cover flap is a continuous piece of leather from the back side and not of the later rainproof or wraparound "bucket"-top style cover flap. The cover flap has rounded corners with a slightly curved, almost straight line center section with a light border piping. The holster back side has two angled belt loops, attached at each end by two parallel lines of stitching. The holster has been modified by relocating the right side metal D ring lower on the holster spine and adding a rather large aluminum stud in its place.

The typical type A or type B Swiss ordnance holsters that have an "added" spare magazine pouch are of the "bucket"-top style cover flap. They have integral end cover flaps folded over and sewn together at the front of each end of the cover flap. The right side end cover flap or forward edge is where the aluminum stud for the magazine pouch cover flap was attached. In this configuration, the holster cover flap could be opened and closed without disturbing the magazine pouch cover.

J. Walter states that the holster body spine or right side metal D-ring was repositioned lower in the later type A and B new holsters, as manufactured, to accommodate the new style rainproof "bucket" right side end cover flap. However, this is not the case with the subject holster as the cover flap is not of the "bucket" style. The relocation of the spine or right side D-ring, in this case, was lowered to allow it to be retrofitted with a spare magazine pouch on the top of the plain end holster cover flap. This required the aluminum stud to be very unusually located on the holster body spine and not the right side or forward cover flap end piece of a typical bucket-top style cover flap. Therefore, to open the holster cover for insertion or removal of the pistol, the added magazine pouch integral cover flap had to be opened first, a very unusual configuration.

The prior fitting of a magazine pouch is verified by four holes on the top of the cover flap, two at each end where four rivets were used to attach the spare magazine pouch. This made for a very inconvenient arrangement, which is the most likely reason for its removal. Additionally, there is no doubt that there was a magazine pouch attached to the top of the holster, and not just four added holes, as evidenced by the impression left of the washers used on the plain cover flap underside rivet attachments. The method of securing the aluminum stud to the holster body spine for the added magazine pouch cover flap is unique, since the aluminum stud was located on the holster body spine stitched seam. In order to grip both the front and rear leather sides, it was necessary to use a larger diameter leather circular washer in addition to a standard metal washer to keep the seam together so it would not split or separate. One other minor modification noted is some later added reinforcing stitching to the rather long vertical slit in the holster flap pull-down strap.

The extreme rarity of this early style model 1900 Swiss Ordinance holster is demonstrated by the fact that since 1975 there are only three published examples.

  1. The original configuration identical holster, maker unknown, is pictured in three publications:
  2. The second example pictured in another obscure but significant 1978 Swiss publication entitled Faustfeuerwaffen der Eidgenossen by the late Horst Rutsch.
  3. The third example is also pictured in the 1978 Swiss publication entitled Faustfeuerwaffen der Eidgenossen by the late Horst Rutsch.

    Both the second and third examples are pictured on page 198, one showing the front and the other showing the rear of the holster. Rutsch describes both holsters erroneously as being the "Second Model" with the non-contoured cover flap and the bucket flap as the "First Model." Whereas Christian Reinhardt describes the non-contoured cover flap as the "First Holster, Type A," which is correct based on observations in style and chronology. Rutsch also states that he obtained both holsters with two and three-digit Ordonnanzpistole 1900, serial numbers 70 and 389. With the LOB collection, the 19 (02) dated F.R. Frick –Bern holster with a 1035 serial number under the bucket-top style cover flap, strongly suggests the first style type A holsters were used exclusively with the first 1901 contract Swiss pistol deliveries below serial number 1000. By 1902 or possibly 1901 (no 01 dated bucket cover flap holster has been identified), the second variation type A holster with the bucket-top style cover flap, shown below, was in use.

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The source of the type A and type B terminology definition of Swiss Ordonnanzpistole 1900 and 1906 holsters or Futterales is not known but can be still used with some expansions/clarifications. The type A can be separated in two variations with the subject 1901 dated example as variation 1 with the following characteristics or features:

  1. Plain non-bucket-top style cover flap with the makers name and Swiss inspection or inventory stamp on the front of the holster and with twin belt loops attached to the back side by stitching. This variation has only been observed with 19 (01) date stamps.
  2. The balance of the type A holster variations are dated 1902 through 1905 and are distinguished solely by the introduction of the bucket-top style cover flap and the relocation of the leather makers stamp to the holster rear between the belt loops and the relocation of the Swiss Federal inspection cross and letter to the inside surface of the cover flap. This leaves the short-lived first variation type A Swiss Luger holster a rare Swiss Luger accessory.

The only apparent significant change to warrant the type B designation for the holster or Futteral used with the Swiss Ordonnanzpistole 1900 and 1906, is the method of attaching the twin belt loops with a combination of rivets and stitching, first seen on holsters dated 1906 and later. Also, the leather used for the type A holsters 1901 through 1905 changed from a nominal 2.25 mm thickness to a thicker 2.5 – 3.25 mm leather. The 2.25 mm thick leather holster weights 154 grams or 5.4 ounces, making for a rather frail holsterand the thicker leather holster resulted in a heavier holster weight of 170 grams or 6.0 ounces and subsequently sturdier for type B 1906 and later holsters.

Regarding the added spare magazine pouch to the top of the cover flap, its introduction seems to be haphazard in nature. It is observed on a random basis throughout the manufacturing range, most certainly an add-on feature or retrofit, starting with the first type A, variation 1 retrofit featured herein. The pouch is randomly observed on type A, variations 1 and 2 and type B Swiss holsters into the 1930s. There are occasional different Swiss holster type A and B variations noted, but they almost always fall into the categories described. As to what came first, the holster cover flap mounted spare magazine pouch or the rainproof bucket-style cover flap is an interesting thought. The subject holster added magazine pouch would appear to be a retrofit, since it required relocation of the right side "D" ring. Or it could be a first attempt to add a magazine pouch that didn’t work well, which resulted in the introduction of the rainproof bucket-style cover flap.

It could well be the first attempt to add a magazine pouch as members of the Swiss test commission in 1899 were concerned, early on, about how to carry a spare magazine. This was expressed in a May 1899 meeting with Georg Luger who was asked "to submit a proposal for the placement of a reserve clip." Minutes of the meeting stated: With regard to storing the clip Mr. Luger mentioned that it could be carried in a pocket.2

It seems that in either scenario the added spare magazine pouch was a retrofit operation, as the rainproof bucket-style cover flap Swiss Ordinance holsters can be found with or without a spare magazine pouch. The first instance of a Swiss ordinance holster being manufactured with a spare magazine pouch, on the holster body spine, is the 06/29 Swiss Ordinance holster (shown below).

Mouse over to see rear of holster.