Copyright 2009 by Jerry Ardolino

I, JERRY ARDOLINO, am the Original trademark owner and Original manufacturer of The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster for the public for the S & W Model 29, 6 ˝” .44 Magnum; a fact well-documented over the last few decades by JERRY AHERN in SOLDIER of FORTUNE, Elmer Keith, in GUNS & AMMO, October, 1978; SKEETER SKELTON in SHOOTING TIMES; BOB ZWIRZ in GUN WORLD, January, 1980; Leroy Thompson in COMBAT HANDGUNS and scores of other notable gun writers. I am the successor to the Bucheimer-Clark Holster Company of California, the J.M. Bucheimer Company and THE CLARK HOLSTER CO. LOS ANGELES, and own the Original Pattern from them used to make the holsters for the films as well as a holster cut from the leather at that time for the films— part of a group of Dirty Harry Holsters that were made for the Prop House that leased the holsters to the production company— one of those holsters I own; a holster which I wore to carry my “backup” S & W Model 29, .44 Magnum when I was a Chicago Cop working the West Side projects and high-crime Lakefront areas of Chicago back in the late-Seventies. That holster hangs on a wall in my office at our headquarters. So, here is a brief History of the Most Famous Holster in The World:

“The holsters that Bucheimer-Clark Holster Company originally made for the films were, requested and ordered by ELLIS MERCANTILE (prop house), later called: ELLIS PROPS & GRAPHICS and now out of business. I, Jerry Ardolino, am also owner of the FIRST die pattern ever made to produce that holster as well as, the ORIGINAL Bucheimer-Clark dies used to make the Harness and all other dies to make that holster for any guns with barrel lengths longer than 5”. They too, hang alongside the Original film/hard-use/working, real-world Original Dirty Harry ® Shoulder Holster, in my office. The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® is still produced by LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS™. Only whereas, I—LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS™ (Sole Proprietor) used to produce it for 744 different handguns; I, now produce at my Wild Guns LEATHER Co. of TEXAS, state-of-the-art factory,The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® for EVERY Handgun, EVERY Caliber, EVERY Barrel Length ever manufactured, in the history of firearms. I do this through the VEX™ Program—which is mentioned in this LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS™ website—a program which, I invented and developed over the last 2 ˝ years. We are the ONLY Holster Company in the world to have this technology. This means that we now can produce a holster for over many thousands of handgun models without dies. Patterns and disposable dies are produced by VEX™. Another company would have to spend a couple of million dollars and wait years for the dies to be made, in order to achieve this.

I have been in the gun and leather goods business since 1975 and produced The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster that was used and screen-worn in the filmThe Enforcer. I have been producing The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY®  for the public since 1977. The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® therefore, has been produced in my own factories or Texas shop as well as in contracted companies, licensed by me; to produce The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster. In 1990,  I terminated the licensing agreement from a company that was producing THE ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster, and have recently, in March, 2011 terminated a licensing agreement with a corporation in Nevada that was producing the holsters.  I have produced, supervised the production of and sold and delivered HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of THE ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster since ORIGINALLY offering it to the public back in 1977. And, I must say, that it has been a pleasure to see the constant interest in THE ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® over the past 35 years. Especially the record-high amounts of money being paid for vintage models: $1000.00.  I now offer a CERTIFICATION SERVICE if someone is thinking of purchasing a vintage model.

For those of you who don’t realize it; The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® was the First Shoulder Holster ever made on a production basis for handguns with barrel lengths greater than 6 ˝”. That was my doing. There is a lot to the story of the holster. To write a complete and detailed history would take up many pages of this site. So, I’ll condense the events. I shall now separate the fact from fiction, the urban myths from truth and the counterfiets from the real thing; time for a history, so here is the Real HISTORY of THE ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY®:

*The beginnings of The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster is well documented in the later chapters of my book, EXTREME COP:CHICAGO PD, by JERRY ARDOLINO, 2006, Xlibris and Big City Crime Publishing, Library of Congress Catalog # 2006909745.

Bucheimer-Clark started as the Clark Holster Company of California. They made the Shoulder Holster for a variety of revolvers (No semi-Autos) in barrel lengths up to 5” ONLY. Bucheimer-Clark was acquired as a division of J.M. Buchheimer, a company that had been around since the 1880s. The holsters were use in other films in the sixties. And the holster was used by LAPD cops and California private eyes for years.

Many people do not realize that of the group of Dirty Harry Holsters that were made for the Prop House that supplied the Production Company, a couple were for a 5" barrelled S&W "N" Frame (with an old-style tension screw that had long been eliminated due to functional problems); the holster used in the original film Dirty Harry was actually one of those 5" models,not the proper 6.5" models that were supplied. This can be seen in certain shots in the first film where the face of the cylinder sits midway in the cylinder cut-out. I acquired exclusive rights to the 6 ˝” Model 29, proper Holster— with the tighter spring and wide "Cobra-Shaped" holster retention strap— along with some design improvements I made as well as other models from J.M. Bucheimer in a detailed contract agreement in the late seventies with full rights to the dies as well as acquired the patterns of Bucheimer-Clark and patterns and rights to the Old Clark Holster Co. of Los Angeles. I had the pleasure to work alongside Ed Clark, son of the Clark Company Founder. Ed was in his fifties back then and had been making holsters since the forties when he was a kid. It was Ed who hand-cut the holsters for ELLIS MERCANTILE and the one I own for the films. The FIRST Dies made for the holster were made for me. As I mentioned, I still have them and the original holster my company has duplicates. About the infamous Tension Screw: yes, there was one in the film models and some that had been made for the film didn’t have them. ELLIS MERCANTILE probably chose the ones with the screw because of the gleam or something. Ed Clark had long since eliminated the screws. They served no useful purpose and, in fact, couldn’t possibly adjust tension as they were on the wrong side. But because they couldn’t be put on the opposite side as it was an open side; they were eliminated. Another big reason was the act that the leather washer used around them would wear off; scratching the user’s gun’s sight or top strap. It was strictly cosmetic. And by the way, on the holsters used in the films, the screws showed on the front and the entire affair is nickel, not brass. The production company, in some scenes used the 5" holster with the narrow holster retainer strap for easy-off in the first film. However; the real model was used for carry at times and it has and always had our wide, "Cobra-Shaped" strap as it serves to eliminate swivel of the holster due to the weight of the gun.

The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster which, I, as mentioned before, have been producing for over 3 decades, is made to EXACT specs as the film versions and from the EXACT leather specs and QUALITY level as the first ones made for the Production Company as well as when I introduced them to the shooting public during the 1970's: “Beware of Imitations.” And as far as Cathey Enterprise holsters go; I had licensed them to produce some back in the nineties to catch my overplay; but Cathey produced different unlicenced versions. So, SOME Catheys are real (meaning: officially licensed by me) and some are incorrect as to Specs, material etc.—bootlegged copies. We at LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS™ offer a Certification Service for Vintage ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® holsters. For a nominal charge,
I, the Original Manufacturer for the public, sign a letter on our stationary certifying it or the fact that it is a copy and not real. From looking at copies, then and now, there are gross differences that contribute to poor gun retention, terrible balance and discomfort. Any person always carries a gun more than they use it. So, COMFORT is a HUGE FACTOR in a quality shoulder holster. Our ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Harness does not go under your off-side arm; rather, it meets at our “Y” Strap which, snaps to your belt. You only feel a slight pulling up on the belt at the off-gun side; no tension under your arm, no tension in your back---just total comfort when carrying even the most heavy Big-Bore Handguns with long barrels!

Copies are way off and the strange thing is some newly-made copies are selling for more than the Originals that we, LAWMAN LEATHER GOODS™ Manufacturer make!
URBAN MYTH DESTRUCTION: Myth 1: Contrary to many blogs, the gun in the films was a 6 ˝”, Model 29, .44 Magnum. I know because I have held the real gun used in the film. As far as the scenes where the barrel looks longer, it is because of camera lens distortion. In certain posters. an 8 3/8" barrelled Model 29 was used for effect.So, now you have the real story: The gun in the films was in fact a 6 ˝”. Myth 2:The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® is not just a “movie holster.” It IS and has for over 35 YEARS been a real-world holster for professionals like myself, who carry a gun for a living. That’s “R-E-A-L W-O-R-L-D” as in: Police, Sheriffs, Constables, Licensed Private Detectives, Security Agents, certain Federal Agents, certain Foreign Police, certain US. Navy SEALS, certain Army Rangers, many Force RECON Marines, many British SAS members, many British SBS members, the old Royal Hong Kong Police, Former Prince Ali Ben Nayif of Jordan’s Royal Bodyguard, Japanese undercover Police, French Gigene members, Italian Caribinieri members and German GSG-9 Anti-Terrorist forces troops. YES, we have sold to all of the aforementioned.

The late, Elmer Keith--the greatest, and most honored handgunner of all time--whom, I met on the telephone when I first started selling my ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® out of my apartment in Chicago; was the first of many famous gunwriters, to write about the holster over the last three decades. He was very old at the time and had been a real cowpuncher in Montana. As a kid, he had witnessed gun fights. He was real. I used to enjoy talking to Elmer during our many conversations over the phone whenever I called him at his home in Salmon, Idaho. We would talk about guns, various loads, gun cleaning and of course: holsters. We finally got to meet when I was an invited guest at a GUNS & AMMO luncheon during the 1979 NSGA show in Houston, Texas (see EXTREME COP: CHICAGO PD). That was a great experience. I thanked him for the great write up that he had given the rig in the previous fall issue. We had no ads in the magazine, not even a classified. Yet, Elmer Keith got the rig, loved it and in the October, 1978 issue of Guns & Ammo Magazine, he stated that it was “the most comfortable rig for heavy guns.”

Shooters: this is the real story about the real holster; what the “copy harrys” are not. Now, if you want the Real ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster, get it from the ORIGINALS; made from the REAL HAND SELECTED, HEAVY LEATHER, by the ORIGINAL MAKERS and now made for ANY Handgun in the World.


The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster / The

Now available only through:

Wild Guns Leather Co. of Texas.

Jerry Ardolino {Ex-Lawman/Real Gun Hand} , Sole Proprieter

“Beware of Imitations”


JERRY ARDOLINO---Original Trademark owner: The ORIGINAL DIRTY HARRY® Shoulder Holster; Original Manufacturer and Founder of the Lawman Leather Goods BRAND