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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
II. The Model 1922 and Model 1932 Nagant Holsters

Here is part II of the holster post. It covers the Soviet Nagant holsters from the 1922 specification into The Great Patriotic War. The Soviet holsters for the Nagant were produced by various factories to a specification. Production from the different factories seems to differ slightly in execution of that specification. This makes it difficult to exactly date different pieces. Much of what I will post here is guess work based on examples seen over the years and the pieces in my collection.

Soviet Nagant holster basics
There are 2 basic varieties of closure straps; spear point and angle point. The spear point seems to be earlier. It is found on many Imperial holsters and 1922s and what appear to be early 1932s. The spear point is a nice tapered point while the angle point is a simple 90 degree cut.

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Spear point closure strap and angle point closure strap free ends

The way the spear point closure strap is usually sewn to the back of the holster without a rivet and with a nice angle point.

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The angle point closure strap is usually sewn to the back of the holster and sometimes riveted as well. The sewn end is usually terminated with a flat cut

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The sewn end of the angle point closure strap.

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The reason rivets were used

Holsters are also found with sewn only suspension straps and riveted straps. The combination holster suspension system can be used with a belt as well as with a shoulder strap. The two holsters shown below can be used on a waist belt.
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Belt only attachment and combination attachment missing the hanger straps. Notice the rivets at the upper end of the suspension straps. Sometimes these are simple sewn in place. When used on a belt additional support straps could be used.

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A Combination suspension with straps and a strap only holster. Note the rivets reinforcing the suspension straps at the holster body on the combination holster.


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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Pattern 1922 Holsters

Pattern 1922 holsters
In 1922 a new model of holster for the Nagant revolver was introduced for the RKKA.
It still retained the leather plug in barrel tube and made the 14 round divided cartridge pouch standard. It seems to have been made primarily for carrying with a shoulder strap going over the left shoulder, but it was also made for carrying on a waist belt.

Unlike early Imperial holsters, the Nagant holsters for the 1922 specification were made of two major pieces of leather, one for the body of the holster and a second sewn on the back of the body to make the covering flap. Shown below is a diagram of the pieces used to make the 1922 specification holster. Note also that the holster now has a divided cartridge pocket to carry 14 rounds.

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From one of the Russian boards

This model holster was carried with a shoulder strap over the left shoulder, on a belt or it could have a combination system. The shoulder strap only system has the disadvantagethat if the strap broke or tore off of the holster body, there was no way to carry your revolver! Later holsters had a rivet where the combination suspension straps attached to keep the stitching from ripping out.

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Part of the 1922 specification From Vadim Voskoboinikov (Вадим Воскобойников)

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A pattern 1922 with carrying straps only. There was no provision to attach this model to a waist belt. The closure strap on this holster has the right angle point on the free end of the flap closure strap.

Shown below is an early pattern 1922 Nagant holster. Note the spear pointed style closure strap left over from the pattern 1912 holsters.

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Early Pattern 1922 holster

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The suspension straps from this one have been lost. Note the location of the rivets holding the straps in the holster body.

As well as being made for carrying on a strap, the pattern 1922 was made so that it could be carried on a belt. The design of the belt carried holster also allowed the holster to be carried on a shoulder strap by attaching an optional strap.

Another early pattern 1922 holster. This one looks to have been originally made for combination attachment. Note the spear point closure strap and pointed attachment point and the location of the rivets reinforcing the suspension straps.

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The rivets reinforcing the suspension straps are unusually high and the ‘D’ rings are not riveted at the top of the strap. These reinforcing rivets were probably added after the holster was made.

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Detail of the cartridge pocket on the holster body. They are now divided to hold two rows of cartridges
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Detail of the barrel tube plug that is the principle difference between the 1922 and 1932 models.

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A red leather M1922. The straps have been replaced or altered to make it possible to carry the holster on a belt. The rivet holes do not go through the holster body.
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The barrel tube plug


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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Pattern 1932 holsters

The 1932 model holsters were a re-engineering of the earlier 1922 pattern holsters. The most obvious difference is the loss of the plug for the barrel tube. It was simpler to sew the folded body together at the bottom and allow the leather to stretch to accommodate the revolver. They seem to have rivets at the strap hangers to reinforce the suspension straps

Shown below is an early 1932 combination holster. Note the spear point flap closure strap and the lack of a rivet securing it on the backside of the holster. This holster also has no rivets at the top of the suspension straps.

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An early pattern 1932

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Shown here is an early 1932 officer’s rig. Note the straps to support the holster are removable from the ‘D’ rings on the top of the suspension loops. This holster has the rivets at the top of the suspension straps, but still has a spear point flap closure strap. From Vadim Voskoboinikov.

Shown below are some a belt only M1932s
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The brass cleaning rod is still correct for this holster. Note that the suspension loops are not reinforced with rivets.

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Detail of the divided pocket on a model 1932

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This one shows a slightly different type of belt attachment system reinforced with rivets

On 28 September 1937 the NKVD ordered their command structure, the junior officers corps, and ranks that the revolver was to be carried in a holster on a strap across the left shoulder. It is unknown if this meant that the strap was a support for a holster on a belt or a holster on a strap. The Nagant holsters of this period, from about 1937-1943 are made of fairly thin leather and usually a light brown color, pebbled or smooth. Many are found with the hanger straps missing. The leather is the identifier for this model but they are fairly uniform having reinforcing rivets on the attachment points to he holster body and the ‘D’ ring loops. When the shoulder strap is present they are similar to the configuration of the 1922 shoulder strap, but are permanently attached to the ‘D’ rings rather than being sewn directly to the holster body. The flap closure strap doesn’t have a rivet.

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Pebbled thin brown leather – 1941 w/ straps

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An early Early 40’s combination suspension without a shoulder strap.

Continued ...

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Cossack Holster
An unusual configuration is the holsters used by Cossack troops. This is a standard pattern 1932 holster cut down to allow easier access to the revolver.

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A picture of a Cossack fighting with the Germans in WWII. Look at the holster he is using.

Misc 1932s
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A pattern 1932 modified to be carried on a waist belt. The stitching and rivet holes are still visible on the holster body.

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An early and well used 1932. This one has the spear point closure strap, but has the reinforcing rivets on the ‘D’ ring end of the suspension straps.

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A repaired pattern1932. The straps are obviously not original and have square ‘D’ rings.

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The pocket is an odd shape and shows non-original stitching .

And last, an unusual 1932

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This 1932 has sewn on suspension straps, but has rivets on the ‘D’ ring end of the suspension straps.

This last Soviet holster is not a pattern 1932 but it came with a 1935 dated .22 caliber Nagant-Smirnskii revolver.
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Holster for a .22 caliber Nagant.

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The 1935 dated .22 revolver and its holster.

Continued ...

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Other holsters are sometimes seen with the Nagant. Examples are the holster for the French 1892 Lebel revolver and Finnish holsters. The Label holster is a perfect fit and more than one Nagant has been carried in this type of holster.

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A 1892 Lebel holster
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A holster for a French 1892 Lebel used for a Nagant.

Shown below is a Finnish holster for the Nagant.

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A Finnish holster for a Nagant revolver

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Finnish holster showing the cartridge pouch.

Next Part III the Universal holsters

· Silver Bullet member
299 Posts
The two posts so far are very interesting. From the first one I discovered my East German Tokarev holster is really a universal holster. This one may resolve my question about my leather Nagant holster. I obtained one of these old leather Nagant holsters from a guy in Finland so I could have something other than the usual synthetic holster for one of my Nagants. I've been trying to figure when this holster was made, and maybe you can can help with this.

The holster shows only slight signs of use, mostly signs of age (some minor leather shrinkage and dryness, although not too bad) and storage. The cartridge pouch appears to never have held a cartridge (no marks at all on either side of the divider inside), and the inside of the holster shows only slight evidence of holding a gun (the leather is still rough and thready with only a few indentations or rubbed areas from a gun -- and some of these are from my Nagant, although there were already a few marks when I got the holster). Even the rear of the holster flap shows almost no creasing from being repeatedly opened and closed. Whatever its history, this is a little used and long stored holster.

The holster is plain (smooth) brown leather, with a shoulder strap. It is made of fairly thick leather (3mm, except for the cartridge pouch flap, which is 2mm). It has an angle point closure strap, sewn to the back with no rivet, ending in a flat cut. The suspension strap is sewn and riveted. The closure strap for the cartridge pouch has a rounded squared end. There is no barrel plug.

The holster has indented lines just inside (2mm) the edge along the edges of the holster flap, the cartridge case flap, the holster and cartridge flap closure straps (except the angle point cuts across this), and the two parts to the shoulder strap. It even appears on the movable strap retainer for the shoulder strap. Where there is stitching, it is on this indented line.

There is another indented line starting at the lower bore cleaning tool retainer, and curving up, more or less following the curve of the sewn edge of the holster, until it disappears under the rear part of the cartridge pouch. This does not appear decorative (too irregular), but more like someone was drawing a line in the leather before the holster was assembled, and then abandoned it. It more-or-less traces the outline of a Nagant inside the holster, but appears freehand.

Along the back of the holster, just inside the stitching, there are clear tool marks, apparently of a toothed wheel. Probably this is from the sewing machine or another tool used to hold the leather tightly together while it was sewn.

There are several marks stamped in ink on the unfinished side of the leather.

On the front shoulder strap, about an inch above the rivet, there is a "3" -- clearly a number.

Near the front of the holster flap, about .5 inch above where the flap is sewn to the holster, is a "0" (zero) or a capital "O". This character is the same size as the "3".

Inside the holster flap there is a 20mm x 15mm box. Inside, on the top line, are the letters "O.T.K." (or O.T.R.). Below it, in the middle is a large (6mm) "2". In the lower left corner is "41". The lower right corner is harder to make out, but has a roundish mark that, under some light, appears to be something like "1/2" or "VB".

Inside the cartridge pouch flap is a similar 20mm x 15mm box, although less clearly stamped. Inside the box, at the top, is "(unclear character).T.K." (or R.). In the middle of the box is a large (6mm) "21". In the lower left corner is "41". The lower right corner is missing.

So, based on the information in your postings, perhaps this is a 1932 pattern holster made in 1941? We can imagine all sorts of reasons for it ending up in Finland.

Another question -- how were these worn? The shoulder strap is fairly short, even at its longest setting. My guess is that the strap was supposed to go under the belt near the holster, to keep the holster secure (hard to use if it is swinging around!). While Russian soldiers were generally shorter back then, their uniforms (especially cold weather uniforms) could be bulky, and not all Russian soldiers were short or small. It is hard to see how this holster would work well worn crosschest. Was it worn on one shoulder, the strap under the epaulet, and the holster straight down, held to the body by the belt? Or was there an extension piece for the shoulder strap, allowing it to be worn crosschest by larger soldiers?

On me, in shirtsleeves, with the strap at the longest setting, wearing this crosschest is halfway to making it a shoulder holster -- with nothing to restrain the holster from moving around. Add bulky WWII cold weather clothing (or even bulky 2008 winter clothing) and soldiers would have to be pretty short to use this crosschest, even on the longest setting.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Can you post pictures of it? That would make identification easier and more certain. It sounds like the holsters made from 1937 to about 1943. Look at the picture in frame #3 of this post and see if the strap arangement is similar. If the straps are sewn directly on to the holster body then it is earlier. Pictures would really help.


· Gold Bullet member
13,284 Posts

Great job! Thanks for posting!

· Silver Bullet member
299 Posts
Here are some photos. I did some photoediting to try and make the stamps easier to see -- with a good light, they are much clearer in reality than in the photos.

Front view:

Rear view:

Photos of the two "O.T.K." (or O.T.R.) stamps, the "3" stamped on the shoulder strap, and the holster flap closure strap attachment & shoulder strap rivet are also attached.


Can you post pictures of it? That would make identification easier and more certain. It sounds like the holsters made from 1937 to about 1943. Look at the picture in frame #3 of this post and see if the strap arangement is similar. If the straps are sewn directly on to the holster body then it is earlier. Pictures would really help.


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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
The 41 is probably the manufaturing date. Especially if it is followed by what would look like a small letter 'r' (really a Russian small 'g' for the word for year in Russian). This is the same as the early pattern 1932. The total strap length should be about 1 1/2 meter or almost 60 inches. I will dig out one of my straped holster and see how long that really is. The OTK marks are for the quality control office (department of technical control) and the lower line on leather goods mark is usually the date.
The strap was definitely meant to be worn cross chest and over the left shoulder. I agree that they tend to be short. You can see how the holster was worn on this site:

The holster shown is a 1922 pattern, but the strap is the same type. It is definitely under the belt. This site is great for uniform information.

Your holster is the latest one I have seen with this kind of strap. The stitching looks even so the strap is probably original to the holster. It was common to repair holsters by adding on just a strap. The version of shoulder strap holster I usually see out of this period looks like this one:
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Most of these are found in new condition, like they were made and never issued. There were a large number of these that showed up about 10 or 15 years ago.

You have a very nice original holster.


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Hi Joe,

Thanks for the GREAT pictures, You guys have some really nice stuff!

I have to dig out a black leather Nagant holster, I found on line. It looks like new.
I don't thing it has any stamp or ink markings on it.
I bought it for a Nagant with GKO (Supreme General staff 1941 to 45) markings on it.


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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We lost all of the pictures when the VBulletin software was "upgraded". I am currently replacing the pictures in posts, but it takes time and due to the limitations of the new software, the posts have to be completely replaced (only 12 pictures per post vs. 20 in the old version).
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