Berns Martin Company History

Calhoun City, Mississippi 1909 - 1930s

The Berns Martin Mark found on many holsters simply reflects a style of holster that was developed by The Berns Martin Company of Calhoun, Mississippi but manufactured by many different companies over the years the last of popularity was made by Bianchi.

The Berns Martin is the name was given to a type of break-front holster for a revolver after its development by the Berns Martin Company of Calhoun City, Mississippi.

Notably, the Berns Martin style of break-front holster was used by Ian Fleming's legendary and fictitious James Bond and it was considered the cutting edge of holster design, both hip & shoulder, from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The Berns-Martin was first developed in the 1930s because of a need for a secure holster for large frame revolvers. It was later modified for medium and small frame revolvers as well and adapted to shoulder holsters also. When used in a hip holster, the revolver is drawn by pushing down (slightly) on the revolver grip while rocking the top of the revolver forward through the open front of the holster. While in the holster there is a leather covered steel spring holds the revolver cylinder (and the rest of the revolver) securely in the holster, without regard to what physical movements the wearer might go through.

Between the 1950s and the 1970s, the holster was extremely popular with American law enforcement due to the high level of security provided to the revolver. Because the Berns-Martin can only be used with revolvers (the steel spring will not work on the flat sides and frame of a pistol), and the near universal adoption of semi-automatic pistols by American law enforcement, the Berns-Martin has fallen out of favor since about 1980. Additionally, the muzzle-up configuration of the shoulder holster was inherently dangerous, with the loaded pistol pointing up into the armpit.

Berns Martin makers mark