by Cameron Hopkins - Tuesday, September 28, 2010
His stride is confident, his handshake firm. He wears a Western sports jacket and a black bandana caught in a silver bolo instead of a tie. He looks you in the eye and calls you sir because he’s a gentleman, a perfect gentleman. His name is John Bianchi and he’s quite literally a legend in the shooting industry.
John was a California Highway Patrolman who started making holsters in his garage for fellow lawmen. An avid student of the American West, John also built hand-tooled Western rigs as a hobby. In keeping with the American Dream, John’s garage business blossomed into one of the largest and most successful leather holster companies in the world—Bianchi Gunleather.
Today retired from his eponymous business (which was acquired by BAE Systems and is part of their family of police-related companies), John now runs Frontier Gunleather where he offers handmade Western rigs just as he did in his old garage.
John is not only famous for his holster company and its many patents and innovations, particularly in the field of police duty holsters, but also for his collection of Western memorabilia, which is displayed at the Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles. Back in the day, John appeared in ads for the Bianchi company dressed as an Old West gun slinger, complete with black stubble and a steely-eyed stare.
I caught up with John at the recent NRA Annual Meetings and we chatted about his new book.
Read the American Rifleman story John Bianchi: An American Legend, and watch theIndustry Insider video interview withBianchi.
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