Bridgeport rig

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Description:
The Bridgeport Rig is a Cowboy action shooting/quick draw or fast draw pistol holder favored by lawmen and outlaws in the late 19th century. Today, the device enjoys cult status among cowboy action shooters and other antique gun enthusiasts.

History

The Bridgeport Rig was patented in 1882 by Louis S. Flatau, sheriff of Camp County, Texas, (requires TIFF viewer).

Flatau envisioned mounting the item on a belt or a saddle. He may have targeted military contracts with this dual-purpose concept; in fact, he approached the army within a few months of receiving his patent.

The U.S. Army tried 500 Flautau “pistol holders” among infantry and cavalry units in the Southwest during 1883. These were fabricated by the Bridgeport Gun Implement Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The Army found Bridgeport Rigs unsuitable because the revolver is not protected from moisture and dirt.

Some of the rejected army rigs entered the civilian market as surplus in later years.

While the Flatau device was dismissed in military circles, it did enjoy limited acceptance among some frontier civilians, particularly peace officers and other professional gunmen who appreciated its speed of access.

The Bridgeport Gun Implement Company may have continued commercial manufacture of the Flatau “pistol holder” into the 1890s, marketing it to western saddlers through various outfitting and supply houses.

Period photographs and scattered references indicate that the...
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