Classic Designs — Steeped In Heritage

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Mike “Doc” Barranti

By Roy Huntington

In a 1967 article entitled “Hide For Your Handgun,” gun’riter extraordinaire and all-around pistolero Skeeter Skelton said: “My holster maker is as important to me as my doctor.” I can’t say I disagree there. It also seems Jeff “Tank” Hoover, an old buddy of leather maker Mike Barranti and a student of sixguns, agrees. He started calling Mike Bararanti “Doc” some time ago.

“That name stuck tighter than one of Doc’s stitches,” Tank told me, laughing. “But don’t let him try to stitch you up! He ain’t that kind of doc!”

Doc is steeped in his love of the old west and the history of old gunleather as carried by icons like Keith, Skeeter, Bill Jordan, Taffin and others. It shows in his work, his ethics, the way he treats customers and his sheer passion for the historical record old gun leather leaves in its wake.

From Doc’s website: “I consider myself blessed in that I am able to pursue a career working with things that have long been a passion of mine — Sixguns and Gunleather. It has been nearly a lifelong dream, and I consider it a privilege and honor to be able to create functional works of gunleather art. I could not do this without the constant support of my friends and family, not to mention the many valued customers who have chosen Barranti Leather for their gunleather needs.”

I’d say Doc is family to us, wouldn’t you?

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The Razorback (left, with a Tussey Custom engraved 1911) and 2DMC (right) are
fairly modern in design but retain a hold on history and classic looks. The
“Northwest Mountain Companion” (center, with a Ruger Bearcat sticking out)
is a light-weight, comfortable cross-draw field holster.

Old School

There’s nothing politically correct about Doc’s Threepersons design. Named after legendary lawman Tom Threepersons (who designed the original), it’s a gunfighter’s holster, pure and simple. It has a hammer thong to secure your gun (or an optional strap), but the exposed trigger guard and high rise/butt forward design is there for a reason — a fast draw. In those early days, bad men tended toward gun-play right off, so a lawman usually didn’t keep his sixgun snapped in. Made for single actions or DA sixguns, they still work great for concealed carry if you have the right attitude about it.

Doc’s “Northwest Mountain Companion” is a slick cross draw made for about any handgun. A near perfect field rig, the cross draw keeps things tucked out of the way but still at hand. The loop serves to keep the gun snug and the covered trigger guard keeps things safe in the brush or on the trail. The one shown was made for the little Ruger 3″ barrel Bearcat Shopkeeper, but my 4″ model fits fine with a bit of barrel sticking out to keep things retro! I may need to cut that barrel down though to make a really tidy loafing gun.

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The High Country Companion.

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Threepersons rigs are classic but still up to date. A gunfighter’s rig,
without apology. Turnbull SAA on left, Bowen custom S&W Model 25 in
.45 Colt on right. Grips

Modern?

Doc embraces more modern designs with the 2DMC (IWB rough-out rig for the GLOCK — but made for other models), and the Razorback. The “reverse welt” in front of the Razorback makes a natural sight channel and is a great field, concealed carry or range rig, made for 1911’s only.

The High Country Companion is a simple but comfortable field holster, doing away with complicated D-rings and associated chest straps. It goes over your “off” shoulder and rides comfortably just in front of the opposite armpit/chest area. It’s for sixguns of all sorts and autos, but isn’t a concealed carry “shoulder” rig, so keep that in mind.

Doc is a true custom leather maker so you can get special order goodies, along with other holster fits and designs. Doc makes just about anything you can imagine out of leather (boxes, slings, knife sheaths, rifle cases — you name it) so you’re only limited by your imagination, which might be scary to contemplate. It’s best to go to his website to see what he can do.

Good leather and good craftsmanship go hand-in-hand with history and lore. Doc’s got a handle on all of it.

For more info: Ph: (412) 860-4804.

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