Holster Fun: The Pig Hunter

By Andy Anderson
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This close-up clearly shows the wire hanger and the swivel mount. Note the bottom of the full flap “hooks” around the leading edge of the pouch.

Hollywood holster maker Andy Anderson was an early handgun hunter. Naturally he used gun belts and holsters of his own design and manufacture. For handgun hunting he used his Trooper Hook rig. Though cataloged as the Trooper Hook, Anderson personally called it the Pig Hunter as he personally carried his Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum in one for the annual Globe, AZ Javalina Derby, which he sometimes won.

The rare Anderson Gunfighter Holster catalog describes the Trooper Hook: “One thickness top quality cowhide hunting belt and holster. Lower section of belt is reinforced with additional piece of leather with holes for adjustment of holster and wearing of military components such as canteen, first aid kit, etc. Holster features a flap top for complete all-weather protection for that choice hunting weapon of yours. Flap is designed so it will not come un-snapped in the brush. Light in weight and extremely comfortable for long hours in the field. Made in rough-out leather only. This puts smooth leather next to the gun and the wearer. Comes with 18 cartridge loops only. Holster is made to fit all American revolvers with 4" barrels or longer.”

I was fortunate to obtain one of Andy’s personal Pig Hunter rigs from him on one of our visits. Made for his Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum SA revolver with 7.5" barrel, it differs from the cataloged rig by including the optional swivel feature. I’ve seen photographs of a second similar rig marked as Andy’s, with the holster for a long barrel Smith & Wesson N-Frame .41 magnum DA revolver.

The Trooper Hook/Pig Hunter gun belt holds 18 rounds of spare ammunition.

Details

The rig is constructed of top-grade cowhide with the rough side out. I personally prefer rough-out leather for heavy use gun rigs as it shows the wear less. Scratches don’t stand out as they do on the finished side of the leather. With the holster, this also puts the smooth side against the handgun minimizing finish wear.

The holster is a full-flap style, completely enclosing the revolver for protection. The flap attaches to the pouch with a heavy duty snap fastener. The bottom edge of the flap has an enclosed steel band wrapping around the leading edge of the pouch. This prevents the flap from accidentally coming unsnapped while working through heavy brush. Andy’s personal holster has the optional swivel attachment and includes a boot lace tie down to secure it to his leg.

The back side of the holster is neatly stamped “SUPER B.H. 7.5” and “.44 M. 1976.” All Anderson rigs produced during the Bicentennial year have the “1976” marking. The holster attaches securely to the gun belt with a G.I. style wire hanger. Andy formed his own wire hangers using a brazing rod.

The gun belt is Ranger style, 2.5" wide, and is cut on a contour for superior fit and comfort around the hips. The billets are 1.5" wide for a nickel-plated chaps buckle. There are nine .44 caliber cartridge loops on each hip portion. The bottom edge has a 0.75" wide strip of leather, smooth side out, securely stitched in place. The reinforced bottom edge has 23 punched holes, placed 1.25" apart. The holster attaches securely to the belt with the wire hanger passing through the user’s choice of holes, positioning it wherever desired. As the catalog description indicates, one may attach U.S. Army surplus items such as canteen and first aid kit, using the extra holes. Anderson also produced hunting knife sheaths to attach to this style gun belt. The billets, cartridge loops and reinforcing strip are smooth-out leather on the rough-out belt. When finished with neats-foot oil this produces an attractive two-tone finish.

The tip of the belt under the billet is stamped “41.44 ANDY 1976.” The “41.44” indicates a 41” center hole and .44 caliber cartridge loops.

In the mid 1960s legendary fast gun Thell Reed had Andy modify the Trooper Hook holster with a faster access half flap for his Colt .45 Auto pistol. This version was known as the Viet Nam and was popular with many soldiers being sent to Vietnam.

When I handle this special rig I imagine Andy camping in the Arizona desert while hunting for that trophy javelina.

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