Founded in 1958 by Southern California police officer John Bianchi, Bianchi Holsters has become a civilian and law enforcement marketplace leader. They produce several excellent holster lines for the following uses:
- Concealed carry
- Duty or law enforcement
- Competitive shooting
- Ballistic nylon line
Interestingly enough, when John Bianchi first started making holsters, he had a business partner named Neale Perkins, who would later leave Bianchi to start the Safariland line. When Bianchi first started, he focused on making off-duty carry holsters for his fellow law enforcement officers. Seeing a viable need for his skills, he started producing holsters commercially. Although Bianchi first focused on leather, they also manufacture holsters from other materials like ballistic nylon and thermoplastics.
In 1983, John Bianchi was approached by the U.S. Department of Defense and asked to submit a design for a new holster that would be used to carry the new pistol that was going to be selected to replace the classic Colt M1911. The DOD laid out several features that they wanted on the new holster design, including wanting it to be ambidextrous, waterproof, have a security strap or flap, protect the pistol from dirt, dust, sand, the elements, etc. Based on the requested features, Bianchi knew that leather would not work as the holster material.
In 1984, Bianchi submitted the UM84 (Universal Military) holster to the military and won the contract. The UM84 was manufactured from ballistic nylon and was one of the first times that this material was used for a gun holster. The US Military would rename the UM84 as the M12, and it would become the main holster for all 4 branches of the US military for the next 25 years. There are still M12 holsters in circulation and use within the different US military branches.
Bianchi would also offer the UM84 for civilians, and the UM84 model is still in production today. The design and testing that Bianchi did during the UM84 testing and trials led Bianchi to introduce the Accumold series of holsters.
Some of their most popular models include the AccuMold nylon line, military M-12 series, and the 5BH and 5BHL models for concealed carry.
John Bianchi ended up selling the Bianchi company in 1987 and retired from the business in 1992. In 1994, Bianchi came out of retirement and started a Bianchi Frontier Gunleather company that specialized in western and cowboy action gun leather. In April of 2001, John Bianchi passed away at his home in California at the age of 89.
In 2004, Bianchi International was purchased by the Armor Holdings Corporation, which is the parent company of Safariland. The Bianchi brand is still in production under the ownership of Safariland.
Shop here for the best prices on Bianchi holsters.