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'''Futrola M-70'''
 
'''Futrola M-70'''
   
Apart from mentioned coated (brown) and non-coated (yellowsh) variants, the original M-57 holster received two of its smaller but more or less the same versions. First one appeared in 1970, when Yugoslavian Milityisa officially switched from CZ M-57 to the new, lighter, more compact and much weaker pistol designated as [[Wikipedia:Zastava M70 (pistol)|CZ M-70]], (in design loosely based on Italian [[Wikipedia:Beretta 70|Beretta 70]] and using the same [[Wikipedia:.32 ACP|7,65x17mm]] round, but again retaining almost all mechanisms of TT/M-57).
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[[File:M-70_holster.jpg|thumb|300px|Standard-issue Yugoslavian [[Wikipedia:Militsiya|Militsiya]] holster for their [[Wikipedia:Zastava M70 (pistol)|CZ M-70]] pistol (literally just a scaled-down version of the original M-57 holster), covered with brownish leather coating in order to match their [[Oficirski opasač sa uprtačem|belt]] (a same type also used by [[Wikipedia:Yugoslav People's Army|Army]]'s NCOs and officers).]]Apart from mentioned coated (brown) and non-coated (yellowsh) variants, the original M-57 holster received two of its smaller but more or less the same versions. First one appeared in 1970, when Yugoslavian Milityisa officially switched from CZ M-57 to the new, lighter, more compact and much weaker pistol designated as [[Wikipedia:Zastava M70 (pistol)|CZ M-70]], (in design loosely based on Italian [[Wikipedia:Beretta 70|Beretta 70]] and using the same [[Wikipedia:.32 ACP|7,65x17mm]] round, but again retaining almost all mechanisms of TT/M-57).
   
 
That holster, now colloquially designated simply as ''Futrola M-70'' (Holster Model 1970) was only 17x13cm in size (length & width) compared to the original M-57 holster, which was 22x16cm. So as mentioned above, apart from their sole dimensions, both holsters were of literally same design even in smallest possible details, which makes M-70's holster just a scaled down version of the original M-57's one.
 
That holster, now colloquially designated simply as ''Futrola M-70'' (Holster Model 1970) was only 17x13cm in size (length & width) compared to the original M-57 holster, which was 22x16cm. So as mentioned above, apart from their sole dimensions, both holsters were of literally same design even in smallest possible details, which makes M-70's holster just a scaled down version of the original M-57's one.

Revision as of 09:28, July 3, 2020

The Futrola M-57 (Holster Model 1957) was a pistol/handgun holster of Yugoslavian origin. As its designation clearly points, it was designed and firstly issued in 1957 (to members and personnel of both Yugoslavian People's Army as well as Militsyia), when SFRY finally started to produce their first pistol, the CZ M-57 (Crvena Zastava Model 1957), which was, however, only a clone of famous Soviet TT (Tulskij Tokareva), in USSR officially discontinued from production and phased out of service from Soviet army several years earlier - back in 1951, when they introduced and adopted the new, PM (Pistolet Makarova) along with the new 9x18mm round.

So, the YPA actually remained and ended as the sole European country which used TT based pistol during the entire Cold war era, since all other Eastern bloc countries which were under USSR control, replaced it already during 1960s (or 1980s at the latest, like ČSSR), which was mainly due to caliber standardization of Warsaw pact (a pact of which SFRY was never a part of, which meant that it could freely use that caliber along with its pistol and the holster until the very end).

Exactly due to above mentioned, the M-57 holster was produced as far as 1990s, that is, for almost 40 years and until the very end of SFRY and YPA along with it, probably making it one of the longest produced and used pistol holsters in history of handguns and sidearms. However, despite the fact that the CZ M-57 is still being produced today, (exclusively for civilian markets though), along with its 9x19mm variants, the CZ M-70 and M-88, their original holsters were neverthless discontinued from production back in late 1990s, primarly due to being morally obsolete and nothing else practical and are replaced with modern, cheaper and easier to manufacture but much less durable synthetic holsters, mostly made out of canvas.

Overview

As many other leather made pieces of YPA equipment (like their boots and belts) M-57 holster was exclusively made from pieces of pure and highly durable genuine (calfskin) leather linked together via sewing, which ensured its outstanding quality and durability (many of those holsters found today are more than half a century years old but are most often still in almost completely preserved/factory condition). Insides were made out of brushed leather instead of smooth, as found externally.

The holster was either made out of bare (non-coated) or covered (coated) leather and the two types can be very easily distinguished from each other, since the bare leather models are of yellowish color, while the coated ones appear much darker, due to being covered with brownish coating - literally the same configurations found in YPA's combat harness for both conscripts and officers, for which this holster was after all, directly indended as their standard accessory.

However, although the bare (non coated) variants did exist, as mentioned (and were also relatively common, but not as nearly as common as the brownish, coated ones) and by that, the conclude would be that they were so intended for mentioned conscript's harness, no other than officers and NCO's actually had right to carry a sidearm (pistol) by YPA regulations and no conscript in YPA was ever seen carrying a pistol holster, so it is not really clear why many of holsters were produced in such non-coated leather configuration, like they were exactly being intended for non-coated conscript's harness. It could be that some of manufacturing places simply did not feature propper coating process available, which was actually a common issue with SFRY clothing industry in general, which lagged behing most of Europe in many ways (mainly due to relying almost completely on simple handcrafting instead of automatized production and finishing process done by machines, as found almost elswhere in Europe).

In design, the holster is a closed type which overlaps from above and is buckled on a single piece, simply by pressing it over a brass made knob, which was a common configuration found many types of YPA equipment (the mentioned officer's belt and well as magazine pouches for both automatic rifle and submachine gun). Although that insures very easy buckling as well as unbuckling in needed situations, it could also sometimes accidentally unbuckle (especially in occassions when hole on buckling piece widens itself over years from constant buckling/unbuckling), making the holster somewhat unpopular for some users, despite its durable material and high quality of manufacturing.

The front side of the holster always featured a pocket for reserve magazine sewn onto it, which was intended to take a slightly longer magazine of CZ M-57 (since the original TT featured a slightly shorter grip and due to that, an eight round magazine compared to nine rounds in M-57.) The rear side always featured wide belt loop sewn (and reinforced via twin metallic nails) in order to be pull through the standard and already mentioned combat belt, either officer's (also Militsiya's) or conscript's model. Earlier variants featured two classic D-rings as well as one hook sewn onto its back side, which were intended for vintage style of carring – either with those two rings attached onto two short sized vertical straps which are then pulled through the belt themselves, or alternatively, with the hook linked onto the diagonal strap of belt (the very rare type which featured only D-ring on one end instead of usual belt loop on both) Due to standardization of uniforms and appearance this elements were left out in later holster examples.

Also, despite the fact that it was a holster for a TT pistol (the CZ M-57), this holster was actually not a copy of the original Soviet TT holster by any means (from material to its sole design, in contrast to the sole pistol for which it was intended for), so on the one hand, it can be refferred to as being an original design. However, it is still roughly similar to another then already existing holster - the Czechoslovakian (Pouzdro vz. 52), which was actually not made for a TT (since ČSSR never used it), but for their own domestically designed and produced pistol, the ČZ-52 (or vz. 52, by official military designation of ČSLA, the Czechoslovakian People's army), which also used TT's caliber and which was adopted by both ČSLA and well as VB (Czechoslovakian Militsiya) five years before YPA firstly adopted their CZ M-57.

It can be thus stated that the M-57 holster was undoubtely based on and visually inspired by the mentioned ČZ-52's one, which does not surprise, since YPA was taking influence from ČSLA in many occassions, their boots being a prime example of such, by being directly based on Czechoslovakian vz. 60 model.

As all other pieces of YPA leather clothing, the holster was produced mostly in three biggest Yugoslavian leather clothing industries, Sloboda (Freedom) from town of Čačak in SRS (Socialist Republic of Serbia), Sloga (Unity) from town of Tešanj in SRBIH (Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and in Zvezda (Star) from Yugoslavian captial of Belgrade.

It was officially (formally) used only by NCO's and officers of the Army as well as by personnel of Militsiya from introduction of the pistol in 1957, until the very end and breakup of the country in 1991. After that however, this holster was continued to be informally but still extensively used by literally all conflicting sides involved in Yugoslavian wars, that is, by almost any individual which used CZ M-57 pistol due to which the holster is still common and easy to find, even outside ex-SFRY.

Variants

Futrola M-70

M-70 holster

Standard-issue Yugoslavian Militsiya holster for their CZ M-70 pistol (literally just a scaled-down version of the original M-57 holster), covered with brownish leather coating in order to match their belt (a same type also used by Army's NCOs and officers).

Apart from mentioned coated (brown) and non-coated (yellowsh) variants, the original M-57 holster received two of its smaller but more or less the same versions. First one appeared in 1970, when Yugoslavian Milityisa officially switched from CZ M-57 to the new, lighter, more compact and much weaker pistol designated as CZ M-70, (in design loosely based on Italian Beretta 70 and using the same 7,65x17mm round, but again retaining almost all mechanisms of TT/M-57).

That holster, now colloquially designated simply as Futrola M-70 (Holster Model 1970) was only 17x13cm in size (length & width) compared to the original M-57 holster, which was 22x16cm. So as mentioned above, apart from their sole dimensions, both holsters were of literally same design even in smallest possible details, which makes M-70's holster just a scaled down version of the original M-57's one.

Futrola M-88

Second version, which appeared in 1988, was designed for the new, CZ M-88 pistol (again a copy of Soviet TT, but now just a scaled-down version rechambered to take the Western, 9x19mm round) and was now intended for both Army and Militsiya to replace their current and standard issue sidearms (CZ M-57 in Army and CZ M-70 in Militsiya).

Army's radical modernization program starting from late 1980s, among other things (like new camouflage pattern uniforms, kevlar helmets and varions new weaponry) also decided to introduce new calibers and firearms for its infantry arsenal. In terms of rifles, they wanted to switch from Soviet 7,62x39mm M-43/67 (M-70 rifle and M-72 light machine gun) to Western and standard NATO 5,56x45mm (newly proposed CZ M-80/90 rifle and M-85 carbine). In terms of sidearms, from also Soviet 7,62x25mm round (despite its certain advantages of over most other short/pistol cartrdges, like high penetration, range and accuracy) to also Western and larger, less accurate but more powerfu, 9x19mm round which was also a standard NATO caliber for sidearms (as another socialist country which naturally followed Eastern bloc's practices much more than Western, they would have surely rather adopt the standard Soviet 5,45x39mm and 9x18mm round rather than Western ones, however SFRY could simply not obtain a license to produce those since they were not a Warsaw pact member, which is the only real reason why they found the alternative in Western calibers, since those did not have strictly specified users like the Warsaw pact had).

Militsiya on the other hand, decided to replace its CZ M-70 simply due to its poor range as well as stopping power. The new holster (known as Futrola M-88) deigned specifically for CZ M-88 was not just a scaled-down version of M-57's holster like previous M-70, but was slighty redesigned, although retaining genuine calfskin leather materials, buckling and frontal magazine pocket.

However, due to soon breakup of the country, war and dissolvment of its Army and Militsiya, entire modernisation programs collapsed, the CZ M-88 pistol being among those. Exactly due to that, the pistol remained very rare in SFRY and later and it never managed even to slightly replace the M-57 and M-70 pistols in both Army and Militsiya. Although today it is still being produced and widely exported to civilian markets, (mainly US), its orginal leather holster was not produced after breakup of the country, which is exactly why it is nowadays extremely rare (even in ex-SFRY territory), while the M-57 and M-70 holsters are very common, even outside former Yugoslavia.

Also, while the original M-57 holster was produced in non-coated/bare leather variants, the newer M-70 and M-88 holsters were never seen in such manufacturing, but only in standard dark brown/coated variants, which is due to the fact that Militsiya used only those brownish belts (as mentioned before, YPA NCO's and officers literally shared one and the same type of harness with members of Yugoslavian Militsiya; both vearing a Sam Browne style darker, coated belts). This also again opens the question whether those non-coated/yellowish variants of M-57 holster were then really intended for YPA conscripts (which used yellowish belts with triple straps), despite the fact that they never had right to carry a sidearm and they never formally carried it.

Apart from standard Army and Militsiya brown or yellowish variants, all three holster types also existed in white configuration (covered with white coating), which were intended exclusively for Army's Military police (Vojna policija) and Militsiya's traffic control (Saobraćajna milicija) to be used on their white belts.

Gallery

To be expanded!

References

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