When I was first involved with firearms, police guns were my focus.
After all, they were (as discussed here before) the good guys’ tools in popular culture.
(And my fraternal grandfather having been a railroad cop factored in, as well.)
Cops in most of the country back then either mail-ordered or bought holsters and equipment through the ‘police department’ store. (The free market has improved significantly, since those olden days.)
However, those of us in Phoenix could go directly to a retail store and buy stuff!
We went to John’s Uniforms. That where the cops went. How cool was that?
The owner, John T., Jr. (aka Johnny) had been a Phoenix officer for a few years, so he knew the drill. His dad, John T., Sr., had operated a custom shirt business at that same location since the 1940’s.
But Johnny saw a different opportunity. Using his Dad’s shirt business to sell police uniform shirts and equipment. And the business took off.
Before long, in addition to uniforms, they were selling holsters, batons, Sam Browne belts, Mace,
handcuffs, whistles, name tags, flex-ties, blackjacks and ballistic vests.
And me and my gunnie friends bought holsters, speedloaders, police flashlights, handcuffs and leather gear there.
(It’s not in the nicest part of town, but was the safest place to be – at any moment, there would be two, or four, or ten cops in there, armed and shopping. And drinking coffee. And there were always war stories.)
One time, when I was a P.I., I was traveling to a rural part of the State, and was scheduled to interview some potentially nefarious characters.
I approached Johnny, and told him of my assignment, and that I was concerned for my safety, being alone in hostile territory, as it were. He was willing to loan me a ballistic vest to wear during my visit, just as an extra precaution. It turned out not to be necessary. (I did go armed, however.)
Years later, when I had to find a daytime job (I’d been working swing-shift), I approached Johnny and asked if he needed anyone. He said no. I returned home, dejected, and when I did, the telephone was ringing. I answered it. Johnny told me he was considering opening a satellite store – how would I like to be a manager trainee for the satellite store? Of course, I jumped at it.
And I worked there for a year, selling uniforms and equipment to local police, State police, federal agents, Indian police and private security.
Being a gun-guy, I became known as the holster guru.
I learned alot about cops, good ones and bad ones, their foibles and successes, and made some friends along the way.
But, before the satellite store opened, I left John’s Uniforms and went to work as a credit card fraud investigator.
But that’s a story for another day.