History

Summary

Bianchi® is recognized by shooting enthusiasts and professionals as one of the leading designers/manufacturers of innovative, high quality handgun holsters and accessories. The company was started by John Bianchi in 1958, when he was then a full time police officer in Southern California. Over the years, the company grew to worldwide prominence through its innovative holster designs and John's ingenious and sometimes unconventional marketing strategies. Although Bianchi retired several years ago from the company he founded, his mark is left on a wide range of increasingly diversified and unique Bianchi holsters and accessories, available worldwide. Now as then, the Bianchi vision and commitment to innovative product design and handcrafting with the utmost care from the finest materials continue to drive advancements in the marketplace.

Bianchi's primary markets are law enforcement, military and sporting; and its products are sold globally through dealers and distributors.

Bianchi's many patented innovations have aggressively and consistently set the pace in holster technology. It was Bianchi's heritage and tradition in leather holsters and accessories that put the company on the map. Yet, while Bianchi's reputation for exceptional leather products prevails, Bianchi history also includes revolutionary holster design in ballistic weave nylon and other high-performance man-made materials. Bianchi is capable of filling large order requirements on tight schedules, while employing the most advanced production and quality assurance techniques in the industry.

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1960s and 1970s

The company grew out of John Bianchi's desire to create an effective holster that he could wear on duty as a police officer. That was just the start of the many innovations to come. The widely used thumb snap feature included on the original Bianchi Model 5BH/5BHL, as well as the 19/19L series, was first innovated by Bianchi in 1960, and has revolutionized holster designs ever since. During this period Bianchi became the brand of choice for confident performance, reliability and function for law enforcement professionals the world over. One of the early Bianchi patented innovations for law enforcement was the Model 27 "Break Front" holster. Introduced in 1970, the completely superior front opening holster allowed a rapid draw with fluid forward motion, yet its unique design helped to secure the officer's gun against forced removal by an assailant.

America's involvement in Southeast Asia in the 1960s produced the dire requirement for a "civilian advisors" holster capable of comfortably concealing a large frame pistol and revolver. In response, Bianchi developed the revolutionary Model X15 Shoulder Holster, one of the most copied shoulder holster designs. The popularity of the X15® set the stage for Bianchi innovation in concealed carry design, which the company developed into the broadest line of truly innovative, concealment holsters available.

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The Bianchi Cup Invitational Pistol Tournament

This event exemplifies Bianchi International's commitment to supporting shooters and the shooting sports. It was 1979 when John Bianchi founded the Bianchi Cup Invitational International Pistol Tournament and his vision was to see this competition develop into a circuit with the same level of prestige, sponsorship and winnings potential heretofore only given to golf tournaments and the like. Fueled by this desire to add professionalism to this sport, the company developed and managed this world-class tournament for several years until handing it over for continued management to the National Rifle Association in 1985.

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1980s and 1990s

Bianchi released its Ranger™ sporting line of ballistic weave nylon holsters in the early 1980s and they were a hit. It was this innovation and expertise that significantly influenced the entire holster industry, although it would take a few years to catch on. Yet one of the most major contributions to the marketplace was Bianchi's privately researched, funded, and independently developed military holster design. Almost four years of research led to this new synthetic universal military system, adopted by the U.S. Armed Forces in 1984. The Bianchi M12 became the first new holster for the U.S. Armed Forces in nearly 70 years. Today Bianchi continues to be the certain leader for the military with holsters, belts and accessories impervious to jungle humidity, sub-zero arctic cold, relentless desert sun, and the grinding abuse of the battlefield.

On the law enforcement front, the 90s brought further innovations from Bianchi, in its ongoing pursuit to meet the critical issues of weapon retention for the duty holster market. Bianchi developed the progressive Pinch Retention Device™ (PRD), a unique internal retention device designed to enhance handgun retention in both duty and off duty holsters. Then in 1997, Bianchi introduced yet another innovation with its Slide•Lok™ Duty Holster. Providing comprehensive weapon retention, the Slide•Lok™ mechanism allowed the user to select his/her amount of retention, based on the situation at hand. With each new invention Bianchi has maintained its ever-vigilant security and design efforts to ensure standard draw techniques for a smooth draw and instinctive accessibility.

Enter AccuMold® in 1992, where Bianchi made a quantum leap in the field of nylon holster and accessory technology. AccuMold® holsters, accessories and belts continue to be product leaders in the market today. AccuMold® is a Bianchi technology, which featured a patented process of contour molding ballistic weave holsters and accessories for a precise fit of the equipment they are designed to carry. The extensive line of durable Bianchi AccuMold® products now includes a wide variety of concealment, sporting, duty holsters and accessories.

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2000s

Not one to rest on its laurels, Bianchi continued its research and development in the synthetic and security holster arena. In 2001 Bianchi introduced the next industry advancement - AccuMold® Elite™ - a leather-look product that combines the strength and durability of synthetic, yet provides the professional, uniformed appearance of leather required by the uniformed law enforcement community - with half the weight. The company offers AccuMold® Elite™ holsters, accessories and belts.

Bianchi has continued its pursuit for improved retention while retaining a natural and fluid draw. In 2003, a significant advancement was made in weapon retention with Bianchi's LOK™ holsters and the Auto Retention™ concept. Bianchi's Auto Retention™ provides for automatic mechanical retention when the handgun is properly holstered.

Bianchi was acquired by Armor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AH) in December of 2004, a leading manufacturer and distributor of security products and vehicle armor systems serving law enforcement, military, homeland security and commercial markets. Bianchi became part of family of brands that included 18 leading product brands in the law enforcement and sporting markets.
Then, in February 2005, Bianchi introduced its new PatrolTek™ brand of synthetic duty accessories - a line of products for the law enforcement professional that provided important cost savings over premium brands, yet offered a considerable improvement over similarly priced products on the market.

In July of 2007, Armor Holdings sold to BAE Systems in July of 2007. The Bianchi brand was among the 19 different brands that made up the BAE Systems Products Division.  In 2008, to better represent famous brand names such as the Bianchi, the name was changed to Safariland.

In 2008, getting back to its roots in leather holster production, Bianchi introduced the Bianchi Cowboy line.  Developed and used by the world-class shooters of Team Bianchi, this was a line of cowboy gear designed to perform both in and out of the arena. These handmade western rigs, primarily worn by western reenactment enthusiasts and mounted shooters, revisit the handcrafted glory of the Old West. 

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2010 and Today

As an extension to the Bianchi Cowboy line, in 2011 Bianchi partnered with Kenda Lenseigne, a world champion mounted shooter, to introduce the Kenda Lenseigne Signature Series by Bianchi® Cowboy.  Kenda Lenseigne, first ever female Overall World and National Champion and holder of six world records, also shoots for Team Bianchi. A serious competitor, Lenseigne collaborated with the Bianchi designers to develop Developed a specialty line of mounted shooting rigs and gear that bears her signature logo. With great attention to detail in both the look and function of the gear (they’re gorgeous), Lenseigne’s expertise in mounted shooting helped her develop a line that continues to support her record-breaking mounted shooting performance.

Bianchi® Cowboy.  Kenda Lenseigne, first ever female Overall World and National Champion and holder of six world records, also shoots for Team Bianchi. A serious competitor, Lenseigne collaborated with the Bianchi designers to develop Developed a specialty line of mounted shooting rigs and gear that bears her signature logo. With great attention to detail in both the look and function of the gear (they’re gorgeous), Lenseigne’s expertise in mounted shooting helped her develop a line that continues to support her record-breaking mounted shooting performance. 

Continuing its rich heritage and expertise in producing beautiful, quality leather holsters, 2011 also saw the launch of the innovative Allusion™ series of holsters.  With this new line, leather holster aficionados could select the best of both worlds: a premium quality leather holster with an interior lining featuring a contoured polymer liner which helps the holster retain its shape.   This series delivers the best of the leather and synthetic materials for superior performance and good looks.  The Allusion series perfectly matches tradition and cutting edge technology bringing leather holsters into the 21st century.

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