Saddle scabbards for rifles seem to have three locations:

Saddle scabbards for rifles seem to have three locations: out of the back, straight up on the front and slanted forward on the front. Is the location and position significant?

Wilbur B. Shuler

Orangeburg, South Carolina

Our esteemed Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell says: “Think of it as a car function. Most engines are in the front, but some models have an engine in the back. Some are hardtops. Some have four seats, some more. Rifle scabbards are carried in different positions because of several factors. The owner may think that it’s easier to retrieve with the butt closer to his hand, and conversely, some believe the backward angle is easier on the horse. One of the methods of carrying rifles that rarely gets its due in Westerns is the pommel strap, whereby a rider carries the rifle right across his saddle horn. The 1993 movie Tombstone featured this unique carrying method. Although it was not used as much as the scabbard, we see it in Frederic Remington illustrations.”

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.