North Vietnamese Army K-54 Tokarev Plasticized Shoulder Strap
The standard handgun used by the North Vietnamese Army was the Chinese Type 54, a copy of the Soviet WWII era TT-33. The NVA and VC called them K-54.
The holster used, like most NVA gear, was made in the PRC of russet colored leather with a corduroy lining inside. The lining, often blue, but sometimes off white, was a blessing in dry conditions in that it kept the finish on the pistol looking very good. On the other hand, in the wet or humid climate of Viet Nam, it kept the pistol rusty unless it was coated in oil. Moreover, leather that gets wet tends to wear out very quickly.
Most Viet Nam captured Tokarev holsters, that were worn by an NVA on his trek from Hanoi to the South, tend to be on the dark side and have very visible wear marks on the inside corduroy lining. Sometimes the lining is worn through from the vibration of the million steps taken to make it South. The leather of these holsters tend to stiffen up having been wet and dry, wet and dry, etc through many cycles.
PRC made holsters were issued with an adjustable shoulder strap attached to the galvanized metal rings on the back of the holster. Most straps were removed as they tended to wear into the shoulder and became an uncomfortable nuisance over time. Sometimes the stitching that holds the belt loops onto the body of the holster wears out and the loops have to be resewn.
Not all Viet Nam captured holsters have this jungle wear look. I have encountered many holsters and pouches in newer condition amongst NVA VC gear. These were sent South as replacements, well covered and without a pistol inside to wear the lining out.
The issue two pocket ammunition pouch was designed to hold 8 rounds of loose 7.62x25mm ammunition, not magazines. Two magazines, numbered to the pistol were issued with each Type 54. One magazine was carried in the pistol; the other was carried in the pouch on the holster under the flap. Unnumbered replacement magazines were also sent South.
A looped cleaning rod was on the front exterior of the holster by two leather loops and leather thong that passed through the bottom of the cleaning rod. The cleaning rod, like the pistol, tended to rust over time in the jungle.
The other accessory issued with the K-54 was a lanyard. It was made of dark green braided cotton with a flimsy metal clip at the end. Some jungle-made lanyards, often made from parachute suspension line cord, are found.
The PRC also made holsters in the red brown plasticized material. These are for the T54 and also the US M1911. They have shoulder straps made of the same material. I have not seen any plasticized ammo pouches but have seen compass pouches made of this material from time to time.
Chinese markings on holsters, if they exist, are located under the flap, or under the closure strap. Similarly, they may be present under one flap on the ammo pouch. Holsters without Chinese markings are frequently found amongst Viet Nam bring backs.
TT-33 holsters made in the USSR and other Warsaw Pact counties also made it to Viet Nam along with the pistol but these are much fewer in numbers.
Whether you collect Tokarevs, NVA or VC gear, you will find many varieties of holsters brought back from Viet Nam as they were amongst the most highly prized souvenirs a serviceman could bring back.
Hard to find shoulder strap.
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