Friday, May 8, 2009

Mexican Bandit

This picture was taken in about 1911, and shows a Mexican Bandit on horseback. I really like looking at the detail of the picture, and try to see what all is on him and his horse. I notice that he is wearing his bullet belt around his waste. I consider this to be poor form. I much prefer the bullet belts over the shoulder, and I would consider the ultimate in bandit fashion to be two bullet belts, one on each shoulder, and crossing in the middle. I would give him high marks on his hat, both in its style, and the way he wears it somewhat on the back of his head. He definitely carries himself well on a horse, and has mastered the facial expression needed for the job. I believe in this line of work, having the right look would be as important as other skills such as shooting and using a knife. Again I note, with the long string of revolutions in Mexico, it is a matter of opinion who the good guys were, and who the bad guys were. So, understand the word bandit is simply referring to his appearance, and I do not mean to suggest he was on the wrong side of the struggle.


  1. Good fashion summary. This guy is definitely the Mexican bandit version of Sancho Panza to yesterday's Don Quixote.

  2. Ok, sorry to be a gunney, but take a LOOK at that ammo load. I counted around 15 rounds on from his center to his right hip, that is 60 rounds/belt with two belts is 120 rounds. He's carrying what looks to me like one of those 1891 Argentine bolt action contract mausers, so those are probably 8mm rounds, around three to a pound, so 40lbs of ammo around his waist - not counting the belts.

    Wonder why/who cut down his gun?


    1. Well I'd have to say you're pretty close on the weight calculation Gunny AC, that's if the belts are full all the way around (which is another puzzlement). Ammo was usually scarce to most bandits & revolutionaries. My guess is this photo was staged (probably by the photographer) which was common in those days. The weight would also explain why he's not wearing the belts over his shoulders in the hot sun. Not sure about the rifle being chopped? Could just be the angle of the photo, because he still has the front fixed site on it, and it would of been very dumb to cut the other end. It does appear short though! He appears to be right handed, yet I don't see a rifle scabbered on the right side of his saddle. Could you imagine riding for hours hanging on to that rifle and all that weight in the desert sun .... no wonder the horse looks so short!!!

  3. No scabbard for the rifle, bandoleers worn around the waist in place of a pistol belt, covered stirrups, heavy chaps, no bedroll… that’s a Vaquero looking badass, not a bandit.

  4. Hello, I've been following your blog for some months now, and I'm Mexican, and even though I agree with some of the things you've said about us Mexicans, but I'm getting the impression that you think the middle class is non-existent in here, but is not like that, is just that our middle class have less income than a middle class down the States, so it looks like we are all poor, but is not like that.
    Of course we have loads of poor people, but we have loads of middle class people too, and our cities doesn't look like in the movies, I live in a really small city and is not "that" rural. Is charming and little, not streetless and old...
    Anyways, the thing about the Bandits/heroes in the Revolution war... well life is not black and white and in times of war many crimes go unpunished, Francisco Villa for example, was a thief, rapist and bully, but also was the person who built more schools in the state of Chihuahua during the time he was Governor, he made extremely poor people have hope of a better life and helped them to get it... And many people fighting during this period (since 1910 until I think 1923, but don't believe me I'm bad with dates) were both heroes and bandits

  5. xoxoxoBruce has an excellent point about looking more Vaquero than "bandit". I could see where a bandit would need chaps and such protective gear if he operated in a brushy area. Or, this man is a vaquero whose duties include protecting the ranch from bandits/insurrectionists/revolutionaries. (Rural people had to protect themselves from attack then. I think they still do.) He is a security guard.

  6. Not a Western myself. I take it the covered stirrups are due to the lack of boots? Or is it different technical structure than the metal stirrups I am familiar with? It does not appear there are metal parts in these stirrups, so I take it it is a leather only product. I imagine metal products were expensive, hard to handle, and to manufacture well.

  7. Covered stirrups are used in brushy areas to keep the stirrup from becoming fouled by a branch which would bring you to a screeching halt, possibly puncturing the horse or breaking the riders leg.

    The U.S. Army’s McClellan saddle, had covered wood stirrups.

  8. SickGirl:

    I love Mexico and think that all of you are very nice people.

    Of course, like any nationality, there's good and bad in everyone. And I know there's a middle class there, just not like ours.

    I do hope the drug issues get under control.

  9. Thanks xoxoBruce.

    I am interested in the techniques that allowed people to thrive in that environment.

  10. Cartridge BELT around the waist..."Poor Form"?

    Well let's see. I'd love to see a photo of a Buffalo Hunter with his cartridge belt worn as a Bandoleer!

    You won't see it!

    A serious rifleman needs his cartridges where he can easily access them. Much easier from your waist than on your chest or around your back!

    Poor form? I think not!

    Bill C.-a Rifleman


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