On my 1917 holster the "grommets" are closer to the top of the opening in the holster and I was told by an elderly gentleman (don't take this as gospel) that the rawhide loop was used to retain the revolver in the holster by looping over the hammer as in the old western single action holsters. I don't quite believe this but it is logical....just my two cents. Somebody should ask Scott Meadows, he writes about holsters and belt rigs etc. for "The Gun Report".
Just a possibility....but looking at a WW1 vintage pistol belt and several photos of the holster in use kind of supports the theory that the ties were used to keep the holster in place on the web style pistol belts.With the cavalry butt forward position this would keep the holster in the same spot on the belt by tying through a grommet on the belt(since there are no hangers).The photos in the books don't show a clear enough closeup but they do show the holster being used with a 1911 style web belt.
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