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Against a man like that, no opponent really has any chance at all.

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On the other hand, one could have said that about Big Jim Courtwright. The point is that the Colt Model 1 just missed, by the slimmest of margins, being the classic police and defense DA revolver from which all others are descended. The size was right, the calibers were adequate — but the mechanism was fragile. After a bit of use and wear, the gun tended to malfunction. Gunsmiths say the tiny, intricate parts were engineered with no tolerance for wear, and the gun just quit working.

In addition, it was a gunsmith's nightmare to fix, and gradually developed an exceedingly bad reputation. The first guns were pocket models, top- break. Eastern" railroad men stage the first general strike in labor history. Small and remarkably fast, this gun was a tremendous aid in preserv- ing Western law and order.

40 caliber pistol is good to put dawn a hog

Write for free copy today. There was a. All the guns were top-breaks with simultaneous extrac- tion of fired cartridges. If the top-break latch system was a bit weak for the more powerful. No doubt these guns saw some police use, mostly in Eastern cities, but they never captured the police market With , the folks in Springfield introduced what they called a Hammerless Safety model for personal defense.

Cops favor the 4-inch.

They were not produced in huge numbers, and, ironically, the pocket. Then, too, we have to remember the reputation Colt had established with the single-action models. It was a good reputation, and hard to overcome on the market. Not even the horrendous fiasco of the Ml seemed to damage Colt that much, and they never again made such a mistake.

In , Colt received an order for revolvers from the U. The gun was based on previous patents, and was first designed to carry a spring- loaded extractor actuated when the cylinder was opened for loading. Before production began, this was changed to a manually operated extractor.

The revolver had a rather weak cylinder- locking system that gave trouble in spite of constant im- provements; otherwise, it was a satisfactory arm. The design spawned a number of Colt revolvers with swing-out cylinders. For police work, Colt introduced the. This gun evolved into the improved Police Positive of 1 , chambered also for the. After- ward came the Colt Police Positive Special for the longer. These guns varied in size and popularity, but had identical lock- work, differentiated only by occasional improvements.

This remained the basic Colt lockwork for decades, and in- cludes the modern Colt Python. The pur- pose is first to show how American cops became so enamored of their revolvers and explain the evolution of the sidearms, many of which are still in service.

The Wild Damned (The .40 Caliber Mouse Book 3)

The Colt is an interesting design, for it seems to reflect some rather outdated philosophies regarding double-action shooting. In particular, Colt trigger pulls increase in weight as the trigger is cycled. The old vee-type mainspring acts as a trigger return, so that the finger is retarded by spring pressure.

It is a true double- action, but it's better adapted to emergency use only at close range, which is in keeping with the thinking of the times. If we take the advent of the Colt Ml Lightning as a starting point, then double- action shooting remained prac- tically unknown for over a half a century. In almost every case, both cops and civilians cocked their DA revolvers before shooting anything, and refused to believe good shooting could be done in the double- action mode.

Not until famed six-gun expert Ed McGiven came along in the 1 s was DA shooting made practical — and perfected. McGivern performed many DA stunts that seemed incredible, and taught many law enforcement officers that the DA feature actually could be used to increase per- formance.

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In this case, the company wrought much better than they knew — or even suspected. It had a round butt and manual extractor — also called a hand ejector.

Initially, it under- went several minor modifications, but the lockwork re- mained essentially the same. We now call it the Ml and the frame size it introduced is the famous K-frame. Since then, some of the firm's most famous revolvers have been built around this superb handgun, including the Model 1 5 , a target-sighted holster gun in. The revolver was cataloged as the Ml 9, the first medium-frame. The full-length underlug adds weight that helps to cut recoil when a full-house.

The Gun Explosion

These saw some law enforcement use, but were regarded as "special purpose" handguns, too heavy and powerful for day-to- day holster wear. The Ml 9 changed that. It provides a smooth, constant pull during cycling, because the mainspring serves only for ignition and has no trigger return function. There's a separate spring for that. McGivern used stock guns for his stunts, some of which border on the supernatural. Millions have been manufactured, and no halt in production is con- templated. Improved, more modern actions from various makers may increase durability, but not performance.

Some- times considered a bit dainty today, the K-frame Ml 9, 1 3, 65 and 66 all are strong enough to be chambered for the once-awesome. In spite of rumors to the contrary, they hold up quite well, if not abused with un- relenting practice. Author feels it was a decided improvement over some of the earlier Colt revolvers made for police use. They call it the L-frame, a slightly overgrown model with most of the virtues of the K-frames, and then some.

Fixed-sight versions are listed as the and To the firm's everlasting credit, Colt updated their re- volver line with a new design, calling it the Mark III.

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There were some plain fixed-sight models, along with the ad- justable-sight Trooper. The guns are medium frames, with coil-spring actions. These new Colts are far stronger, better guns than pre- vious ones, built on the older action. In , there was a newcomer to the police revolver market the Ruger Security-Six. A fixed-sight version was called the Speed-Six. The first guns had a definite Old West look in the grip profile, and the recoil shields reminded one of a Colt SAA revolver. Field trials proved the grip angle accentuated recoil, and it had to be changed slightly.

The recoil shield was scalloped, perhaps to save weight. The Colt Python was introduced in and since has been made in a stainless steel version. Many officers favor this revolver, but mass purchases were too few. The stainless gun has a medium frame, coil spring action. The Security-Six is hell for stout and nearly indestruct- ible. The frame is modular with no sideplate, and the gun can be field-stripped for cleaning easily, without tools. It should have bitten off more of the police market than it did. Maybe it was too much of a good thing.

A persistant rumor says the Security- Six was banned specifically by one major big-city police department, be- cause it was too easily dismantled. The brass feared the beat cops would field-strip them, then lose the parts! The good Security-Six was replaced by the GP, a larger, modified and advanced design.

It has a full underlug beneath the barrel for weight to better soften the recoil of full-house. The argument is not which is better, the real question is: Can the six-shot wheelgun survive at all in the face of serious competition from double-action high-capacity autoloaders? Many ex- perts say no, that cops today need the firepower of the big autos.

We hear much talk of multiple opponents, gangs armed with assault rifles, and other scary things. In keeping track of police activity, I note the average police shooting still involves one cop and one felon. It's usually up close and always terribly dangerous. This is scary enough, without considering worst-case scenarios.

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The experts also tell us there's no difference in handling quality between a revolver and an auto, and the trained officer can survive with either. They build their opinions on grains of truth. For some of us, however, nothing dances in the hand like the familiar old revolver, and nothing is quite so ready or quick to respond to deadly need. With such a gun belted on, we can be pretty darned scary in our own right — and fear no one. ONE OF the earliest anecdotes concerning auto- loading pistols is an unconfirmed report that Apaches were among the first eager buyers — not the Indians who live in New Mexico, but the Apaches that were a gang of hoodlums in France around the turn of the century.

How anyone who wears a striped T-shirt, pom-pom beret, and an earring can call himself an Apache is more than a little hard to understand, but we are asked to under- stand even stranger things today. At any rate, the French tribe was not above going armed to the teeth like true Apaches, and when the Ml Browning auto appeared on the market, they acquired it almost en masse.