Browning Ends Hi-Power Handgun Production

By: Guy J. Sagi

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In February 2018, Browning announced its Hi-Power pistols are no longer in production. “Current dealer inventories will be the last available from Browning for the foreseeable future,” the website explains. Supply is scarce, however, because availability to dealers ended sometime in 2017. New Mark IIIs or Standards are easiest to find because they were the last models to come out of the factory.

John Moses Browning’s 1911 handgun design and its subsequent 100 years of popularity cast a long and unearned shadow over his subsequent Hi-Power work. When Browning was commissioned by Belgium’s FN to create a new military sidearm, the design required an all new approach because he’d sold the 1911 patents to Colt. In 1925, he’d completed the work, and a year later he was dead—making this his last gun design. U.S. patent inspectors approved it in 1927, but FN relied on the expertise of Dieudonné Saive to improve on the locked-breech recoil version. He’s credited with completing the project, rightfully so, and the final product included his staggered-cartridge magazine that provided double the capacity of contemporary handguns—a lucky 13.

The single action wasn’t without faults, though. In 1928, patents for the Colt Model 1911 expired and some of its features were integrated into the Hi-Power, including the barrel bushing. It was officially adopted by the Belgian military in 1935.

The pistol was battle-tough and fielded by the Allies during World War II. It also came into the hands of Axis forces after the FN factory was taken over by Germany. Canada, in turn, started to produce the pistols to keep supply lines filled during the conflict. It was fielded by the British airborne, the SAS and even the OSS, the forerunner of the modern-day CIA. Some of the firearm’s variants are still being used in the global war on terrorism.

Subsequent modifications to some variants included ambidextrous safety, spurred hammer and double-action versions. A 9 mm chambering is most common, but it was also made in .40 S&W.

There’s no shortage of modern aftermarket parts or modifications, either. Shooting Illustrated’sRichard Mann walked readers through the changes he made to his Hi-Power and why he finally added one to his collection in 2015.

Some sources claim more than a million have been made. The odds are good the figure is greatly higher than that, considering the number of genuine versions that’ve come out of the FN factory and clones from different countries.

At press time, there was no word if the Belgium manufacturer is still producing the classic handgun. We do know, however, U.S. enthusiasts are going to have a harder time than ever finding one.

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New for 2018: Remington TAC-14 Hardwood

By: Kevin Creighton

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Remington’s TAC-14 firearm is a popular way to tie up a lot of firepower into a compact little package. While it may look like a short-barreled shotgun, it is, in fact, considered to be a “firearm” under current NFA regulations.

For SHOT Show 2018, Remington has taken the TAC-14 firearm and updated with a look that hearkens back to the classic “Witness Protection” sawed-off shotguns used by Federal Marshal Service agents to provide them with the punch of 12-gauge shotgun in an easy-to-carry size.

The short-barreled Witness Protection shotguns were a staple of firearms media in the ’80s and ’90s, and they also appeared in the hands of actors playing Federal Marshals in movies like “Eraser” and TV shows such as “Justified,” giving it a place in firearms lore that goes beyond most shotguns and makes it an iconic firearm that symbolizes a certain time and place in gun history.

The Remington TAC-14 Hardwood combines the ease of purchase of the TAC-14 firearm with the classic good looks of the Witness Protection shotguns to produce a gun that looks great and is easy to wield in tight confined spaces. The TAC-14 Hardwood is a 12-gauge firearm that has a 14-inch, cylinder-bore barrel and has a 5+1 magazine capacity. The gun has a sling swivel in the front and rear and comes with a nylon sling for easy carry. In all other aspects, it’s essentially identical to the original TAC-14 firearm that it’s based upon.

The TAC-14 firearm is slightly longer than it’s short-barreled shotgun predecessor, but other than that, it looks and feels like the classic shotgun of the Marshal’s service, and with an MSRP of $499, you can get the trusted firepower of a government agent without having to take out a government loan to get one.

SHOT Show 2018: Century Arms Draco NAK9 AK Pistol

By: B. Gil Hillman

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Century Arms is expanding its Draco line of compact AK-pattern pistols to include the new NAK9 chambered in 9 mm. The company has wisely designed the magazine well to accept factory and after-market magazines designed for Glock G17 and G19 pistols in capacities ranging from 15 to 33 rounds.

Manufactured in Romania, this blowback-operated pistol features a stamped receiver, hardwood fore-end furniture, a black polymer grip and an 11.14″ barrel. The mil-standard 14×1 mm threading of the muzzle accepts various muzzle devices and sound suppressors. The controls follow typical AK standards with a right-side mounted safety selector, steel bow trigger and lever-style magazine release. The pistol ships with AK-style adjustable iron sights and a Picatinny rail for optics.

The NAK9 has an overall length of 19.1″, an unloaded weight of 6.38 lbs. and ships with one 33-round magazine. A sling mount is attached to the rear of the receiver to accommodate single-point slings. The pistol will have a suggested retail price of $724.99

Classic Gunfights: Don’t Look Back Wild Bill vs Billy Mulvey

by Bob Boze Bell

As the newly elected acting sheriff of Ellis County, headquartered in Hays City, Kansas, James “Wild Bill” Hickok finds out in a matter of days that his firearm has to be trusty and reliable.

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As the newly elected acting sheriff of Ellis County, headquartered in Hays City, Kansas, James “Wild Bill” Hickok finds out in a matter of days that his firearm has to be trusty and reliable.

In office for only one day, acting Ellis County Sheriff James “Wild Bill” Hickok is making his rounds in the Kansas cowtown during the height of cattle season, with a town full of Texas cowboys looking to let off steam.
Rounding the corner of Fort Street, Wild Bill comes face to face with Billy Mulvey (also styled as Mulrey) who levels two pistols at the lawman. According to local tradition, Wild Bill looks past the drunk cowboy and yells, “Don’t shoot him in the back; he’s drunk.”
Mulvey turns to see who is behind him, and, in a flash, Wild Bill draws his pistols and shoots the bad man in the head. Mulvey dies the next day.

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“His power lies in the wonderful quickness with which he draws a pistol and takes his aim.”
— W.E. Webb, who knew Wild Bill during his Hays City days; Webb was also the land agent who established Hays City on August 23, 1867 —

 

The Town Tamer

The lawmen who police the Kansas cowtowns are a special breed of cat. They have to be. Wild Bill has many attempts on his life while enforcing law and order as a deputy U.S. marshal in Kansas and as acting sheriff of Ellis County, headquartered in Hays City; he was appointed acting sheriff the day before the gunfight.
After escaping several assassination attempts, he cautiously patrols the streets of the roaring cowtown. He avoids the sidewalks and especially the dark alleys. He allows no one to get too close or to approach from the rear.
He takes to walking down the center of North Main Street, eyes scanning the saloons for potential trouble.

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In the last year of his life, Wild Bill suffered vision problems that exacerbated his slide into oblivion.ion

 

Aftermath: Odds & Ends

Less than a month later, on September 27, Wild Bill ordered drunk Texas cowboy Sam Strawhun to cease destroying Oderfeld’s Saloon on Fort Street. When he advanced with a weapon instead, Wild Bill killed him. At an inquest on the shooting, the evidence was deemed “very contradictory,” yet the verdict returned as “justifiable.”
On November 2, 1869, Wild Bill lost his bid for re-election as sheriff, 86 votes to 114. After bouncing around Kansas, Deputy U.S. Marshal Wild Bill landed back in Hays City. On July 17, 1870, he got in a fight inside Paddy Welch’s saloon with two members of the 7th Cavalry. He killed one of them and escaped.
Wild Bill took part in his last gunfight on October 5, 1871. The town marshal of Abilene, he shot Texan Phil Coe dead, but also killed a friend, local jailer Mike Williams, who had rushed in to assist the marshal. Distraught and grieving, Wild Bill never again worked as a lawman.
After a failed career on the theatre stage, Wild Bill gravitated to the new boomtown of Deadwood, Dakota Territory, where he was shot from behind by the scoundrel Jack McCall on August 2, 1876.

Looking Back

I started working on my Wild Bill book 22 years ago. When I bought ownership in True West Magazine in 1999, I put the book on hold.
Old West gunfights have always been a part of the magazine’s 65-year history. I made it a regular feature when I came up with the idea of Classic Gunfights on March 7, 2000.
My first gunfight (July 2000) featured Wyatt Earp at Mescal Springs. In the next issue, I featured Wild Bill’s gunfight with Dave Tutt. Over the next nearly 200 issues, I have covered several other Wild Bill gunfights. Finally, thanks to prodding by our publisher, Ken Amorosano, I took another run at the book. With major help from Robert Ray and Meghan Saar, my Wild Bill book is finally here.
Hope you read it and share your thoughts with me!
Recommended: The Illustrated Life and Times of Wild Bill Hickok by Bob Boze Bell, published by Two Roads West.

 

Smith & Wesson Expands M&P Pistol and Rifle Lines

By: American Rifleman Staff

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Smith & Wesson will showcase its latest M&P pistol and rifle introductions at the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.  Firearm introductions include the new M&P9 and M&P45 M2.0 pistols with threaded barrels, as well as the new M&P15-22 SPORT in Blue Platinum Finish.  The company will also feature its latest expansions to the M&P M2.0 pistol platform, including the M&P Shield M2.0, M&P Shield M2.0 with Integrated Crimson Trace Red and Green Laser, and the M&P M2.0 Compact pistol. 

To further build out the capabilities of the M&P platform, the M&P9 and M&P45 M2.0 pistols are now available with a threaded barrel for use with suppressors. In addition to the threaded barrel, these pistols also include suppressor-height white dot sights, a barrel thread protector, and the popular M&P M2.0 feature set. MSRP for both pistols is $599.


The M&P15-22 Sport rifle, chambered in .22 LR, is available in a Robin’s Egg Blue Platinum finish for 2018. The rifle features a 10″ M&P slim handguard that incorporates the popular Magpul M-LOK system, as well as removable Magpul MBUS front and rear folding sights. MSRP: $499

In addition to these new releases for 2018 at SHOT Show, the company will also display its latest introductions to the M&P M2.0 pistol platform, including the M&P Shield M2.0 and M&P M2.0 compact pistols.


The M&P Shield M2.0 pistol family builds upon the popular M&P M2.0 platform. The new pistol features an aggressive grip texture and smoother, lighter trigger pull. It is also available with an integrated Crimson Trace red or green laser in 9 mm and .40 S&W, providing consumers with a concealed carry solution that features two laser colors, two modes, and ambidextrous laser activation. MSRP: $479


Bridging the gap between concealment and shootability, in a versatile carry-size pistol configuration, is the M&P M2.0 Compact. It features a 4” barrel for easy concealment, and either a 15 round capacity in 9 mm or 13 round capacity in .40 S&W. MSRP: $569

For more information visit smith-wesson.com

Red Ryder BB Gun

by PHIL SPANGENBERGERRed Ryder1

The Red Ryder BB gun could be considered a classic Western gun.
Introduced in 1940, this air rifle represented the ultimate of a Western-style airgun at that time. Daisy air rifles date back to 1888, when the company produced its first crude model.
By the late 1930s, Daisy had been offering a “Buck Jones” model for some years, but, when the famous cowboy star tragically died in a flaming building, the firm brought out an improved version of that smoothbore, using the then-new comic strip cowboy “Red Ryder.”

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This little BB gun was one of a youngster’s “necessities,” whether he was a city kid or lived down on the farm.
The brainchild of cartoonist Fred Harmon, this red-headed cowpoke was a rough ridin’, straight-shootin’ buckaroo who became the cowboy hero of many of America’s youngsters.
The airgun featured blued metal parts, copper-plated barrel bands and a saddle-ring with a “gen-u-wine” leather thong—just the right touch for Red’s little saddle pals. It was the first air rifle to feature such appealing details to the youngsters of the day.
Initially selling for $2.95, this dandy gun was a rousing success. When the U.S. entered World War II in December of 1941, the Daisy Manufacturing Company turned its efforts toward producing defense materials and ceased production of the Red Ryder until 1946.
The post-war version remained mostly unchanged from its pre-war version, except it had blued barrel bands rather than the earlier copper models.
Around 1950, plastic stocks and forearms were incorporated into production, and for a brief transition period, some guns were sold with both wood and plastic parts. By year’s end, all Red Ryders had plastic stocks.

 

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Equipped with a blade and ramp front sight and an adjustable rear sight, the current Daisy Red Ryder sports a plain oil-finished wooden stock, forearm and metal parts painted blue/black rather than being actual blued metal. Nonetheless, the rifle looks and functions just like those fun BB guns we packed around back in our youth.
The No. 111 Model 40 (original designation) was finally discontinued in 1953, having delivered about six million copies to eager youngsters nationwide. In 1949 alone, over one million Red Ryders were produced.
After a slight updating and cosmetic change in 1954, the 1955 Red Ryder became the Model 94 Red Ryder, with plastic stock and forearm, leather wrapped around the butt plate, silvered silk-screened artwork on the receiver and a silvered forearm band and lever.

Red Ryder was one of America’s fictional cowboy heroes of the 1930s through the 1950s. He was often depicted on the silver screen by Wild Bill Elliott, as seen here with Robert Blake as Little Beaver, in this lobby card from the 1950 re-release of the 1946 “B” Western Red Ryder film, California Gold Rush. Daisy’s Red Ryder BB gun offered youngsters the opportunity to have a kid-sized lever-action repeater just like the one packed by their hero.

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— Courtesy Stuart Rosebrook Collection —
By 1959, while the Model 94 continued in production, the Red Ryder name was dropped. The next 15 or so years could be called the dark ages of the BB gun world, for no Red Ryder air rifles were produced. They did return, though, in 1972 as the Model 1938 (after the year of the birth of the Red Ryder comic series), again boasting a wooden stock and forearm.
Despite some minor details and improvements (under the Model 1938B designation), like non-removable shot tubes, and the addition of a cross-bolt safety in the trigger mechanism, the air rifle has remained the same up through today.
Arguably the most popular BB gun in the world, this 35.4-inch-long little rifle weighs just 2.2 pounds and holds 650 of the .177 caliber BBs.
Recommended for kids 10 years of age or older, a Red Ryder is capable of generating approximately 350 feet-per-second muzzle-velocity and has a range of around 195 yards.
Today’s Red Ryder, with its blued barrel, lever and barrel band, saddle ring with leather thong, and the image of Red Ryder on his galloping horse pressed into its wooden stock, remains a reminder of our original airguns and a lasting memory of the Wild West of our childhoods. A classic Western gun? You betchum, Red Ryder!

New for 2018: Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 in .45 ACP

By: SI Staff

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Springfield Armory added a number of improvements to its popular single-stack XD-S in .45 ACP, producing a comfortable, compact carry option for fans of this big-bore round. A number of upgrades made both inside and out of the new Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 in .45 ACP have revolutionized this personal-defense pistol, making it easier and more comfortable for daily carry and shooting.

On the frame, users will notice that the gun sits deeper in the hand. This higher grip, combined with improved grip texturing, makes it much more shootable than earlier iterations, ensuring that owners can put shots on target confidently and capably. The thin 0.975-inch grip enables the gun to be more easily concealable on the body.

Also located in the frame is an improved trigger design, featuring a more tactile short-reset point and enhancing the consistency of the trigger pull, so shooters can be confident in their trigger control. The pistol is also equipped with the tell-tale grip safety used in the XD design, while an internal striker block prevents the gun from firing if dropped.

The slide on the Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 in .45 ACP is thinner than older models and can be had with a pair of night sights produced by Ameriglo. The system provides users with enhanced aiming capabilities in low-light scenarios, thanks to a Pro-Glo tritium lamp embedded into the front sight post. The lamp is surrounded by a luminescent yellow circle, allowing for an easy focus on the front sight. At the rear, consumers will find a tactical-ledge U-notch design for use in racking the slide off a flat surface, if needed.

Other features on the slide include a loaded-chamber indicator and the company’s Posi-Wedge slide serrations, giving users more gripping area for positive slide racking and manipulation. Inside the slide is a Melonite-finished 3.3-inch barrel made from hammer-forged steel and featuring a 1:16-inch twist rate for enhanced accuracy. Recoil is managed through a dual recoil-spring setup captured by a full-length guide rod.

Magazine capacity on the Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 is five rounds with the flush-fit floorplate. An extended six-round magazine is also included. With the flush-fit magazine installed, the unloaded weight of the pistol is 21.5 ounces. Three models of the XD-S Mod.2 are available, including options with night sights, fiber-optic sights and an integrated Viridian laser. The suggested retail price on the new gun starts at $568.

Guns that Won the West

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by PHIL SPANGENBERGER

The “Gun That Won the West” is a subject that many firearms and Old West aficionados love to discuss and debate. Was the so-called West-winning gun given this coveted title because of the great numbers in which it was produced, or for the work it accomplished? Or was it simply because of who used it during those tumultuous times known as the Wild West? Although some firearms manufacturers advertise their lead-dispensing products as having rightfully earned that distinguished title, such a claim is not to be taken as gospel. While some folks feel that a single model firearm was most responsible for taming our raw frontier in the late 19th century—such as the 1873 Winchester repeater, 1874 Sharps buffalo rifle, double-barreled shotgun, or perhaps The Peacemaker, the legendary 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver—most serious students of the American West agree that it was not a single model gun or type of firearm that “won the West.” Rather, they believe it was an assortment of rifles, shotguns and handguns, in the hands of a diverse and colorful crowd of men and women, that brought both violence and law and order to our Western territories.

 

While there were hundreds of different makes and models of firearms used to tame the frontier, let’s take a brief look at a double-deuce—just 22—of the more famous and infamous guns from the Old West, along with some of the good, and the bad, men and women who painted the canvas of America’s Wild West in such bold and vivid colors.

1 / Colt Paterson Revolver

SF-1-Colt-Paterson-RevolverPatented in 1836 and manufactured circa 1837 or 1838 until around 1840, the Paterson Colt was the first practical “revolving pistol,” and revolutionized handguns for all time. Despite its failure as Samuel Colt’s first firearms business venture, this percussion five-shooter gained fame when it was put to deadly use against the Comanches by the early Texas Rangers, most notably by Ranger John Coffee Hays when he used a pair of them to successfully hold off an overwhelming party of Comanches in 1841, during what became known as Hays’ Big Fight at Enchanted Rock. The Paterson went on to see service in Florida’s Second Seminole War (1835-1842), the Mexican War (1846-1848) and during the California Gold Rush. The .36 caliber Paterson, with barrels up to 12 inches long, earned the sobriquet of the “Texas Paterson.”

Texas Ranger John Coffee Hays
According to Texas Ranger John Coffee Hays, “Without your pistols [five-shot Colt Paterson] we would not have had the confidence to have undertaken such daring adventures.”
– Photo-Courtesy Library of Congress/Firearm-Courtesy Little John’s Auction Service-By Paul Goodwin –

2 / U.S. Model 1841 Rifle

More commonly known as the “Mississippi Rifle” because of its use by Jefferson Davis’s Mississippi volunteers in the Mexican War, this handsome percussion muzzle-loader was also known in its time as the Windsor, Whitney or Yager (adopted from the German word jaeger for hunter). Considered one of the more handsome of military percussion longarms with its brass patchbox and mountings, this .54 caliber rifle was issued to the Regiment of Mounted Rifles in the 1840s (later the 3rd Cavalry) and favored by Confederate sharpshooters in the War Between the States. Buffalo Bill Cody claimed to have carried and used one during an 1850s cattle drive.

3 / 1847 Colt Walker Revolver

Although only around 1,100 revolvers were ever produced in1847, too late to have much impact on the Mexican War, and despite its number of mechanical deficiencies, Colt’s largest six-shooter, weighing 4 pounds, 9 ounces unloaded, remains a milestone in handgun development. This behemoth .44 cap and ball’s power, accuracy and great range helped spread the word of Col. Colt’s “repeating pistols,” and put him back in the gun business after his Patent Arms Manufacturing Company (manufacturing the Paterson revolver) failed in 1842. Texas Ranger Captain Sam Walker helped design the Walker as an improvement of the Paterson. Colt personally sent him a pair of Walker Colts, which he used effectively before he was killed while leading his troops in the battle of Huamantla, Mexico, in October 1847.

4 / 1851 Colt Navy Revolver

Considered by many to be the best balanced, smoothest handling and handsomest of cap and ball six-guns, nearly a quarter million of these .36 caliber revolvers were made between 1850 and 1873. Named for the Republic of Texas Navy, it was one of the more popular sidearms—with both North and South—during the Civil War. (Confederates made several copies for southern troops.) By the 1870s many Navies were converted to take .38 caliber metallic cartridges and for decades the Colt Navy was one of the most popular handguns in the West. Known as the favored six-gun of James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, other noted users include Col. Robert E. Lee, during his service with the 2nd U.S. Cavalry in Texas in the 1850s; John Wesley Hardin; the James-Younger gang; the Pawnee scouts; Maj. Frank North; Tiburcio Vasquez and the Pinkertons.

5 / 1852 & 1853 Slant-Breech Sharps Carbine

SF-5_1852-and-1853-Slant-Breech-Sharps-Carbine-The U.S. military purchased more than 15,000 of both models, with most of the ’52 carbines going to the 2nd U.S. Dragoons serving on the frontier. The 1853 model was nicknamed the “John Brown Sharps,” for his use of them in his bloody anti-slavery crusade. They were also called “Beecher’s Bibles,” after anti-slavery minister Henry Ward Beecher was quoted as saying there was more moral power in one Sharps carbine than in 100 Bibles. Both sides favored this percussion arm in “bleeding Kansas” and the 1850s border wars. Government mail contractors and stage lines operating in the Southwest of the era relied heavily on the Sharps; “Pathfinder” John C. Fremont carried a pair of them in his fifth and final Western exploration. The sporting model rifles were used by the early buffalo hunters and both models were also made as shotguns.

The 1853 slant-breech Sharps carbine
The 1853 slant-breech Sharps carbine earned notoriety when abolitionist John Brown armed his followers with 900 of the carbines in 1855-56 for the pre-Civil War “Bleeding Kansas” conflict over slavery.
– Firearm-True West Archives/Photo-Courtesy Library of Congress –

6 / Colt’s Dragoon Revolvers

More than 21,000 of Colt’s first, second and third models were turned out between 1848 and 1860, with their massive, heavy and powerful “revolving horse pistols” especially favored by Western horse soldiers and civilians alike. A goodly number of these big six-shooters made their way to the California gold camps with miners as well as by bandit Joaquin Murrieta and his men, and later by California outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez. Others saw service with the Texas Rangers, and pistoleer “Wild Bill” Hickok was known to have owned one and may have used it in 1865 to kill Dave Tutt in Springfield, Missouri.

SF_6_Colt-Dragoon-RevolverThe Colt muzzle-loading percussion Dragoon Revolver
The Colt muzzle-loading percussion Dragoon Revolver gained great notoriety and popularity across the country from the 1840s to the 1860s, including on the West Coast where California outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez was known to carry this heavy “revolving horse pistol.”
– Photo-Courtesy Robert G. McCubbin Collection/Firearm-Courtesy LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes/John
Boessenecker Collection –

7 / 1860 Colt Army Revolver

The 1860 Colt Army was the primary revolver used by federal troops during the Civil War with about 200,500 produced from 1860 through 1873. Whether in cap and ball or converted to metallic cartridge, this .44 six gun saw much use west of the Mississippi. As the successor to the big Dragoons, this sleek and handsome hogleg packed plenty of power but was easier to handle. Colt’s ’60 was used by the U.S. Cavalry, the Texas Rangers and General Ben McCulloch’s Texas Confederates, Wells Fargo detective James Hume, Mormon “Avenging Angel” Porter Rockwell, El Paso City Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire, the James brothers, Wes Hardin, Sam Bass and scores of good and bad men alike.

8 / Smith & Wesson Model 3 Revolver

Introduced in 1870, this .44 caliber “American” single-action six-shooter stands as the first practical big-bore, metallic cartridge revolver and laid the groundwork for future successful top-break S&Ws like the .44 Russian, .45 Schofield and the Double Action Frontier models. Issued to the U.S. Cavalry for a short while, the Model 3 was also favored by William F. Cody, El Paso City Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire and General William J. Palmer, builder of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. The Model 3’s identical-looking “Russian” variation in .44 S&W Russian caliber was packed by John Wesley Hardin, James-Younger gang member Charlie Pitts, Sheriff Pat Garrett and gunslinger King Fisher.

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Smith & Wesson emerged after the Civil War as one of the leading producers of single-action six-shooters, and the S&W Model 3 in .44 S&W Russian caliber became popular with lawmen and outlaws who needed a gun that could deliver a fatal shot every time, including the killer John Wesley Hardin.
– Firearm & Holster-Courtesy C.B. Wilson, John H. Wilson Collection/Photo-True West Archives –

9 / Henry Deringer Pocket Pistol

If there was ever a single gun that had an impact on the history of the West, it was the vest pocket Deringer pistol used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. The single shot fired by this .41 caliber caplock unleashed an unfriendly federal policy on the Southern states, which added to the frustration of devastated ex-Confederates and caused great numbers of Southerners to head west in search of a new life. Thousands of them were packed in the gold camps of California or concealed on the persons of riverboat gamblers and soiled doves, as well as respectable citizens. Available in a variety of sizes from palm-sized to larger belt pistols, it was the smallest model that helped coin the generic term “derringer,” meaning a small, hideout pistol.

10 / 1866 Winchester Rifle

Originally dubbed the “Improved Henry” because of improvements like the addition of the King’s Patent loading gate on the receiver’s right side (rather than being loaded from the magazine’s muzzle end), a fully enclosed magazine and a wood forearm, over 170,000 of these brass-framed .44 caliber lever-actions left the factory between 1866 and 1898, long after stronger centerfire ammunition had eclipsed the ’66’s weaker rimfire fodder. Whether in full rifle or carbine form, the so-called Yellowboy ’66 was a favorite with California Sheriff Harry Morse; many Native Americans, including Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull; and Custer’s favorite Arikara scout, Bloody Knife; along with members of the Powell Geographic Expedition of the Grand Canyon in 1869; and 1890s outlaw Bill Doolin, to name a few.

SF_10_-1866-Winchester-RifleThe “Yellowboy” ’66 Winchester .44 caliber lever-action
The “Yellowboy” ’66 Winchester .44 caliber lever-action succeeded the Henry rifle as a favorite rifle on the frontier after the Civil War. Gen. George Custer’s Arikara scout Bloody Knife rode with his ’66 Winchester into the Battle of Little Big Horn, as did his Indian enemies who used this tack-adorned lever-action rifle to help defeat the 7th Cavalry.
– Photo & FIrearm-Courtesy Glen Swanson Collection –

11 / Springfield Allin Conversion 1866 Rifle

At the close of the Civil War, the federal government converted thousands of 1863 Springfield percussion rifle/muskets from muzzle loaders to breechloaders able to handle self-contained metallic cartridges, first in .58 rimfire, then by lining the
.58-bore barrels to .50 caliber centerfire. Dubbed the “needle gun” because of its long firing pin, it is credited with the U.S. Army’s ability to withstand attacks along Wyoming’s Bozeman Trail in the Hayfield and the Wagon Box fights in 1867 and paved the way for later trapdoor rifles and carbines like the 1873 Springfield. This powerful single-shot arm was employed by the hide hunters during the early post-Civil War buffalo hunting years. Buffalo Bill killed hundreds of the shaggy beasts for meat and affectionately called his .50-70 Allin Springfield “Lucrezia Borgia,” because like the renaissance-era femme fatale duchess, Cody considered it beautiful but deadly.

12 / Double-Barrel Shotgun

Although the rifle and six-gun usually take the bows for winning the West, it was the double-barreled shotgun as much as any firearm that was responsible for bringing civilization to the frontier. Many of the early pioneers invested everything they had, in order to make the overland trek out West, leaving little money for weaponry. The best and certainly one of the most economical and versatile firearms for hunting and defense in a wild, hostile land was the twin-barreled scattergun. Whether muzzle loader or breech-loading cartridge gun, many thousands of shotguns from a variety of makers and countries were the mainstay of settlers, lawmen, express companies, Native Americans, soldiers, ranchers and hunters. Gunmen like Indian Territory lawman Heck Thomas and gambler John H. “Doc” Holiday also used scatterguns. Virtually everyone, good or bad, who needed a weapon recognized the value of the old side by side.

13 / 1873 Colt Single Action Army Revolver

If any gun conjures up images of the Old West, it’s Colt’s 1873 single-action Army revolver. This smokewagon was the best balanced, ergonomically perfect six-gun of the age, and from the time of its introduction in late 1873, it became an instant frontier favorite with good and bad hombres alike. Originally designed and used as a cavalry sidearm, it quickly became the choice of cowboys, lawmen, outlaws and outdoorsmen of all breeds. Produced in many powerful chamberings, most notably .45 Colt and .44-40, it outsold all competitors with 192,000 made by the end of the 19th century. Also known as the Equalizer, Hogleg, and other monikers, it was best known as the Peacemaker—a moniker given it by Colt distributor E. Kittredge of Cincinnati. It was the preferred sidearm of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, the Texas and the Arizona Rangers, John Selman, Wes Hardin, the Daltons, John Slaughter, Elfego Baca and countless other Westerners. It was and still is truly the six-gun of the Wild West.

SF-13_1873-Colt-Single-Action-Army-Revolver1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver
The mass-produced 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver, best known as the “Peacemaker,” was a favorite of gunmen on both sides of the law, including Constable John Selman, who killed John Wesley Hardin in El Paso’s notorious Acme Saloon.
– Photo & Firearm-Courtesy Phil Spangenberger Collection –

14 / 1873 Winchester Rifle

Perhaps the most famous and certainly the most recognizable rifle of America’s frontier period, this iron-framed lever-action rifle was Winchester’s first centerfire arm and was manufactured from 1873 until1919, with well over a half million turned out by 1900. A favorite with Westerners since its debut, the ’73 was eventually teamed with the Colt Single Action revolver and other six-guns of the time that had been chambered to take the Winchester’s proprietary .44-40, .38-40 and .32-20 ammunition. Easy to operate and care for, its slab-sided design made both the rifle and carbine versions ideal for a saddle scabbard, and the ’73 repeater was the premier choice of the post-1874 Texas Rangers, as well as a favorite of Pat Garrett, William F. Cody, Montana rancher Granville Stuart, and outlaws Butch Cassidy, Belle Starr, Pearl Hart and Billy the Kid (William Bonney), just for starters.

15 / 1874 Sharps Rifle

Best known as the “buffalo rifle,” due to its heavy use by hide hunters, it was made from 1871 until 1881.Sharps’ 1874 model didn’t get the ’74 moniker until after the introduction of later Sharps rifles. Only 12,445 of the various model 1874 Sharps were produced by the factory, with several hundred additional ’74-style guns converted from altered Civil War percussion carbine actions by the Sharps factory and by E.C. Meacham of St. Louis. It was offered in such powerful big-game loads as .44-77, .45-70, .50-90 and .50-110. An 1887 government survey cited the Sharps single-shot rifle with shooting more buffalo than any other gun during the hide-hunting years of 1867 through 1882. It also did more to destroy the Plains Indians’ nomadic way of life than any other firearm. Among its famous users were lawman Bill Tilghman, during his buffalo hunting years; the Union Pacific Railroad; and Martha “Calamity” Jane Canary. At the Battle of Adobe Walls in June 1874, hunter Billy Dixon used a .50-90 Sharps to make a 1,538-yard shot, dropping an Indian and effectively ending that fight. To the Indians, the Sharps was known as the “shoots far,” or “shoot today, kill tomorrow” gun.

SF_15_1874-Sharps-RifleBilly Dixon
Billy Dixon, as famous as the Mooar brothers for his accuracy and ability to kill dozens of buffalo a day with his 1874 .50-90 Sharps Rifle, sealed his name among the legends of Western sharpshooters when he badly wounded a Comanche warrior from an improbable distance of over 1,500 yards.
– Painting-Courtesy Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum/Firearm-True West Archives –

16 / 1875 Remington Revolver

When E. Remington & Sons, of Ilion, New York, introduced its “New Model 1875” or “No. 3 Revolver,” a Colt Peacemaker lookalike, the firm had high hopes of competing with the ’73 Colt’s instant popularity, and while sales were initially brisk, the revolver never achieved the desired success or official acceptance by the U.S. government. Chambered in .44 Remington Centerfire, .44 Winchester Central Fire (.44-40) and .45 Colt, only around 25,000 of the model were ever produced from 1875 through 1889. It did gain some popularity out West with the Republic of Mexico ordering 1,000 revolvers during the 1880s, and in 1883 the U.S. Interior Department purchasing 639 nickel-plated 7 1/2-inch ’75 Remingtons for issuance to various Indian Police agencies on frontier reservations. Gunman Frank Loving carried one, but perhaps the 1875 Remington’s most notable proponent was Missouri outlaw Frank James.

17 / 1876 Winchester Rifle

A giant of a rifle, this enlarged version of the ’73 model, the 1876 Winchester was originally dubbed the Centennial Model, with nearly 64,000 produced between 1876 and 1897. Designed as a big-game hunting rifle, it was chambered for more powerful black powder loads than the medium-powered ’73 model, including the .40-60, .45-60, .45-75 and .50-95. The massive ’76 was a favorite with Theodore Roosevelt, and he used it extensively during his Dakota Territory ranching days. The 1876 Winchester is one of the few lever-action rifles to actually see use on the buffalo ranges by the hide hunters. Its unique full-stocked carbine (in .45-75 caliber) was issued to Canada’s North West Mounted Police and used by them into the early 20th century.

SF_17_1876-Winchester-Rifle1876 Winchester
The “Centennial Model” 1876 Winchester supplanted the weaker 1873 Winchester as a big-game rifle, and was Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite hunting rifle during his tenure as a Dakota Territory rancher.
– Firearm-Rock Island Auctions/Photo-Courtesy Library of Congress –

18 / 1877 Colt Double-Action Revolver

Although Colt’s first attempt at producing a double-action revolver was less than stellar due to a complex and inefficient lockworks that was easily broken and difficult to replace, the 1877 model was light and handy and gained a fair amount of popularity on the frontier. Nearly 167,000 were made between 1877 and 1909. In new condition the ’77 was an efficient arm but, if the six-gun was put to much work, the inherent weaknesses in its design became all too obvious. Initially called the “New Double Action, Self Cocking, Central Fire, Six Shot Revolver” by the factory, Colt distributor B. Kittredge of Cincinnati coined the more colorful nicknames of Lightning for the .38 Colt caliber and Thunderer for the .41 Colt chambering (a couple hundred were also made in .32 caliber). Notable ’77 packers included Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, John Wesley Hardin, Cole Younger and lady bandits Belle Starr and Pearl Hart.

19 / 1886 Winchester Rifle

A vast improvement over the 1876 model, the ’86, with its vertical locking bolts and streamlined frame, was distinctively different from previous Winchesters, and was the first repeater from inventive firearms genius John M. Browning to be adopted by Winchester. It was also that company’s first lever gun to be chambered for the powerful .45-70 Government cartridge, along with other black powder big-game chamberings, such as .45-90 and .50-110 Express. As such it was one of the big-bore repeaters that helped spell doom for single-shot rifles. Another of Teddy Roosevelt’s favorites, it was also a crucial part of Arizona’s Commodore Perry Owens’ arsenal as well as army scout Al Seiber’s. A number of ’86s were used by the “invaders” brought in by the cattlemen in Wyoming’s 1892 Johnson County War. Produced from 1886 through 1935, around 120,000 were turned out by 1900.

20 / 1887 Winchester Shotgun

This early repeating shotgun, first introduced in the West in the spring of 1888, was not the first repeating scattergun manufactured but is considered the first successful one. The brainchild of John Browning, the ’87 lever-action was available in 10 and 12 gauge. The six-shot ’87 quickly became a success with just fewer than 64,000 turned out before 1899. A favorite of Arizona Sheriff John Slaughter, this smoothbore was also used on Feb. 15, 1900, by lawman Jeff Milton, who used his 10-gauge 1887 Winchester shotgun to kill Three Fingered Jack Dunlop during an attempted holdup of the Southern Pacific Railway in Arizona Territory. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad also issued a number of ’87s to its messengers.

SF_20_1887-Winchester-ShotgunJohn Slaughter.
Famed gun inventor and innovator John M. Browning designed the first widely used repeating shotgun, the 1887 Winchester. The smooth-bore held six rounds, one in the chamber, and five rounds in an under-barrel magazine, a very popular feature with Western lawmen, including John Slaughter.
– Photo-True West Archives/Firearm-Courtesy Rock Island Auction Company –

21 / 1892 Colt New Army & Navy Revolver

One of the early swing-out cylinder, double-action revolvers, the 1892 Colt’s cylinder revolved counter clockwise (unlike the company’s earlier single-action six-guns). Although it wasn’t introduced until 1892, with a total production of around 291,000 guns, about 115,000 of them were turned out before the end of 1898 in a series of models with minor internal improvements and dubbed the 1892, 1894, 1895 and 1896 models, and later the Model 1901 and Model 1903. Besides their use by the U.S. Army and Navy, including Teddy Roosevelt and many of his Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War of 1898, several were purchased by Wells Fargo & Co. and the gun was packed by conman extraordinaire Jefferson “Soapy” Smith during his Skagway, Alaska, days.

22 / 1895 Winchester Rifle

Another unique firearm from the inventive genius of John Browning, the 1895 Winchester was the first successful box-magazine lever-action rifle manufactured. Made to handle the then-new smokeless powder ammunition capable of taking big-game worldwide, with chamberings such as the .30-40 Krag, .30-06, .303 British, .40-72, .405 Winchester and the 7.62mm Russian calibers, its box magazine, located beneath the frame, held five rounds. The ’95 model became standard issue with the Arizona Rangers, and was also popular with the Texas Rangers of the era. A few were put to use by some of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. With nearly 426,000 Model ’95s made between 1896 and 1931, the gun quickly became so popular that almost 20,000 were produced before Jan. 1, 1899.

SIG Sauer Announces P365 Pistol

By: SI Staff

sig-sauer-p365-9mm-pistol-f

SIG Sauer has introduced the new high-capacity micro-compact P365 9 mm subcompact concealed-carry pistol. The P365’s patent-pending, narrow-neck, modified double-stack magazine holds 10 rounds in both the flush-fit and extended versions, plus one in the chamber, for a full capacity of 11 rounds—nearly a 50-percent capacity increase over pistols in its class. An optional 12-round extended magazine equips this micro-compact pistol with full-size 13-round capacity. The P365 measures 1” wide, 5.8“ long, and 4.3” tall with a barrel length of 3.1”.  It weighs just 17.8 ozs. with an empty magazine.

A high grip-to-bore axis is designed to reduce perceived recoil, while a fully textured polymer grip with a slim-line rail  will accommodate SIG light or laser accessories. The stainless-steel slide comes standard with front and rear serrations for easier slide manipulation, as well as SIGLITE night sights for faster sight acquisition under all lighting conditions.

Ron Cohen, CEO and President of SIG Sauer said the P365 is built around SIG’s new, proprietary magazine for maximum concealability, capacity and shootability. “The pistol is made for professionals and civilians alike who want a smaller, high-performance pistol that does it all,” he said. “This is the ultimate, everyday concealed carry pistol.”

Disassembly is made safe and easy with a three-point takedown that does not require the trigger to be pulled.  A generous trigger guard undercut also allows for a higher hand position and better retention. The narrowing magazine design allows the upper part of the grip to be perfectly contoured to fit the shooter’s thumb when fired.

In continued partnership with Blackpoint Tactical, one of the nation’s premier holster manufacturers, SIG Sauer is offering a series of concealment holsters specifically designed for the P365. Immediately available for order are the Blackpoint APX (right) and IWB holster (left) variants.

As a complete systems provider, SIG Sauer will be launching several new products specifically designed to complement the P365, including ammunition optimized for everyday carry, a high-performance weapon light, a laser sight, a P365 compatible suppressor and a P365 air pistol.

MSRP: $599.00
12-Round Extended Magazine: $55.00
10-Round Flush Mag / 10-Round Base-Extension: $49.00
365 APX Holster: $79.95

For more, visit SigSauer.com.