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Remembering a Sixshooter Par Excellence; the Colt

MG is a military specialist having spent quality time in the Indian Air Force. He is also an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College.

remembering-the-colt-six-shooter-par-excellence
Colt presented this to Sultan of Ottoman Empire

Colt presented this to Sultan of Ottoman Empire

Background

Weapons have fascinated man. Out of all the weapons, a personal weapon is greatly cherished. Earlier it was the sword and now it is the handgun. I also love handguns and have three of them. Out of the handguns, the revolver has pride of place.It is a versatile weapon. Basically it is classified as a handgun, as it can be easily carried by a man in his hand and one can shoot also with a hand. There are many varieties of handguns in the market and many famous companies market their products. Thus we have the revolver of Smith and Wesson and the revolver marketed by Webley Scott

Many of the revolvers have now become legendary as many were given an impetus by the Wild West. This was a period in American history when the USA expanded westwards. It was also a period preceding the US Civil war in 1861-65 and the period after the culmination of the war. This was a time when burglars, rustlers, and gun shooters and their opponents the lawmen headed by Sheriffs and Texas Rangers appeared on the scene. The weapon these men adopted was the Colt revolver. This was a .45 caliber bore six-shot revolver and was fondly referred to as the 'peacemaker'.

Credit for this invention goes to an American named Samuel Colt (1814-62). He had to drop out of school and so his father sent him to become a seaman. He was an observant man and got the idea of the weapon while on a voyage to India. On the voyage to Calcutta aboard the brig Corvo, he developed this idea of a six-chamber revolver. He was inspired by the capstan, or windlass, which had a ratchet and pawl mechanism which he would later say gave him the idea to design the revolver. We do not know whether Colt did come to India, but when he went back to America he invented the revolving chamber and this led to the birth of the revolver that now goes by his name.

The colt was a handy weapon and much sought after. It fired six rounds of .45 calibers and was a lethal weapon. The colt was a bit heavy and as such, it required a firm grip to fire it. The revolver had a tendency to jump up when fired, hence a firm grip was essential. Apart from this, it was a wonderful weapon and many models appeared on the scene. At a conservative estimate, a total of 31 models appeared on the scene and each one of them was a marquee product.

remembering-the-colt-six-shooter-par-excellence
Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp

Development and use

Back home Samuel Colt applied for a patent for his invention. On Feb. 25, 1836, a U.S. patent for his revolver, which was equipped with a revolving cylinder containing five or six bullets and an innovative cocking device was granted to him.

The colt was not the first revolver, but it was the first cartridge revolver to be officially adopted by the U.S. Army, and it kept its monopoly until the single-action system was superseded. In 1836, with a patent in hand protecting his monopoly until 1857, he began manufacturing under the name of the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company, with foundries in Hartford, Connecticut, and London, England. The weapon fascinated connoisseurs of handguns and very soon it became popular.

It was adopted by the US Army and was a weapon that saw a lot of action. However, the weapon did not touch the popularity charts in other nations and it remained basically an American weapon. Samuel Colt launched his manufacturing company in 1855 and the weapon was soon mass-produced. It was used extensively in the Civil war and was also the weapon of the outlaws and the lawmen. Carrying a colt was a sign of being macho and many gunmen made a notch on the barrel to represent the number of men killed in gunfights.

The legend of this handgun is intrinsically linked with the Wild West. One of the models that earned a great name was the 1873 Single Action Army revolving cylinder firearm This revolver has epic dimensions and its use is intrinsically linked with great men of the Wild West like Theodore Roosevelt, Buffalo Bill Cody, Wyatt Earp, Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, and countless others who, with the support of this revolver, created the American legend. The weapon invented by Samuel Colt had a caliber of .45 and was basically a man's weapon. Compared to other revolvers it was a little heavy and that is perhaps the reason that it was not popular outside the United States. never the less eminent personages were keen to get this six shooter as part of their arsenal. A colt was also presented to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.


remembering-the-colt-six-shooter-par-excellence
remembering-the-colt-six-shooter-par-excellence

Last word

Samuel Colt died in 1862 of complications with gout but left behind a legend. The weapon came into its own during the middle of the 19th century. The popularity of the weapon was greatly enhanced by its use in the American Civil War. Before the war had commenced he supplied the weapon to both the North and the South. In that respect, he was a bit of a mercenary but he also sold his guns to warring parties on both sides of other conflicts in Europe. During 1859, he considered building an armory in the South and during 1861 sold 2,000 revolvers to Confederate agent John Forsyth, who later became Chief of Staff in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

This act led him to be termed as a Southern sympathizer and traitor to the union. Newspapers such as the New York Daily Tribune, The NY Times, and the Hartford Daily Courant were at the forefront in reporting this news. Maybe there was some truth in this because he was commissioned as a colonel of the 1st Regiment by the state of Connecticut on May 16, 1861. His health was failing him and he was discharged on June 20, 1861.

The colt is now a much sought after collector's item and in India also it is a weapon to covet and can fetch a price of anything up to 8-10 lakh rupees. The colt was a handy weapon. I have fired it and it has a dull lethal sound. It is an ominous weapon and a bullet can lead to the death of an opponent. Colts are no longer in production, but hundreds are available in the market on re-sales. a historic weapon and has a great place in World's hall of fame for weapons and handguns. During 2006, Samuel Colt was inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame. The organization was set up in 1973 which recognizes individual engineers and inventors who hold a U.S. patent for a highly significant technology.

Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 23, 2020:

Great Flourish, we are both on the same page

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 22, 2020:

I liked learning the history of the weapon and who owned one. I love the Wild West era and have traveled to places out west where they do re-enactments of Old West shoot outs. It’s very exciting.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 19, 2020:

Pamela, nice of you to have commented

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 19, 2020:

I think this is a very good article about the Colt. My husband grew up learning about guns, unlike me. So, this article is interesting to me as I know so little about most guns. Thanks, MG.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 18, 2020:

Thank you Col for commenting

Col Santokh Singh on August 18, 2020:

I liked your article and I have a colt peacemaker in my collection. Do write how this weapon swayed the wild west.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 18, 2020:

Thank you Jeremiah for sparing time and commenting

JEREMIAH MWANIKI KILUNDA from Nairobi on August 18, 2020:

I have learned a lot about Colts from this article. Your articles are always detailed. Good work.