Osprey's Colt Single Action Revolvers


Martin Pegler


Osprey Publishing


$20.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 80 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softbound
ISBN: 978-1-4728-1098-4

Nothing says 'Wild West' as much as a Colt Peacemaker. The gun is a staple of television and movie westerns since the genre first existed. Of course, it wasn't the only six shooter used and in some regards it wasn't the best, but it certainly has become iconic of the time period. Even today, these guns or ones very similar to them are popular with those who like guns.

However, getting a proper revolver, though it seems a no-brainer now, was not always the easiest thing to develop. Several had tried and all had failed to some extent or another. It was Samuel Colt who was able to take clues from what had gone before and to develop a pistol that was able to be more than one shot, was able to be reliable, and most important, was one that could be mass produced. If we remember Colt for nothing else, we could easily call him the father of mass produced goods.

Prior to this, pretty much everything was hand made. This meant that if you had a rifle that was in need of replacement of a worn part, you had to have a gunsmith make one that would work on your particular gun. They couldn't simply swap out a new part for it. This, if nothing else was where Colt's genius came into play. Not only that, but he was an excellent businessman and able to properly push his product. Of course it helped that it was just what the consumer wanted.

Starting first with black powder guns, his designs moved forward in an evolutionary manner, improving areas where use showed a need. He was also able to extend the patents on his guns so that he pretty well had a monopoly on the product. This lasted until 1856 when others were able to finally get into the market. One area where Cold missed out was the use of cartridge ammunition. It was Smith and Wesson who developed this and it allowed them to make huge dents in the market at which time Colt and others started providing cartridge guns and modifying older models to accept the new cartridges.

 All of this makes for a fascinating look not only at Colt's pistols but also at the development of the revolver itself. Thankfully, it has little on 'this is what it is like to shoot the gun' that other titles in this series seem to use to consume pages. We are also blessed by having a huge number of these revolvers still extant so the book has a ton of great photos of the different designs. In this way we can see for ourselves the evolution of Colt's designs. It makes for a truly great read and a book that I can easily give my highest recommendation.

February 2017

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