Monday, October 25, 2010


Actually, anyone who knows anything about handguns in the last half century knows about the late Jeff Cooper. Black and White kind of guy. Saw things his way and said what he thought. He was a 1911 man as far as handguns went, as I recall, and ran quite a training school for gunfighting and did some fighting as a military man, as well as getting himself educated. As well as being an international authority on all things small arms and small arms fighting and self-defense and likely a plethora of other subjects as well. Wish I couldn've known him in his fiestiest prime.

One thing that Cooper was fanatical about was the same sage advice that one of my favorite bloggers, police officer Texas Ghostrider espouses: Use the pistol to get to the long gun to defend yourself.

Here's how wiki puts it, in part:

The Rifle: Queen of personal weapons
Cooper is best known for his revolutionary work in pistol training, but he favored the rifle for tactical shooting. He often described the handgun as a convenient-to-carry stopgap weapon, allowing someone the opportunity to get to a rifle.
"Personal weapons are what raised mankind out of the mud, and the rifle is the queen of personal weapons."

Read a bit more about Cooper here and why he is sometimes called the Father of the Modern Technique.

Last summer, in the July issue of Guns and Ammo, there was a small quote window box with an interesting revolver Cooperism:

"We notice an increasing number of revolvers with our students. This is no bad thing, for while a self-loader is easier to hit with, the wheelgun can do all that is necessary in the right hands. We honor the great Jack Weaver for his invention of the modern technique and he was a revolver man first and last. Jeff Cooper, October 2oo2.

Basically, cutting and pasting some brief bits from wiki, here below is what I used to read Cooper talk about in a myriad of articles by him that I read in much younger days. I especially believe in the color code. One important point not covered in the wiki stuff, is that to be proficient with a 1911, you must know that pistol and must shoot it a lot. Under a variety of circumstances and settings.

Cooper's modern technique defines pragmatic use of the pistol for personal protection. The modern technique emphasizes two-handed shooting using the Weaver stance, replacing the once-prevalent one-handed shooting. The five elements of the modern technique are:
A large caliber pistol, preferably a semi-auto
Weaver stance
The presentation
The flash sight picture
The compressed surprise trigger break
Cooper favored the Colt M1911 and its variants

Combat Mindset - The Cooper Color Code
The most important means of surviving a lethal confrontation, according to Cooper, is neither the weapon nor the martial skills. The primary tool is the combat mindset, set forth in his book, Principles of Personal Defense.[5] In the chapter on awareness, Cooper presents an adaptation of the Marine Corps system to differentiate states of readiness:
The color code, as originally introduced by Jeff Cooper, had nothing to do with tactical situations or alertness levels, but rather with one's state of mind. As taught by Cooper, it relates to the degree of peril you are willing to do something about and which allows you to move from one level of mindset to another to enable you to properly handle a given situation. Cooper did not claim to have invented anything in particular with the color code, but he was apparently the first to use it as an indication of mental state.

White - Unaware and unprepared. If attacked in Condition White, the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy or ineptitude of your attacker. When confronted by something nasty, your reaction will probably be "Oh my God! This can't be happening to me."

Yellow - Relaxed alert. No specific threat situation. Your mindset is that "today could be the day I may have to defend myself." You are simply aware that the world is a potentially unfriendly place and that you are prepared to defend yourself, if necessary. You use your eyes and ears, and realize that "I may have to SHOOT today." You don't have to be armed in this state, but if you are armed you should be in Condition Yellow. You should always be in Yellow whenever you are in unfamiliar surroundings or among people you don't know. You can remain in Yellow for long periods, as long as you are able to "Watch your six." (In aviation 12 o'clock refers to the direction in front of the aircraft's nose. Six o'clock is the blind spot behind the pilot.) In Yellow, you are "taking in" surrounding information in a relaxed but alert manner, like a continuous 360 degree radar sweep. As Cooper put it, "I might have to shoot."

Orange - Specific alert. Something is not quite right and has gotten your attention. Your radar has picked up a specific alert. You shift your primary focus to determine if there is a threat (but you do not drop your six). Your mindset shifts to "I may have to shoot HIM today," focusing on the specific target which has caused the escalation in alert status. In Condition Orange, you set a mental trigger: "If that goblin does 'x', I will need to stop him." Your pistol usually remains holstered in this state. Staying in Orange can be a bit of a mental strain, but you can stay in it for as long as you need to. If the threat proves to be nothing, you shift back to Condition Yellow.

Red - Condition Red is fight. Your mental trigger (established back in Condition Orange) has been tripped. If "X" happens I will shoot that person.

There are several conditions of readiness in which such a weapon can be carried. Cooper promulgated most of the following terms:
Condition Four: Chamber empty, no magazine, hammer down.
Condition Three: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.
Condition Two: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down.
Condition One: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on.
Condition Zero: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.
Some of these configurations are safer than others (for instance, a single action pistol without a firing pin safety such as a
transfer bar system should never be carried in Condition 2), while others are quicker to fire the gun (Condition 1). In the interest of consistent training, most agencies that issue the 1911 specify the condition in which it is to be carried as a matter of local doctrine.
This firearm condition system can also be used to refer to other firearm actions, particularly when illustrating the differences between carry modes considered to be safe for various actions. For example, DA/SA is designed to be carried in Condition 2, which is not safe for 1911s without firing pin safeties.

Cooper had firm rules on safety, and they are more concise and direct than the standard rules. Same rules, different more succinct presentation.

Firearms safety
Cooper advocated four basic rules of gun safety:[8]
All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.
Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

You could easily devote an entire blog to nothing but Cooperisms and reality, which often collide in this world we live in. Read more about what he said in many other places, and read the other sage gunfighters, guys who actually did law enforcement pistol fighting like Bill Jordan and many others I'll blog about later. Many, like Jordan, favored a revolver as well and most revolver fans are familiar with the "Jordan Holster" for medium and large frame revolvers as a police duty holster for decades.

One rifle I've always wanted but have absolutely little need for is the Scout Gun (as pictured above made by Steyr-Mannlicher) that Cooper developed and talked about for years in his professional writing. Here's a link about his highly excellent rifle from and more from wiki about the development:

In the early 1980s, Cooper published an article describing his ideal of a general-purpose rifle, which he dubbed a Scout Rifle. In late 1997, Steyr-Mannlicher produced a rifle to his "Scout" specifications, with Cooper's oversight during the engineering and manufacturing process. While not a spectacular sales success, these rifles nevertheless sold quite well and are still being produced. Cooper considered the Steyr Scout "perfect" and often made the point that "I've got mine!" Riflemen regard Cooper's development of the Scout Rifle concept, and his subsequent work on the evolution of the Steyr-Mannlicher Scout rifle, as his most significant and enduring contributions to riflecraft.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I have an intriguing opportunity with a friend who has a revolver he wants to trade me. The above titled Taurus titanium 445ti, circa about 2003-4, a short run of an almost all titanium series of guns in .41 magnum, .44 special, .44 long colt and possibly .45 acp.

They sport 2" barrels, ported three times on either side of the front sight. Just a hair over 19 ounces empty, and holds five rounds. Finished in some kind of funky titanium blue finish, called Spectrum Blue, not funky because it's bad, just different. Won't matter in a holster concealed, and although the gun has some holster wear on it, it has little wear on the moving parts or the bore and I surmise it was not shot much.
Here's a link to the discontinued product page at Taurus for it, with the specs copied below on the page.

Model: 445TB2C

Finish: Blue

Status: Discontinued

Caliber: .44 SPL

Grips: Ribber

UPC: 7-25327-34011-9

Capacity: 5

Weight: 19.8 oz

Rate of Twist: 1:18.75"

Barrel Length: 2"

Construction: Titanium

Height: 5.10"

Porting: YES

Frame: Compact

Width: 1.531"

Action: DA/SA

Front Sight: Fixed

Grooves: 5

Safety: Transfer Bar

Trigger Type: Smooth

Order #: 2-445021TBC

It has my three favorite features on a snubnose combat revolver: A wide and vertically serrated trigger; a wide and checkered hammer and a shrouded ejector rod. Make that four favorite features, when you include the stock rubber recoil reducing grips.

It's fit with the excellent "ribber" grips Taurus has become famous for. However they work, they lesson "felt recoil" considerably on big bore and magnum guns. They are a bit different than the traditional rubber grip but they are extremely comfortable and just a great grip. This particular pistol comes with the longer ribber grip, which I prefer to the shorter one.

Far more important than any of the above is the action of the gun, and both SA and DA in the gun are very well done, almost to the point of thinking there might have been a trigger smoothing job on the DA pull, because it's firm and smooth and predictable. The SA breaks smooth, glass smooth is not an exaggeration and again, it's predicatable.

Of course, my friend Max, who likes his carry wheelguns (generally) all metal laughed and asked when I was going to get some metal in a gun. True to a point, I do have a lot of metal guns, plenty heavy, and prefer to carry something lighter as long as I can shoot it well.

Hence I look forward to shooting the Model 445ti. I'll shoot some Silvertips since that seems to be the concensus ammo of friends of mine and the well known gun writers and defensive shooters of the past 60 years who carried or carry the .44 Special daily recommend similar ballistic ammo. And I've never had a problem with Silvertip Ammo performing perfectly.

I've owned several mag-na-ported guns before, and although this one is not done by Mag-na-port, it's the same deal. Recoil reduction via faster gas release means better accuracy (theoretically) and easier shooting. I can attest that a .44 mag that has been ported is much easier on the wrist shooting magnum loads than one that is unported.

I've shot big bore snubbies at night before, and I'm not sure the blinding light effect is much worst on a ported gun of this size and nature than an unported one. I mean, it's a 2" barrel. You are going to have a flamethrowing light saber coming out of the end of that gun when fired in the dark, ported or not.

This five shot .44 supposedly fits K frame holsters well. We'll see when I get it. I already have several k frame holsters that I suspect will fit it well, and I've got in mind a fellow to make me a custom off-cylinder belt clip IWB holster for this beast. I've held this gun and dry fired it but never shot it.
I have always thought that the Charter Arms Bulldog was an excellent concept in big bore snubbie, and over the last 30 years tried on many occasions to buy one, but never found one with a DA trigger I thought was worth a flip. I actually bought a .38 Stainless Undercover back in 1981 and it rusted. Within a week of purchase. I exchanged it and the second one rusted. I returned it and got a Colt. I never seriously considered buying a Charter Arms firearm again, new or used, despite the fact that many I know have had good luck with them.
So to me, this 445ti would be a big Taurus Revolver upgrade (since I'm a 2nd generation Taurus revolver owner going back nearly 40 years to my childhood when my dad began buying, among other guns, Taurus revolvers) from most of the nice but generally basic Taurus revolvers we've owned. I know they make some fancy ones now and have shot some of them, and Taurus makes a great gun.
So any of these calibers are great, don't get me wrong. It'll be interesting to shoot this gun and see how it does on paper and in the hand. I've shot the .41 Magnum version, with magnum ammo, so it can't be worse than that. It will no doubt be stout recoil, but I'm pretty sure I've shot worse.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


As I'll detail more over at my other blog, ELFISHINGMUSICIAN, El Fisho Jr and Billy Ray and I went to the outdoor range today. We broke in Billy Ray's highly exciting new Sig 556 Assault rifle as well as our newish Mini-14 newly outfitted with an M4 Aimpoint. The Sig, of course, is state of the art and is such a pleasure to shoot. Clearly, the most fun shooting .223 I've ever shot, and I've owned and shot a wide variety of so called assault rifles and this rifle Billy Ray wisely bought is the high end of their product line.

But more about that stuff on the other blog. It was weird today. I felt like I was back 30 years ago shooting revolver police competition. I was on, with the revolvers at least.

We stopped by our local gun store/used gun store/gunsmith friend's, and I had a couple of not too old boxes of .38 S&W from a pistol I no longer have. I knew he could sell them for high cotton right now, with this ammo shortage and all. Lots of the little used and vintage calibers are in short supply, as well as current modern calibers like the .380.

In any event, when I stumbled on those last night in the dehydration box I keep ammo in, I knew he'd want them. He sells some guns in that caliber, used revolvers, and commented recently he didn't even have any cartridges to sell with the gun if he sold one. Well, now he has two boxes.

And we got about 300 rounds of some NOS vintage ammo I'd never heard of before in exchange for the bullets I came to trade. Great ammo, primers looked great, shells looked great and they were excellent in use. Old ammo my friend got from some guy closing his gun shop in another town. I told him we wanted to shoot a lot of .38 Specials at the range today and needed a screaming deal. Once again, he comes through more than expected.

I was expecting to get a couple boxes of 50 wadcutters, something cheap, and I'd have been pleased with that. But the Double D or something like that ammo we got was just great. In fact, we saved a couple of boxes of it we liked it so much. Basically lead nose hunting/target bullets, and I can tell you they were somewhat hot loaded. Not +P hot or anything like that, but hotter than your average bear. And very accurate.

As a consequence, I shot like I have not shot in years and years with a revolver today. Shooting three revolvers, a Colt Cobra D frame snubby 3rd generation, a Ruger Security Six 4" and a K frame Model 67 Combat Masterpiece 4", I was on fire with each gun, double action rapid fire at 15 feet pointing shooting in groups of 4" to 6" all around the zeros.

I used a target that has 5 bullseyes on it, in the middle and in quadrants, and worked my way through that twice with each gun. Then I threw some SPLAT! adhesive targets on top of that and did some DAO double taps and rapid fire. It was all good, and in fact, as little as I've been shooting revolvers compared to autos the past couple of decades, it was easy to see that sometimes old muscle memory, even from the 80's, can kick in again.

I shot all of those guns, and others like them extensively in the 70's and the 80's. I've shot thousands of rounds through the Cobra, and almost that many through a Python and the K frame.

In other words, I was shooting with Glock like combat accuracy and speed (just not round capacity) today with the three revolvers. As always, although I have autos and shoot them frequently and did shoot the Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact extensively today, I was ON FIRE with my revolvers and enjoying the heck out of it. Doing speed reloads and emptying 18 rounds in a target square in a variety of single shots, double taps and rapid fire.

So it was a great day at the range. Our good fortune in getting a great deal on the .38 Special ammo was so cool that I never broke out any .45 ACP guns of any kind. Billy Ray was enjoying going to town on his identical-to-mine Model 67 Combat Masterpiece as well as his Centennial snubbie, but used this opportunity of plentiful .38 Special ammo to just blast the hell out of that Combat Masterpiece.

Both of us got our Model 67's from our dads, Houston men who knew of each other when Billy Ray and I met in our early 20's. Over the years, our fathers buy and sell guns and weapons but it seems that each, separately and long ago, decided that the Model 67 was the ideal home and car defense pistol. For my dad, it was due to his Air Force days, and I think Billy Ray's dad was in the service too. Guys of that generation KNEW that the Combat Masterpiece what was cops in Houston were using and were readily for sale during the post-Korean War boom days of Houston when our folks both ended up here.

In any event, the Model 67's were also car guns for our fathers, who both came from similar hard scrabble East Texas backgrounds about 40 miles apart during the depression to acheive success in that big city called Houston.

So in any event, Billy Ray and I both got to shoot the heck out of our Combat Masterpieces today.

Meanwhile, El Fisho Jr. was burning through bullets in the Ruger stainless Security Six, and I let him shoot a few actual .357 Magnums through there to see the big difference between .357 Magnum and .38 Special. Actually, although it's been years since I've shot any actual .357 Magnum cartridges, I was pleasantly surprised that it was much milder than I recalled.

I'm going to have to revisit the .357 some now. Once upon a time, I even shot competition with it, in Magnum only matches.

So the revolverman within me is still alive and kicking. Don't get me wrong, I often carry a revolver, and at least one and usually several go on every range or outdoor trip where shooting will happen. I guess I was glad to know all of those habits I practiced fastidiously for years in my early 2o's from the Academy on stuck with me. The guru instructors said the habits we learned under stress would surface again, even after periods of long activity.

So I was glad to see how ON I was with the revolver shooting today. Likewise, El Fisho Jr. has been revolver trained, as was I, and he is still highly fascinated by the revolver despite his access to numerous high capacity and and some historic firearms.

In fact, the only gun that gives a revolver a run for the money with El Fisho Jr. is his grandpa's old Ortgies .32 auto. He ran about 100 rounds through the Orgties today, shooting nice 6"-8" groups with a gun I'm lucky I can hit a torso target with a 2o feet. Some of his groups in that range were via point shooting, which he has been practicing a lot lately with. He's a good point shooter.

However, El Fisho Jr. had his first watershed moment today with an autoloader. Two jams while firing. It is unusual for that gun to jam, and the ammo was decent stuff, not great but decent, and I think the gun might need a new mag spring.

But it brought home "THAT LESSON" that I learned many years ago, when I was about El Fisho's age getting to shoot my father's friend's fine, gorgeous, worked on Colt Gold Cup .45, and it jammed on me. Several times. El Fisho Jr. is proficient at clearing jams and obstructions, all the while keeping the weapon downrange. He's learned that everytime there is a jam or a misfire to empty the gun, lock the breach open and visually inspect the chamber and barrel and get someone else to do so as well to make sure the barrel is unobstructed.

Safety First.

By the time we got through shooting the rifles, the 9mm's and the generously huge amount of (and surprisingly high performing) .38 Special ammo my gun dealer traded us, we were hungry and exhausted and had probably fired 750 rounds total on the rifle range and the pistol range.

So we never got to the .45's. I always enjoy shooting the Smith and Wesson 1917, and it's a crowd pleaser with both El Fisho Jr and Billy Ray. It's another gun that El Fisho Jr. can hit coke cans at 20 feet and can shoot better than me. I can hit dead center FBI target at 20 feet with it, and it's a great shooting accurate gun, but El Fisho Jr. seems to have no problem adapting to unique and different sighting systems and compensating for defects in the sights, which he usually figures out in about 3 shots or less. The low "perceived recoil" due to the gun's weight and the Pachmayr grips make it pleasure to shoot.

But food was nearby and it was looking like rain again. It rained for 5 or 10 minutes several times through our sessions, of course destroying our targets. No problems and no worries. We were all having such a good time we just overcame each issue and kept laughing.

It was a great day.

Friday, October 22, 2010



As George Castanza on Seinfeld once proclaimed himself King of the Idiots, sometimes I feel the same way.

I've known for decades about what a great gun the Colt New Service in .45 ACP was a gunfighting man's gun in wartime, and later in peacetime when lots of cops used them. Some cops cut them down into snubnoses. Just like the Model 22 of 1917 Smith and Wesson, which I've recently discovered might be the finest shooting revolver (this includes my hallowed Python) I ever owned.

The above picture is from in a thread at one of the most excellent gun forums around, The High Road. Here's the thread with the post on this gun, and this is the kind of gun I'd like to stumble upon for a reasonable price in reasonable finish shape but great operating condition. Something a little holster worn, but not worn out as a shooting iron. It's a beaut, isn't it? From this thread right here:

I'd like to shoot a New Service. I've become quite enamored with my father's 1917 Brazilian Contract Smith, as has everyone else who has shot it. It's coke can accurate at 20 feet, so what more do you want from a defensive revolver?

Well, as I've written elsewhere, what I'd like is to be able to buy a NEW gun made the old way (except for the transfer bar, great idea that transfer bar) as a Colt or S&W Model 1917 that had the Fitz treatment except no cut off triggerguard. Just a regular trigger guard, but a bobbed hammer that can still be single action cocked, a combat action job, and a barrel somewheres from 2" to 3". Personally, 3" is perfect but 2 1/2 would do. Relocate and resize the height of the front sight to compensate for the reduced barrel length. Get bold and put hi-vis lo profile front sight on the bad boy.0

It doesn't have to be historically accurate, although seems like custom shops would be making some of those as well, and indeed, some custom revolver smiths do still make historical recreations or actual old mods on old guns.

Here's a great article I found on the New Service, much better than I can write.

Makes me think what I need to be doing is cruising some gun shows right before Christmas with some cash in my pockets looking to make a deal on a New Service or 1917 that can be a project gun. Or get real lucky and find one modded already with a good barrel and action.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


In an article by Bob Boyd for Shooting Illustrated, they mention the following about a very influential figure in the history of combat revolvers. Fitz Special's they are called, and know there is a matching pair of N frame Fitz Specials at the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, Texas.

Bob has a blog here, with a cool project on the Man from Uncle pistol, and the pictures of the above Novak Half Fitz Special made on a Model 65 Smith are from his site. He's a Fitz maniac and I suspect he's written a lot about the Fitz over the years.

At the outset let me say I am against cut trigger guards. It may have been the thing 80 years ago to get the edge, but the safety dangers so greatly outweight any slight tactical advantage as to hope anyone with common sense would see the "hair trigger" reality of a cut trigger guard as to realize only the most serious gunfighter in the old days could have had a need for the cut triggerguard.

I find the bobbed hammers ok, and have no problem with a DAO revolver. The Novak special mentioned here has a bobbed hammer but the top is serrated so it can be cocked. I've noticed a couple of the Taurus Judge and Public Defender models have this feature, a bobbed and out of the way but very cockable hammer spur. Although this feature I don't think came on the old school Fitz customs, It's what I'd like to have on mine.

Nonetheless, to me they are highly interesting, and I suppose I'd admit to wanting a very cool old one in the collection if'n I could, but it's low on the priority list. a nice .22 on a K frame that had been "Fitzed" wouldn't be bad if it was cheap and came with a firm and safe holster rig for it, just for doing snake and turtle reduction therapy in the country under rather controlled circumstances.

Here's the article by Mr. Boyd, and you really need to it the link for the photos of the excellent examples of fighting handguns in days of yore. After that, I cut a few sentences of interest about the article, but the far more interesting stuff you'll have to make the jump for. Plus the very cool pictures are there.


Pistol-Packing Irishman

Worthy of a Pistol-Packing Irishman
Leather makers, such as Tom Dyer of Saguaro Gun Leather and Rusty Sherrick, add contemporary flair to the vintage holster designs of Berns-Martin and Tom Threepersons.
Nothing goes better with a vintage pistol than a vintage-designed holster. While the original makers—Berns-Martin, Chic Gaylord, George Lawrence, Hermann Heiser and S.D. Myres—may be long gone, a few custom leather makers, such as Bell Charter Oak Holsters, C. Rusty Sherrick Custom Leather Works and Saguaro Gun Leather still work to keep the time-tested designs alive. Similarly, a pair of stylish grips made from classic materials adds a whole new level of aesthetic appeal. Eagle Grips produces them for a wide variety of handguns, including Colt’s 1917, New Service, Detective Special and Police Positive revolvers. Materials range from traditional wood—such as rosewood and walnut—to exotics like buffalo horn, Indian sambar stag and American elk, along with imitation ivory and pearl.

MR. BOYD SAID: To some, it looks like the victim of an experiment gone horribly wrong. To others, it is an example of early revolver refinement still reflected in many of today’s self-defense wheelguns. Its creator, former New York City cop J. Henry “Fitz” FitzGerald, worked for Colt from 1918 to 1944. During that time, he traveled across the country to shooting competitions, fixing pistols (not just Colts) and spending countless hours on the firing line.
Conversion often required fabrication and installation of a new front sight. Gunsmith Andy Horvath duplicated Colt’s crescent-shaped profile, while military armorers used a tubing cutter disc.
Considered a ballistics and firearms expert, FitzGerald regularly lectured and instructed on the principles of competitive and defensive shooting. In addition, he occasionally testified in court when an authority was needed in relation to firearms. He even wrote the book, “Shooting,” which was published in 1930. J.H. FitzGerald’s contributions to the shooting community were many, but his crowning achievement was still to come.

Sometime back in the old west days, long before Fitz ever walked the earth, somebody cut down the barrel of a Single Action Army and removed the ejector rod to make it much more concealable. At times in my life, various handgun makers have marketed reproductions of these guns as "shopkeeper's specials" and the like. So I suppose that in the context of the cartridge revolver, those persons deserve credit for inventing the combat handgun.

But certainly, whether Fitz is the Father of the Snubnose/combat revolver (probably) or Grandfather or simply one of the most gifted visionaries that made snubnose combat revolvers a reality neary a hundred years ago, using the modern double action revolver instead of the single action army as the base of his fighting machine.

Bear in mind that 1911's and soon the Hi Power would also be readily available back during the late teens and early 1920's. Fine firearms, but the killer revolvers of the day did one thing the autos did not: they didn't jam. For generations of cops, citizens and even the bad guys, they came to represent reliability and dependability, important in the days when gunfights happened in broad daylight between good guy and bad with surprise and somewhat frequency.

My dad grew up in East Texas, "behind the Pine Curtain" as they used to say. I still do. Within our extended family then, during the depression, there were bootleggers aplenty and folks willing to run the moonshine either by pack mule through the woods or in a hot rodded early truck or car. My family was law abiding, in fact my grandfather was a paid deputy sheriff at the time, and at most other times of his life was some type of reserve officer, as he farmed and ranched his land for a living.

As did his father, my great grandfather, before him.

And as did his father, my great great grandfather, before him.

All of my people, my father and I included, Texas law enforcement. Me, I've been in it longer than most of them already, and I'm the first one to be a career law enforcement person. All of them carried revolvers, and I'll tell soem of their stories in later posts. Of course, these stories, and my early experiences shooting guns of all types as a kid, shaped my opinions.

Nearly thirty years of law enforcement work, as an officer or a prosecutor, shaped a lot of what I think as well about crime. I've mostly worked in violent crimes, much of my career, many of these crimes involving weapons. My shooting hobby and lifelong interest in the history of and knowledge about various weapons, past and present, has been of great assistance to me and as I embark upon this new clearinghouse blog about combat revolvers and their holsters, stories, owners, gunfighters and customization, I find I really don't know a lot about the revolvers made before the Korean War in America.

Yes, I know a smattering about double action revolvers from 1900 to 1950, and even own a Model 22 of 1917. But in reading about Fitz and his work for Colt, I realized I don't know much about the old Colt guns or the old Smith guns either. And although this blog will look at some great wheelguns of the past in .38 Special and above calibers, my special interests at this time are guns in the big bore sizes...

41 Magnum.

.44 Special

.45 ACP or Long Colt

Of course, they're are a lot of other calibers worth owning and shooting as well. I don't know much about the .38-20 or some of the other calibers we'll talk about from good old days, but I know they could defend lives then and they could defend lives now as well.

I have a friend desperately interested in a particular turkish cymbal that I own. It's an old one, and this drummer friend has wanted after this particular Zildjian for at least three decades, since the mid-80's. Like many of my friends, regardless of walk of life, he comes from a Texas shooting family and as a businessman, has a CHL and many fine weapons.

He also knows of my weaknesses about the same things he has. Guns. Drums. Guitars. Tube Amps. Fishing gear.

Many if not most of my lifelong male friends also suffer thusly. It's not a case of being a gearhead, it's a case of getting certain minimal things that are high quality or interesting to use in one's hobby's and life.

So one of my lonmgtime Houston musician and business owner friend has been waving a several year old minty Taurus Titanium .44 Special five shooter with a 2 1/2" ported barrel in my direction. 19 point something ounces empty. A nice kind of stealth blue grey finish. Ribber grips, which I know from experience work very well to reduce felt recoil. Most importantly, wide combat hammer and trigger with a glassy DA and SA pull. I was very impressed with the trigger on this gun, which is why it has my interest at all.

So there's that friend waving that particular pistol in my direction, and some cash, hoping to trade me some great old time cymbal for it. There may have to be another gun involved for El Fisho Jr to make the trade happen, but somehow I feel it will. The gun apparently fits K frame holsters, so I'm already in good shape there. Although it'd be nice if it were a six shot .45 ACP, the five shot .44 Special is far thinner and far easier to conceal than a six shot .45 wheelgun.

Charter Arms, I am sure, are great guns but I've never cared for them. I have always liked the Bulldog .44 Special design and have written before how a .44 Special or .45 ACP wheelgun with a 3" barrel and lasergrip should be the primary gun of the Air Marshals, with a 9mm Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact as the backup.

At least one of my kin died in the line of duty many years ago, riding as a Texas Ranger, just before the invention of the Colt Walker revolver, and I mean just a couple of years before.

So I want to take the history of this great fighting machine called the revolver and look at past and present combat revolvers. Primarily, I've always been fascinated with the guns from the 20th century, the double action revolver and although I've always stared at pictures of customized Colt New Service and Smith and Wesson custom medium and large frame combat revolvers with awe and desire, my personal carry and shooting preferences have always been for the Colt Python and Cobra and the Smith and Wesson K frame. These three guns carry well, and they shoot well.

But I'm ready to start learning about some of the great revolvers of the past 100 years or so and try to corral some information for you fellow revolver enthusiasts. I hope to see lots of custom ideas for some great combat handguns, and I'll close with a link to an article by the same writer in the article above, Bob Boyd, about a Novak Custom Combat "Semi" Fitz Special.

This one doesn't feature a cut-away triggerguard (could you imagine the plaintiff's civil attorneys lawsuit alleging your "made for killing" gun with the trigger guard cut off? yes, guns are made for killing but the jury is not going to like it, and besides, who wants to carry these hair trigger guns anyway?), but it has a cool scalloped trigger guard to supposedly help focus the trigger finger on the trigger. Not something I'd have, but kinda cool on a custom gun.

What do you think about the cutaway triggerguards on the old school Fitz Specials? Have you seen the set of 1911's at the Texas Ranger museum with the same cut off trigger guard treatment? Yikes and double yikes! I wonder if these items were gifts from grateful constituants or something that made a difference in their gunfights back in the day?


I don't mean the name of this new blog to be deception, but it's what was available and I live in Texas, am a native Texan and I'm a big revolver fan.

This blog will deal with all things revolvers. The guns. Holsters. Gunsmiths doing cool things to revolvers still. Hopefully, some readers will chime in and have some good recommendations of folks who still work on revolvers . Also, I'm hoping to track down lots of good combat revolver pictures from days gone by. I remember as a kid always seeing ornately engraved guns, with these lusterous ivory or mother of pearl or unique wood grips capped with silver and gold buttplates that my father's longtime law enforcement friends carried. Before I was 10 years old, I knew that a highly customized Colt D frame or Python or the S&W J, K or N frame snubbie could be ALMOST as fancy as a Houston oilman's wifes jewelry. Or at least her earrings.

I'm not a gun dealer or gunsmith or in any way involved with the gun making or selling business, although I've been thinking lately about perhaps one day soon opening a gun shop and in the short term taking some gunsmithing and armorers classes and so I'll probably be thinking out loud as I write some of this stuff about revolvers. I fear that revolversmith is becoming somewhat of a lost art, or at least a much less practiced art, and I'd really like to get some skills in revolver customization and repair.

For real life, I work in law enforcement and am eligible to attend some of the armorers schools the regular joe can't attend, if I pay on my own dime and take vacation time, and I'm trying to get into a nearby Glock Armorer's School in the next few months to get started on this.

It might sound odd that a launch post for a blog about revolvers is written by a fellow who is talking about going to a Glock Armorer's school. I'm not anti-semiauto at all. I regularly carry either a Glock Model 36 or a Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact as a duty and off duty weapon.

In the past thirty years in law enforcement, and in shooting sports, I have carried numerous 1911 firearms as well as Browning Hi Powers, two HK P7's, two Star .45's, a Detonics, two Walther PPK/S's and a variety of Glocks. I have in the course of being a sportsman and having friends who owned lots of different kinds of guns over the years had the opportunity to shoot many modern and vintage semi-automatics made since the middle part of the last century, both large and small bore.

But for reasons I'll discuss in other posts, I like me some good revolvers.

I have shot competitively since I was in my early 20's as a young police officer, with several teams, and back then we were all about revolver shooting since that was the early 80's. I shot two guns primarily, my duty .357 Python 4" and a S&W K Frame Model 67 Combat Masterpiece. One of my fellow officers dads, a retired officer who was now working as an engineer but enjoyed training officers in the finer points of combat shooting. He'd been both a sniper and later, a combat handgun instructor in the military. His side weapon of choice, like my father when he was in the Air Force, was the Model 15 (blued model 67) Combat Masterpiece, a solid steel 4" barrel straight shooting .38 Special that can handle hot +P loads.

And if you've ever shot A LOT of magnum ammo, as I did in MAGNUM ONLY competitions back in the early 1980's, you come to appreciate that life is about more than shooting a .357 or .44 Magnum. A well loaded .38 Special +P or .44 Special, both with a modern high expansion JHP bullet design, is not only a million times more pleasureable to shoot but a far more ballistically sound round to shoot not only in terms of stopping power but in terms of bullet overpenetration.

Bullet overpenetration, to me, is as big a concern as defending yourself, and should be a uniform thought process in terms of defending oneself. No one wants to kill or injure an innocent person while defending our family. Many good defense revolvers can shoot reduced recoil and defensive loads by companies like Federal that not only offer superior stopping power but much reduced chances of bullet overpenetration because of bullet expansion and rapid slowing.

Proper weapon and caliber selection, circumstances of the attack upon you, available cover, if you are defending just yourself or others and the myriad things that go through your mind "SLOW MO{tion} when you are racing on adrenaline during a crisis all lead a lot of folks, including an experienced shooter like me, that often times a revolver is the best handgun for me to have in my hand in an emergency situation., be it a home invasion or a random attack at a parking lot or a car jacking.

I recently proclaimed that if I could only have one handgun, it would be the Glock 21 in .45 ACP for many different reasons. I shot competition with this weapon for many years, being one of the first in Houston shooting circles to get one in 1992, and immediately began using it instead of my "race" gun that I had been shooting police and combat competition courses.

But the second and third handguns on that if I could only have one handgun list would either be the S&W .45 ACP Model 22 Classic 4" (or better yet, the Thunder Ranch version) or the Model 1922 of 1917.

The fourth handgun on the if I could only have one handgun list would be a modern 1911, and probably a slightly worked on Colt Commander, again in .45 ACP but with a strong feeling about the greatness of the .38 Super caliber in these guns for defensive purposes. To me, and I could be wrong, the new .357 Sig is basically a modified version of the venerable .38 Super, which after all, was good enough (at least in part) to help Texas Ranger Frank Hamer take out Bonnie and Clyde.

The last of the list of guns on that above list would be the Colt Python, simply due to the superior action right out of the factory box. Even the rounded feel of the top of the knurled top of the hammer says "CUSTOM". The trigger pull is simply amazing, firm yet smooth. I don't believe other guns can imitate this trigger pull via custom work because it's just a different set of parts. If this gun was made in a five shot 44 Special or .45 ACP caliber, it might well be the gun that might knock the reliable and accurate high capacity Glock M21 off the top of my list here.

I'm near the mid-century mark and I've been shooting since I was a kid. I've been in law enforcement in Texas as a law enforcement officer for most of my adult life. I steer away from my own war stories for the most part but do not mind reflecting my opinion on various revolvers and firearms I have owned and/or shot and or worked homicide or shooting cases on over the years.

DISCLAIMER: There is no legal advice given on this blog. I don't discuss factual scenarios from a legal standpoint but rather from a what would you do standpoint. All discussions and comments by me assume LEGAL and LAWFUL carry of firearms pursuant to law or license or permit or law enforcement position. This blog is for law enforcement officers and law abiding citizens. There will likely be strong opinions expressed in comments praising law enforcement officers and citizens who support them wholeheartedly.

Comments are moderated and no anti-law enforcement or anti-second amendment comments will be posted. There are other places that want to hear what you have to say.

There are better folks to learn how to gunfight from than me. I am not a gunfighter. I recommend you google folks like Clint Smith, Chuck Taylor and Massad Ayoob. I have been reading Mas since probably 1982 or so quite regularly in gun magazines, and although he is not a lawyer (and like me would tell you that if you have a legal question go hire a face to face lawyers who handles questions like yours), his advice is quite sound and the issues he discusses when he has testified as an expert in deadly force use cases are quite thought provoking.

If you're man or woman enough to carry a gun to save your life, or in the line of duty, then you need to be familiar with not only tactical but legal considerations of gunfighting and self defense. Start with the three names above: Taylor, Ayoob and Smith. They will lead you to others.

Since the mid 1980's, when law enforcement everywhere began switching from revolvers to high capacity autoloaders, I watched as several generations of officers pased through academies with little or no exposure to revolvers. Some were sporting enthusiasts already, hunters and fisherman, and knew of the cult of the revolver. Other officers discovered them accidently upon the way, of how a nice hammerless j frame snubbie in the coat pocket of your winter coat was the perfect hand on gun but nobody knows when making dangerous traffic stops solo. Or how in an ankle holster you always had a backup to your duty weapon in a light weight low profile package. Under a shoulder holster duty jacket in an upside down snubnose holster.

Or perhaps, that .44 magnum and some speedloaders in your work briefcase or "bail out bag" carried on duty as a law enforcement officer.

Today, there's loads of people who know nothing about revolvers. They'll see us pull a few out at the range. The Colt Cobra, the venerable Model 67 Combat Masterpiece from my competition days and the Model 22 of 1917 always draw a crowd. They see the accuracy, and sometimes I'll go through a speedload or two just to show them how fast, with thirty years of practice and some instruction by the best, a man can reload and re-engage his target with a revolver under combat conditions.

Of they want to shoot it, and all of these younger kids in their 20's and 30's have been quite respectful, and of course the deal is, my son and I get to shoot their guns after they shoot mine. Quid Pro Quo. Everybody's happy, and often they are at the rental counter of the range store looking to see what kind of revolvers are in there as we are leaving. They done got hooked on the wheelgun.

I've got a lot of history of Texas law enforcement in my family, going back a lot of years. That'll be another post talking about that. Let's just say that when my family began working as Texas Rangers in Texas, Texas was not a country much less a state and these were pre-Walker Colt days.

One of my relatives was killed in an indian battle just a couple of years before the Walker Colt came to the Texas Rangers, and certainly my relative would've had more of a fighting chance with a brace of Walkers slung in pommels across the saddlehorn of his horse, in addition to their normal compliment of single shot Kentucky rifles, muzzle loading shotguns and pistols. So Texas and revolvers have been integral to each other now for close on 200 years, moreso probably than anywhere else in the world for many of those early years.

So all this rambling about me means that this'll be yet another rambling blog. But I'll keep it concerned with wheelguns, and wheelgunners and lots of already well done blog posts by others to link to about revolvers. The holsters that fit them. How to find holsters, particularly for older guns. Gunsmithing services and spare parts.

I just wanna make this blog a reference list in some different areas so that the guy or gal who stumbles on this site three years from now and decided that one of their carry or defense weapons should be this very cool Colt Police Positive Special (or other such vintage but high end and well customized "old school" revolver" they found in a pawn/gun shop with a DAO hammer, custom pearl or stag grips, a gorgeous BLUE colored finish and a 3" barrel and they just had to have it even though they have a J frame or a Glock/Sig/Beretta.

And then that person googles, and because there is a post on the late revolver/self defense holster Guru Chic Gaylord about how his idea of the ultimate fighting handgun was the Colt Police Positive Special, preferably with a 3" barrel, they find out about gun leather for that gun, and recommended ammo (usually from me but sometimes with links to forum posts on the subjects).

So feel free to email and send me some pictures of some great combat revolvers. If it's your gun, let me know the story and I'll write about it, or print what you write. You can be anonymous or not, it's up to you. Meanwhile, its much easier it seems to find "custom gun pictures" on the web as opposed to old time custom wheelguns for sale. Maybe I've been too Seinfeld about it all these years, but I'm looking for that one perfect gun. Not a collectors gun, but a gun that has been fired, but well taken care of. Every gun that I've liked that I've found was execellent in everyway except for some glaring defect.

Great frame, bad action. Great action, bad frame. Great action, tight frame, goosey barrel. I wanna be like that bad guy from the first Clint western that walks in the store and disassembles the numerous handguns and selects the best parts and fits amongst the guns to build his perfect gun.

I have another blog called The Fishing Musician or El Fishing Musician that originally began being a Texas music and Texas fishing and outdoors travel blog. Of course, the outdoors talk begat shooting and pretty soon guns began to take a dominant role on the website. And I thought that, as inspired by folks such as Xavier and some other sites I'll list in a later post and later on my blogroll, I wanted to continue on with some of the great revolver information they have out there and link to it and perhaps inspire others to comment and fill in some more information about some of the great revolvers of the past and present.

Xavier has not been blogging much lately, but take the time to thoroughly go back to post one and read his blog. Probably like me, Xavier grew up reading about guns and his knowledge base is excellent. His detail is great and his profile indicates he's a longtime nurse (same as a public servant to me, he's taken an oath, as only a few professions take) and apparently quite the photographer, based on what's on his site. It's a compendium of good advice about revolvers in particular, and I've had no issues with any of his opinions on revolvers. So when you want to do a little revolver "learning" or "refreshing your revolver knowledge" reading, X is the place to go.

There are other revolver sites or gun sites that have lots of great knowledge about revolvers and I'll be doing a lot of simply linking to them and making you aware of what they way and then letting your read it.

I hope you will join me keeping the revolver alive and helping spread information for those of us who enjoy revolvers from shooting to hunting to defense.