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Colt: The Revolver of the American West

Written by Jeffrey Richardson, Preface by Lt. Gen. William M. Keys, USMC (Ret.), Foreword by Beverly Haynes

  • October 1, 2013
  • Hardcover
  • Antiques & Collectibles - Firearms & Weapons
  • Universe
  • 11-1/2 x 9-1/2
  • $45.00
  • $45.00
  • 978-0-7893-2710-9

About This Book

From the world’s finest collection, the 100 most significant Colt revolvers are presented in this handsome volume. The Colt Single Action Revolver "won the West" by being the gun of choice on the American frontier, used by everyone from settlers and Native Americans to law-enforcement officers and outlaws. As a result of their shared history, the Colt revolver and the American West will forever be connected. Over its twenty-five-year history, the Autry National Center has compiled the finest assemblage of more than 500 Colt revolvers in the world, including the Colt Industries corporate collection. The Autry’s curator has selected the 100 most important examples to document and celebrate the history of Samuel Colt’s revolutionary invention. The revolvers include pieces of historical significance, opulently engraved specimens, and extremely rare models. Featured are an early prototype revolver, Wyatt Earp’s and Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite guns, and the first modern revolvers designed by Tiffany & Co. Each gun is described in a detailed essay, and additional artifacts—historical photographs and art, uniforms, hats, and holsters—are featured to place the revolvers in their proper historical context. This handsome volume is ideal for the collector or enthusiast of the American West.

About the Author

Jeffrey Richardson is the Gamble Curator of Western History, Popular Culture, and Firearms at the Autry National Center. William M. Keys is a retired U.S. Marine Corps general and is president and CEO of Colt’s Manufacturing, LLC. Beverly Haynes is the corporate historian of Colt’s Manufacturing, LLC.


  • "Recommended for the historian. There’s an old frontier saying that’s a bit ghastly but nonetheless true: “God created men. Samuel Colt made them equal.” Indeed, the Colt revolver had a big hand in settling the American frontier, in large part because it was “the first practical revolving firearm capable of firing more than one shot without having to be reloaded,” as Richardson writes. In this coffee table book, Richardson lays out 100 examples of the Colt, tracing its evolution with the help of essays on the revolvers and some of their owners, including Wyatt Earp and Theodore Roosevelt." ~Forbes Magazine

    “If you love old Colts, this book will be a welcome addition to your bookshelf.” ~Guns Magazine

    "...catalogues a signature collection of memorabilia from the Steve Jobs of the nineteenth century: Samuel Colt, the man who gave America the 6-shooter. The cynical joke in the American West was that God didn't make men equal, Samuel Colt did. Colt...may not have invented the repeating rifle or the six-shooter that he quickly turned into his company's core product. But like Steve Jobs more than a century later, he created the industry shaped his century. Colt: The Revolver from the American West, reviews that accomplishment by examining 100 pieces from the Greg Martin Colt Gallery at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. Although the collection is dedicated to the historic firearms, it also includes the maquette of a rearing colt, arguably the first corporate brand and probably the most recognizable logo of the 1800s." ~Town & Country Magazine

    Top Coffee-Table Book of the Season. The Autry Museum of the American West is a gem, and Colt: The Revolver of the American West is a history of the firearm company told through guns in the museum’s collection. These range from the Buntline Special, a pistol with a 16-inch barrel that may or may not have been used by Wyatt Earp, but was certainly used by Hugh O’Brian in the popular 1950s TV series, to John Wesley Hardin’s 1877 pistol, to a stunning pair of gold-plated Single Action Army models once owned by Tom Mix. Great history entertainingly presented.” ~The Palm Beach Post

    "This handsomely hefty volume is packed with delightfully detailed essays and magnificent photos of 100 of the most important Colt models, including guns belonging to Wyatt Earp, John Wesley Hardin, William S. Hart, and Teddy Roosevelt. Published by Rizzoli with their usual high quality standards, this will be a perfect addition to the library of any Colt collector, cowboy gun aficionado, or frontier history buff." ~Gun World

    “Hundreds of books have been written about Samuel Colt and his guns, and hundreds more about historical episodes in which they were involved. Now, Jeffrey Richardson has combined both aspects of Colt history in his magnificent book Colt: The Revolver of the American West. Richardson, curator of the Autry collection in Los Angeles, has chosen one hundred of the finest Colts in the collection and presented them with a combination of superb photography and detailed information about each particular gun, where it was, and what it did. Richardson presents Colt history in a manner that will appeal to collectors, historians, and anyone with an interest in fine guns.” ~Terry Wieland, Shooting Editor, Gray's Sporting Journal
    “Through my outdoor series Gun Stories, I have the privilege of meeting a lot of people and handling a lot of guns. The Colt revolver is a most important gun and Jeffrey Richardson's participation on my show has been invaluable. His knowledge and style are apparent in his great new book. It is a fitting honor for the great Colt collection at the Autry Museum, here in Los Angeles, and a must read for firearms aficionados, collectors, and fans of the West.” ~Joe Mantegna, Host of Gun Stories

     is ideal for the historian and scholar, the collector, and anyone who is fascinated by the great American West and its captivating culture. The text offers not only reliable and interesting facts, but is accompanied by many legends of the Colt. Not the least of those legends - Sam Colt himself. It is exciting to welcome such a landmark publication to the pantheon of works on the American West, and on firearms." – R.L. Wilson, author, antiquarian, Colt employee (1964-65), and consultant since 1966

    ...the Autry Collection’s 100 most important examples to document and celebrate the history of Samuel Colt’s revolutionary invention. Along with some early examples of the Colt Patterson and Colt Walker, you’ll see and read about Colt Single Action Army, serial #1, Wild Bill’s Colt Navy, and Wes Hardin’s 1876 Colt Double Action. Not to be outdone, Richardson also includes guns used by Ken Maynard, Gene Autry, and Clayton Moore (the one and only Lone Ranger). Unlike a lot of coffee table books, Colt: The Revolver of the American West includes a lot of information about the 100 guns chosen and includes great professional photographs. The book is an extremely good blend of entertainment as well as in-depth research.” ~Jim Wilson, Senior Field Editor/NRA Publications

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