Revolvers first emerged in the early 1800s, an early type of semi-automatic pistol that made it faster and easier for shooters to blast rounds at targets of all kinds. One company — Colt — took the revolver concept and cashed in, thanks to its variants that found use throughout the American Civil War and the Old West. How much do you know about the famous Colt pistols in our quiz?
From early black powder versions that used cap and ball ammunition to ultra-modern metallic cartridge designs, many Colt revolvers have been a part of big moments in world history. Can you name any of the people who used Colt weapons as part of their lives?
The Single Action Army is likely Colt’s most iconic weapon. This big six-shooter was common in both the East and West in the 1870s and 1880s, with soldiers, ranchers and, yes, criminals, too. How much do you know about the lore and specifications of this amazing weapon?
Colt didn’t invent the mass production of revolvers, but the company did perfect these high-speed manufacturing techniques. Its marketing prowess was also second to none. The result? Colt sidearms were everywhere. Take a shot at our famous Colt sidearms quiz now! Maybe you’ll find your mark … or perhaps you’ll just be shooting blanks.
In 1855, Samuel Colt founded Colt’s Manufacturing Company in Connecticut. He went on to design and produce some of the most famous pistols in world history.
In the 1870s, Colt began producing the Single Action Army, a six-shot revolver. It was better known as the "Peacemaker," thanks to its ability to solve quarrels without — or with — bloodshed.
The Colt Python is a big, beefy .357 Magnum. Sometimes it is simply called the Combat Magnum, and it was first made starting in 1955.
The Colt Buntline has a very long barrel, making it unmistakable in the Colt lineup. Some versions had a huge 16-inch barrel.
The Colt Walker was very popular in the 1840s, long before smokeless powder came along. It was a black powder weapon.
The Peacemaker (Single Action Army) was so popular that Colt kept offering more and more variants. What started out as a .45 was eventually offered in more than 30 calibers.
At .44 caliber, the black powder Colt Walker had plenty of stopping power. But it also had a short range of around 100 yards.
For many years, the Buntline has been associated with Wyatt Earp, the famous lawman of Tombstone, Arizona -- the location of the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. But recent research finds little evidence of the Earp-Buntline connection.
The M1911 shoots an ACP .45 caliber cartridge. It was adopted as the standard U.S. military sidearm in 1911 and remains incredibly popular.
With its huge barrel and incredible weight, the Colt Walker was the biggest black powder handgun ever made. Its .44-caliber bullets undoubtedly caused incredible carnage.
The M1911 was adopted by the U.S. military just before World War I. It was used in many battles during that war and the wars that followed.
The Walker was specifically designed for close-quarters warfare. Its characteristics were specified by Samuel Walker, a Texas Ranger who served in the Mexican-American War.
The Peacemaker was indeed the U.S. standard sidearm from the 1870s and until 1892. In the meantime, it also proliferated throughout the Old West.
Better be hitting the gym if you get your hands on a Walker. You’ll need that extra arm strength to accurately aim its 4.5-pound heft.
The fact that it was introduced more than a century has done nothing to dim the shine of the M1911. Many police agencies and military units still use versions of the M1911.
The Second World War created unimaginable demand for firearms, including the M1911. Colt alone couldn’t keep up with demand, so other companies made the M1911, too.
Colt raked in huge profits during the American Civil War, thanks in large part due to its sales of the Model 1860, which was used by forces on both sides.
The .357 Magnum Python is big and nasty, a very heavy revolver. The biggest versions weigh more than 3 pounds.
The Single Action Army, the Peacemaker, was common throughout the Wild West at the end of the 1800s. Ranchers and criminals alike carried these guns throughout the volatile region.
Colt made the cap and ball Navy Revolver starting at the end of the 1840s. It was used throughout the Civil War era but was eventually replaced by cartridge designs.
The Python is a famous double-action revolver. Like most Colts, it carries up to six fresh rounds in its revolving chambers.
Back in Civil War era, the Model 1860 was a well-regarded piece of military equipment. It cost around $20, which doesn't sound like much, but was actually substantially more than similar weapons.
Colt absolutely capitalized on its status in the Old West. In the late 1870s, the company did make a gun called the Frontier Six-Shooter, and the name was prominently emblazoned right on the barrel.
The most popular Pythons had 6-inch barrels. The 8-inch variant was meant for hunting — and with that .357 Magnum, you probably weren’t hunting squirrels.
Owing to older metal-working techniques, the Walker suffered a higher-than-average number of ruptured cylinders. The gun’s immense size and weight also contributed to those failures.
Walker’s input resulted in the huge and powerful Colt Walker ... and yes, Walker did carry the guns during the Mexican-American War. He also died during combat in this conflict.
The .357 Magnum Python can blast its huge loads accurately to around 200 yards. But whether you’re 50 or 200 yards away, it’s gonna hurt when you take one of these slugs.
Even though it was introduced decades earlier, the M1911 was still popular in the 1990s-era U.S. military. It saw action throughout the Gulf War.
In the 1993 film "Tombstone," Russell carried a Colt Buntline, echoing the (probably false) legend that Wyatt Earp often carried this model.
The M1911 came in several variants, including the General Officer’s model. This limited edition set had some fancy extras and was made for just a few upper-echelon generals.