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Colt lawman, half trigger guard?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by BigShep85, Aug 27, 2012.

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  1. BigShep85

    BigShep85 Member

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    Found one locally and really liked it, it is unique. Has the half trigger guard. Anybody have information on these? I am not a colt guy so I don't know much about why it had half a trigger guard or anything like that. Help0 me out please:uhoh:

    Thanks
     
  2. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    It's probably someone's rendition of what was called a Fitz special. Back in the 'Day, there was a fellow at the Colt factory by the name of FitzGerald. He was one of their custom 'smiths, and that became his "thing" - a half trigger guard and may or may not include a hammer bob - on Colt Detective Specials.

    The American Rifleman had an article on Fitz specials this summer - http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/the-fitz-special/

    There are more copies of Fitz specials than genuine articles, so don't go thinking you're getting some rare gun. In all honesty, removing the trigger guard was an old-school practice no longer in favor with almost any gun-savvy person.

    Q
     
  3. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    I call such guns paperweights. It's sad how many nice revolvers have been butchered into worthlessness this way.
     
  4. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    BigShep

    You may want to take a moment and read through this thread http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=656956&highlight=fitz
    Not only for the good information, but for the debate.

    Please note that the main players were SaxonPig and Old Fuff.

    In my never-so-humble-opinion they are both intelligent, experienced and worthy of respect. I enjoy their debates when this subject comes up.

    My opinion? I understand Saxon's opinion as I love classic revolvers. Before they were classics, some very smart and experienced people endorsed the Fitz conversion. Were I to pocket carry I might, as Saxon might suggest "go to the dark side" and "mutilate an otherwise good gun." But I would not use a pristine old gun.

    As I usually carry on the waistband, I have no need for a Fitz save the curiosity (or abomination, depending on your opinion)
     
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Sounds like someone did a one-off custom job and "Fitz'd" a Lawman. Unless the work was done by a very well-known gunsmith, and you have the paperwork to prove it, the gun is worth quite a bit less than it would otherwise be.

    The Fitz Special occupies an special place in early 20th century gun history, and has a certain cachet with gangster/prohibition-era flavor. If you have a fedora and a trench coat, and a double-breasted pinstripe suit, it may be the perfect accessory. :)

    On the other hand, there are some clear drawbacks to the idea and modern defensive pistol-craft has passed the concept by.

    Unfortunately, your trooper is of entirely the wrong era for even an "authentic" reproduction of a Fitz Special. And the modification is not readily fixable. At least not without spending more than the gun is worth for a smith to weld up the butchered guard and refinish the gun.

    I might STILL buy it, if it was otherwise in great shape, but I'd probably not spend more than a $150 on it.
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    An opinion would be sounder if a photograph was available.

    Mr. FitzGerald was much more then a gunsmith at Colt during the years between the two World Wars. He was in fact a member of the company's executive staff, and an important one who was instrumental in helping pull the company through the Great Depression.

    His “Fitz Special” design was intended to be used on revolvers carried in a pocket – pants or coat – and the purpose of cutting away the front of the trigger guard was to allow one to get their finger on the trigger in the confined space of a pocket, and to reduce bulk. Contrary to what some say today it was not unsafe, and it did buy a user a fraction of a second under circumstances where such fractions could mean the difference between life and death.

    Because the design is not in favor today, Fitz-modified guns generally sell for much less then the same revolver that has not been changed. An exception to the rule are those that were made at the Colt factory, which command some very high prices.

    You need to decide if the feature is something you like or don’t, and how you would use or carry it, while keeping in mind that some Great Depression era gunfighters thought it was an "edge giver," and if the price being ask is low enough to be attractive considering the circumstances.
     
  7. BigShep85

    BigShep85 Member

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    Here's a photo

    The price is high, I feel. Especially since I am more of a s&w fan. It's a .357
     

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  8. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Sorry Saxon...but I kind of like it

    :evil:

    awfully big for pocket carry though
     
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    What you have there is sort of a "half-Fitz." For most people the revolver is to large and heavy for pants pocket carry, and in most coat pockets the stocks are too large and it might be necessary to bob the hammer. The only way to tell would be to put on a coat and experiment drawing the unloaded gun.

    I think the seller is going to have a hard time moving it in today's market. I would pass unless the price became much more attractive. To a degree it might depend on where you lived, and how many months of the year you wore a heavy coat with deep pockets.
     
  10. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Being a Texan, where the winters are non existent 2 out of 3 years, I can see a D-Frame Fritz (or 1/2 Fritz).

    (I know not traditional, but more practical in this climate)
     
  11. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Many things done back when would be considered horrible today. I have a film (remember film) someplace of me drawing a Combat Magnum out of a Bucheimer Federal Man holster. The holster allows full exposure of the trigger guard and my finger is on the trigger as I draw. Worse, the hammer is half way back when the gun is at a 45 degree angle and falls as the sights come on target.

    If I did that today on a police range, I would be thrown out so fast I would bounce. I think modern training is to never draw the gun unless fired on and never touch the trigger until you have been hit by at least six bullets. All in the name of "safety" and avoiding lawsuits from the bad guys.

    Jim
     
  12. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    they didn't get the memo in NY :neener:
     
  13. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    FitzGerald himself favored a pair of cut-down .45 New Service models, but in his day pants tended to be on the baggy side. Colt's records indicate that the most popular platform was the .38 Detective Special, followed by the Official Police. I once converted a .38 Police Positive and in my view it made a great pocket gun, as the frame and cylinder were about 1/4" shorter then the Detective Special.

    Jim K. might be interested to know that Bill Jordan also started his double-action trigger pull as soon as the muzzle was pointed down range, and maybe a little before.

    Just to cause heart failure among our more "modern school tactical members" I must point out that Colt all so filled some special orders and cut off the entire trigger guard on .45 Government Model pistols. :evil:
     
  14. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    the hammer is locked back and there is a grip safety. How much safety do you need?
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I will speculate that the individuals who placed the orders had big hands or fingers, and wore gloves in the Winter. At least one person who packed such a pistol was a Capt. in the Texas Rangers. :what:
     
  16. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    that would make the trigger guard modification more practical
     
  17. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Fuffster

    As I am sure that you have read Fitz' book "shooting".

    What is your opinion of it?
     
  18. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Yes Indeed! It's a valuable resource for those who are interested in Colt's made during the 1920's and 1930's. It also goes into law enforcement theory and training of those times - which some consider to be totally obsolete, but I'm not one of them. Covers bullseye target shooting techniques as it was done during that era. Fundementals are still the same today. Last but not least the author expains the "Fitz Special."
     
  19. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    any other valuable resources you want to recommend?
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I would never build one, nor would I consider them "paperweights" or "butchery" but I think they are pretty cool. I place the originals in the same class as those built by R.F. Sedgeley and others under the direction of Elmer Keith and Harold Croft. Because I also do not labor under the notion that everything shooters want and need comes from the factory.
     
  21. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    You didn't ask me but here is a quick list I compiled and posted on another forum.

    Hunting for Handgunners by JD Jones and Larry Kelly.
    Handgun Hunting by Mark Hampton.
    Taffin's books.
    Sixguns by Elmer Keith (now back in print in the 1961 version).
    Shooting by Fitzgerald.
    Fast & Fancy Revolver Shooting by Ed McGivern.
    The Art of Handgun Shooting by Charles Askins.
    The Ultimate Guide to Handgun Hunting by Clair Rees is decent.
    Textbook of Pistols & Revolvers by Julian Hatcher.
    Big Bore Revolvers by Max Prasac (a new one).

    Ross Seyfried REALLY needs to do a book or two or three!!!

    I'll add Dennis Adler's books on Colt's and cartridge conversions. There are several. Bruce McDowell's book on cartridge conversions if you're serious about them, it doesn't run cheap. Mine was a steal at $70. Then there's the whole R.L. Wilson library. He's in jail, those are cheap but excellent. I have a bunch, including 80 or so leatherbound editions. It's all just a matter of how thirsty you are for information and how much you're willing to invest, time and money.

    I urge anyone reading this not to learn everything you know about guns, shooting and hunting from the internet.

    Here's a good discussion with lots of old hands throwing in.

    http://singleactions.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=sas&action=display&thread=3921
     
  22. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    thank you CraigC

    I am constantly looking to learn and always appreciate your input

    These Fitz threads are always fun as they speak of a different time
     
  23. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    That's why I like them. :)
     
  24. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    This picture was taken at a Texas Ranger museum in San Antonio. I think the owner's name should speak for itself. ;)

    IMG_9505b.jpg
     
  25. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    I had forgotten about Harrison.

    Guess he got overshadowed in my memory by his famous brother.
     
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