History of the Colt “Peacemaker”

This was the gun that started the modern firearm revolution. Prior to Samuel Colt inventing this handgun at the age of 16, all previous handguns were of the black powder or flint-lock type…single shot guns manually reloaded.

“Buffalo Bill” Cody carried a Peacemaker. He got his famous nickname after his contract to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat

Officially called the The Colt SAA, short for “Colt Single Action Army”, which also went by other names as the “Model P”, “Peacemaker”, “M1873”, and “Colt .45”, this gun is a single action revolver with a revolving cylinder holding six metallic cartridges. It was designed for the U.S. government service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company and was adopted as the standard military service revolver until 1892. The Colt SAA revolver is a famous piece of Americana, known as “The Gun That Won the West”, because it helped protect pioneers who wanted to settle in the west.

Beginning in the Wild West era through the American Civil War, all the way to the sets of some of the most iconic Hollywood Western movies, this legendary gun shaped the entire culture. The Peacemaker was so much more than just one of the best-designed guns of the era. Additionally, it paved the way for the production of multi-shot firearms, which eventually would transform the United States into a global power.

One of the more popular calibers for this handgun was the .32-caliber version because it used the same rounds as the popular Winchester rifle. The Peacemaker became every man’s dream despite being expensive, as its reliability and elegance made it legendary. Some of the most famous outlaws of the Old West, including Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and Butch Cassidy, carried this gun. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday carried a Peacemaker during the famous 30-second shootout at the O.K. Corral.

John Wayne with Marsha Hunt in Born to the West (1937)

By the 1950s, Hollywood cowboys were almost exclusively equipped with the Peacemakers, as the gun became a national icon. John Wayne carried a custom-designed ivory-gripped Colt, and Clint Eastwood and Kirk Douglas also used the legendary revolver.