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By John Restuccia

Welcome back readers to my multi-part series on the “Firearms That Shaped America.” If you haven’t read the last part, definitely give it a read to learn about the very first gun that shaped American history. Looking back on Part 1, the importance of this series is becoming more apparent. It seems that guns and gun control are completely taking over the 24 hour news cycle. As much as these conversations take place, one element is missing from these discussions: the history of firearms and how firearms have made us the free country we are today. People do not know how important firearms have been in our nation’s history. The purpose of this series is to emphasize that fact. Even looking at modern times, there is a major lack of understanding. Look at the most recent Democratic debate with Beto O’Rourke calling for the confiscation of firearms, for example.

We must look at the history of guns and how they shaped America. With that in mind, let’s jump ahead 100 years to take a look at a gun that had shaped our country during a period of reconstruction. I am talking about the Colt Single Action Army, also known as the Colt Peacemaker.

When talking about Colt there is an old saying, “God made man, Colt made man equal.” That sums up the Colt Peacemaker perfectly. It did not matter who you were or what skill level you were; Colt made guns that almost anyone could use. In Part 1, I talked about the Brown Bess musket. With that gun came the issues of reload speed, knowledge of how to load the rifle, having all the necessary gun powder, and ramming the single round down the rifle. To use the gun one had to have the necessary knowledge and skills. As a self defense weapon, the Brown Bess was not ideal. The Colt Peacemaker made the Brown Bess look like a weapon used in the Stone Age. Just about every aspect of the Peacemaker changed the firearm industry as a whole.

Part 1 included an explanation on how one had to reload the Brown Bess and the struggles that came along with that firearm. Popular Mechanics described perfectly how easy the Colt Army was to reload. “This iconic revolver had a six-chamber cylinder that used a loading gate on the right side of the receiver. To load the pistol, you’d simply half-cock the hammer, open the loading gate, and drop cartridges into the chambers. To unload spent cases, you’d align the chamber with the loading gate and pull the ejector rod back.” It is easy to see how simple it is to load the gun. No need to ram a bullet in the chamber anymore, simply load the rounds into the chamber. Almost anyone could do this and that is one of the reasons that the gun was so popular.

In American culture, the Colt Peacemaker has been used by a number of famous icons. American outlaws such as Billy the Kid and Jesse James, who were prominent figures of the “Wild West,” were known for using the Colt Peacemaker. American heroes of the west also used the gun, most famously Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, who both used the Colt Peacemaker during the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral. These names wouldn’t have gone down in the history books without the Single Action Army.

Even transcending the time period the gun was used, the Colt Peacemaker is still being used in film and video games today. The Internet Movie Firearms Database shows the Colt Single Action Army has appeared in over one hundred different films across a variety of genres. In the Clint Eastwood cowboy classic “A Fist Full of Dollars,” Clint’s character is shown to use the revolver as his trusty sidearm. In “The Expendables 2,” a team-up of the greatest action stars of the 80s and 90s, Slyvester Stallone is shown to use the gun with a shortened barrel. The gun is popular in video games as well. The Metal Gear Solid franchise features Revolver Ocelot, a man who solely wields a Single Action Army. In Red Dead Redemption 2, the Cattleman Revolver is heavily based off the Peacemaker.

As stated previously, Beto O’Rourke has called for the confiscation of firearms at one of the Democratic primary debates. However, the history of the Colt Single Action Army is the exact argument against confiscation of firearms. Everyone is different, physically and mentally. Some people in this world try to use their differences to their advantages to get ahead by taking away your rights. Whether that be the right to feel safe or the right to even live in some cases. The Colt Single Action Army, as so eloquently put earlier, makes every man equal. It gives every woman or man the ability to defend themselves from those who use their advantages over others. The Colt Peacemaker wasn’t just a firearm, it helped shape the American landscape and mentality. That is why the Colt Single Action Army is a gun that shaped America.

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