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Texas Rangers and Carrying Single Action


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So I finally had a good afternoon to watch the Highway Men with Costener and Harrelson. 
 

I noticed they still carried their single actions for person carry. Not sure how accurate the movie is, but I read in another source that the Rangers carried single action for a while into the new century. Is there any truth to that?

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Yes.

 

From what I've read, Rangers had some personal discression in their choice of sidearm early on in the 1900s. Pre 1900 they brought whatever guns they owned to the job with them.

 

Of course, Hamer could probably do whatever he wanted by that point in his career and certainly had whatever flexibility he needed in pursuing B&C. B)

Edited by Dantankerous
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I really don't see why people are surprised at this.

 

This movie was taking place in 1934. The 1911, which was unquestionably a much better fighting pistol than a Single Action Army, had been out for 23 years. The Smith & Wesson hand ejector double action revolver had been out for more than 30. Why oh why, with these "so much better" choices available, would someone still carry a Single Action Army?

 

The plastic fantastic Glock, with its "safe action trigger" has been around since 1982. That's almost 40 years. Why isn't everyone carrying a Glock, since it is "obviously" a better choice for a fighting gun?

 

I carry a Smith and Wesson hand ejector or a 1911, or both. Unlike the Single Action Army, which was barely 60 years old at the time of Bonnie and Clyde, both of these are well over a hundred. But I still carry them. And so do many other people. Because they prefer them. They are comfortable with them.

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Also the possibility the S.A.A. was handed down to them by their father who was also a Ranger before them. My father gave me a double action when I became a cop. Always carried that gun off duty. He was a cop before me.

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This article states that many Texas Rangers carried single actions into the mid 20th century. 
https://americanhandgunner.com/handguns/single-actions-for-self-defense/

 

An article from the Texas Ranger Museum

https://www.texasranger.org/texas-ranger-museum/museum-collections/firearms/colt-single-action-army/

 

Some discussion of the 1911

https://www.texasranger.org/texas-ranger-museum/museum-collections/firearms/colt-1911/
 

 

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If you haven't visited the Texas Ranger Museum, you're missing a real TREAT.  The Guns, the Gun Leather, The Saddles, rifles and gear have to be seen to be believed and truly appreciated.   If you get the chance, GO!!

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Hamer carried Ole Lucky, an engraved Colt SAA 45,  well into the 30's but he also acquired several others along the way including a S&W triple lock in 44 Spl that was used in several 20th century gunfights.   Also had !911's I believe.   Hamer liked guns of all kinds but Ole Lucky was sure dear to his heart.  It sold, again, at auction for around 75 grand this time around.  Heck, I don't remember.... it may have been twice that.   Wish I'd bought it the first time up....went for 12 K and change.

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5 hours ago, Alpo said:

I really don't see why people are surprised at this.

 

This movie was taking place in 1934. The 1911, which was unquestionably a much better fighting pistol than a Single Action Army, had been out for 23 years. The Smith & Wesson hand ejector double action revolver had been out for more than 30. Why oh why, with these "so much better" choices available, would someone still carry a Single Action Army?

 

The plastic fantastic Glock, with its "safe action trigger" has been around since 1982. That's almost 40 years. Why isn't everyone carrying a Glock, since it is "obviously" a better choice for a fighting gun?

 

I carry a Smith and Wesson hand ejector or a 1911, or both. Unlike the Single Action Army, which was barely 60 years old at the time of Bonnie and Clyde, both of these are well over a hundred. But I still carry them. And so do many other people. Because they prefer them. They are comfortable with them.

I’m not so much surprised or think other things are better. I was just wondering how common it was amongst the Rangers by that point.

 

Hell, I’m getting ready to take my CCW course in April, and I’m kind of wishing I could do it with an SAA clone.

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1 hour ago, Whiskey Hicks said:

I’m not so much surprised or think other things are better. I was just wondering how common it was amongst the Rangers by that point.

 

Hell, I’m getting ready to take my CCW course in April, and I’m kind of wishing I could do it with an SAA clone.

Don’t let Cowboy shooting take over your mind to much.

To quote Quigley, “This ain’t Dodge City. And you ain’t Bill Hickok”. :D

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2 hours ago, Capt. James H. Callahan said:

I saw a Ranger in a gun shop years ago. He was carrying a 1911 cocked and locked. Little Texas Ranger badges inlaid into the grip panels.

JHC

 

Standard dress!   Used to be with Sheriffs deputies but I guess most have gone to Glocks except for parades.   Haven't seen a Sheriff's Posse parade in a great while.

 

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Reading an article, last year, that talked about men carrying cap & ball revolvers well into the 1880's, because they were used to them, because they could safely carry six rounds, and when they used paper cartridges, they could load the cap & ball revolvers almost as fast as they could load a cartridge revolver. That, plus you did not have to eject the empties out of a cap & ball revolver, since there aren't any. Then too, the cartridge revolvers were more expensive to buy, as were the cartridges, and there were still lots of "new old stock", and used revolvers out there to buy.  Also, the old timers didn't just throw away their cap & ball revolvers in 1874, when the Colt single actions were starting to be sold around the country. It took a while to get the new single action revolvers into the stores. Some of it too, is habit, and what one gets used to. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and whatever you are used to. If a tool that you possess, gets you out of a tight spot, and has done so for a while, you come to rely on it, and know it, and know how to use it. Cowboys, if they were blessed, made about 12 dollars a month, (a cavalry trooper made about thirteen dollars a month). Early on, the Texas Rangers made their men buy their own weapons, and all they did was supply a meager amount of ammunition to them. Later that changed, but point is, making those kinds of wages, it could take a while to save up for a new Colt, or Remington, or Smith & Wesson, or whatever was available in your area.  

 

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WhiskeyHad a fellow today that did his qualify with a Colt 45.New Mexico just go's By caliber.You do semi auto & revo                 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Largo

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7 hours ago, Whiskey Hicks said:

I’m not so much surprised or think other things are better. I was just wondering how common it was amongst the Rangers by that point.

 

Hell, I’m getting ready to take my CCW course in April, and I’m kind of wishing I could do it with an SAA clone.

 

My son, Hatfield, did his carry permit quals with a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt!  

 

Should’ve heard the instructor whine when he had to give up a box of .45s!  

 

 Ammunition was furnished for the class and if you shot the course clean, you got another box free!!  :lol:

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My wife (also a gunfighter cowboy shooter) finished 3rd in her carry permit shooting qualifier of over 40 people, using one of her Ruger Single Six revolvers.  The instructors were very impressed.  

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Several years ago, when I took my initial class to obtain what is now called a "license to carry" (it used to be called a "concealed handgun permit", but we can now carry them openly). The law here was, then, if you took the class with a revolver, you were only legally able to carry a revolver, but if you used a semi-automatic pistol, then you could carry either a revolver, or an automatic. A while back they changed the law, and you can now take the test with either one, and carry either one. At the time, I did not own a semi-automatic pistol, so I had to either borrow one, or buy one, to take the one day course. I bought one, since I do not like to borrow another person's firearm. While in the class, I asked if I could take the shooting part of the course, with my Colt 1851 2nd generation cap & ball revolver. The instructor was a friend of mine, and he said yes, but that would slow the class down while I reloaded. I told him I could reload pretty fast, with self-contained paper cartridges. I was just kidding, but then again I wanted to know if I that would have been an option, had I really wanted to do that. 

I have seen a few real Texas Rangers in my life, here and there. I haven't seen any in a good while, but the one's I have seen, in the past, carried a 1911, or a Colt Commander 1911 style pistol, in .45 acp, "cocked and locked", in their holster. I have not researched it, to find out what their ?official"/approved" sidearm is, in today's world. I cannot explain it, but those Rangers that I saw, and met, have an air about them, a presence, that I cannot define. They were soft spoken, and friendly, but you could see, and feel, the confidence they had, and there is an aura about them, that cannot be put into words. It is something one has to experience in person. 

W.K. 

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At least in southern Illinois 1911s carried cocked and locked are very common with officers who have to supply their own guns.

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1 hour ago, DeaconKC said:

At least in southern Illinois 1911s carried cocked and locked are very common with officers who have to supply their own guns.

Anyone who carries it differently is not well trained or simply foolish.

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Charlie Miller, an old Ranger and contemporary of Frank Hamer, took to carrying the 1911 in his  later years by stuffing it in his waist ban on half cock.   Accosted by a young brash officer who admonished him of the danger of such a carry Miller promptly retorted "  Hell Boy, I wouldn't be carrying it if weren't dangerous"!

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