My ongoing research related to my Historical Handgun (Evolution of Handgun Training) project has been quietly continuing in the background, even as other projects like the Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training book were pushed to the front.
I have a large stack of books that have been read but not reviewed on the blog. One book, “The Fastest Guns Alive: the history of Fast Draw”, by Bob Arganbright, proved to be unobtainable in the used book market. It was a small volume that wasn’t widely distributed. I was able to finally get a look at a copy because the Library of Congress had one. Penny has been working in DC this year, and during a recent visit there I was able to get a Library of Congress reader’s card. I requested that book from the archives, and after a few hours’ wait (the LOC building is a great museum with guided tours with permanent and temporary exhibits), I was able to read it and even scan some of the pages from it.
Even better, I was able to get in contact with Bob, who is writing for American Handgunner and still serving as the unofficial historian of that sport. Here’s an interview he did with Howard Darby that gives a quick overview of holster development. The most popular holsters used in USPSA competition in the 1980’s, before kydex holsters were introduced, were mostly from holster makers with a background in fast draw holsters.
More about the history of fast draw can be found here. In addition to holster design, the popularity of fast draw drove the development of electronic timers. Bob’s book included many references to other resources, such as magazine articles and books. One of those books, which I was able to find, was a 1969 volume titled “The Saga of the Colt Six Shooter” by George Virgines.
The book has several sections: Colt History, 1873-1940, covers the origin of the Colt Peacemaker, the different types, variations, cased, presentation and engraved models. The Historic Colts section is detailed information about distinguished guns and guns used by famous Western actors and actresses.
The final section, Postwar Developments, covers production of the sixgun from 1940-1965. Models, variations, copies, commemorative guns, and a final section on fast draw games and gun tricks. It’s really of greater interest to gun collectors, since most of the content is heavy on lists and dates and descriptions of specific guns. The section on fast draw is nowhere near as complete as Bob’s book. It was an interesting read, though, and will get added to my shooting bookshelf.