For gun collectors and students of firearms, the Colt brand holds a special place. Frankly, the same is true for those interested in the history of American manufacturing and marketing. I’ve often thought that the history of Colt would be an instructive read in Harvard Business Review.

In this space in the past, we’ve reviewed two books by Gurney Brown, a heavily-credentialed authority on the topic. Now comes his third book on the brand and the products, “Colt’s Double Action Revolvers: the Post-War Era.”

This is where I came in, so to speak.  I’m a “baby boomer,” born in 1948. As a little boy, I pored over my dad’s 1947 Stoeger Gun Bible, and Mr. Brown’s new book gives me flashbacks.  It contains reprints of Colt catalogs over the long period in question, and while that might look redundant to the casual observer, a shooter in my age bracket sees it sort of as time travel.

It’s a coffee table book, to be sure, rich with lavish color photography and commensurately priced ($84.00).  It doesn’t have as much historical detail from the engineering side as, say, the work of my late friend Larry Wilson, the famed Colt historian.  That said, though, it does have some nuggets.  Brown’s description of the legendary Colt Python and the men who developed it jibes with what I learned at Colt’s in the 1970s when those guys were still alive for me to interview for the magnum (no pun intended) opus on that gun that was published in American Handgunner.

I’ve been a Colt collector and a gun writer for a long time now, but this new book still had some surprises for me.  For example, I had not realized that at midpoint in the Twentieth Century when Colt introduced the first lightweight aluminum frame handguns, the Commander semiautomatic and the Cobra revolver, the company had originally called those the Zephyr series.  Further research shows that this terminology may have been applied primarily to advertising for foreign sales.

The saying in gun collecting is that the wise person will invest in books about the guns before investing in the guns themselves.  I’ll give that advice a thumbs-up, and the same thumbs-up to “Colt’s Double Action Revolvers: The Post-War Era.”  Amazon will get you there.


  1. Mas:

    As I get up in years, I find myself playing the fun game of “would the guns of ___ (insert year or decade) serve me as well as the guns of today?”

    That period ad with the Detective Special and the Commander remind me that those two could still serve both of us quite well today.

    Hope you are doing well!

    Shawn McCarver

  2. Well….thanks…I have the book Seven Serpents and when I clicked through to Amazon to see this book(Colt’s Double Action) I noted that it showed three books that they showed as kind of a bundle…
    The Colt’s Double Action book to which the article was about, the Seven Serpents book (which I already have) and one titled King of the Serpents….so of course I had to place an order for the two I didn’t have !!

  3. “…Colt introduced the first lightweight aluminum frame handguns, the Commander semiautomatic and the Cobra revolver, the company had originally called those the Zephyr series.”

    If one looks up the definition of “Zephyr”, one finds:


    1. The west wind.
    2. A gentle breeze.
    3. Any of various soft light fabrics, yarns, or garments, especially a lightweight, checked gingham fabric.

    One can see why the name appealed to some Colt advertising executive. However, the “breeze” from a Colt Zephyr would not have been light if you were on the receiving end! 🙂

    It is probably just as well that they kept it descriptive for the semi-auto pistol (Lightweight Commander) and stuck to their snake motif (Cobra) for the revolver.

  4. I am drifting off-topic again but I found this YouTube Video to be one of the best that I have ever seen regarding what “science” can tell us about the effectiveness of Firearm-Prohibition laws. See this link:

    This video makes good the old proverb that: “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.”

    As with Covid-19 and the Climate Change debate, the Left is using cherry-picked data and manufactured “Science” to “Prove beyond a Shadow of a Doubt” that their left-wing worldview is correct and true.

    When one discards the propaganda and indoctrination and looks at these issues with true scientific skepticism, then one realizes that everything that they preach is noting more than a house of cards built upon the shifting sands of a faith-based worldview that approaches, or even exceeds, the fanaticism of past religious movements.

    The left-wing ideology is a fanatical pseudo-religion based upon self-worship. I suppose it does have one virtue over such past historical movements as the Spanish Inquisition. Those past religious zealots merely twisted the Word of God to suit their purposes. Our modern day religious zealots have discarded God entirely. Perhaps, in that sense, it is one area where the Leftists are actually telling the truth!

    • Don’t worry! The liberally insane will try to cancel God, but they’re the ones who will end up in the very hot place with no air conditioning when they croak. The good people will be looking down on them sweating their butts off and breathing sulfur fumes while being bedeviled by sadistic pitchfork wielding imps with amusement while sipping cold lemonade. If the liberal idiots think global warming is bad, they haven’t seen anything yet.

    • @ Tom606 – Human history consists of repeating cycles. In the first phase, humanity digs, digs, and digs itself into a hole. The digging does not stop until we are all ready to drown in the rising water and mud. At that point, termed “The Darkest Hour”, the second phase begins. Humanity turns around and, with great effort, courage and self-sacrifice, we climb out of our self-dug hole and crawl out onto level ground again.

      Once back on level ground, we stand up, walk a few steps forward, grab ourselves a new spade and start digging again.

      All my life, we have been in a digging phase. When I was a child, the pace of digging was slow and measured. However, within the last couple of decades, the digging has been going at a furious pace. We are reaching depths, in our hole, that were last plumbed back in the 1930’s. We are already sloshing around, up to our chest, in rising water and mud.

      I think we must, surely, be nearing bottom. Soon, we will be forced to begin the hard, difficult, deadly and painful climb back out of our hole.

      It is just a matter of time. The Circle never breaks. It only, continuously, repeats.

      • If we keeping digging and not stop, we’ll end up in China. There, we’ll find the Biden crime family, whose influence peddling members have been pardoned by Crooked Joe, living in luxury on the many millions they have taken in bribes and graft, after giving the “Big Guy” his percentage. But worry not as the ChiComs will quietly dispose of them when their usefulness has ended. Maybe some ailing high ranking Communist party members will receive certain vital organs, except their feeble brains. Hunter’s organs are so messed up from alcohol and drug abuse, no one will want them.

  5. I remember Bill Gates being proud of the fact that his company, Microsoft, was a leader in both the Personal Computer revolution and the World Wide Web revolution. He wondered if any other company had accomplished a feat like that, being a leader in two revolutions. Someone pointed out that Colt’s introduced the first popular, practical revolver in 1836, and also popularized the semi-automatic with its Government model of 1911. I think the first semi-automatic handgun was the Borschart in 1895, but Colt’s certainly did a lot to popularize semi-automatic handguns. Add to that producing the M-16 for the government in the 1960s, which is the select fire version of America’s most popular rifle, the Armalite Rifle Fifteen, and Colt’s is an amazing company, responsible for a lot of innovation. So, no, Microsoft is not alone in being a leading company for two product revolutions.

    • Gates will have to share the credit for the internet with Al Gore who invented it with some minor assistance from Bill, who mainly went out for coffee to keep the genius from Tennessee awake. We haven’t heard from Gore lately as he’s extremely busy solving global warming and creating the first renewable energy warp drive engine to take persons where no one has gone before. Actually he’s busy spending all the millions liberal idiots have donated to him.

      • Tom606,

        Yes, Al Gore is an excellent salesman. He makes money from a fake crisis and people believe he is Mr. Wonderful, saving the planet. Even if our industry affects the climate, if the USA cuts emissions, but India and China do not, what good does that do? My guess is that anti-Americans want to slow down or halt our economy, so that’s why they try to scare us with “climate change.” Every form of energy has destructive by-products, except maybe the sails on a sailboat. I suppose it could even be argued that obtaining the raw materials to make the sails and boat is harmful to the earth.

        In addition to inventing the Internet, he also invented the “Al Gore rhythms” that search engines use to keep people away from conservative websites.

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