U.S. Marshals and 1st Generation Colt SAA Revolvers
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    U.S. Marshals and 1st Generation Colt SAA Revolvers

    The U.S. Government issued 1st Generation Colt SAA revolvers to a number of federal agencies and departments during the second half of the 19th Century. They include the U.S. Army, U.S. Post Office, U.S. Indian Agency, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Railway Mail Service, and others. I don’t think U.S. Marshals and Deputy U.S. Marshals serving on the western frontier during this period received government-owned sidearms. I wonder why? Perhaps someone can explain.

    Rusty Edwards

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    I have a artillery model SAA that was owned by Texas sheriff T.A. Binford but can’t prove he got it from military.
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    Maybe like the Texas rangers hired, they had to own a horse and a side arm, [I know they are a state agency]. in the second half of the 19th century the same rule may have applied to US marshals and deputy marshals serving on the western frontier, I don't know. I feel sure after the Army got what it needed, esp. the first 8000 that other agencies you mentioned prob. started getting some of the Colts including the govt. marshals ? I haven't heard this ask before, maybe they did ? maybe just to few to be recorded in history. glad you ask, maybe I can learn something.

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    This info does not answer your original question but I found this interesting regarding some of the U.S. Marshals. In the book "The Official Record of the Colt SAA Revolver 1873-1895", by Don Wilkerson, page 436, under Speer Hardware, Ft. Smith, AR, is the statement, "Many of the revolvers purchased by this firm were purchased by U.S. Marshals operating out of the Federal Court for Western Arkansas and Indian territory". First shipment to them was 1 June 1893 with a total of 245 black powder revolvers purchased through 1895. Makes one wonder about the possibilities here and is what makes collecting the Colt SAA interesting. It is too bad that some of these hardware stores did not maintain detailed records or that the records have been lost over the years as to who might have purchased the revolvers. I am sure they were concerned that 100+ years later that a group of collectors would give their right arm or at least a few hard earned dollars to see these records!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    I have a artillery model SAA that was owned by Texas sheriff T.A. Binford but can’t prove he got it from military.
    Here's TA Binford in his later years. I had family in Houston back in his day, a good lawman. Real men aren't afraid to put their finger on the trigger.
    141756954_c0eb8518-21b5-42ae-9f3b-24f327683968.jpeg
    lboos, MarkInTx and 29aholic like this.

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    I believe “Marshal” was only a position of duty. They were expected to already have their own arms.
    lboos and MarkInTx like this.

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    It just seems strange that the government issued Colt SAA revolvers to Indian Agents and men working for the Post Office, but not to U.S. Marshals working in the Indian Territory and other dangerous places. I've gone through Kopec's two books and haven't seen mention of any effort to arm the lawmen working for the U.S. Government.
    Last edited by Ruster; 07-18-2019 at 02:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruster View Post
    It just seems strange that the government issued Colt SAA revolvers to Indian Agents and men working for the Post Office, but not to U.S. Marshals working in the Indian Territory and other dangerous places. I've gone through Kopec's two books and haven't seen mention of any effort to arm the lawmen working for the U.S. Government.
    Indian Agents were a class of profiteering bureaucrats and the postal people, a class of store clerks, neither of whom commonly owned or carried serious arms. On the other hand, lawmen, by their nature, were accustomed to bearing arms and constantly experimented with new and better weapons. Many police departments up through the 1970s required an officer to provide his own side arm. Many Sheriff's departments required not only the deputy to provide his own weapon but his own automobile.
    lboos likes this.

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    Here in Texas up till recent times (if not still today) small departments had officers supply their own weapons. If not I know they had to pay for them through their salaries.
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    5DF7A9BC-F552-40ED-8FA8-7BD6E2FE62E2.jpegT.A Binford with his favorite mode of transportation.
    Kevin Keith likes this.


 
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