Colt | Colt Handguns
To trace the story of the Colt 45, you’ve got to go back 45 years before the O.K. Corral to when Samuel Colt patented his first percussion revolver design in February 1836. Colt plugged away on wooden models and technical drawings until Baltimore gunsmith John Pearson forged a working prototype. Colt soon set up the Patent Arms Company in Paterson, New Jersey, the town gave its name to Colt’s first production revolver: “The Paterson.”
The early models required the barrel to be removed before the pistol’s cylinder could be reloaded. During the late 1840s, Texas Ranger Captain Samuel Walker improved this design, making it robust and reliable enough for field use. A flood of firearms followed, including the Colt Dragoon, Colt 1851 Navy, Colt Army Model 1860, and Colt M1861 Navy. Although Samuel Colt died in January 1862, his company found find its future by selling tens of thousands of percussion revolvers to the Union Army during the American Civil War.