The Fitz Special: Art of the Gunfighter, Circa 1926

This revolver is coming up for auction at Rock Island here.

John Henry Fitzgerald was not the first person to cut down a revolver barrel, nor the first person to bob the trigger guard or hammer. But he was the person who put all these modifications together as a package and popularized it as a self-defense piece. “Fitz” was a former NYPD police officer, very successful competitive and exhibition shooter, and a gunsmith and representative of the Colt company from 1918 until 1944. He made somewhere between 20 and 100 Fitz Specials as part of the Colt custom shop, and inspired many more to be made by other gunsmiths.

The Idea was to have a gun that would carry easily, and not get hung up on clothing. The shortened barrel, bobbed trigger guard, bobbed hammer, and bobbed ejector rod all served this purpose, with the trigger guard removal also easing use of the gun with gloves on. With the exception of the trigger guard, all of these ideas have become commonly accepted and available on revolvers designed for concealed carry. The trigger guard, of course, is a bridge too far in today’s more litigious and safety-minded society…