The revolver is to the West as apple pie is to America. The six-shooter is an iconic symbol of not only the historic West, but also Western mythology and popular culture. Oftentimes, old west revolvers themselves can be about as famous as the legendary men and women who carried them.

This piece of revolving technology does not predate American expansion into the West. In fact, it was not even developed in the region. Samuel Colt, a young eccentric, first patented the revolver in 1835 in England. His first revolving patent was granted in the United States on February 25, 1836. Patent 9430X began the arms race to develop revolver technology. However, while Colt ignited the fire, he was not alone. Many young designers were chomping at the bit to break into the revolver market. When Colt’s patent expired in the mid-1850s, it opened the door for rigorous competition from other manufacturers, such as Smith & Wesson and Remington.

From outlaws to lawmen, inventors to exhibitionists, there are a multitude of revolvers associated with Western figures. These famous and even infamous men and women may have all passed away, but their revolvers still stand in museums and collections as a testament to their lives and legends. Let’s look at a few of these old west revolvers, which can be found at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.

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