A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More on Fitz Specials

This is why I love a good gun forum. The collective knowledge can be astounding. I bow to dfariswheel and Old Fuff.
Hello all. I'm brand new to this forum. I'm interested in pricing and maybe selling my 1931 Colt 38 "Fitzgerald Special" Detective Special. Any ideas? I know a little about guns but I'm no expert. I do know that this is a pretty rare gun. It's in pretty good shape. Only problem is that my dad engraved his drivers license in the metal in two places.
Due to the great rarity of genuine Fitz Colts, the value can be high today. However, also due to the rarity and value, the Fitz Colts have been counterfeited, INCLUDING to the extent of having a fake Colt letter.

Such is the case, that today, without a Colt factory letter ALL Fitz guns are suspect to potential buyers, no matter what the history.

In your case, since the value could be significant. You will almost have to have a recent Colt letter in hand before anyone will pay the true value.

Due to the few Fitz Colts that come up for sale, it's almost impossible to give any kind of close estimation of value. I'd guess that the best price would probably come in an online gun auction on Gun Broker, and that would HAVE to have the Colt letter as a estimate to it's authenticity.
The Fitz Special, named after John Fitzgerald who worked for Colt, was conceived as a revolver to be carried in a gentleman’s side pants pocket. The purpose of cutting away the front of the trigger guard was so that the trigger finger could wrap around the trigger while the gun was still confined within the pocket.

Today of course the whole idea is condemned as being dangerous. I once ask Charlie Askins about that. His personal body count was supposedly double-digit, and he not only cut away the guard on his pocket guns, but holstered sidearms as well. He unquestionably spoke from a position of unequaled knowledge and experience.

He looked at me for a moment and then said, "Well there are a lot of things more dangerous that happen in a fight then a cut-away trigger guard."

In my experience the amputated guard will buy you a split second when the revolver (or pistol for that matter) is carried in a pocket. Split seconds often make the difference between life and... whatever. Askins never felt obligated to give the other guy an even break, and eventually he died of old age. Somewhere in there, there is a message.

As has been mentioned, all of the Fitz Specials that were made at the Colt factory were custom ordered, as they were never cataloged. Most of them were channeled through Mr. Fitzgerald himself, and the individuals that got them read like a who's who of legendary gunmen of the middle 20th century. They were neither incompetent or stupid, and like Askins took any advantage they could get.
View the entire thread here at The High Road.



Blogger Less said...

More from dfariswheel:

In addition to the hazard of an AD, the trigger guard is fairly soft and bends easier than you'd think.
A bump, and the trigger guard can prevent the gun from firing.

The Fitz guns were not intended to be carried in a holster or stuck in the waist band. [...] Fitz carried his guns in his pants pocket. This was in the day when mens pants pockets were huge, and Fitz had his tailored with stiff, smooth canvas liners so the gun was supported. [...] Fitz was also a HUGE man.

Just 'cause it worked for Fitz doesn't mean it'll work right for anyone else... I don't see Todd Jarett needing a cutaway trigger guard in the reloading videos...

Hell, it isn't that tough to fire a S&W "hammerless" from a coat...

I stated once before that I never "got" the entire idea of a Fitz Special? It seems like the "tacticool" invention of the day.

Truly a solution in search of a problem...

12:29 AM  
Blogger Ed Harris said...

A problem with open trigger guards, explained to me by the late Harry Archer, a clandestine operator trained by Applegate, in speaking from personal experience, is that in CQB the revolver WILL be used as an impact weapon, in the same manner as brass knuckles. An open trigger guard then may be bent, jamming the trigger. More useful is the bobbed hammer, which makes it less likely to snag the hammer spur upon drawing from a pocket, or to catch in the lining when a revolver is fired trough the pocket.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Joker23 said...

"This is why I love a good gun forum. The collective knowledge can be astounding."

This is why I love the internet. No matter what the hobby, if you look long and hard enough you will find a helpful, knowledgeable group to share with.

Heck, I found Xavier Thoughts while looking for information about Colt Sistemas.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Old NFO said...

Fairbairn and/or Sykes did something similar to pistols in Shanghai in the 30's, except they also cut off the front sight and bobbed the hammers. I have seen one of those in my life.

4:59 AM  
Blogger Les Jones said...

I never got it, either. The front of the triggerguard has never prevented me from getting my finger to the trigger.

Truly, the Fitz triggerguard was to guns what speedholes are to cars</simpsons>.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Darlene said...

I have a fitz. It was my Grandads He had 2 and my cousin has the other now. It has pearl handles. I am keeping it to pass down to my son. I know it is very special and would love to have the history I know it was given to him by someone famous. It is the dectective special nickel plated.

12:34 PM  

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