Watch: ‘Fitz Special’ Customized Carry Revolver
Russ Chastain 06.26.18
If you were a gunfighter — or even a gun guy — in the 1920s, chances are good that you’d know what a Fitz Special is. But almost a century later, most of us have never heard of it. In short, it’s a highly modified revolver that was popularized by a former New York police officer and exhibition shooter named John Henry Fitzgerald.
“Fitz” was also a gunsmith, which is not surprising since he performed the necessary surgery on numerous revolvers by shortening barrels, bobbing hammers & ejector rods, and chopping off the fronts of trigger guards, and he was in the employ of Colt for more than 25 years.
The Colt revolver in this video is coming up for auction, with an estimated price of $1500-$3000. Chambered for 44-40, it’s fairly beefy for a snub-nose, and it wasn’t modified by Fitz himself.
These days, a much less-thorough job of making a gun easier to carry is often called “de-horning,” but the goal is the same: to make it more comfortable and above all else, easier to draw and fire in a hurry. The “Fitz” job involves removing the hammer spur so it can’t get hung up on your clothing, shortening the barrel (and sometimes the ejector rod), and removing the front of the trigger guard to create wide-open access to the trigger.
(Oh, and just for the record, a revolver isn’t technically a pistol, even though it is a handgun.)