Republican Gov. Greg Abbott last weekend signed a resolution forwarded to his desk by the Texas lawmakers that makes the original 1847 Colt Walker the official handgun of the Lone Star State. 

The measure, HCR 15, was filed last December by state Rep. Ben Leman, R-Andersonville, and unanimously passed the House Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism before sailing through the legislature as a whole. Abbott signed it Saturday, promising that, "I'll be signing more gun laws real soon."

A hulking 4.5-pound 44-caliber revolver, the Walker was so-named after famed Texas Ranger Capt. Samuel Walker, and only about 1,100 of the handguns were manufactured by Eli Whitney for Colt. Some 1,000 were sent to Texas and 100 made for the commercial market. The gun was a collaboration between Walker and Colt, based on the latter's earlier .36-caliber Paterson design, a five-shot revolver that weighed only half of what the Model 1847 would. 

The Colt Walker Model 1847 had a 9-inch barrel and a commanding 15.5-inch overall length. Designed in conjunction with Samuel Colt and Texas Ranger Capt. Samuel Walker, they were made by Eli Whitney in Connecticut and engraved by Waterman Lilly Ormsby of New York. (Photo: Springfield Armory National Historic Site) 

HCR 15 found that: 

  • The original 1847 Colt Walker pistol was historically crucial to the early survival of the great State of Texas. 
  • The original 1847 Colt Walker pistol was an essential tool in the defeat of the Mexican army during the Mexican-American War to reclaim Texas, the 28th state of the Union. 
  • The co-inventor of the original 1847 Colt Walker pistol, Samuel Walker, was a captain in the Texas Rangers, the first state police agency in the country.
  • The original 1847 Colt Walker pistol was America's first pistol to hold six rounds, otherwise known as a "six-shooter."
  • The original 1847 Colt Walker pistol is still the most powerful black powder pistol in existence.

One of the most highly collectible of all firearms, original Walkers are on proud display at institutions as diverse as the MET in New York, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. In 2018, an authentic specimen known to collectors as "The Danish Sea Captain Walker" sold at public auction for a whopping $1.8 million.

Popular in gun culture and Cowboy Action shooting due to its rich history and screen-use in such Old Western films as True Grit, reproductions are marked by Cimarron, Taylors, and Uberti.

Banner photo: Original Colt 1847 Walker, serial no. 1017, in the MET, public domain image.

revolver barrel loading graphic