This series spotlights some of the spectacular pieces from the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia. The guns spotlighted here were selected for their significant historical value and the museum's curators detail the fascinating story behind each. This collection dates from America's pioneer days and early westward expansion through the Civil and World Wars and on up to today. These firearms have been in the hands of presidents, politicians, Olympians, sharpshooters, law enforcement officers, Hollywood actors and more.
"We've got your six." That's what Army Chief of Staff General Leominster said upon presentation of this serial number six M14 rifle to the NRA in 1960. As directions once corresponded to hours on the clock — 12 being forward and six back — anyone behind you was deemed "at your six." So to have someone's six was to have their back, defending and protecting at all cost. To General Leominster, that was the highest compliment he could pay the NRA.
This Model 29 revolver was used in both Dirty Harry (1971) and Magnum Force (1973) by actor Clint Eastwood, who portrayed legendary San Francisco detective "Dirty Harry" Callahan. The gun, dubbed "the most powerful handgun in the world," was later presented to writer John Milius.
This ordinary stainless steel revolver was carried by New York police officer Walter Weaver into the World Trade Center as he risked his life to save others on September 11, 2001. He never made it out that day, but his revolver was later recovered from the ashes. Today, it holds a place of honor as a reminder of the law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line daily. It's an ordinary firearm that stands as a symbol of extraordinary bravery.
Perhaps the most famous of Colt firearms is the single-action Army revolver, popularly known as the "peacemaker" for its widespread use among soldiers, settlers, gunslingers and peace officers. Colt designed and introduced the single-action Army revolver in Hartford, Connecticut in 1873. It became the one iconic symbol of the American West. This 1911-manufactured revolver, with its elephant ivory grips, was owned by the creator of the Perry Mason trial lawyer fiction TV series.
From 1866-1934, the Parker Brothers manufactured 200,000 shotguns in nine grades of quality. Only three were ever produced at the highest level, nine, and they bear the name "invincible." Today, the Parker Invincibles — two 12-gauges and one 16-gauge — are the most valuable shotguns in the world, with an estimated worth of more than $5 million.