Colt vs. Smith & Wesson: Reviving a classic debate among revolvers
By Francis Borek
For decades these two companies fought tooth and nail. (Photo: Francis Borek)
Before all of the endlessly debated firearms rivalries of today became the fodder of forums and social media. Before AR vs. AK, 870 vs. 500, or even Mauser vs. Lee Enfield — there was Colt vs. Smith & Wesson.
The rise of these two firearms companies took place at roughly the same time, and the founders of the companies both decided to exit the gun market for some time before diving back into the fray. For decades, the rivalry between Colt and S&W was akin to the rivalry between Ford and Chevy. It was only in the 1990s, with both companies in poor financial shape and beset by boycotts, that the rivalry faded from the consciousness of the firearms community.
I wasn’t around for the rivalry back in it’s heyday, but I always found it amusing that S&W is producing both 1911s and AR-15s — two designs made famous by Colt, and two companies I always thought of as revolver companies. As such it’s time to reignite the rivalry (if only for a short time) with two of their most famous service revolvers.
Sam Colt got his start in the firearms