Probably the most recognized item in any Texas Ranger’s wardrobe, outside of his circular Silver Star badge, has to be his sidearm. During the frontier period and into the modern era, handguns have always been part of that distinguished tradition.
This Smith & Wesson Model 19 revolver was owned by Jay Banks, a mid-1900s Texas Ranger who was responsible for extraditing California mobsters and quieting disturbances related to the integration of schools. His photo appeared in Time magazine with the caption, “One Riot, One Ranger,” and a statue at Dallas’ Love Field bears his likeness along with that slogan.
Texas Ranger Harrison Hamer was widely regarded as one of the best shots in west Texas with either rifle or six-gun. His two older brothers, Dennis and Frank, were senior Texas Ranger captains—Frank is best remembered for tracking down infamous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. This engraved Colt .45 was given to Harrison by Frank.
Sam Colt’s initial efforts at manufacturing handguns produced single-action, five-shot revolvers considered to be the first successful American-made repeating handguns. Colt’s new handguns quickly found their way to the frontier as part of the Texas Rangers tradition, and even traveled further west to become a favored sidearm in Gold Rush-era California.
This Beretta Model 92 semi-automatic pistol was one of 100 that were produced for the Texas Rangers and issued by seniority determined by years of service. It was presented to Sergeant Adolfo "Al" Cuellar, Co. D, Texas Rangers.