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Bat's Gat

Bat's Gat

Photo credit: Michael Ives

This feature appears in the March ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.

He once preferred to be called Bat, but Canadian born William Barclay Masterson was one of the legendary figures of the West—lawman in Dodge City, Kan., and Trinidad, Colo., gambler in Tombstone, Ariz., buffalo hunter, prizefighting referee, and even an editor/journalist. Masterson is known to have ordered at least eight Colt Single Action Army revolvers from the factory, once ordering features including nickel plating, gutta-percha grips and a lightened trigger by letter. 

This Masterson-attributed .45 revolver was manufactured in 1889, after “Bat” had left Dodge City to try his luck in Denver. It is currently on loan to the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum from the Dick Burdick collection. 

The NRA National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va.; the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.; and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M.; each have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit nramuseum.com, phone (703) 267-1600 or email nfmstaff@nrahq.org.