In the early 1890s, Colt was playing catch-up in the target revolver category, while records were being broken with S&W’s New Model 3 with adjustable sights. To come up with a target pistol, Colt flat-topped the frame of their Single Action Army, added a rear sight set in a dovetail to make it adjustable for windage, and made the front sight adjustable for elevation by moving it and locking it in place with a set screw. Very crude by today’s standards but it was a start.
Target pistols are best when they don’t shift in the hands from shot to shot. The grip of the Smith & Wesson was such this was accomplished, however the Colt was designed to roll in the hand under recoil; a better grip pattern was needed. It arrived with the Bisley Target Model in 1894. The name “Bisley” comes from the English target shooting range, Bisley Commons.
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