Retro Revolver Ads,

American Handgunner Archive

While revolvers have all but been replaced today by modern polymer handguns, there will always be a part of us that longs for wood grips, a double-action trigger and a big bore barrel. So, what better way to spend our time while quarantined than dusting off our magazine archive, flipping through the yellowed pages and reminiscing on classic revolver ads from brands both still here and long-gone.

The first part of our Retro Revolver Ads series features ads from 1976-77 issues.

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Roy Baker's Pancake Holsters (Left) and The Outrider, Inc. (Right), Sept/Oct 1976

“I knew Roy Baker and carried a 2-3/4” Ruger Speed Six off duty in one of his early Pancake holsters. His holsters were revolutionary and almost immediately copied. Many of today’s designs are based on Roy’s originals. He was an icon.” — Roy Huntington, Publisher

North American Arms, Nov/Dec 1976

H.K.S. Tool Products, Sept/Oct 1976

“H.K.S. was among the very first speedloaders that actually worked and I carried them as a reserve cop in Chula Vista, California in 1974-78. We also used them to compete in PPC shooting. I still have and use them.” — Roy Huntington, Publisher

“When I started packing a revolver for personal protection years ago, there were always a couple of H.K.S. speedloaders in my pockets. The notion of a quick wheelgun reload still makes sense.” — Dave Workman, Contributing Editor

Ruger, Colt & Taurus, various issues 1976-77

“My first duty gun was a Ruger Service Six chambered in .38 Special. Pachmayr grips, H.K.S. speedloaders and a pancake holster for off-duty use were what the well-equipped street cop of the mid-’80s carried and used.” — Jeff “Tank” Hoover, Contributing Editor

“In those days, Ruger was having a battle with Smith & Wesson. The Ruger Security Six and Speed Six were tough while the S&W’s would start to shoot loose. Some of the ads got a bit nasty about it, too. We also all lusted after the Colts in those ads. I had a ‘Viper’ that looked virtually identical to the one shown here.” — Roy Huntington, Publisher

Safariland, Jan/Feb 1977

Pachmayr, Nov/Dec 1976

“If you were any sort of shooter in those days, you used Pachmayr grips. The auto grips had a steel insert in them that once protected my hand when a fired round’s case sort of blew up in my Browning Hi-Power. The steel insert had bent but contained the expanding gas within the grip. I simply changed grips and went back to shooting.” — Roy Huntington, Publisher

“My first .41 Magnum immediately got a Pachmayr aftermarket grip for winter wear. I’d seen them advertised, fired a couple of rounds from a heavy magnum and felt how the Pachmayr sucked up the recoil, not to mention their practicality out here in the wet Pacific Northwest.” — Dave Workman, Contributing Editor

RG Industries (Left) and Mustang Grips (Right), various issues 1977

CCI-Speer, Dan Wesson and Harrington & Richardson, various issues 1977

“Dan Wesson was related to one of the founders of Smith & Wesson, D.B. Wesson. He started the company and built revolvers of his own design. They were modestly successful and known for their .357 Maximum chambering. CZ-USA bought the Dan Wesson brand a few years ago and are still producing .357 Magnum revolvers. H&R, however, is gone, but their Model 999 revolvers are still popular. Their guns represent the first pistols of many of us.” — Roy Huntington, Publisher

Bianchi, July/Aug 1977

“The Bianchi ad shows their full-on competition rig used in the early days of combat pistol shooting, or what we called ‘Wildcat Combat’ shooting, for some reason. When I retired from the San Diego PD in 1998, I went to work for Bianchi as their LE Sales Manager, eventually becoming their marketing manager. It was a real hoot to work in the same factory were John Bianchi used to work. While the company had been sold, many of the long-time employees remained and I used to spend time on the production floor making holsters and gear with them, learning about the ‘old days’ under John.” — Roy Huntington, Publisher

Charter Arms Corp, Nov/Dec 1977

More Retro Revolver Ads

Continue your trip down memory lane with more Retro Revolver Ads and full classic issues of American Handgunner from 1976-1989, available for free digital download.

Read American Handgunner Classic Issues