Photo by Michael E. Cumpston

There are few names that invoke the American Frontier more than Samuel Colt, but before his revolvers helped win the West, Colt was a struggling gunmaker. On Jan. 4, 1847, Colt won a contract to supply the U.S. government with 1,000 newly designed .44-caliber revolvers to help arm U.S. troops in the Mexican-American War.

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