The Fitz Special

Fitz Revolvers 2

Fitz Specials

What is the “Fitz Special”? A snub nose revolver with (what many consider to be) extreme modifications to make it more suitable for close-quarters gun-fighting. John H. Fitzgerald created the Fitz Special, and other well-known shootists such as Charles Askins and Rex Applegate endorsed the concept by employing it.

(click the title for more)

The typical modifications made to a revolver to turn it into a Fitz Special were:

  • if the gun wasn’t a snubnose to begin with, make it so (and re-mount the sight on the shortened barrel; though some point-shooting advocates minimized or eliminated the front sight)
  • bob the hammer spur (and often checker the top of the remainder of the hammer to allow single-action use in critical situations)
  • shorten and shape the grip to reduce the chance of a snag while drawing
  • remove the front of the trigger guard to allow faster access to the trigger and permit use while wearing gloves

The drawbacks of the Fitz Special were:

  • increased chance of accidental discharge (especially while holstering) due to lack of trigger guard
  • potential for light primer strikes due to lightened mass of hammer
  • the remaining portion of trigger guard might get bent into the path of the trigger and render the gun inoperable
  • for those guns with minimized or no front sight, loss of practical accuracy and a shortening of the useful range of the gun

More on the concept and the man who originated it (or just Google/Bing it):

Just a .44 special? It’s a Fitz special!

Fitz Revolvers 1

More Fitz Specials

A lot of early Colts were turned into Fitz Specials, and the concept had a lot of imitators:
While I understand the purpose behind the modifications, I think the original Fitz Special design was flawed, and had more drawbacks than advantages.

With concealed-hammer/bobbed-hammer revolvers being a standard factory item, there is no need to mutilate a gun’s hammer. Smaller “secret service” grips are available for increased concealment. Low-snag and high-visibility sights, as well as lasers, can address the need for quick target aquisition. Removing some of the trigger guard material on the trigger-finger side of the gun seems useful, but I would want to leave enough intact to protect the trigger and prevent a bent trigger guard in the event the gun is handled roughly.

Add in some polishing of the bearing surfaces of the action (to maximize smoothness, not to lighten the trigger pull) and chamfering the charge-holes to facilitate fast reloads, and you end up with a very capable carry gun that never fails to feed or extract, never gets knocked out of battery, and doesn’t need its slide racked in the event of a misfire.

2 modern (and less risky) takes on the concept:

Tempting, aren’t they?

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