Autry Museum of the American West

Presentation Model 1851 Navy Revolver with Johnson–Holbrook shoulder stock device

left side

left side

1852; serial number 13718
Owner: inventor Charles L. Holbrook
Inscribed: Col. Charles L. Holbrook / From the Inventor
Manufacturer: Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company
Engraver: the shop of Gustave Young

Handguns were notoriously inaccurate because an individual’s hand often trembled during use. Shoulder or extension stocks were added to handguns so they could be fired more accurately from the shoulder like a rifle. Shoulder stocks were inconvenient, however, because they were carried separately and took time to attach. In 1878, Samuel W. Johnson and Charles L. Holbrook patented a shoulder stock device that was designed to slide quickly through the handle, allowing it to be carried with the handgun at all times. Holbrook appears to have been acquainted with Samuel Colt, and the presentation inscription from the inventor (Colt) could possibly refer to the shoulder stock device. In that case there would have been years of delay before the device was patented in 1878, since Colt had died in 1862.

  • right side

    right side
  • inscription on backstrap

    inscription on backstrap
  • grip detail

    grip detail

  • The patent model for the Johnson-Holbrook shoulder stock device

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