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Colt Single Action Army Revolver

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"This is the greatest handgun ever made. The Colt Single Action Army. Six bullets... More than enough to kill anything that moves."
Revolver Ocelot to Solid Snake

The Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army Revolver (also known as the Peacemaker or SAA) is a powerful single action revolver holding six rounds of .45 Colt ammunition (often alternatively referred to as .45 Long Colt). The Single Action Army was designed for the United States Army by Colt's Manufacturing Company and adopted in 1873.


Colt's Patent Firearms Company first began manufacturing single-action revolvers in 1841. Numerous black powder designs saw great success over the next 25 years, including the Paterson, Dragoon, 1851 Navy, and 1860 Army models. During the American Civil War, Colt began offering the after-market Richards-Mason Conversion Kit for the 1860 Army, which allowed the pistol to fire the recently-invented metallic cartridge. Beginning in 1865, the conversion kit was applied to guns on the assembly line, resulting in the Colt Open-Top revolver. These weapons were usually chambered in .44-caliber.

In 1873, Colt submitted a new pistol to the U.S. Army. It utilized an improved single-action mechanism coupled with a greatly-improved frame design. It was chambered for the newly-designed .45 Long Colt cartridge. The Army promptly adopted the new revolver as the new standard-issue sidearm. Colt also offered the pistol on the civilian market.

The SAA had some drawbacks; it was much slower to reload than the contemporary Smith & Wesson Schofield revolver (a top-break design), and difficult to fire rapidly due to its single-action mechanism. Still, it was widely praised for its balance, ergonomics, simplicity, and the excellent stopping power of the .45LC rounds it fired. It was easily the most popular pistol in the American West. It was wielded by famous lawmen like Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Bill Tilghman, as well as outlaws such as Henry McCarty (a.k.a Billy the Kid) and John Wesley Hardin. It remained popular even long after double-action revolvers entered the market, including Colt's own Lightning and Thunderer.

The U.S. Army chose to replace the venerable Peacemaker with a newer double-action .38-caliber revolver manufactured by Colt in 1897. This new pistol was mechanically reliable, but its ammunition was notoriously weak. As a stopgap measure, the old M1873s were reissued beginning in 1902 and remained in service for 9 more years until finally being replaced for good by the superb Colt M1911.45 automatic.

From 1873 to 1941, Colt produced many different versions, in various calibers, finishes, and barrel lengths. The three main versions (differing in barrel length) are now known as the 7 1/2" "Cavalry Standard", the 5 1/2" "Artillery Model", and the 4 3/4" "Civilian" or "Gunfighter", though in actual fact customers could order Single Action Army's in any barrel length they wanted. Also, during that time period, Colt would constantly showcase "new" models of the Single Action Army, with names such as the Bisley, New Frontier, and Buntline. Today, the Artillery and Civilian models are popular with Cowboy Action Shooting competitors and gunspinners, and are in production with several modern firearms manufacturers, including Colt.


Operation Snake Eater

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

Ocelot attempted to use the engraved model of the Single Action Army on Naked Snake, but discovered that he was out of ammunition.

In 1964, Major Ocelot adopted the Artillery Model as his weapon of choice after his semiautomatic Makarov PM jammed during combat with Naked Snake, in Rassvet, Tselinoyarsk. After effortlessly subduing him, Snake advised Ocelot that his shooting style would be better suited for a revolver. He later took this advice and switched to the Single Action Army. However, he utilized a specially-engraved showpiece model initially. In addition, due to his having become accustomed to his previous sidearm, Ocelot forgot that the revolver only carried six shots, compared to the Makarov's eight. This mistake cost him a second confrontation involving Snake, while holding EVA at knifepoint. During Ocelot's pause, after attempting to fire his empty revolver at Snake, EVA kicked him to the ground and then escaped on her motorcycle. Humiliated, Ocelot fled into the wilderness.

Armes mgs3 009

Ocelot's SAA, circa 1964.

During their encounter at Bolshaya Past, Ocelot (who was apparently ambidextrous, though he favored his right hand) used two ("Black Powder" model[1]) revolvers in a duel against Snake. Later, Ocelot used three revolvers in a game of modified Russian Roulette to intimidate Nikolai Stephanovich Sokolov, who wet himself in the process. Just as Ocelot was about pull the loaded gun's trigger, The Boss snatched the gun from him and fired the bullet out of harm's way. She then handed it back to him, after removing the cylinder. Chastised, Ocelot took his field-stripped pistol back without a word.

One of Ocelot's revolvers was also responsible for the loss of Snake's right eye during his torture at the hands of Colonel Volgin at Groznyj Grad. The Boss again took the weapon from Ocelot, after admonishing him for his actions. However, she secretly gave it to Snake after his torture, though it was empty. Snake, after procuring some ammunition, used it to defend himself against the attack dogs and guards he encountered, during his escape through Groznyj Grad's sewers. Ocelot later attempted to use a revolver against Naked Snake when cornering him at the Groznyj Grad sewers, although the ammo he utilized was not actually a .45 Colt bullet: Rather, it was a 9mm bullet from Ocelot's Makarov that jammed his gun back when he lost to Snake during the Virtuous Mission that he modified with a specialized ring attachment to bypass the ammo restrictions for the revolver. However, the gun chamber had narrowly went to the wrong slide of the gun, which allowed Snake the opportunity to escape by jumping from the waterfall. One of Ocelot's revolvers ended up falling into the ravine separating Groznyj Grad from the path to Lazorevo, after he narrowly avoided falling into the gorge after the rail bridge ended up destroyed by Naked Snake. Later, after their motorcycle crashed, Snake gave the revolver to an injured EVA to defend herself from pursuing GRU forces, having lost her Type 17 Mauser to Ocelot during their escape from Groznyj Grad. Later, while aboard the WiG aircraft, EVA gave the same revolver back to Snake as protection against Ocelot, for one final duel.

San Hieronymo Incident

Main article: San Hieronymo Incident
Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]

In 1970, Big Boss (Naked Snake) and his resistance against FOX located a Single Action Army in a pantry at the Guest House, on the San Hieronymo Peninsula. Ocelot also used an SAA to take down the bodyguards of the DCI, as well as execute the DCI himself, framing his death as a suicide.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

Shadow Moses Incident

Main article: Shadow Moses Incident

Revolver Ocelot was still using his Single Action Army as of 2005, during which he challenged Solid Snake to a gunfight, in the armory of the nuclear weapons disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island. Snake gained the upper hand during the fight, in part because Ocelot had to continuously stop to reload his six-chamber revolver. However, their duel was interrupted by Gray Fox, who cut off Ocelot's right hand as he attempted to fire on Snake again. Ocelot later conversed with Liquid Snake in the control room of the underground maintenance base, where he noticed an eavesdropping Solid Snake and shot at him with his revolver, shooting the PAL key out of his hand in the process.

The Manhattan Incident

See also: Tanker Incident and the Big Shell Incident

In 2007, Revolver Ocelot used his signature Single Action Army to execute both Russian mercenary leader Sergei Gurlukovich and U.S. Marine Commandant Scott Dolph, and then a second revolver to kill three Gurlukovich Mercenaries. In 2009, Ocelot used one of his revolvers to execute U.S. President James Johnson and Dead Cell leader Fortune.

Behind the scenes

The Single Action Army revolver is a recurring weapon in the Metal Gear franchise since Metal Gear Solid. It is often associated with Revolver Ocelot. Although it appeared in Metal Gear Solid, its remake The Twin Snakes, and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty as the weapon of choice by Ocelot, it is never actually usable by the player until Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It does not appear in Metal Gear Solid V despite Ocelot himself appearing in The Phantom Pain due to the decision to use combined fictional weapons over real life weapons, although the Tornado-6 Revolver and to some extent the Windurger series S333 Combat Special and Adam-ska Special were based on the Single Action Army revolver (the last partially being based on the engraved model).

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Weight: 1.0 kg

Naked Snake can wield the Single Action Army in Metal Gear Solid 3 upon starting a new game. The gun is unlocked by letting Ocelot win in the final confrontation; satisfied, he allows Snake to keep his revolver. To do so, pick up the right gun at the time of choice.

The Single Action Army is as powerful as the default M1911A1, yet has a slower rate of fire, cannot be silenced, takes longer to reload, cannot be fired while moving, and is arguably more difficult to aim. However, the SAA's rounds can ricochet off of surfaces and towards enemies, a capability that the M1911A1 lacks. This makes the SAA useful for shooting enemies behind cover.

In addition, if the player enters first-person mode and spins the right analog stick in a circular motion, Snake will draw the SAA and spin it on his finger. This can be used to the player's advantage in the fight against Ocelot at Bolshaya Past Crevice, as it will entice Ocelot into showing his own prowess in gun twirling. The faster the player spins, the more positive comments Ocelot will exhibit; however, if the player spins too long, Ocelot will get irritated and open fire.

While escaping Groznyj Grad while riding EVA's motorcycle, the Single Action Army will almost always hit enemy soldiers and kill them with a single hit regardless of where it's shot because of the bullets' ability to richoet off surfaces. However, the bullets must be shot from a reasonable angle as shooting while trying to hit an enemy behind Snake will not hit the soldier.

Ocelot, at several points throughout the game, loads a 9x18 Makarov cartridge into his Colt. While the nine millimeter bullet would fit if fired in the barrel designed for an eleven millimeter bullet, its is unlikely it could fire it, as the Makarov round lack a rim and is much shorter than the .45 Colt round the cylinder is designed for. By saboting the smaller Makarov round, however, Ocelot can put the cartridge into the cylinder, and have it ready for firing. This was revealed in the director's commentary.

"The Single Action Army. A .45 caliber, six-shot revolver. Equip in First Person View and press the L1 button to aim precisely. Can also use the right analog stick to do tricks."
―Single Action Army description in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, mobility is not lost while using this weapon compared to Metal Gear Solid 3 as Naked Snake can take advantage of the ricocheting bullets produced only by this weapon to take out enemies concealed behind cover at the right angle.

For obvious reasons, Ocelot will come equipped with the Single Action Army if unlocked.

In-game weapon description

"Also known as the "Peacemaker" and the "Frontier," this single action revolver is a symbol of the days of the Wild West. The masterpiece SAA was adopted as the official sidearm of the U.S. Army in 1875. This pistol's solid frame construction results in lengthy reload times, but also ensures extremely high durability. This and the gun's simple mechanics make the SAA a highly reliable weapon.
Uses .45LC ammo.
―Single Action Army weapon description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops



See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Sigint identifies the Single Action Army model as such in an optional radio conversation, while in Groznyj Grad's prison.

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