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The Fastest Gun Of The Rat Pack


A headliner in Las Vegas, entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. had dozens of film appearances and several Emmy and Grammy awards to his credit, but his favorite pastime was something far different. Spinning six-guns and beating the best at fast draw, Davis’ quickness with a Colt .45 handgun was legendary. It was said that in any quick-draw competition with fellow enthusiasts Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Davis was easily the odds-on favorite.

A longtime gun owner and fast-draw competitor, Davis was a frequent guest star on Western TV shows such as “The Rifleman,” “Zane Grey Theatre” and “Wild, Wild West.” Like many Hollywood actors frequenting the Western genre, Davis had custom holsters specially made by Arvo Ojala to fit his single-action revolvers. His nickel-plated Colt revolver, engraved with his name on the backstrap, was modified for the fast-draw sport with an especially contoured hammer and a light trigger pull. Shortly after Davis’ death in 1990, this revolver was sold to a Hollywood gun shop, and in 2011 it was donated to the National Firearms Museum.

The National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers visitors the opportunity to experience thousands of unique and historic firearms all under one roof. From guns that came over on the Mayflower to military pieces from most American conflicts, the pieces featured in the museum galleries present a unique glimpse of firearms, freedom and the American experience. For more information, visit, e-mail or call (703) 267-1600.