Fort Smith is an American Frontier town--arguably THE American Frontier Town. Fort Smith has one foot in the Old South while the other is standing firmly in The Wild West. And now’s your chance to own a brand new piece of Fort Smith history: The Fort Smith Bicentennial Airgun.
On Christmas Day 1817 a small unit of the US Rifle Regiment landed on what was then known as Belle Point. They were tasked with establishing a military outpost that would grow into the town Fort Smith, Arkansas. 200 years later Umarex is proud to call Fort Smith home. To mark the bi-centennial, Umarex is making a commemorative Forth Smith edition of a most classic American revolver.
Many of the men in Fort Smith, and some of the women, wore peacemakers on their hips. But the town was here well before the iconic Colt revolvers. In 1817 Fort Smith was on the edge of the American Frontier. This was a rough and lawless place in the middle of a war. The war was being fought between the Osage and Cherokee. Well before the forced removal that became known as The Trail of Tears, the Cherokee had been moving to what is now western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. These lands were the ancestral home of the Osage and they were none to happy with the new arrivals. Tempers flared on both sides and soon villages were being raided and captives taken. The US Government wanted peace on the Frontier so they sent in soldiers of the US Rifle Regiment.
The United States looked to the politicians and lawmen in Fort Smith to help bring peace to the edge of the frontier. From the establishment of Fort Smith in 1817 until 1896 when Judge Isaac Parker closed his court there for the last time, Fort Smith was host to the US Military and Federal Courts that had jurisdiction over Indian Territory.
Yet it is the Deputy US Marshalls, and their outlaw counterparts, which are the most storied part of Fort Smith’s history. Many of these individuals, on both sides of the law, carried the Colt Single Action revolver. These revolvers were reliable and strong, which was needed to hold up to the hardships of life on the frontier.
The new Umarex Bicentennial is a faithful recreation of a Colt Peacemaker Revolver, and it is the ideal commemoration of the 200th Birthday of Fort Smith. The 1873 Colt is the iconic revolver of the Wild West. The original Colts were in the hands of the good guys and the bad guys that roamed the streets of Fort Smith and the Indian Territory to the West. The Colt of 1873 was well known to Belle Starr, Bass Reeves, Ned Christy and The Daltons, all of which had ties to Fort Smith.
The Umarex Fort Smith Bicentennial Airgun is a single action, just like the original. But instead of regular ammunition, it uses a CO2 cartridge that is housed in the grip of the revolver. The cylinder is bored through with chambers like on a traditional revolver. Pellets are held in what looks like pistol cartridges. Load up the six (it is a six shooter like the original) with pellets, insert them into the cylinder, and with a CO2 cartridge in the grip you are ready to go.
I was able to shoot one of the Fort Smith Bicentennial Airguns and was impressed with its looks and functionality. The gun was very accurate and doesn’t have the recoil, and noise, associated with the originals. It also feels like a Colt Single Action Revolver. It has weight and you can feel the cool steel in your hand when you pick it up. It is the feeling of the past and the future. You can see the history in this Peacemaker, but Umarex is leading the airgun industry with ingenious innovation, right here in Fort Smith.
If you were to see this Bicentennial Peacemaker setting out, you would think it was an original Colt. It even has the Colt markings. The finish, too, has a slightly weathered look to add to the historic appeal. The gun looks like a well used, well-loved revolver. But what really sets this Peacemaker apart, is the special engravings that make it special to us here in Fort Smith: Established December 25, 1817.
This is a handsome air pistol. But looks aren’t everything. Here are a few specs on the Fort Smith Bicentennial Airgun:
Frame: Full metal
Finish: Weathered gunmetal
Grips: Dark wood appearance
Velocity (FPS): 380
Caliber: 0.177 (4.5mm)
Ammo Type: Pellets
Barrel Length: 7.5"
Total Length: 12.75"
Safety: Manual, in front of trigger guard
Fort Smith is an industrial town. The Arkansas River that brought the soldiers here in 1817 was also, and still is, an important trade and travel route. Food and supplies for the military fort traveled up the river and soon citizens were moving here as well. As the fort grew, so did the surrounding community. Soon there was a thriving town along the banks of the river. By the late 19th Century, furniture manufacturing became a big part of the economy. Umarex has been in Fort Smith for 10 years now, and carries on the city’s traditions.