marshall trimble ask the marshall true west magazine

Did Old West lawmen carry their own weapons?

Capt. Gary Lavorgna
Newfane, Vermont

Most peace officers were responsible for providing their own sidearms. The town might provide a shotgun or rifle, but that varied from place to place. For example, the Arizona Rangers had to provide their own handguns and horses, while the territory provided rifles (Winchester .30-40 model 1895), along with pack animals, horse feed, ammunition and food.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at

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