THE COLT TROOPER
In the early 1950's Colt began to update their product line with upgraded revolvers.
Colt realized that the gun buyer now wanted double action revolvers to have adjustable sights so they offered two new models with the desired feature.
These were the 357 Model and the Trooper.
The Trooper was intended to be sold to law enforcement and civilians wanting a less expensive adjustable sighted revolver, with the 357 model for sale to those wanting the .357 Magnum cartridge or wanting a higher quality revolver.
The new Trooper model was really nothing more than the Colt Officer's Model Match with a ramped front sight on a large ramp base.
The Frame was Colt's standard medium size "E" frame that had been made virtually unchanged since 1908. The only real change was to thicken the top strap to allow extra metal so an adjustable rear sight could be installed.
The new revolver was introduced in 1953 and was an immediate success with law enforcement and civilian shooters.
Offered in .38 Special, Colt also introduced a .22LR version for use as a "trainer" gun to complement the .38 Special version.
The Trooper sold well, but the 357 sales were less than expected due to the introduction in 1955 of the super-premium Python. The Trooper continued to sell well to law enforcement and civilians, but those wanting the .357 Magnum cartridge and a higher quality gun were buying the Python.
With sales of the 357 down, Colt decided to simplify the line in 1961 by discontinuing the 357 and offering the Trooper in .357 Magnum as well as .38 Special.
The original Trooper had been made on the "E" frame which had the firing pin mounted on the hammer. The 357 and Python used the new "I" frame which was basically the "E" frame only with the firing pin mounted in the frame.
What Colt actually did was to switch the Trooper to the "I" frame, and discontinued the "E" frame version.
After this, the Trooper was available in either .38 Special or .357 Magnum with the frame mounted "I" frame firing pin. The .22LR model continued to use the "E" frame.
The Trooper continued to sell reasonably well up until 1969 when Colt discontinued all the old style "E&I" frame revolvers except for the Python.
The Trooper was offered in a variety of formats upon customer request.
Calibers offered were the .38 Special, the .357 Magnum starting in 1961, and in .22LR.
The .38 and .357 revolvers were available with 4 inch or 6 inch barrels, the .22LR was available only with a 4 inch barrel.
The .22LR model was apparently only made from 1953 to 1961, but it continued to be cataloged until 1969.
Finishes offered were blue and bright nickel.
The original Trooper models were finished with the Colt Duo-Tone blued finish which had the sides of the frame and outer diameter of the cylinder bright polished, with the edges of the trigger guard and grip frame and the cylinder flutes bead blasted to a flat black finish. The end of the muzzle was left un-blued with bright polish bare metal.
The Duo-Tone finish was discontinued in the late 1950's and replaced with a full polish blued finish, including the end of the muzzle.
Colt offered the Trooper with a choice of any combination of Target hammer, Target grips, Service hammer or Service grips.
TROOPER WITH SERVICE GRIPS AND HAMMER
The Colt's of the early 1950's were fitted with the first type of Colt Accro rear sight. These early sights had the front end of the sight leaf rounded off.
Within a year or so, the front of the leaf was changed to an easier to produce squared off profile.
By the later 1950's, Colt changed the design of the Accro sight slightly. The new sight had a raised "hump" on the rear of the sight leaf to allow for more elevation adjustment and the elevation screw design was changed.
The front sight was composed of a large ramp base with a grooved ramp sight blade.
From introduction in 1953 the Trooper used the new Colt Target grip design. This grip was completely checkered on the sides and was made of American walnut with a dull oil type finish.
In the early 1960's the grip was changed to the Colt Second Type with checkering ending below the Silver Colt medallions in a semi-circle, and a loading clearance cut on the left side grip. The new style had a semi-gloss varnish-like finish mixed with a walnut stain.
Following Colt practice of the time, all Trooper revolver grips had Silver Colt medallions, Gold being reserved for the Python.
FIRST TYPE TARGET
Fully checkered with Silver medallions.
Used from 1953 to about 1961
SECOND TYPE TARGET
"Half moon" checkering border under the medallions.
Loading clearance only on the left side.
Used from about 1961 to end of production in 1969
Used throughout production.
Trooper serial numbers are very confusing. In the early 1950's Colt was introducing new models and the serial numbers during that time are intermixed and difficult to sort out.
The Trooper .38 and .357 serial numbers were shared with the .38 Officer’s Model Match and the 357 model. The .22LR numbers were shared with the .22 Officer's Model Match.
Colt factory serial number records of this time show Trooper serial numbers listed under the Officer's Model Match, the Trooper, and the 357 model.