Court guns and BBQ guns.

I know that Texas doesn’t have a lock on court guns, or their kissin’ cousin, the BBQ gun, but someone always asks me what they are.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid they’re a dying breed. At least in this part of the country. Back in West Texas every lawman worth his salt has a court gun. Around here, everyone has gone to polymer framed pistols, and I’m here to tell you, ain’t no way this side of the Styx than you can turn a Glock into a court gun.

Sorry, ain’t gonna happen. It is technically, physically and aesthetically impossible.

So, down to brass tacks.

A court gun is the pistol that you wear during your court-type duties.

Usually a Colt Government Model or clone or a Browning Hi-Power, although any metal pistol with removable grips will do. Either blued or stainless is just fine, and have a small amount of tasteful engraving done to the slide.

Replace the grips with burlwood or stag. Fancy wood is acceptable, and can be minimally engraved. Understatement is the word of the day here.

The gun leather for your court gun should be dark in colour, with the classic basketweave pattern and a Ranger buckle. A subdued floral or Celtic pattern is acceptable, as long as the leather engraving is not a different color from the rest of the belt. In the past, the best gear was custom-made by inmates of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, but I don’t know if they’re still doing that.

Some philistines have asked about nylon carry gear, or — God forbid — kydex. The only stuff good enough for a ‘court gun’ is leather. Period. Full stop. And for God’s sake, don’t have your name engraved on the back of the belt. That’s just…just…tacky.

For accessories, consider one open-topped magazine pouch and a belt-mounted badge. Polish your boots, press your jeans and wear a starched long-sleeve shirt.

Now, a BBQ gun is a whole different animal. A BBQ gun is what you wear to barbeques, baby christenings, formal balls, and any other place where a fancy jacket or outfit would be worn.

Get your paws on a revolver. Smith & Wesson or Colt would be best, although I understand that Brazilian products are becoming accepted. Polished stainless at a minimum, and full-blown nickle is a better. And pony up for full engraving. Have the trigger, hammer, screws and ejection rod anodized blue, gold, or colour-case-hardened for the traditionalists.

Now, look in the mirror. Is your mustache over 50% grey? If so, go for pearl grips. 49% or less on the grey-meter, and you’d best stick with ivory. If you go for mother-of-pearl, have it carved or inlaid. Steer heads are a classic pattern, although badges and stars are always safe.

If you go the ivory option, have the ivory inlaid or scrimshawed. Floral patterns involving roses and the Texas flag are good, as well as the state of Texas, a tasteful rendition of a young lady, or long horn cattle. Any scene from the battle of the Alamo is a surefire crowd pleaser. For those souls living outside the Great State of Texas, the flag raising at Mt. Suribachi may be substituted for an Alamo scene, and anything involving Marines is acceptable engraving material.

I would advise that you stay away from morbid or dreary themes in your engraving — unless it is extremely well done.

The leather for your BBQ gun should be of a floral pattern, with the engraving a different color than the rest of the leather. The engraving pattern should extend to the buckle and any other metal hardware which should consist of silver and be polished bright enough to shave in, although gold is acceptable if carried with the proper attitude.

Accessories should be limited to a reload and a pocket watch.

No BBQ outfit is really complete without hand-made boots made from the hide of a critter that is guaranteed to send your local PETA petter into orbit. Pressed jeans under a Western-cut jacket, with a bolo tie, and a black Stetson complete the ensemble. The bolo tie should have a chunk of rock slightly larger than a baby’s fist and the Stetson should have a hat band made from the cousin of the critter on your feet.

For some of the best examples of court and BBQ guns around, I strongly recommend visiting the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, Texas.


Oh, Judas Priest on a flaming pogo stick.
Migrating liberals, part II.

22 thoughts on “Court guns and BBQ guns.”

  1. Wow…I’m not in law enforcement, but what kind of twit has never been to court or a BBQ with out seing appropriate attire!!! Love your blog and enjoy reading it daily. I hale from Ft. Worth, what part of the lone star to you call home?

  2. Well, if you hail from the People’s Republik of Massachusetts, you will find minimal use for a BBQ gun… but as I have friends outside of the state and do visit them, I should really work on getting my guns presentable.

    Do you suppose that the grips on my .45 auto could be engraved with the Square & Compasses, as I am a Freemason? 🙂 A steer head just doesn’t seem right.

  3. What about the female law officers whose mustaches are over 50% gray?

    –Next to Last Samurai

  4. Chuck Norris doesn’t have a BBQ Gun, he justs says bang and the bad guys fall down dead from a heart attack. His court gun is a picture of a Colt .45 on the instep of his boot that you see just as he spin kicks you in to next week.
    Thanks, ejoyed your Blog.

  5. In the past, the best gear was custom-made by inmates of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, but I don’t know if they’re still doing that.

    My last go-around at Fort Hood, I became pretty good friends with an Investigator working at one of the units in Gatesville. He had all kinds of neat inmate produced leather goods, and stories about which of said inmates were the best at crafting various items. I also noticed that several of the wardens, and the head of the RDCJ Region II Training Academy, had nice looking El Paso style rigs inconspicuously displayed in their offices. When asked, they confirmed that the rigs were inmate made. Now I can’t vouch as to whether they’re still produced (except at Huntsville, which apparently still makes presentation rigs for folks in Austin to hand out) but the ones I’ve seen sure did look nice.

  6. ‘Dog,
    This one was GREAT! My Dearly Beloved recently introduced me to the concept of the “Safe Queen” gun.
    I do disagree with one point, I always carry an auto. Just like having more to shoot than with a revo.
    Keep up the blogs, I’m lovin a regular supply of LawDog Wit and Wisdom.

  7. I have a couple of questions.

    Is authentic cocobolo rosewood acceptable grip material for a BBQ gun?

    And could a well-blued revolver (with said beautiful cocobolo grips) be suitable for a BBQ gun, with an extra-fancy holster to make up for it?

    This is for a guy in his mid-20s with no gray in his mustache yet.

  8. If Anonymous is familiar with basic tenets of Freemasonry, why would he want the Square and Compasses engraved upon a piece of equipment specifically designed to blow people away? It kind of strikes a discordant note with me. If I’m wrong, well just ignore me. How about just a nice inlaid gold Lone Star?

  9. I just put onto my blued HiPower, some checkered, white micarta grips from Brownells. Would this be acceptable as a Court gun?

  10. As George S. Patton was famous for saying, “Only a pimp in a New Orleans whorehouse or a tin-horn gambler would carry a pearl-handled pistol.”

  11. This is some very nice prose, amigo.

    I think that I will save it for in my file of favorite gun essays.

    I sure wish I could carry a gun to court, but then I would wind up being marched into court with leg irons and a striped jumpsuit.

    I think that a properly accessorized lawyer should invariably have a weapon and rig of the variety you recommend for the occasion.

  12. I didn't get the odd taste in guns until there was talking about gray hair. Now I get it, advice for old farts. Us young guys carry guns for utility, not because they're pretty. Thus the Glock is always my bbq gun!

    Enjoy your cute, outmoded pistols!

    1. Plastic guns are expensive chew toys for manly canines…
      But the only thing my German Shepherd will hurt on my Colt revolver is the grips and possibly the adjustable sight. Unless they cause a negligent discharge…

  13. It's not outmoded if it still goes bang every time you want it to. Having some class never gets old either.

  14. Glocks and kydex may have some utility but they have no class or beauty.

  15. i prefer not to engage in the slaughter of elephants and i'm no pimp.i like the look of my mop grips on my 1911.

  16. " Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i prefer not to engage in the slaughter of elephants and i'm no pimp.i like the look of my mop grips on my 1911."

    You do not condon the slaughter of Elephants….but you do the slaughter of Oysters?????

  17. BBQ Rig, with pre-war S&W 44 Special Revolver


    Court Rig,


  18. Skip Harrington,
    As someone who is well versed in the principles of Freemasonry, being a Past Master, I can assure you that the Square and Compasses is appropriate to display on the instruments used to defend Western Civilization.

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