Saturday, January 9, 2016

Barbecue Guns


A friend of mine, Floyd Self, is owner, proprietor and general flunky of Lometa Firearms.  If you have never been to the thriving metropolis of Lometa (population of 901 in the last census) you need to make a trip some time just to visit the Lometa Firearms shop and if you go on a Friday you can stop in at the Rocking K for the fried catfish special.  Floyd has a pretty good inventory of guns and ammo but he can also custom order just about anything that you would want or do a firearm transfer for you.  I have been doing business there and sending my friends for a couple of years. And then Lometa is only seven miles away from me on the back roads. Floyd recently sent me an interesting article about the history of Texas Barbecue Guns and I obtained his permission to print it here for your enjoyment.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Wild Ed


Barbecue Guns?  What the heck are those?
 
Most Yankees want to be cowboys don’t know it, but the term barbecue gun was coined many years ago to poke fun at them as they tried to impress the real working people of the West.
 
Back in the 1900’s a firearm in the Southwestern United States and territories was a tool, not a show piece.  A lot of men and some women wore a side arm daily, especially if you were a cowboy, a lawman or had a job securing something like a stage coach, it’s cargo, a dry good store or a home with no one but the kids and wife around  much of the time.  Thieves and most Indians would take anything and anybody they could, from cattle to the strong box and jewelry found on the stage as well as the coach passengers or homesteader family.
 
If a person could afford a backup gun and holster known as a “rig” these backup rigs were usually nicer than the everyday tool rig he or she wore to work everyday.  These backup rigs were called Sunday guns or church guns for special occasions just like a nice suit and hat would have been.  They were worn to funerals, public gatherings and about anywhere  nice attire was expected.
 
Why wear a gun to church, a funeral or a school play?  The West was wild and safety was never certain.  Outlaws, bandits even Indian raids took advantage of such White man gatherings.  Smart people kept  their protection tool close at hand all the time or suffer grave consequences..
 
Yankee businessmen  came West as lawyers, real estate speculators, bankers, saloon operators and railroad executives, they tended to strap on a side arm and don the western hat so as to fit in with the natives.
To go with their fancy suits and shoes, they thought a fancy side arm would give them prestige and notoriety.  Although many of them never loaded their guns or knew how to use them, they carried their plated, engraved and fancy handled side arms eager to flash them to anyone that would look their way.
 
At public gatherings such as a community barbecue, where better to show off their glitter, thus the “Barbecue Gun” was born in jest.  The side arms and their owners were quite conspicuous and soon became the butt of jokes about their gaudy, ridiculous  looking side arms.  Hence the term “barbecue gun” was coined because everyone that really used guns daily knew those ornaments would never be used except to showboat at public affairs where a lot of people would see them.
 
An old friend of mine that still ranches in Brewster County Texas mention to me that when he saw one of those dudes with the gold plated side arm with ivory grips, the dude also carried a little embroidered hanky so he could wipe his gun down about every 20 minutes and then he would also dust off his boot shoes with it.
 
He said  the pistols reminded him of the side arms the cops in Mexico use to wear with the faux ivory grips and eagle heads carved in them with  generous globs of impure silver an fake gold sticking to the guns.
 
I guess those would be  pistolas parrillada
 
 
--
Floyd Self

 

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