Guns of the 2022 Shootists’ Holiday

Back in 1986, acclaimed gunwriter John Taffin joined forces with a few personal and industry friends to form a group that would bring together like-minded shooters from across the nation. The Shootists, as it came to be known, was dedicated to what John calls the “Four F’s”:  Faith, Family, Friends and Firearms.

The Shootists meet once a year at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico, for a week of fellowship and shooting that’s known as “The Shootists’ Holiday.” Although members of The Shootists enjoy the entire spectrum of firearms, they seem to enjoy a special affinity for our favorite, the revolver.

We hope you’ll enjoy this photo essay from the 2022 Holiday!

The Whittington CENTER

Before we get into the guns, the host of The Shootists’ Holiday, the NRA Whittington Center, deserves special mention.

The NRA Whittington Center is proud to be “the nation’s premier hunting, shooting, and outdoor recreation facility.” Located on more than 33,000 acres, the Whittington Center boasts 25 ranges dedicated to every kind of shooting discipline you can imagine. These world-class ranges are accompanied by lodging facilities, an RV park, horse stables, a banquet hall, a pro shop, a museum, a research library, and other features.  Members of the public are invited to shoot on the Whittington ranges–contact the Center for details and availability.

The Whittington Center hosts training throughout the year, including a two-week Adventure Camp youth program in June and July that I wish I was young enough to qualify for! Every year, The Shootists raise enough money to fund several scholarships to the Adventure Camp, as part of their charitable giving.

If you haven’t been to the Whittington Center yet, it should definitely be on your list. This is a shooter’s paradise! You can get more information about the Center on their website.

This gunslinger guards the entrance to the Center’s headquarters, pro shop, and museum.

This panoramic view of the Hunter’s Pistol Silhouette Range gives you an idea of the scale and beauty of the Whittington Center ranges. What a view!
A view from the control tower of the Hunter’s Pistol Silhouette Range. There’s about 100 firing positions, underneath the cover, offering 40 meter chicken, 50 meter pig, 75 meter turkey, and 100 meter ram silhouette targets.

The WHITTINGTON Museum Collection

Here’s a sampling of photos from the wonderful Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest, located at the  Whittington Center headquarters building. The museum is open to the public, and showcases notable examples of firearms from the history of the Southwest region. Over 200 firearms are featured in this beautiful collection.

Shootists’ Guns and leather

We were too busy chatting and shooting, most of the time, to take many pictures of all the wonderful guns and leather present at the Holiday, but the following will give you a taste of the hardware found in the hands, and on the hips, of Shootists at the 2022 Holiday.


Mike’s Model 19 is proudly riding in a floral-carved Heiser that was received as a gift from a very special friend and RevolverGuy. The basketweave cartridge loop, also received from the same generous friend, was a perfect match. Thank you Sir!
This Ruger Blackhawk started as a .357 Magnum but was converted to .44 Special by Hamilton Bowen. The current owner proudly wears it in memory of his dear friend, who left him the gun after he passed. Some people will never understand that the true value of a sixgun isn’t always measured in dollars, but we do.
That special Blackhawk rides in a Thad Rybka cross draw flap holster, which is pretty special in itself.
Colt New Frontier in .44 Special, riding in an El Paso Saddlery holster.
Ruger Blackhawk in 9mm/.357 Magnum, riding in a custom Doc Barranti rig, emblazoned with the Gunsite logo.
A better look at that custom Blackhawk.
Custom sixgun from Finks Custom Gunsmithing, featuring Dave Lauck sights, Bobby Tyler Grips. — —

Custom sixgun from Finks Custom Gunsmithing, featuring Dave Lauck sights. —

Custom sixgun from Finks Custom Gunsmithing.
Custom sixgun from Finks Custom Gunsmithing. Note the fire blued thumbpiece and ejector rod.
Colt Officers Model Match, in .22 LR
Custom sixgun from Alan Harton of Single Action Service, Houston, TX. Address: 8822 Jackwood St Houston, TX, 77036-7328 — Phone: (713) 772-8314
Texas Longhorn Arms “Grover Improved #5” in .44 Magnum–a replica of the Keith #5, complete with loading gate on the left side of the frame, to allow a right-handed shooter to keep the gun in the firing hand during reloading.

Ed McGivern’s Police Positive
Custom sixgun from Tyler Gun Works.
Custom sixgun from Tyler Gun Works.
Custom sixgun from Tyler Gun Works.
Custom sixgun from Tyler Gun Works.
Custom Ruger Bearcat from Tyler Gun Works.
Magnum Research BFR.
Smith & Wesson Model 17 with 8 3/8″ barrel.
USFA Omnipotent.
Shootists 35th Anniversary Ruger Bisley, from Tyler Gun Works.
S&W Model 624 in an oxblood, Celtic Knot carved Sourdough Pancake holster from Simply Rugged Holsters.
At the banquet which caps off the busy week, everyone wears their “barbecue” guns and holsters. Mike’s Tex Shoemaker Jordan Border Patrol holster isn’t the fanciest rig in the world, but it means a lot to him, since it was a gift from good friend, and RevolverGuy’s founder, Justin. This was probably the last of the Tex Border Patrols, as they closed their doors just weeks after it was received. It rides on the gun belt worn by Mike’s dad, in CHP service. Just forward of the gun, at 1:00, is a dump pouch, as worn by the Newhall-era CHP officers. Mike was proud to wear this rig as a tribute to America’s law enforcement officers, and particularly those from the era when his dad first pinned on his star.

Author: Mike

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Mike Wood is a bonafide revolver nut, a certified law enforcement instructor in handgun, shotgun, patrol rifle, less-lethal, and diversionary device disciplines, and the author of Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis, the definitive study of the infamous, 1970 California Highway Patrol shootout in Newhall, California. Mike wrote the "Tactical Analysis" column at for 8 years, and enjoys teaching both armed citizens and law enforcement officers.

18 thoughts on “Guns of the 2022 Shootists’ Holiday”

  1. What a feast for the eyes, all those lovely revolvers. Making me want another single action with stag stocks. I own two Blackhawks in .357. I am thinking of an Uberti or a Vaquero in .45 Colt and with a case-hardened finish.

    Still, the 1903 Hammerless in the case is one of the finest I have seen.

    Hard to find in decent condition, though I did, once, for my brother-in-law who was carrying one at the time and wanted a nicer example.

  2. Taffin got the priorities right for the Shootists. What a great event and the Whittington Center is the perfect spot for it. Mike is right, it needs to be experienced- it’s a special place that reminds you of what America is supposed to be about. Thanks for sharing the photos of all those amazing six guns and leather. Custom craftsmen delivering firearms and holsters like this- the value in the pride of ownership cannot be quantified monetarily. This put me in a happy place for the weekend. Please allow me the 1980’s Night Ranger indulgence: these guys prove that you can still rock in America!

  3. There is nothing quite as uniquely American, and as functional as the revolvers of Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and Colt. One may doctor up a bottom feeder and make it look sooper swooft, but it will never have the eye-catching “Come To The Round Side Of The Force” effect that the Single Action and Double Action revolvers have.

    While all of the revolvers and holsters pictured were exception, I especially like Mike’s ‘BBQ’ rig with the Jordan holster. I yells Duty Rig in every language. No greater tribute to your dad than to wear at least part of his rig.

  4. Some very tasty stuff indeed in those photos.

    This brings back pleasant memories in the early 2000s when I interned, after finishing grad school, in the Cody Firearms Museum, part of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (now called Buffalo Bill Center of the West) in Cody, Wyoming. There were, and still
    are, thousands of incredible firearms displayed–and thousands more stored in underground vaults that may never be exhibited.

    If anyone is traveling in that part of the country, he or she should drop by the Buffalo Bill and enjoy five museums under one roof.

    Oh, and visit nearby Trail Town, too, and take a gander at real-deal Old West buildings and artifacts.

  5. No plastic pistols , no rubber grips (well not many), and no synthetic holsters. Lots of eye candy with no calories.
    Thank you Mike for sharing.

  6. Darn, those are some nice rigs. Maybe one day I will find my up there. I’m almost certain that I can find an appropriate BBQ rig for the occasion 🙂

    And the guns from some of our passed comrades are really great as well.

  7. Those custom collaborations by Finks, Tyler & Dave Lauck appear to be updates on the Gunsite 250R concept described by Matt @ Gunblast in early 2021.

    Was there any mention of those as an ongoing project?
    – hope so, I like the evolution.

    1. Tyro, I handled and shot some of the completed “250R” guns and they were very nice, indeed. We even featured a photo of one in an earlier article on Compact Service Revolvers.

      I understand this is still an ongoing project and a new version of the “250R” gun is in the works. We’ll be sure to report on it, if we get more info.

  8. Outstanding! I can’t wait to go back! Wonderful photos of amazing revolvers to stoke the fires in RevolverGuys’ hearts! Accuracy is everything, followed up very closely by style!

  9. Mike:

    Concerning the Cody Firearms Museum, when I served as in intern there in the summer of 2004, I experienced a bunch of cool events. One was a weekend-long visit to the town of Cody by elite military units such as the Navy Seals, Rangers, Green Berets, etc.

    Although I was merely a lowly gopher in the museum, I was present when the curator took a select group of the military visitors, which included a rear admiral, into an underground vault where one-of-a-kind experimental small arms were stored.

    The overall reaction of those super warriors was one of awe–they had never seen wild stuff like that.

    Neither had I.

    1. I bet they had good reason to be amazed! I can only imagine the treasures hidden down there. What a wonderful experience that must have been!

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