Pearl Heart's Revolver

Pearl Heart's Revolver

PearlHartsRevolverPearl Hart was your average Arizona citizen—who just happened to like to hold up stagecoaches. She was born Pearl Taylor, c. 1871, and by the time she was in her 20s, she'd developed a taste for hard liquor, rough cigars and morphine.

"I was only 22 years old.  I was good-looking, desperate, discouraged and ready for anything that might come. I do not care to dwell on this period of my life. It is sufficient to say that I went from one city to another until sometime later I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona."

She was working as a cook in a boarding house in the mining town of Mammoth, southeast of Phoenix, when she received word her mother was seriously ill. She and her beau at the time decided to relieve the Globe to Florence, Arizona, stagecoach of its strongbox in order to acquire travel funds.

Pearl cut her hair short and donned men's clothing. She had a .38 revolver but was also known to carry a Merwin Hulbert & Co. double-action pocket revolver. They held up the stagecoach—grabbing $400 and some guns—but were soon arrested. Pearl's first jury found her not guilty, so the judge retried her for tampering with the U.S. mail. She was found guilty and served five years in jail before being pardoned in 1902.


Merwin Hulbert & Co. is probably the most successful gun company that never manufactured a single gun. The firm was founded in 1859 by Joseph Merwin and a partner; the company was re-formed in 1869 when William Hulbert came aboard.


In the 1880s the company oversaw production of a large-frame revolver known as the Army. It was chambered in .44-40 Win., .44 Russian and the proprietary .44 Merwin & Hulbert. The firm's revolvers were actually manufactured by the Hopkins & Allen firm under Merwin's supervision.

PearlHartWhat made the Army revolver unique was the revolutionary system for loading and unloading. With the hammer on half-cock, a catch on the lower left side of the frame was depressed and a similar catch under the frame pulled to the rear. Then the front part of the frame, including the cylinder, could be raised, ejecting the spent shells.

There was also a smaller version of the Army produced called the Pocket Army. Manufactured from 1883 to the end of 1887, it was available in the same calibers and around 9,000 were available in single or double action. Rather than the seven-inch barrel of the Army, it carried a 3.5-inch barrel.

The frame on the Pocket Army was changed from a square butt to bird's head for ease of concealability. A metal "skull cracker" protrusion on the bottom of the bird's head butt enabled the revolver to be used as a mace should the gun go dry.


The 3rd Model that Pearl Hart carried had a topstrap, unlike earlier models. The cylinder had flutes three-quarters of its length, and the barrel wedge was eliminated. The 3rd Model could be had with a folding hammer spur, but that was rarely seen.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Dealing with Subcompacts

Dealing with Subcompacts

Jim and Rich cover the benefits and the challenges presented by very small pistols.

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

All About Handgun Ammo

All About Handgun Ammo

Rich and Jim get into the nitty gritty of the FBI ammo protocol, firing into various barriers to illustrate what can happen to a bullet.

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

Speer's Jared Hinton shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun load.

Trending Articles

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all others will be judged. Compact

SIG P365 Review

James Tarr - October 31, 2018

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all...

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a two-tone aluminum-framed model in 9mm (model # 6758). This review by James Tarr will focus on the 9mm. 1911

Ruger SR1911 Officer-Style 9mm Review

James Tarr - May 01, 2019

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a...

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol. Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a long Ammo

To Cast a Good Bullet

Bart Skelton - June 28, 2012

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge — it's...

See More Trending Articles

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.