The Ugly Hammer Gun
By Thomas Dugas & C.E “Ed” Harris
I own an ugly hammer. Purchased who knows when for a forgotten amount of money. It wasn’t expensive, ugly hammers rarely command premium prices. Over the twenty or so years I’ve owned that ugly hammer I’ve tried to give it away, break it, or lose it almost every chance I’ve had. To no avail. It mocks me by showing up on almost every flat surface I find myself near. And it always performs the task I need be it pounding an errant nail, or crushing ice on a hot summer day.
Where is the $90 hammer I own with the special tuning fork inside to dampen the vibration of pounding nails? Who knows…because I certainly don’t. It’s somewhere around my home, but where?
The ugly hammer is always at hand. Because I can never seem to get rid of ugly hammer and yet always need it and use it, I’ve developed the ugly hammer gun theory.
I want an ugly hammer revolver.
I want a revolver that sticks around and is as useful as my ugly hammer. One that I am never tempted to sell when collectors start frothing over this dash or that lock. I want the gun that makes me focus on sight picture and not how much value I am losing by pulling the trigger. I want to focus on rounds fired, not how bad a cylinder ring is being created by hours of dry firing. I want a gun that I shoot so much that I know just where the trigger will break on double action firing each and every time. I don’t want to worry about wearing out various out of production parts from dry firing.
An ugly hammer gun should be robust, reliable, and develop a slick as snot action from hours and hours of dry firing. And it should always be at hand, waiting, encouraging you to pick it up and become more familiar with it. I want to clean it by dunking it in an ammo can of Ed’s Red, then blasting with hot water from the laundry tub tap, and wipe it dry with an old t-shirt or John Wayne paper towels borrowed from the work supply closet.
I want it to shoot clover leafed groups with wad cutters all day and every day. And it has to be .38 Special lest I get sidetracked trying to eek out more performance with .357 mag loads and forever wonder if that cylinder ring from wad cutters will ever clean out.
Six shots. Adjustable sights. Robust reliable action. From 3 inch to 5 inch barrel. Blue finish.
I’ve handled just one ugly hammer gun in my recent experience. A Ruger Police Service Six in .38 Special that a friend owns. He picked it out of a lineup of similar suspects in a local gunstore. Having insider knowledge of the ins and outs of Ruger, he recognized the era and the builder who assembled this particular “hammer” together at the factory in New Hampshire. He wisely purchased it and then let me shoot it. Which is where the ugly hammer idea was born. I was in the next lane shooting a finicky 1950’s era K38. Then I shot his revolver. A nice 6 shot cloverleaf later I looked down at the weapon in my hand versus my collectible “safe queen” and realized that the skill is in the shooter, not always in the tool. The more you use your weapon, the more you’ll treat it like that ugly hammer and focus on the task at hand.
You will become a better shooter and a better carpenter when you focus on the task at hand and stop worrying about your tools. That’s why I want an ugly hammer gun.
And yes, that little Ruger revolver followed me home one day. It fit the requirements perfectly for my “Ugly Hammer Gun.”