Even though I'm primarily a single action shooter, I initially agreed with the 1911 crowd. I would've been comfortable with it or the S&W Hand Ejector. However, the more I think about the Colt Single Action Army, the more merit I think it has. While the Model P may have been designed in 1872, the Colt's Revolving Pistol goes back to the 1830's. The Paterson guns were not a commercial success but they were a huge advance in handgun technology, as all previous revolver designs were flintlocks and had to be rotated by hand. Sam Colt didn't invent the revolver but he did modernize it, improve it and make it accessible. Paterson was the first stepping stone to Colt's success. Then came the very successful "Walker" model that was a huge asset to the Texas Rangers that carried them. There ain't nothin' more American than Texas and their Rangers. Then came the subsequent improvements in what we now call the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Model Dragoons. Then the 1849 Pocket model, which was Colt's best seller of the time period. Then came the 1851 Navy .36 and the supreme percussion revolver, the 1860 .44. These guns were relied upon heavily during the Civil War and this ushered in the age of the gunfighter. Son, nothing is more American than Wild Bill Hickok, the cowboy, outlaws and gunfighters. When the Rollin White patent ran out in 1869, everybody scrambled to adapt their sixguns to metallic cartridges, Colt being a leader in this endeavor. Long after old Sam was laid to rest. Colt engineers created their first big bore dedicated cartridge sixgun, the 1871-1872 "Open Top" .44 rimfire model, which borrowed heavily from the 1860. The Army decided they wanted a .45cal and a solid frame. So William Mason went back to the drawing board and in only a matter of months, one of the most famous firearms of all time was born, the Single Action Army .45Colt. Yes, there were a lot of different guns by a lot of different makers but along with the various Winchester models, from John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, no other gun is so readily identified with the period. The Colt single action has endured like no other, with Colt SAA's, its various replicas and replicas of most of their percussion guns being produced to this day, 177yrs later.
I changed my mind, my vote goes to the Colt Single Action Army.