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Old October 5, 2012, 05:11 PM   #1
Petel
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Ronald Reagan's pistol question please.

Hello.
Work colleague has been reading a book about the life of Ronald Reagan, in which there are several references to his carrying a " pistol " on a regular basis, after threats were made against him in 1946. It is mentioned in the book, that this was a Smith and Wesson revolver, though a different book mentions a Colt self loader in .32 ACP.

We would be interested to confirm if this " pistol " was a revolver or a self loader and which make/model/caliber it may have been?

So far, I have found the item re the ( unloaded ) Colt 1911 with which he scared off the BG who was trying to rob a young nurse in the early hours of the morning, the " Pressin Pistol " which was presented to him when President by King Juan Carlos the First of Spain and that he also owned a " Giro Jet " at some point, but no confirmation of the type of "pistol " carried on a regular basis before he became President.

If any one can offer confirmation on this question it would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks, Pete.
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Old October 5, 2012, 08:43 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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It worked with the Kennedy gun question, so I did the same thing... emailed his presidential library. I'll report here with their response.
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Old October 6, 2012, 12:54 AM   #3
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Very many thanks Brian, appreciate your assistance.
Regards Pete.
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Old October 9, 2012, 01:02 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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And the answer:

Dear Brian,

I have taken a look in some of the books about Reagan to see if I could find any clues concerning your question. I found a couple of nuggets that may shed some light. On page 276 of Reagan's Autobiography he wrote that he always kept a gun in the house for home protection. Also in the book Dutch, Morris writes on page 237 that the movie studio police licensed Reagan to carry a .32 Smith and Wesson for protection due to threats. There had been threats of acid attacks again Reagan at the time. And finally in page 709 (the footnotes of Dutch) it is mentioned that Reagan carried a 1934 Walther PPK .380 pocket pistol that he acquired during his days in Des Moines. Reagan said he carried the pistol in his briefcase, even while he was president.

As far as more info on the guns, I am afraid that I have no other information. I will forward your email to the museum side of the house for further investigation. If they find anything they will let you know. But at any rate, your question was quite good and I have to be honest I learned something new today because of it!

Best Regards,

Kary Charlebois
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Old October 9, 2012, 01:18 PM   #5
lee n. field
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Quote:
Reagan said he carried the pistol in his briefcase, even while he was president.
Cool.
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Old October 9, 2012, 01:57 PM   #6
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Interesting that he carried it in a briefcase even when President. We had a thread on here a while back about a President potentially carrying a handgun in order to be the last line of his own defense.

Even so, if he wanted to cause mayhem, it's not the pistol in that briefcase that one would use... it's what was in that "other" briefcase.
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Old October 9, 2012, 03:31 PM   #7
Petel
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Hello Brian
Many thanks for your efforts on our behalf.

I presume that we can take it that the S&W .32 was a revolver and that he carried this until the threats made against him in 1946 were no longer an issue.

I wonder what happened to the " Pressin " as this was also in .32 (7.65 auto)

If he had the Walther PPK in .380auto from his days in Iowa, then this may have pre-dated the revolver mentioned. If he still had the Walther when he was President, then he presumably had it whilst he was running for the post and this may be the " pistol " that the security guards mentioned seeing, when they were sent on escort duty, to collect him from his home.

If any further confirmation comes your way, we would be most grateful to you to be advised of it.

Very many thanks again Pete. Somerset. UK.
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Old October 9, 2012, 06:46 PM   #8
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While on the subject of President's carrying, I seem to remember reading not all that long ago that President George W. Bush carried a 1911 of one sort or another fairly frequently while in office. Given that the President is most often seen wearing a business suit complete with jacket, I'd think that carrying concealed would probably be easier than for those of us to typically wear more casual attire.
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Old October 9, 2012, 07:39 PM   #9
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Great job Peetza! That's a great nugget of history.
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Old October 10, 2012, 06:50 PM   #10
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Not Ronny, but I read that Teddy Roosevelt carried a gun in his cumberband. It fell out on the foot of the King of Spain.

No, I'm not writing the TR museum. Lazy, am I.
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Old October 10, 2012, 08:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Not Ronny, but I read that Teddy Roosevelt carried a gun in his cumberband. It fell out on the foot of the King of Spain.

No, I'm not writing the TR museum. Lazy, am I.
I believe TR actually told someone that the only time he took off his weapon was to bathe. Can't find the quote though.
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Old October 10, 2012, 08:12 PM   #12
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This thread and the one about the JFK rifle are why I think this forum is one of, if not, the best forums on the internet. The fact that staff are interested enough in the members' questions to go the extra mile in researching our curiousities is simply extraordinary to me. Thank you Brian for your help in these matters and to the rest of the staff to keep this forum running at this level of excellence.
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Old October 11, 2012, 01:56 AM   #13
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Regarding TR: once in a hotel room Teddy plopped a gun on his dresser to change clothes and another fellow in the room (may have been secret service) asked if he always carried it. Roosevelt replied "only when I go out in public."

He also upset a woman in church one day when the butt of his pistol was protruding from the back of his pants.

It's important to remember that his first term as president was the result of an assassin.
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Old October 11, 2012, 02:13 AM   #14
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Crazy88, I believe that's the story I was thinking of, as much TR reading and research as I have done (fascinating man, a true political genius), I should have remembered that.
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Old October 12, 2012, 10:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
It's important to remember that his first term as president was the result of an assassin.
It was also wise judgment as TR himself was shot while campaigning in 1912.
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Old October 15, 2012, 02:22 AM   #16
Petel
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Hello again.

Re post 4 of this thread.

It will be noticed that the reference to the Walther PPK in .380auto is taken from the book " Dutch " written by someone called Morris.

A net search raises several questions as to the accuracy of details given in this book. At one point it is implied, that several of the characters were invented and that these had imaginary conversations with real characters in order to give legitimacy to the text.

Given this reservation and the fact that reference to the Walther comes only from the books footnotes, could anyone provide any other confirmation that Ronald Reagan did own the Walther?

Thank you, Pete.
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Old October 15, 2012, 05:51 AM   #17
Ben Towe
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Quote:
Hello again.

Re post 4 of this thread.

It will be noticed that the reference to the Walther PPK in .380auto is taken from the book " Dutch " written by someone called Morris.

A net search raises several questions as to the accuracy of details given in this book. At one point it is implied, that several of the characters were invented and that these had imaginary conversations with real characters in order to give legitimacy to the text.

Given this reservation and the fact that reference to the Walther comes only from the books footnotes, could anyone provide any other confirmation that Ronald Reagan did own the Walther?

Thank you, Pete.
Dutch is written as an historical novel due to to fact the author Edmund Morris had difficulty getting useful information from Reagan (he was notoriously secretive and even family has been quoted as saying they never really understood him), apparently he wrote it this way to make it more readable to the average person. From what I understand, the basic facts are true but some conversations and situations are dramatized.
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Old October 15, 2012, 01:32 PM   #18
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A Secret Service Agent wrote a book about his time serving on Reagan's security team. He would ride horses with the ex President on the compound. The compound had a fish pond that was being sniped by herons[birds]. One day seeing a bird stalking the fish Reagan pulled a pistol from under his windbreaker and fired shots at the bird. There was a period of excitement because others thought that Reagan HAD BEEN SHOT. After that Reagan's guns were taken from him.
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Old October 16, 2012, 02:20 AM   #19
Petel
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Many thanks to 4everm-14 for the post.
I was not aware of that one.
Regards, Pete.
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Old October 16, 2012, 10:03 AM   #20
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Quote:
There was a period of excitement because others thought that Reagan HAD BEEN SHOT. After that Reagan's guns were taken from him.
Early in his Alzheimer's?
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Old October 16, 2012, 08:19 PM   #21
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Not sure of the time frame but apparently early enough that he still had full function of faculties. The shots were heard by other agents who jumped on the radios to find out what happened. The agent with Reagan responded that it was "rawhide", Reagans call sign, who shot. Others miss heard the message and thought Reagan had been shot.
This was a good thread. I learned a lot myself.
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Old October 16, 2012, 10:54 PM   #22
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One of W.E.B. Griffin's books, which are fiction, had LBJ shooting trap with friends and visitors at his ranch in Texas. In the book it said that his hobby drove the Secret Service nuts, having people with loaded firearms that close to the president. The book also had LBJ shooting trap with his Secret Service agents for money. (A dollar a bird). I wonder if any of that was true.
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Old October 17, 2012, 05:00 AM   #23
Petel
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Hello to 4Everm-14, to Brian and and to all who have contributed so far.

As you say, this is proving to be a good thread, I too have learned a great deal.

However, the original question remains unanswered. Was there a .32 S&W revolver, what model was it, did it belong to Reagan or was it loaned to him by the studio security people?

The second question, was there a 1934 Walther PPK in .380acp or was this a Colt in .32acp?

Following on Brians lead, I have emailed the Ronald Reagan Memorial Library, museum side, to ask if the " Pressin " is held by them, either on display in in reserve? I am assuming that it was an official gift to him as President and as such there should be record of it.

Please forgive me if I seem a bit slow on this but back here in this stagnating backwater called the UK, a Presidential Library is not the first thing that comes to mind when a question is raised.

Many thanks to all, Pete.
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Old October 18, 2012, 06:09 AM   #24
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A couple of years ago I was selling a set of old K-frame grips on eBay and had someone from the Reagan library email me with an interest for a restoration project. I checked out her name/title and it looked legit. No transaction was ever completed, but maybe it's a clue?
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Old October 19, 2012, 05:20 AM   #25
Petel
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Many thanks to Spacecoast for the information. Perhaps there is now a K frame S&W in the frame.

Can anyone please confirm if the model 10 was J or K frame?

Thank you, Pete.
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