Colt Made the Lawman Mk III from 1969 to 1983

A working man's gun in the truest sense of the term. The Lawman is one of those guns that, as I reflect now, I just don't know why I didn't acquire one of these a long time ago. Well I finally did get my hands on one and I plan to learn as much about this model as I can in the coming days. This gun sold for $125 new in 1972.

Benny, my FFL guy making me the happiest customer of the day

Benny, my FFL guy making me the happiest customer of the day!

This gun is one of the last with the exposed ejector rod. The shrouded ejector rod was implemented just after this one. The wide hammer spur immediately brought a smile to my face. And the frame size. Well, it's just perfect! And did I mention how nice those narrow service grips feel?

Sometimes it's not the most expensive or fanciest gun that really cranks my tractor. Guys, this is that gun. This model is a rarity in this condition. Most of these guns saw their fair share of work and in the process usually took on the wear and tear that comes with being a working gun.

A week has gone by and I performed a search to see how many of these I could find available for sale. I found a total of 11, 8 with the 4" barrel, 2 with the shrouded 2" barrel and only 1 with the unshrouded 2" barrel. And just for comparison, how many Pythons could I buy today if I were so inclined? 468.

Colt Lawman Market Report

October 2019 to October 2020

In my research I found 63 completed online auction sales of the Colt Lawman over the 12 month period from October 2019 to October 2020 and the Average Sales Price was $694. Of the 63 completed sales analyzed I found that only 8 of those guns might be considered Collector Grade Quality. Further, of the 8 best examples, only 4 had the original box. The 4 top guns sold for $1,250 to $1,450.

Note: Since these were online sales it is important to note that buyers likely paid $100 more than the reflected sales price to cover credit card fees, shipping costs and FFL transfer fees.

If you don't have this book yet, you have to get it!

Early 70s Lawman MKIII

Here, you can identify the year of your early 70s gun by the Serial Number.

MKIII Serial Number Table

1969 J1001 J8600
1970 J8601 J50200
1971 J50201 J72200
1972 J72201 J98800
1972 01001J 01600J
1973 J98801 J100000
1973 01601J 28800J

Author's Note: These serial numbers and years are approximate and I always encourage you to order a letter from the Colt Archive for absolute verification.

1972 Colt Lawman Mk III .357 Magnum

Like new in box Colt Lawman Mk III 6-shot revolver in .357 Magnum caliber. This gun features a 2 inch heavy barrel, fixed sights, polished nickel finish, wide target hammer, exposed ejector rod, checkered walnut Colt grips with silver Colt medallions. Color case hammer and serrated blue trigger.

This gun's finish is a very strong 99%++ with no marks except minor turn ring on cylinder. The bore is bright and shiny. The grips are like new. The mechanics function flawlessly. Serial number J81729. I bought this gun from a huge collection liquidation of mostly unfired guns.

happiest customer of the day
It feels better than my 2½" Python in my hand!

This gun looks new in every way. It shows signs of being fired but I think that was at the factory. The gun has age patina on it. Has factory serial numbered original wood grain 2-piece box. The box is in excellent + condition and still has the wax paper inside. Manufactured 1972. Nice collectable grade Colt.

I walked out of my local gun store today with a brand new 48 year old gun!

My 2020 Blue Book of Gun Values said this gun should be $900, so when I saw it come up for auction I submitted a bid of $900 and was quickly outbid. After making up my mind that I was going to buy this gun, even if I paid more than market, I submitted a bid that I could live with. Another bidder came in and ran the price up, but in the end it was mine.


Being a Presidential Election Year, 2020 may not be the best time for gun buying. However, the big upward price swings seem to have manifested themselves mostly in self-defense firearms and ammunition. Collectible guns may be experiencing an uptick on their coat-tails, but not to the extent one would think.

The one observation I want to make here though is this, more collectible guns seem to be coming to market! So availability of really nice old guns has increased. When it comes to collecting old guns, often times price is not the barrier that prevents us from adding a particular gun to the collection, but availability.

1972 Colt Lawman Mk III .357 with 2 inch barrel and with narrow service grips
Early version 1972 Colt Lawman Mk III .357 Magnum with exposed ejector rod

1972 Colt Lawman Mk III .357 Magnum
1972 Colt Lawman Mk III .357

1972 Colt Lawman Mk III .357 Magnum

Purchased Unfired in 2020 for $1,555

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