Making a Pistol Fit for a Tennis Bum or a Spy

by
posted on May 22, 2014
pistolfit.jpg

Four years ago, on March 24, 2010, we said goodbye to one hell of a man. Robert Martin Culp dropped dead from a massive heart attack while out for a morning walk (that proves it, exercise is for the birds). While Culp was best known as an actor in such TV shows as "I Spy" and "The Greatest American Hero," he was also an accomplished cartoonist, writer, (Culp actually wrote some of the screenplays for "I Spy") director and—believe it or a not—a pole vaulting champion. But, more than that, Culp was firearm enthusiast who not only enjoyed shooting, he applied his love for customized firearms to the characters he portrayed by outfitting them with custom guns.

For example, his character Kelly Robinson from "I Spy" carried a special short-barreled Walther P38. While often misidentified by fans as a P1 and P4 with a truncated barrel, and even more erroneous as a P38K. However, after purchasing the series on DVD, an episode  titled "Dragon's Teeth" offers a close-up of the pistol that debunks these claims. The rear of the slide clearly contained a firing-pin/firing-pin indicator cover—proving the pistol's top end was made during World War II. Curiously Culp's P38 contained post-war black plastic grips—probably to match the custom-made, glossy black shoulder holsters he and Bill Cosby used.

Not long ago, As a tribute to this endearing actor and the vivacious character he played in "I Spy," I purchased a P38 and sent to gunsmith Joe Hayes with instructions to give it the Kelly Robinson treatment. Upon receipt, I'm pretty confident both actor and agent would have approved.

 

Latest

scope facing left
scope facing left

Sightron S6 5-30x56 ED riflescope

Sightron is launching of a new line of S6 5-30x56 ED premium riflescopes for long-range pursuits.

Editor's Picks: SHOT Show 2022, Day Four

Here are five more neat new things we saw at SHOT Show 2022 on our last day on the show floor.

New for 2022: Taurus 327

The .327 Fed. Mag. cartridge has long been overlooked, but it is a powerful, versatile option for personal protection. Taurus has recognized the .327's appeal and is now offering an affordable revolver chambered for this hidden gem of a self-defense round.

New for 2022: Burris Introduces XTR Pro Riflescope and Accessories

Burris' latest riflescope features multiple illuminated, front-focal-plane reticle options, an innovative locking turret system and an optical design ideal for anyone looking to shoot at extreme distances.

New For 2022: Galco UnderWraps Elite

Galco changed the bellyband concept with the new Underwraps Elite, which allows concealed carry of a handgun and accessories around your midsection with myriad options for the pistol's location, added comfort and the ability to carry EDC accessories like spare magazines and a flashlight.

New For 2022: Smith’s Everyday Carry Knives

If you're looking for a new EDC knife, check out these new offerings from Smith’s Consumer Products. The company introduced four new folding knives perfect for comfortable carry in a pocket and for rugged, daily use.

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.