A Fugitive From The Law Of Averages: Col. Walter R. Walsh

posted on May 2, 2014

It is with deep regret that I report Col. Walter L. Walsh died at the age of 106-just shy of his 107th birthday. When I was introduced to Col. Walsh not long after being appointed as editor of American Rifleman he greeted me with a grand smile and looked at me with eyes that you don’t encounter very often. Clear, piercing, timeless. Though his body had been ravaged by age and time, his mind and his eyes remained those of one of the greatest rifle and pistols shots of all time, a man who had seen war, gunfights with gangsters and had stood on an Olympic podium. And he recounted quite a few of my predecessors at Rifleman, naming them back to the 1940s. And he appeared on the magazine’s cover in February 1952. It’s not often you get to meet a legendary figure in a given area, but Col. Walsh, who was not a big guy, cast a tall shadow across most of the 20th Century not only as competitive shooter, but as an FBI agent-a G-Man shooting it out with nation’s worst desperadoes-and as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Modern marine marksmanship owes much to Col. Walsh.

My friend Bill Vanderpool wrote “The Amazing Life of Walter R. Walsh” for us a few years ago. Bill, a retired FBI agent, had been friends with and competed side-by with Col. Walsh for decades. And Bill would stop by and see him quite, often giving me updates on how “Walter” was doing. On top of all the other records he set, he was the oldest living American Olympian. Not long ago, Bill called and let me know Col. Walsh was in hospice and was not doing well. Bill’s story on Col. Walsh, written when he was 103, is a fitting tribute to this American hero, and I strongly encourage you to read it. In the article’s end, Bill described Walsh as “a fugitive from the law of averages,” and Walsh replied, “Yes, I guess I am at that.” A fugitive no more, all those in the world’s he contributed so much mourn his loss.


The Armed Citizen
The Armed Citizen

The Armed Citizen® Jan. 27, 2023

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

NRA Gun Of The Week: Browning Citori Hunter Grade II

Follow American Rifleman staff on this “Gun Of The Week” with the Browning Firearms Citori Hunter Grade II, a field-ready, 16-gauge shotgun that sure doesn’t disappoint. In fact, this boxlock shotgun has everything you need and nothing that you don’t.

Rifleman Q&A: U.S. Model Of 1928 Thompson Variants

I was reading an auction catalog, and a reference was made to an American military Thompson submachine gun. It stated it was a “1928 Colt Navy overstamp, not a Savage.” The catalog made that verbiage seem important. What’s the significance of the “overstamp,” and were there other military 1928 Thompsons besides the Navy guns?

New For 2023: Benelli Montefeltro

Benelli’s Montefeltro, a go-to favorite for many discerning shotgunners, has been redesigned for 2023, making the sporting classic an even more rigid backbone of the company’s upland and clay-target shotgun lineup.

Buy A Trijicon Thermal Optic, Get A Free Tenmile Riflescope

Purchase a new Trijicon REAP-IR 3 or IR-HUNTER 2 scope through one of the company’s Electro Optics retailers before February 1, and you qualify to receive a select model of a Trijicon Tenmile riflescope.

5 Hot New Airguns For 2023

This year at SHOT Show 2023, there is an exciting corner of the marketplace that, given the economic downturn, should be one of the most appealing. Here are some of this year’s hottest airguns.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.