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1910 Colorado Rifle Team with Corporal Frank P. Coffin in the first row, second from right wearing both his Expert Rifle and Expert Pistol badges.

1910 Colorado Rifle Team with Corporal Frank P. Coffin in the first row, second from right wearing both his Expert Rifle and Expert Pistol badges.

By Thomas D. McDougall

The year was 1910 — the year that Corporal Frank P. Coffin of the Colorado National Guard came into his own as a champion revolver marksman.

The soon-to-be marksman was born in New York City on November 26, 1888, the only child of William and Jennie P. Coffin. He was educated and worked in New York City until at least 1907, when the family moved to Denver, Colorado. In Denver Frank took employment as a clerk in a railroad office.

In June of that same year and only 18 years old, Frank enlisted in Troop C, 1st Regiment of Cavalry, Colorado National Guard. The term of his enlistment was for three years. By the time of his discharge in June 1911, he had qualified as a revolver expert and had served as a member of the Colorado State Rifle Team in both 1909 and 1910. He distinguished himself with the revolver and participated on state teams through 1913.

The team comprised of members of the 1st Troop (now designated Squadron) of Cavalry, Colorado, won the revolver match in 1910. This is the trophy the team received.

The team comprised of members of the 1st Troop (now designated Squadron) of Cavalry, Colorado, won the revolver match in 1910. This is the trophy the team received.

Coffin reenlisted in Troop C every year through June 1916. In May 1917, Coffin registered for the draft and listed himself as an officer in the Student Reserve stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas.

A SURE SHOT

But what made 1910 so special for Corporal Coffin? First, he was selected to the Colorado State Rifle Team for a second time. Although an excellent rifle marksman, Coffin was listed as one of the alternates on the 18 man team.

As such, he still received the Class B, second prize (Hilton Trophy Medal) at the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. In the National Revolver Match, Coffin placed third and earned a gold Medal and $20 in cash.

In addition to participating in the National Individual Revolver Match, a revolver team was selected from the members of the 1910 rifle team — including Coffin — to participate in the Championship Revolver Team Match sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

The 1910 Championship Revolver Team with Corporal Coffin standing on the right wearing his NRA Championship Revolver Team Match medal.

The 1910 Championship Revolver Team with Corporal Coffin standing on the right wearing his NRA Championship Revolver Team Match medal.

Coffin’s prowess with the revolver enabled him to excel. Members of the 1st Troop (now designated Squadron) of Cavalry, Colorado, made up the team. The five men won the match in 1910. The winning team was awarded a trophy. Each member received silver medal and $18. The team continued their winning ways in both 1911 and 1913.

But that wasn't all for Coffin in 1910. His other significant achievement that year was as the recipient of the Individual Revolver Trophy for Highest Score at Rapid Fire.

Coffin's Class B, second place prize, the Hilton Trophy Medal.

Coffin's Class B, second place prize, the Hilton Trophy Medal.

Coffin's 1910 National Revolver Match Medal for his third place score.

Coffin's 1910 National Revolver Match Medal for his third place score.

As mentioned earlier, Coffin was in the Student Reserve at Ft. Riley, Kansas when WWI began. He was accepted as a Captain in the Cavalry Reserve in 1917 and later, was accepted as a Captain in the Infantry Reserve. Captain Coffin did not see combat during the war, though he served on occupation duty in Germany until 1920, during which he competed in several shooting competitions.

He returned to the United States and remained in the Officer Reserve Corps, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in August 1940. He was last stationed at the Bordentown Military Institute in Bordentown, New Jersey

Colonel Coffin died in November 1978, and is buried in the Bordentown Cemetery.

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