From the mid 1820s, the American colonists of Texas hired for a group of rangers for their protection. These Rangers were special Indian fighting units for frontier defense. Three ranger companies of 25 men each were organized during the Texas war for independence from Mexico. While Texas was a republic, ranger companies rode out primarily from San Antonio against Mexican outlaw bands and hostile Indians. They established the six-shooter as the standard horseback weapon of the West. In 1874, six companies of 25 men each were organized for the first time as a permanent state force, and their reputation grew to the heroic level for containing the Indians and controlling the general lawlessness in Texas! Wearing no uniform except the common range costume of the time, including neckerchiefs and cowboy hats, the rangers were never required to salute their officers and were never drilled. Yet their discipline was extraordinary, their morale high and their marksmanship so unfailing that outlaws feared them more then any other Western lawmen. Their reputation was such that usually only one ranger was needed to quell a threatened riot! As life became less wild and woolly in Texas, the responsibilities of the rangers declined and in 1936 they were merged with the Texas Highway Patrol.