Curious Relics #040: Positive Review? – The Colt Police Positive Special

   06.01.22

Curious Relics #040: Positive Review? – The Colt Police Positive Special

Welcome, if you are a newcomer to this fun bi-weekly segment of AllOutdoor.com! The last time around I covered the history, its variations, and how to date your personal Colt Police Positive Special. Today we are jumping back into the Colt Police Positive Special and closing it out with some specifications, aftermarket parts/accessories, and a range trip. I always enjoy taking this old revolver out for some fun. Let’s dive right into the rabbit hole!


Welcome to our recurring series of “Curious Relics.” Here, we want to share all of our experiences, knowledge, misadventures, and passion for older firearms that one might categorize as a Curio & Relic  – any firearm that is at least 50 years old according to the ATF. Hopefully along the way you can garner a greater appreciation for older firearms like we do, and simultaneously you can teach us things as well through sharing your own expertise and thoughts in the Comments. Understanding the firearms of old, their importance, and their development which lead to many of the arms we now cherish today is incredibly fascinating and we hope you enjoy what we have to share, too!


Specifications: Colt Police Positive Special

As I previously mentioned in the last article on the Colt Police Positive Special this is a Third Issue Police Positive Special. The Third Issue Colt Police Positive Special was manufactured from 1946 to 1976. Something worthy of note is that the Third Issue Colts were almost exclusively chambered in .38 Special, mine is not. This is because even though Colt provided the Third Issue models in 38 Special to the civilian market, countries around the world may not have adopted that cartridge for their police forces. Thus, my Colt Police Positive Special is made to fire the 38 New Police cartridge which is basically 38 Smith and Wesson.

  • Years Produced: From 1907  to 1995 (see the previous article for the caveats)
  • MSRP In 1918: Roughly $25 (about $453.66 in 2022)
  • Number Manufactured: Over 750,000
  • Operating System: Double Action
  • Chambering:.32 Colt New Police (38 S&W), .38 Colt New Police, .32-20 Winchester, .38 Special
  • Barrel Length: 4″, 5″, 6″
  • Weight: Roughly 1lbs 7oz (my example)
  • Single Action Trigger Pull: 4.25lbs Consistently
  • Cylinder: 6-Shot Capacity, Swingout Cylinder and Hand Eject
  • Lanyard Loop: Only Some Literal Police Orders
  • Front Sight: Fixed Front Ramp
  • Rear Sight: Rear Top Strap Groove
  • Grip: Walnut Checkered (some Smooth)

After Market Parts & Accessories: Colt Police Positive Special

These days aftermarket parts and accessories are pretty slim picking for the old Colt Police Positive Special. Part of this is because of its brother the regular Police Positive. The two may have interchangeable parts but I am unsure. Regardless the older Police Positive muddies the water up quite a bit and the only thing out there beyond replacement grips is replacement barrels. A slim selection can be found on eBay, Numrich, and Sarco Inc.

Police Positive Special

Range Time: Colt Police Positive Special

As I brought attention to it in the opening paragraph, it is always fun to take the Colt Police Positive Special out for a range day. In the past, I have bought silhouette-style targets in order to emulate the 1970s style of police training. In fact, I have gone as far as attempting the same shooting practice and style of those depicted in old training videos of the time. I regret to inform you that the more modern ways of firing a revolver suit me much better, old soul or not.

Police Positive Special

Looking at the target below you will see two quick groups shot with the Colt Police Positive Special. The group on the left was fired in double-action while aiming at the bottom left target. The group on the right was done single action and at the target on the lower right. As you can see the groups tend to be higher than that of the point of aim. Holding at the six o’clock position would probably improve the position of the groups. The trigger on my police positive special is a comfortable 4.25-pound pull in single-action. The double-action trigger pull is obviously heavier but does not feel outrageous or bad, not super smooth and not super gritty, just fair. The grip is long enough but the ones offered on this particular Hong Kong Police version can be sort of slippery. The checkering is fairly shallow and smoothed over with time. I suspect in its prime the checkering was better but not a ton. The recoil is a pretty sharp nose-up type stopping at about 45 degrees. It is not uncomfortable or aggressive just sharp. After about three shots I found myself readjusting my grip because all things considered it is smooth and somewhat short. Overall I continue to be happy with my little piece of history.

Police Positive Special

Final Thoughts: Colt Police Positive Special

Well, the road on this revolver is coming to an end as we close out this third and final part on the Colt Police Positive Special. These revolvers are tougher to get in the surplus market these days but once were very common. Usually, you can find them for around $500 and as far as Colt collectors go they are pretty undesirable. They make fun shooters and great pieces of iconic nostalgia that really make you think about old policing equipment and uses. My personal revolver is always a joy to take to the range and I hope that other ones are getting love out there too. Let us know in the comments what you think of these fine old revolvers and we will see you next time!

Police Positive Special

In closing, I hope our Curious Relics segment informed as well as entertained. This all was written in hopes of continued firearm appreciation and preservation. We did not just realize how guns were supposed to look and function. It was a long and tedious process that has shaped the world we live in. So, I put it to you! Is there a firearm out there that you feel does not get much notoriety?  What should our next Curious Relics topic cover? As always, let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

Police Positive Special

 

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Writer | TheFirearmBlog Writer | AllOutdoor.com Instagram | sfsgunsmith Old soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.

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