Colt Police Positive Special age/sight question


September 8, 2007, 04:15 PM
I have a family revolver that is a colt police positive .38 special, 5" barrel with black plastic grips, last patent is Oct. 5, 1926, serial is 151XXX on both the cylinder and frame. There is a C stamped on the frame under the serial. Both grips have a corner knocked off the square butt, and most the finish is gone, so not much collector value to it.

I was looking at proofhouse for the serial number to ID what year it was made under police positive special, which comes up with 1918 and '19, which isn't possible given the patent stamp.

Under police positive .38 would put it between '23 and '24, again not possible

Am I not looking it up correctly? I would think a list of serial numbers by model would be kinda idiotproof. :o

Also, the gun also has a tall front blade sight and a dovetailed v notch sight on the rear. Are these later additions or a option from the factory?

If you enjoyed reading about "Colt Police Positive Special age/sight question" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
September 8, 2007, 06:01 PM
If you want to know for sure, get hold of Colt.

The sights sound standard to me, just like the 2 I have.

Hope this helps.

September 8, 2007, 06:54 PM
I think most of the Colt Police Positive Specials had round front sights up until the 1940's or 50's when they went to one with the round profile on the front and the rear of the front sight flat with serrations/grooves to reduce glare. Rear sight milled out of the topstrap. The Colt Police Positive is a shorter cylinder/frame model, not chambered for .38 Special.

My serial number list for Colt's shows a 1918 manufacture date!

Wonder if it got a different barrel from a newer gun, and the sights modified?

September 8, 2007, 07:34 PM
possibly, I'll get a pic in a bit

September 8, 2007, 07:44 PM
The standard Colt Police Positive made pre-war had a rounded "half moon" front sight and a rear sight that was simply a groove milled in the top of the frame.

Colt did make a target version of the Police Positive but NOT in the Police Positive Special.
These Police Positive Target models were available in .22LR and in .32 calibers only, NOT in .38 Special.
This model did have a dovetailed rear sight, and came only in 6 inch barrel lengths.

From the sound you have a Police Positive Special that has been re-barreled and had a dovetail rear sight added some time over the years.

The black "plastic" grips are probably original black, hard"Gutta Percha" rubber grips as used by Colt up until the 1930's.
These will have molded-in checkering and Colt logos, often with a stylized "C" around the grip screw.

Note that the gun might be a Police Positive that's had a Police Positive Special barrel installed.
The Colt Police Positive had a shorter cylinder and frame than the longer Police Positive Special. If your gun has the longer Special frame and cylinder then it IS a Police Positive Special.

If the gun has the longer frame and cylinder and will chamber the .38 Special, then it is a Special, and the serial number tells all.

Bottom line, you have a gun that's been modified and re-barreled with a later barrel. This was fairly common.

September 8, 2007, 08:24 PM
Thanks for the responses guys

Here are some pics. Please forgive the quality, I'm not too talented with a camera up close and it's only a 2MP.

Front Sight

Rear Sight

Old Fuff
September 8, 2007, 09:46 PM
Someone added a new rear sight that they dovetailed into the frame, and then built up the front sight with some brass braze. The revolver appears to date from 1918, so the barrel must have been changed at a later date. None of the modifications are unusual. You can buy replacement, black plastic (not hard rubber) stocks. Among other places they will be found at Note that they usually don't come with a screw. or screw bushings.

September 9, 2007, 01:05 AM
Thanks guys.

I would assume even with the relatively early model the poor finish as well as the added sights and rebarrel doesn't give much collector value.

Most PPS's I've seen around the various auctions look to be between 2-500 bucks, and are way nicer than mine.

If it doesn't have much value I have a eye get a nice refinish on it, some grips and have a nice DA shooter with a good 50+ years of family history behind it :cool:

If you enjoyed reading about "Colt Police Positive Special age/sight question" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!