Atlantic City, NJ Police sidearm 1930's?


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chutestrate
April 3, 2010, 06:57 PM
My father in law's grandfather was a police officer in Atlantic City. My FIL wants to buy the type of revolver that would have been used during that time. Any ideas?

I called the police department, but didn't have any success. Googling hasn't turned up any information either. Anybody know out there?

Thanks

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Old Fuff
April 3, 2010, 08:40 PM
I presume he was a patrolman.

During the 1930's most urban police departments specified a .38 Special, 6-shot, double-action revolver with a four or five inch barrel. Motorcycle officers would more often carry the same sidearm with a six inch barrel.

At the time only Smith & Wesson and Colt made "apporved" models. They were:

Colt Army Special or Official Police (same gun with different names).

Smith & Wesson Military & Police (now called the model 10).

After your FIL finds a revolver, check with our fellow member Robbt, for a correct period holster to go with it.

Guillermo
April 3, 2010, 08:46 PM
damn it Fuffster

is there anything about old guns that you don't know?

Old Fuff
April 3, 2010, 08:56 PM
is there anything about old guns that you don't know?

No... :D

But now I'm sure someone will come up with something... :confused:

Oh, and by the way, if the FIL is very lucky he might find one of the Official Police .38's that Atlantic City bought from Colt. They are marked: A.C.P.D.

buttrap
April 4, 2010, 05:07 AM
Well dont tell anyone but a lot of PDs then also used .32s vs the .38.

Old Fuff
April 4, 2010, 10:30 AM
Before World War One that was very true, but after the "War to End All Wars, :rolleyes:" that changed, and by the 1930's the larger departments had gone for the most part to .38 Specials. However the .32 remained popular with some detectives.

SaxonPig
April 4, 2010, 11:01 AM
Yes, the DA 38 Special was by far the most popular police gun up until the 1970s. Colt outsold S&W before the war and after the war ended you were more likely to see a Smith in a cop's holster.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that's what cops in Atlantic City carried. It's just a good guess.

I did a quick Google and found there is an Atlantic County Historical Society. They may have info on the city police department back then, including photos. See if there are any police museums in NJ where info may be found.

See if there is an Atlantic City, or Atlantic County, or NJ state police officer's association. There may be historians or historic archives available.

chutestrate
April 4, 2010, 11:04 AM
Great ideas. thank you.

loadedround
April 4, 2010, 11:06 AM
It was my impression that a few police departments were also carrying revolvers in 45 Colt chambering. I have a friend that has his father's Colt New Service from that era actually stamped N.Y.P.D. He has also several original boxes of ammo made by the old Frankford Arsenal along withr this revolver, and I've been lucky enought have been given one round for my collection.

Old Fuff
April 4, 2010, 12:03 PM
During the 1930's the New York State Police (Highway Patrol) carried Colt New Service .45 revolvers, but not the New York City Police Department.

The big-bore Colts and Smith & Wesson's were somewhat common at the State Police level, and the Border Patrol during that era issued 1917 Army revolvers in .45 ACP.

Keep in mind that this discussion is centered on what departments issued. Some allowed officers to carry privately purchased sidearms, and these could just about anything in .32 caliber and above that was available.

Guillermo
April 4, 2010, 12:16 PM
Fuffster

wasn't the reason for 45acp revolvers being issued more due to financial concerns (WWII surplus guns were cheap) more than ballistic concerns (the 32 had been the standard so 38 was already a big step up)?

Old Fuff
April 4, 2010, 12:16 PM
But that doesn't necessarily mean that's (double-action .38 Special revolvers) what cops in Atlantic City carried. It's just a good guess.

I didn't guess.. ;)

My research records show that the Atlantic City, NJ Police Department did purchase Colt Official Police .38 Special revolvers. This is not to say however that they used them to the exclusion of other makes, particularly S&W.

Neither company was shy about mentioning the larger law enforcement departments that used they're products when they advertised.

As an aside: The New Jersey State Police also were on record as having bought Colt Official Police revolvers too.

Guillermo
April 4, 2010, 12:22 PM
But that doesn't necessarily mean that's (double-action .38 Special revolvers) what cops in Atlantic City carried. It's just a good guess. Saxon Pig

I didn't guess Old Fuff


let's get ready to rummmmmmbbblllllleeeee



making popcorn, fetching a beer

Gordon
April 4, 2010, 12:31 PM
I have my uncle's 4" Colt Police Positive .38 Special he used on the NYPD from 1937 to 1963. He rose to a Detective after WW2 and carried a Colt Cobra .38spl then, which I also have. I grew up in the 50s about 20 miles from Atlantic City and was there often. I remember Colt revolvers in the boardwalk copper's holsters, as I was into guns even as a boy and always looked carefully at cops stuff.

Old Fuff
April 4, 2010, 12:44 PM
wasn't the reason for 45acp revolvers being issued more due to financial concerns (WWII surplus guns were cheap) more than ballistic concerns (the 32 had been the standard so 38 was already a big step up)?

It's true that the Border Patrol used surplus revolvers because of cost issues. Remember that the 1930's was also the time of the Great Depression that lasted from 1929 to 1940. However the large-bore guns did have advantages in they're particular line of work... :uhoh: It is interestin to note that when they changed it was the same revolver, but in .38 Special.

Prior to World War One, patrolmen in the larger cities along the east coast wore uniforms similar to what the English Bobbies had popularized. (Also think "Keystone Cops"). When they carried revolvers (and sometimes they didn't) they were usually a small top-break or hand-ejector revolver chambered in .32 S&W Long, .32 Long Colt, or .38 S&W. The prefered method was a hip-pocket holster. By the early 1920's the top-breaks were going out of style and being relaced with Colt or S&W hand-ejectors, sometimes still .32's but more often chambered in .38 S&W (Colt New Police).

After the "Big War" uniform styles changed to along the line of those worn by Army officers, with Sam Browne belts with shoulder straps, and exposed full-flap holsters, often worn cross-draw. At this point you see the introduction of larger .38 Special revolvers as hip-pocket carry becomes obsolete.

Smaller rural departments were far less formal in both uniform styles and choice of sidearms, especially in the South and West.

But I'll quit here, because otherwise I could end up writing a book... :D

Guillermo
April 4, 2010, 12:50 PM
otherwise I could end up writing a book

hey...there is an original idea

sigh



What would you call it?

How about Fluffy goes to the Police Station?

:evil:

SaxonPig
April 4, 2010, 12:56 PM
OF- I don't see any mention in your first reply that you had specific info, only general discussion of the popularity of the 38 revolver. If you know for a fact what guns they used maybe you should have mentioned it and cited the source? Saves everyone else who comes along later (including me) from making pointless speculations and suggestions.

watson
April 4, 2010, 01:03 PM
Fluff I have a question for you, since you seem to be a fountain of knowledge. All in all were .38 special revolvers still more popular then .357 mag ones up until auto loaders replaced revolvers as the predominant law enforcement tool? (Revolvers have always facinated me and I'm always looking to expand my knowledge)

Guillermo
April 4, 2010, 01:09 PM
All in all were .38 special revolvers still more popular then .357 mag

no, by the 1970's the most common police sidearm in the US was a large framed .357 and remained that way into the late 1980's to early 1990's

Old Fuff
April 4, 2010, 01:12 PM
Sorry about that... :o

When I wrote my first post I knew what I knew, but I han't confirmed it by looking up a reference, so I added the additional information to a later post without a cite.

See The Book of Colt Firearms by R.L. Sutherland & R.L. Wilson; p. 349.

Old Fuff
April 4, 2010, 01:22 PM
no, by the 1970's the most common police sidearm in the US was a large framed .357 and remained that way into the late 1980's to early 1990's

Nope. The .357 Magnums made substantial inroads during the 1980's onwards, although often department regulations said they had to be carried with .38 Special ammunition. :banghead:

The continued popularity of .38 Special revolvers was largely because they cost less, and whoever had to do the buying didn't want to pay extra for Magnums.

watson
April 4, 2010, 01:22 PM
no, by the 1970's the most common police sidearm in the US was a large framed .357 and remained that way into the late 1980's to early 1990's

Thanks guillermo and fluff. Yea allthough I want a .357 some day to add to my collection I also want to get a 4" model 10 smith or somthing of the like. .357 revolvers are nice but theres just somthing to be said for the weight and balance of a 4" .38 revolver, its just a little lighter and quicker handeling, and I would imagine as it was carried by most of the nations police officers up until the 70's as you say guillermo, more than capable of dealing with most 2 legged threats :D. Not to mention quicker follow up shots on target due to the fact you dont have a magnum blast to fight.

Sam1911
April 4, 2010, 01:22 PM
FUFF! It's FUFF. Not FLUFF!

If you call him "Fluffy" he might get offended and then take all his wonderful information and go play someplace else and you'll never have the definitive answers! :eek:

Not much of a contribution to the thread, but somebody's got to say it! :D

Guillermo
April 4, 2010, 01:26 PM
Watson,

first off welcome to the High Road.

You need a model 10 or 3 as well as a 357 or 6

My daily carry is a 38 (that OF threatens to cut up when I jack with him too much :)) and I do not feel undergunned.

On the trail I carry a .357 where the possibility of needing a little more reach is more likely

Old Fuff
April 4, 2010, 01:27 PM
Sam, that next to worthless Guillermo knows better, but he's trying to get my goat. Doesn't work because I always consider the source. Teaching him anything is like having a puppy... :neener: :D

Guillermo
April 4, 2010, 01:34 PM
he might get offended

As much as I try to mess with him I don't think that it is possible to offend him. :evil:

He is a master at shooting at long range with his Detective Special so I had better watch out...he is only two states away! :eek:

Seriously Sam...The Fuffmeister knows that I am in awe of his knowledge...it is all in good fun

watson
April 4, 2010, 06:08 PM
Thanks for the welcome Guillermo. Ya ive been signed up for THR for a while bust mostly for getting and reading all the good information from the knowledgable people here. I'm actually thinking of getting a Ruger SP101 for my next revolver. That way I have the option of loading .357 if I want to, or just stay with .38 and share the same ammo and speedloaders as my S&W 637. Also what are your thoughts on 7 shot revolvers vs 6 shot. Me I feel 6 was good enough for the longest time and there are so many more options as far as loaders and what not for the 6, does 1 more round really mean all that much. It just seems like they are trying with these 7 and 8 shot cylinders to make the revolver somthing its not. Your thoughts??

Guillermo
April 4, 2010, 09:03 PM
You certainly came to the right place. THR is where all the brilliant guys hang out.

There is another board (that I can't mention because to put them down by name would not be a High Road thing to do) but they cannot compete. Most of the moderators are great. Tons of super knowledgable people. Lots of famous people too, although many remain anonomous (like Old Fuff)

As to 7 and 8 shot revolvers, I am fine with it. To me it is the same as a 5 shot J frame. 6 is not a magic number.

I really do like older Smiths and Colt revolvers like the subject of this thread. As I care not about super light revolvers I cannot think of anything better.

Again, welcome to THR

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