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Atlantic City, NJ Police sidearm 1930's?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by chutestrate, Apr 3, 2010.

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  1. chutestrate

    chutestrate Member

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    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
     
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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.
     
  3. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    damn it Fuffster

    is there anything about old guns that you don't know?
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  5. buttrap

    buttrap Member

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    Well dont tell anyone but a lot of PDs then also used .32s vs the .38.
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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.
     
  7. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    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.
     
  8. chutestrate

    chutestrate Member

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    Great ideas. thank you.
     
  9. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    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.
     
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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.
     
  11. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    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)?
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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.
     
  13. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Saxon Pig

    Old Fuff


    let's get ready to rummmmmmbbblllllleeeee



    making popcorn, fetching a beer
     
  14. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    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.
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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
     
  16. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    hey...there is an original idea

    sigh



    What would you call it?

    How about Fluffy goes to the Police Station?

    :evil:
     
  17. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    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.
     
  18. watson

    watson Member

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    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)
     
  19. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    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
     
  20. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Sorry about that... :eek:

    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.
     
  21. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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.
     
  22. watson

    watson Member

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    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.
     
  23. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    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
     
  24. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    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
     
  25. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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
     
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