John Jovino NY

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by wcwhitey, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    Maybe not the right place but I thought with all the interest in old NYPD and other old police revolvers I might share this. It belonged to my father, carried it with a Colt Agent. Its an ammo carrier that was made for a historic gun shop. The belt slot is only 1", that dates it back to late 30's early 40's by suit attire.

    John Jovino Gun Shop or the John Jovino Company was a firearms dealer and factory located at 183 Grand Street, in Little Italy, a neighborhood of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It was the oldest gun retailer in New York City[1] and said to be the oldest gun shop in the United States.[2] The store closed as a result of the financial hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic.[3]
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  2. George P

    George P Member

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    Sorry to hear it closed; my dad was NYPD and went there for supplies. The family that owned it is the same folks who own Henry Arms.
     
  3. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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  4. George P

    George P Member

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    Not the oldest:
    Established in 1886, A W Peterson Gun Shop in Mt. Dora, FL is famous throughout the South and one of the largest gun shops located in Mount Dora, FL. We have been proudly providing guns and ammunition from our current location since 1953. We have the largest selection of firearms and the lowest prices in the area. Our products and services include: Custom gunsmithing Reloading Muzzle loading guns and supplies Police equipment Hunting and outdoor supplies and gear New and pre-owned firearms Boots Knives Safes Stop by and visit our museum. Call us today for all your firearm, ammunition, hunting and outdoor supply needs


    And they are still in business!
     
  5. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    I think you missed the point a bit, but cool story 1953
     
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  6. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I always wanted one of the .22 Enfields JJ Co. assembled from mint surplus parts back in the '60s because the condition of so many original Enfield trainers varies from "well-used" to "daaaaaaaamn, thats rough."

    They were right up there with Bannermans, sorry to see them close.
     
  7. rkittine

    rkittine Member

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    When I had my gun shop in the 70s and 80s, I bought a lot of guns from Jovino as they were distributors for a number of lines. Picking up Smiths in Manhattan to bring back to Rockland County was the reason that I got me New York City Concealed Carry Permit. I enjoyed them in those days.

    In later years and under the new ownership, I was less impressed with, the store and its presentation, the attitude and the inventory, but it was a Icon in the community.

    I think the only Firearms store in Manhattan now is the Beretta shop.

    Bob
     
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  8. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    OTOH, I learned to absolutely hate seeing the JJCO stamp on an Enfield rifle listed online. I was always looking for a true .303 milsurp, not a parts rifle. A JJCO stamp meant extra work to determine whether or not it was a milsurp or a mixmaster. From what I read, there were lots of both.

    Some online Sellers would avoid stating that their rifle was Jovino-marked, often providing a poorly-focused/-lit image (or no image) of the stamped area. Heck, I even came across one miscreant on Gunbroker who simply lied about it. <sigh>

    Since I was aware of some of the history of Jovino in NYC (very sorry to hear of their demise, btw), it always left me with an extreme-spread of feelings on the subject, y'know? :)
     
  9. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Ya, the .303 guns are sketchy- many had improperly fitted stocks and would crack- but, reportedly, the .22s are GTG.
     
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  10. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    I've had the pleasure of gong to the shop a few times as a kid, the shop owner at the time helped the gun shop my dad worked move guns from an estate. Large amount of guns several thousand, I always thought that was funny moving all them guns from a high class Manhattan apartment building.

    My dad's friend said a good bit of his younger years were spent in that and a few other gun shops before he fled the city.
     
  11. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    Cool post! Jovino’s was a NYC landmark. That big revolver hanging from the front was iconic. It was featured prominently in Serpico. Serpico went there to buy his Browning High Power. Sad to hear it closed but not surprised. Gun shops are not welcome in NYC. Even if I still lived there, there were too many shops in Nassau and Westchester counties to bother shopping in NYC. Didn’t they also move from that location? I don’t believe they were in Little Italy when they closed.

    I also believe the scene in Serpico where Serpico is qualifying and talking to his partner was shot in the basement range at the Police Academy. If not, it was an exact duplicate. Same firing points, same elevated desk where the range officer called out commands. Even the coffee cans where you collected your brass to dump into the drum next to the range the officer looked the same.

    .
     
  12. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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  13. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Lots of what was Little Italy became Chinatown as the Italians left and the increasing Chinese population crossed north over Canal St., which used to be a hard border.

    I remember as a kid going down to that area to buy illegal fireworks near the 4th of July. The Italian kids would buy it from the Chinese importers and be the retail street sellers because they spoke English.
     
  14. rkittine

    rkittine Member

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    As a HAM Radio Operator, back in the 60s I would spend a lot of time on Canal Street, which was then known as Radio Row.

    Bob
     
  15. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    W2WCG '73
     
  16. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    One of my fondest memories of Canal Street was going there with my father, the shops were filled with WW2 and Korean War Surplus. It was an easy ask to score a nice piece of kit from one of these places for a quarter. But yes today little Italy is basically Umberto's Restaurant, not much left. I would wager a guess to think that they closed to COVID not due to the pandemic but the riots that took place since last March. I remember in a NYC precinct on the Desk you had a list of any Gun Store in that Precinct. First thing at the sign of trouble, blackout or otherwise was to make sure it was secure. A gun store in the middle of that wreckage is a liability, sorry to say. Not the owners fault. He was probably forced to stay shut down while all the LGS's 20 miles away were making a killing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
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  17. WC145

    WC145 Member

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    I was sad to see that Jovino's closed, the store was iconic, for sure. Interestingly, while the shop was opened in 1911 by John Jovino, he sold it to the Imperato family in 1921, they kept the name and owned it until it's closing. The Imperato's also started the modern Henry Repeating Arms in 1996. One of Jovino's claims to fame were the large bore/large frame snubby conversions they were offering on Astra and S&W revolvers back in the late '70s into the '80s before the factories started offering their own. S&W even contracted with them to produce the Effector series of S&W revolvers. Lots of gunsmith's offered similar conversions at that time but Jovinos are the best known.

    One of my favorite bits of firearm memorabilia is this Jovino Gun Shop ashtray. Can't remember where I got it but it's in excellent shape, the lettering and image are done in gold.
    0uVuCBynSNAGFxrgezR7eJiBGle3EHo4sxEO848rR3H7L2h2NDLPO0ufdTXmEIxuOZRK30r0=w872-h654-no?authuser=0.jpg
     
  18. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    The first factory was in East New York Brooklyn, it was on my beat. I met the owner both father and son a few times. It took up half a block and was completely fenced and blacked out, security was very high. Made sense as ENY was the crack and homicide capital of the US just a few years prior to them opening. I was not overly impressed with them to be honest. Their was an arrogance about them. But there could have been circumstances unknown to me. I responded to quite a few alarms at the factory for their carelessness, I had to threaten to shut off Police response to get them to fix it.
     
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  19. kBob

    kBob Member

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    I got to test the Jovino Astra Terminator snubbie in .44 Mag when they first came out while working for Myron Foss and his magazines. He claimed to be a big buddy of the folks that ran that business from his NY days.

    Interesting idea for the time...but it did not come with wheels.

    -kBob
     
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  20. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Thanks to the OP for an interesting walk thru history. I had never heard of John Jovino before this.
     
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  21. mdrisc85

    mdrisc85 Member

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    Very cool stuff. My grandmothers father was began in the NYPD but made a career switch over to the FDNY, retiring as an arson investigator in the 70s. Lived another 30 years well away from the city. Spent a lot of time growing up with him driving him back to his old haunts and taking long walks around the city to different precincts and firehouses he served in, a lot of stories were told. As a young shooter at the time I remember going into Jovino's more than once with him on those trips. The two guns he owned in his career were both purchased there.
     
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