SOLD FOR: $1001
Model: Detective Special 1st Issue
Serial Number: 450889
Year of Manufacture: 1936 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup), shipped April 19, 1939
Caliber: .38 Special
Action Type: Single Action/Double Action Revolver with Swing Out Cylinder
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “38” and “DETECTIVE / SPECIAL”. The crane flat is marked “450889”, “t” and “X”. The crane is marked “450889”. The right side of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A. / PAT’D AUG.5.1884.JULY4.1905.OCT.5.1926”. The left front of the trigger guard is marked with a “VP” in a triangle.
Barrel Length: 2″
Sights / Optics: The rear sight is a square groove in the top strap. The edges of the groove are finely serrated and have a matte finish to reduce glare. The front sight is a half round blade fixed to the top of the barrel. The front sight appears to have been filed down a little bit.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut with silver-colored Rampant Colt medallions. The grips have light handling wear with a few scattered nicks and scuffs. The checkering is generally well defined with most notable wear at the bottom-front of the right panel. There are no chips or cracks. The grips rate in about Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blued, the hammer and trigger have been plated with either nickel or chrome.
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 97% of its current metal finish. The finish is generally strong throughout. There are a few scattered light marks, most notable a scratch on the left of the frame above the “VP” proof. There is a faint turn-line on the cylinder, the hammer and trigger show minor operational wear. There are a couple of marks under the finish, most notable on the sideplate. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. Remaining markings are clear with the barrel markings paint-filled. Overall, this revolver rates in about Fine condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The cylinder lockup on this revolver is SOLID on all six chambers, and the single action trigger is crisp. The action functions correctly. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This revolver comes with a Colt Archives letter, indicating that it shipped on April 19, 1939 to Union Hardware & Metal Company in Los Angeles, California in a shipment of 5 guns of the same type. The letter is in Excellent condition.
Our Assessment: The Colt Detective Special was basically the same revolver as the Police Positive Special, except it was limited to a 2” barrel with a few made in 3”. The Colt Detective Special and its aluminum framed cousin, the Colt Cobra, were very popular with police detectives because they held 6 cartridges vs. the 5 cartridges of the S&W Model 36. The Detective Special had a long production run, from 1927 to 1995, testifying to the popularity of this model. This is a 1st Issue Detective Special made in 1936, though it did not ship until 1939. The revolver is chambered in .38 Special with a 2” barrel. It was made before the ejector rod was shrouded. The revolver is in Fine-plus condition as refinished, retaining nearly all of its new finish and showing little sign of use since it was restored. This revolver originally shipped to Union Hardware & Metal Company in Los Angeles, California and is in great shape for its age. It will make a nice addition to a revolver collection and should still make for a good carry revolver, today. Please see our photos and good luck!