SOLD FOR: $1141.89
Model: Detective Special
Serial Number: 621765
Year of Manufacture: 1952, confirmed by the COLT Serial Number Database, R.L. Wilson’s The Book of Colt Firearms, and the included letter of provenance from Colt.
Caliber: .38 Special
Action Type: DA/SA Double and Single Action 6-Shot Revolver with Swing-Out Cylinder
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “DETECTIVE SPEC. / .38 SPECIAL CTG.”, the right is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A.” The side plate has the Rampant Colt logo at the center. The left of the trigger guard is marked with “VP” in an inverted triangle at the front, and the rear is marked with a poorly struck “W”. The crane and cut are marked with the serial number, “621765”. The cut is also marked “3”, “K”, “V”. The left side of the T-Grip is marked “TYLER’S / —GRIP”, “OKLA CITY / 73114”.
Barrel Length: 2”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a serrated ramped blade integral to a boss that is fixed to the top of the barrel. The rear sight is a matte groove in the top strap that terminates in a square-notch. The upper edges of the top strap are serrated to reduce glare.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The grips are two-piece tortoise-shell Coltwood panels, each with the Colt logo at the top. Fitted to the front strap is a Tyler’s T-Grip adapter. There are minor handling marks and a few very minor nicks in the smooth edges of both panels. The checkering is well-defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips rate in Fine-to-Excellent condition.
Type of Finish: Nickel
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 90% of its metal finish. Very minor nicks are peppered across the metal, minor surface oxidation can be seen along the matte surfaces including the back strap, the top rear of the frame, and the top strap. The cylinder has a faint turn line along with very minor hairline scuffs throughout. There is a small spot of nickel plating missing from the right side of the barrel and the edge of the muzzle has a few moderate nicks, outside the crown. The screw heads are lightly tool marked but have strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver rates in Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder produces solid full lockup on all six chambers. The double action trigger pull is smooth mostly, but a little heavy just before the break. The single action pull is light. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork, and Accessories: This Detective Special includes the T-Grip as described above, a brown leather belt holster, and a provenance letter from Colt signed by company historian Kathleen J. Hoyt.
Our Assessment: The Colt Detective Special was in many ways the same revolver as the Police Positive Special, except it was limited to a 2” barrel (very few were produced with 3” barrels). The Colt Detective Special and its aluminum framed cousin, the Colt Cobra, were very popular with police detectives because they held six cartridges versus the five cartridges of the Smith & Wesson Model 36. The Detective Special had a long production run, from 1927 to 1995, a testament to its popularity. This example is mid-era, manufactured on 25 July, 1952. The revolver is chambered in .38 Special with a 2 barrel. The revolver is in Fine-plus condition, retaining nearly all of its nickel finish and showing signs of regular, considerate use. The mechanics are tip-top and the bore is near immaculate. A previous owner added a T-Grip adapter to improve the hand-hold, making this revolver an ideal conceal carry firearm. Good luck and happy bidding!