The Colt Detective Special Thread

This is a discussion on The Colt Detective Special Thread within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hey, let's rustle up our Colt Detective Specials for a photo thread on the best kept secret of the snubby revolver world. Now discontinued, the ...

View Poll Results: Though they are both equally shootable, which style Detective Special do you prefer?

Voters
37. You may not vote on this poll
  • Earlier, traditional model with unshrouded ejector rod.

    10 27.03%
  • Later, modern model with shrouded ejector rod.

    27 72.97%
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 29

Thread: The Colt Detective Special Thread

  1. #1
    Moderator
    Array bmcgilvray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10,079

    The Colt Detective Special Thread



    Hey, let's rustle up our Colt Detective Specials for a photo thread on the best kept secret of the snubby revolver world. Now discontinued, the Detective Special still is a top choice for effective concealed carry. It manages to cram shootibility and six shots into a cleverly small package. Practically speaking, it conceals as readily as a 2-inch J-Frame Smith & Wesson. Easy to shoot well with accuracy, even at distance, it handles more like a larger service revolver. Cleaned and lubed properly, it'll last forever.

    It is said that the Detective Special first began life in 1927 but Colt fitted some 2-inch barrels to their Police Positive Special prior to that time, not calling these early creations "Detective Special." Detective Specials are primarily found chambered for .38 Special but they also were offered in .32 S&W or .32 Colt New Police as Colt termed the round and a few were produced in .38 S&W or .38 Colt New Police as Colt called it, apparently not wishing to have "S&W" appear on the side of their barrels. The .38 NP chambered Detective Special is uncommon. The Detective Special was discontinued by Colt for a time in 1986 and was finally abandoned for the last time in 1995. Colt ought to bring 'em back in all their V-Spring lock work glory.

    I like my traditional Smith & Wesson revolvers best overall but have got to give the nod to the Colt Detective Special in the snub nose department. It is easy to become quite enthused about the "Dick Special."

    Adkjoe's shiny new Detective Special was inspiring to see. Hope he'll also post his photos here for a nice rerun.

    Anyone who owns and appreciates the alloy-framed lightweight versions of the Detective Special such as the Cobra or Agent please feel free to post here as well because these models ought to be included. They feel about as light to hold (and to shoot) as a Model 642 but again, offer six shots. Hopefully a photo of the shrouded hammer option will turn up, a neat accessory item Colt once offered to enhance snag-free operation of their snubs.



    My 1966 Detective Special on a visit with a friend's later vintage Detective Special. The shrouded ejector rod, ramp front sight, and larger grips showed up in the Detective Special line in 1973. I used to much prefer the appearance of the later, more modern Detective Special with the shrouded ejector rod, rakish ramp front sight, and hand-filling grips over the earlier "Dick Tracey" look with its ejector rod hanging off into space, awkward looking front sight blade, and bag-shaped grips. Later I came to love the "old-school" look of the earlier style Detective Special without losing any affection for the sleek, modern appearance of the late vintage ones.

    Here's the revolver from which the Colt Detective Special was created, the Police Positive Special, first introduced in 1907.

    This one dates to 1914 and is chambered for the .38 Special. Once more popular than the more specialized Detective Special, the Police Positive Special almost could now be considered a long-barreled Detective Special. The two revolvers share the same frame size, the Colt D-Frame.

    Shooting +P in the Detective Special is debatable. Personally, I've shot +P in my revolver from 1966 with no discernible adverse effects. I've only shot a box or less of +P 158 grain lead SWC-HP ammunition for sight verification and that is what is carried in it. Some say never shoot +P in the guns. Colt has stated that the steel-framed Detective Special used with +P ammunition should be returned for factory service at approximately 3000 rounds.

    I keep the +P ammo out of the pre-war Colt D-Frame guns I have such as the 1914 Police Positive Special but wouldn't be too concerned with limited use of it in post war D-Frames of steel manufacture. The Cobra or Agent with aluminum alloy frame would be better served with standard velocity .38 Special ammunition for shooting purposes and with only very limited use of +P for carry for self defense if preferred. Colt once advised that the alloy-framed revolvers should be returned for inspection by Colt after approximately 1000 rounds. No use in subjecting a very handy, but now discontinued revolver to any more wear and tear than is absolutely necessary.



    A relatively unpopular "sideshow" model to the Detective Special is the Colt Banker's Special. I jokingly refer to this revolver as suitable for wimpy bankers who couldn't handle the recoil of the more lively .38 Special Detective Special. First produced within a year of the Detective Special's introduction, it was primarily available in .38 S&W (hah, .38 Colt New Police) along with few which were produced in .22 Long Rifle (for the really wimpy bankers). All are uncommon to find and the .22 versions are scarce. This were actually more popular with railway clerks than bankers prior to World War II and a number were obtained on contract by railroads and associated government agencies. The Banker's Special didn't share the popularity of the Detective Special and was not brought back into production after World War II.

    I'm a retired wimpy banker so just had to have a Banker's Special. This one, a more common .38 model, dates to 1932.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    minnesota
    Posts
    2,301
    Nice collection!

    I am quite jealous...a "Dick Special" is on my short list to own.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

  4. #3
    Senior Member Array Adkjoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Northern Vermont
    Posts
    765
    i wanna play! 3rd gen. circa 1973

    Vermont does not issue Permit/Licenses to Carry a Concealed firearm. Vermont allows anyone
    who can legally own a firearm to carry it concealed without a permit of any kind.

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array TWO GUNS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    2,648
    I just wish I still had my Dick Special.
    Have Fun and Shoot Straight !!

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Southwest
    Posts
    3,149

    I have one

    I bought the Detective Special below about 1994, new in a gun store. I have always liked the gun.

    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

  7. #6
    GM
    GM is offline
    VIP Member Array GM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    6,866
    I like those vintage snubbies.
    "The Second Amendment: America's Original Homeland Security"

  8. #7
    OD*
    OD* is online now
    Moderator
    Array OD*'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Coopersville
    Posts
    11,009
    Excellent thread, amigo.

    Beautiful collection of old Colt's.

    I had to vote for the shrouded ejector, I like their looks a little better, but I have a 2nd gen.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

  9. #8
    Moderator
    Array bmcgilvray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10,079
    Heh, OD. I canceled out your vote. I went ahead and pulled the lever for the "old-school" look out of sentimentality. Truth is, I still really like the look of the shrouded ejector rod models as well. That's the style I admired for so many years. If I had any sense I'd go ahead and pick one up to "scratch an old itch." Both styles are eminently shootable.

    Have you ever admired the Detective Special with the 3-inch barrel and shrouded ejector rod? Many aren't familiar with it as it isn't often seen. It has the coolest extended ramp front sight that extends the length of the barrel. Similar to the old High-Standard Sentinel .22 revolver but better looking. That 3-inch Detective Special ramp front sight is really sleek looking, sort of like the more subdued tail fin styling on a '63 Cadillac. Great stuff! And that 3-inch barrel is likely just as handy and concealable as the 2-inch while providing a little more "oomph" from one's favorite .38 Special load concoction.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

  10. #9
    OD*
    OD* is online now
    Moderator
    Array OD*'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Coopersville
    Posts
    11,009
    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Have you ever admired the Detective Special with the 3-inch barrel and shrouded ejector rod? Many aren't familiar with it as it isn't often seen.
    I do like them, I have to admit though I like the 2" just a little better. I'll tell you the 3" Colt (out of the DAs, SAs are a different ballgame ) I covet, is the 3" Combat Python, I would dearly love one of those (all it takes is a lot of money).
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

  11. #10
    Moderator
    Array bmcgilvray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10,079
    Yeah, that 3-inch Python would be a plum to pick for a collection of nice Colts. Would have been a practical choice for .357 Magnum concealed carry too. It looks just a little better balanced visually than does the 2 1/2-inch Python (which ain't half bad looking). Lets just ring up Colt and tell them of all the neato stuff they ought to bring back.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

  12. #11
    OD*
    OD* is online now
    Moderator
    Array OD*'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Coopersville
    Posts
    11,009
    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Lets just ring up Colt and tell them of all the neato stuff they ought to bring back.
    I with you there my friend, if we could just get them to listen to us.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

  13. #12
    VIP Member
    Array C hawk Glock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    W. Washington
    Posts
    3,552
    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    Nice collection!

    I am quite jealous...a "Dick Special" is on my short list to own.
    Shhh I would not go around telling everyone that you want a "Dick Special"
    Ccccccc what? Ccccccccccc Hawks!

  14. #13
    Member Array Cop 1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    167
    Can't post the pics right now, but 2 hours ago I picked up a gem. Colt DSll 3" stainless. 1 of 500 made. Paid too much but handguns are my only true vice, not counting Winstons. Pics later tonight.

  15. #14
    los
    los is offline
    VIP Member Array los's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Corpus Christi, Tx
    Posts
    2,483
    Beautiful representation of Iconic revolvers.

    Great Thread..!
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  16. #15
    Moderator
    Array bmcgilvray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10,079
    Quote Originally Posted by Cop 1 View Post
    Can't post the pics right now, but 2 hours ago I picked up a gem. Colt DSll 3" stainless. 1 of 500 made. Paid too much but handguns are my only true vice, not counting Winstons. Pics later tonight.
    Promise?

    If you post photos of it I'll look. That was a catch for sure.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. Colt Detective Special vs. S&W 60?
    By Ivan in forum Defensive Carry Guns
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: July 27th, 2009, 11:07 PM
  2. Colt Detective Special: Before and After
    By randytulsa2 in forum Defensive Carry Guns
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: February 22nd, 2008, 02:50 PM
  3. Colt Detective Special
    By randytulsa2 in forum Defensive Carry Guns
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: February 14th, 2008, 08:19 PM
  4. 'New' Colt Detective Special
    By cmidkiff in forum Defensive Carry Guns
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: August 30th, 2007, 05:45 PM

Search tags for this page

1973 colt detective special
,
35 special gun
,

best colt detective special

,
colt 35
,
colt 38 detective special
,
colt detective
,

colt detective special

,
colt detective special 3 inch
,
colt detective special 3 inch barrel
,
colt detective special grips
,
jay scott #20
,
revolver detective
Click on a term to search for related topics.