Colt Banker's Special: Depression Era CCW

Colt Banker's Special: Depression Era CCW

This is a discussion on Colt Banker's Special: Depression Era CCW within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The Colt Banker's Special was an offshoot of the popular Police Positive and was made between 1926 and 1943. The Banker's Special shares the frame ...

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Thread: Colt Banker's Special: Depression Era CCW

  1. #1
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    Colt Banker's Special: Depression Era CCW

    The Colt Banker's Special was an offshoot of the popular Police Positive and was made between 1926 and 1943. The Banker's Special shares the frame size of the Police Positive and was serial numbered within the Police Positive series. It was "special" because it featured a 2-inch barrel. Only about 30,000 were made, chambered for the .38 S&W and the .22 Long Rifle. The Model is uncommon in the .38 S&W. It is rare in .22 Long Rifle. The Banker's Special was another fine Colt handgun that was a casualty of World War II.

    A Blind Hog Finds an Acorn

    I purchased mine some years ago from an auction of a gun shop that defaulted on its inventory-secured bank loan. I wasn't paying much attention to the auction as I'd already purchased a few guns for resale and a bunch of powder. They were auctioning off a bunch of H&R Toppers. I idly looked up when they offered a Colt revolver. I was way in the back of the room so thought I was seeing the auctioneer hold up a Detective Special. I'd always wanted a Detective Special so perked up my ears. As it was late in the auction the bidding seemed all in at $110. I'd not inspected the gun before the auction began so had no idea if it was original and correct. On a whim I raised it $5.00 and won the Colt. I was pleased and hoping the Detective Special was not a re-blue. Imagine my surprise to be handed a really nice original Banker's Special when I paid out. A letter from Colt stated that it had shipped to a store in Los Angeles, California in March of 1932.

    I've been a banker all my adult life so was tickled to get the revolver. I've always said Colt made up the Banker's Special because wimpy bankers couldn't handle the recoil of the .38 Special chambered Detective Special.

    Shooting the Banker's Special

    As a close in defensive weapon the little revolver has a lot going for it. These days handloading one's .38 S&W defense loads is the way to go as modern factory 146 grain fodder as put out by Winchester and Remington is so very anemic. I suspect that some factory loadings of a few years ago were somewhat more energetic. I did encounter a yellow box of Western 200 grain copper-plated ammunition once. This stuff was peppy over the chronograph and made the Banker's Special jump a little more in the hand when fired. Most of it disappeared down the 5-inch tube of my Webley Mk IV where it proved to strike a bullseye target precisely to point of aim.

    With factory loads or handloads the Banker's Special is a very easy revolver to shoot well. It is extremely well made and well finished with a factory checkered trigger and features a full sized grip frame with nicely checkered walnut grips. Though it only weighs 19 ounces it is completely controllable with it's .38 S&W ammunition. When used in single action mode it "shoots where its sights look" at 15 yards and gives gratifyingly tight groups. Double action it's a whirlwind, smartly stitching up a Texas Concealed Carry standard silhouette target at 7 or 10 yards with well-centered .38 holes as fast as one pulls the trigger. It is fun to shoot in such a fashion and I've found myself running through a supply of .38 S&W ammunition so quickly that the fun is over too soon. The extra attention Colt put on the checkered trigger is a detriment to such use as it will eat the skin off the trigger finger before too many rounds are fired. This acts as a ammo conservation measure for me. Practicality would dictate that the checkering should have been left off. If one was to have to defend oneself with the mighty Banker's Special one could place several .38 slugs into one's assailant in an instant, keeping a few rounds for reserve. I'd feel as confident with the .38 S&W as I would with the .380 ACP if I carried it handloaded with 158 grain SWC's at about 775 FPS, a load easily digested by the plucky little Colt. I've indulged myself with carrying it concealed on a few occasions and it rides inside my waistband or in a jacket pocket equally well. As it wouldn't be a top choice for self defense I leave it in its home and tote something with more punch.

    I've fired Colt Detective Specials and they shoot well and have similar shooting characteristics as the Banker's Special though it takes a bit more recovery time between double action rapid fire shots when shooting + P 158 grain .38 Special loads. Both the Banker's Special and the Detective Special are easier to use to achieve precise, accurate hits than are the J-frame Smith & Wesson designs for me. I can wring tight groups from the J-frames but have to really bear down and concentrate to do it. I get occasional fliers with the little S&W's as well. As close in defensive weapons all offer outstanding performance and that's what counts.

    Alas, the Banker's Special is long gone and the Detective Special is now history as Colt isn't currently making any DA revolvers at present. Though Smith & Wesson is my very favorite "there are no flies" on the classic Colt models of double action revolvers either.

    Top: Detective Special Bottom: Banker's Special
    The Detective Special was built on the Police Positive Special frame while the Banker's Special was built on the Police Positive Frame.
    Last edited by bmcgilvray; September 3rd, 2007 at 12:21 AM. Reason: photographs
    OD* likes this.

  2. #2
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    Excellent write-up!

    Thanks for posting, amigo.

    There's quite a difference in size between the two, especially when you can compare them together like you did in the pics, which are superb, BTW.

    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Rudyard Kipling


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    Defiantly two nice little ponies for the stable, and a very informative write-up. Thanks for the info.

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    that was a great read,,,thank you,,

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    Very nice write-up and good photos, too...
    I'd only heard of the Colt Banker's Special...never seen one.
    "I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York

    "They're ain't many troubles that a man can't fix with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six"- Jeff Cooper

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    Talking I'm Green With Envy !

    Thanks for sharing that with us. I have wanted a Bankers Special for years now. Something you don't see every day.....Excuse me while I go back and look at your photo again.
    U.S. Army Veteran

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    SWEEEEET! Definitely a great find! Thanks so much for the pics. And great write up!
    Semper Fi

    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    Very nice write up! Thanks for a look at the Bankers Special.
    Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft!

    -- Theodore Roosevelt --

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    Thanks for a great write-up!
    "Do not fear those who disagree with you; fear those that do and are too cowardly to admit it" - Napoleon

  11. #10
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    Excellent read, thank you.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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    End the cycle of hatred, don’t give them a tomorrow."

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    Thanks for the write up
    A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.

  13. #12
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    Good write up of a great firearm. Thanks.

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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