3/25/2009

The Colt Police Positive Special in .32-20

I came across one of these at a gun store today. It caught my eye as I am a fan of older guns and guns that are chambered for an unusual caliber. This particular gun was in really great shape and I did a little research tonight on the history of it. Many people, like myself, who love guns are also very interested in history. Here's a little of what I found.

The Police Positive Special was an iterative improvement of Colt's earlier Police Positive model, the only differences being a slightly lengthened cylinder and elongated and strengthened frame to allow the chambering of the longer, more powerful .32-20 Winchester and .38 Special cartridges.[2] In the early 20th century the Colt Positive and Positive Special teamed with Colt's other admired model, the Official Police, to capture the lion's share of the law enforcement firearms market.[3] Very popular with law enforcement officers due to its light weight, the Positive Special went through a number of series or “issues”. The first issue ran from introduction to 1927 and had the early 1900-era distinctive Colt black hard rubber grips. The second issue introduced wooden grips which were smooth in the early years, later giving way to a checkered style, also the smooth topstrap was replaced with a serrated one. The Third issue began in 1947, and the Fourth issue in 1977 introduced a Colt Python-style shrouded ejector-rod housing. Production of the Police Positive Special ended in 1995.


The .32-20 Winchester, also known as the .32 WCF, was the first small-game lever-action cartridge that Winchester produced. It was initially introduced as a blackpowder cartridge in 1882 for small-game, varmint hunting, and deer. Colt produced a single-action pistol chambered for this cartridge a few years later.

22 comments:

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

That is a classically beautiful weapon.

I.H.S. said...

This is a nice looking pistol, did you get?

Blessings.

The Hermit said...

I've got a 32-20, but it is a Single Action Army clone from Italy. I got it as part of a "job lot" from an estate sale. I don't think I have more than 100 rounds of ammo for it.

Brooke said...

Oh, man, that's pretty!

How much did they want for it? Did'ja get her?

Papa Frank said...

They want $369 for it. I'm thinking real hard about it as it is in GREAT shape and I know that I could pull that much back out of it easily. Maybe they'll throw in a box of shells or something like that to sweeten the deal.

I.H.S. said...

Definitely a good price on it, and I'm certain you get that and a bit more out of it, too.

Blessings.

Brooke said...

Ooh, that's not a bad price.

Hubby said he'd buy it in an instant, and wonders if they've got any history to go with it.

Papa Frank said...

OK, so I just HAD to break down and buy it. As it turns out I was initially wrong and it is a Colt Army Special which puts it dated far earlier than I had first thought. I tracked down the serial number and found that it was made in 1919. It is in almost unfired condition. It has at least 99% of the bluing and the grips are immaculate. The action is perfectly tight and the gun is simply beautiful. It's definitely going to be one of my favorite pieces from a collection standpoint. 90 years old and spotless -- WOOHOO!!!

sue said...

I remember when I asked you, papa frank, what asshat meant, and you told me straight out. Now sincerely, what is the obsession people have with guns.

Papa Frank said...

Sue -- to many people guns are seen in the correct light and not demonized. They are not killers. They are not unpredictable. They are not even inherently dangerous. They are simply a tool. There are many reasons that people have an obsession with guns. i'll go through a few of them for you. The first reason is that they are used to hunt. You might ask why someone needs many guns to hunt when just one or two would do. To answer that ask any fisherman if you could see their tackle box. I guarantee it will be stuffed full when only a hook and a bobber and a worm will catch you many a meal. Ask any artist to see their particular medium. You can paint a picture with a handful of colors or even just one but most artists will have hundreds. Another reason is that to many people they are simply enjoyable to shoot. It's fun to see how well you can shoot or to shoot at different types of targets or to try to shoot faster or whatever hits your fancy. I get together with some guys and shoot targets and clay pigeons and we talk and joke and laugh. All of us are very safety minded. Nobody drinks. Nobody conducts themselves with any disregard for anyone else. We just have a great time sharing fellowship and the guns are simply what connected us in the first place. Another reason is that they are very valuable and that they usually increase in value instead of decrease. You can use a gun all you want for 10 years and after that time it is still usually worth more than you originally paid for it. You got ten years worth of fun instead of ten years of holding a piece of paper that says you have stock or says you have a savings account. That's just good financial sense. It's much more fulfilling to be using your savings while it grows. Another reason is that they empower people. I don't feel all big and bad when I carry a gun. Quite the contrary. I feel a deep sense of respect and responsibility. It makes you much more aware of your surroundings. It makes you careful and intentional. It does not make you start fights but rather it makes you avoid fights at all costs because you know the choice that you may have to face if you are in a fight. Another reason is that some people are big history buffs and few things have moved history along better or faster than the gun. The gun is the shaper and molder of modern history. Your freedom was not bought with smiles and dollars. Gun technology has shaped and changed the tides of many wars. The study of guns is the study of history. The gun that I bought today was built in 1919. That's before WWI. And yet it is as flawless and works as well as the day it was made. It is in nearly unfired condition. I have a Grandmother that was born in 1919 and that one tool is as old as the woman I love and call Grandma. That's amazing to me. It ties me to the past if only in my thinking. Another reason is that some people just simply like them. Just like some people like and collect baseball cards or porcelain dolls or paintings or anything else you can think of. I hope that helps.

Now did I just describe everyone that loves guns? Not by a long shot. There are those that love guns for evil purposes. There are those that want them in order to lord over or to harm or to enslave. Those people would do the exact same things if they had guns or swords or sticks and stones. The gun is not the active participant the people are. Guns are just the easiest way to accomplish what they want at the current time. Incidentally, some of the most ruthless and evil people don't do this with guns but rather with money.

sue said...

That is a very respectable answer, papa frank, so I will show respect to you and leave it at that.

Papa Frank said...

Sue -- You are always welcome here and I do not view you having a different opinion as anything other than what makes America great. If you have anything to say please feel free to say it. Otherwise, thank you greatly for the respect you show here. I would be happy to call you friend.

I.H.S. said...

Papa Frank, that was an awesome explanation and I think you should print it off and frame it in a nice frame for your children to see and refer to when they are older.

Blessings.

sue said...

papa frank - I have never been given an explanation about why people love guns (maybe I haven't asked.)

I do have an opinion about guns, but I'll save it for an appropriate time.

I believe that respect brings on respect, and that is what you do.
This is how it should be - although unfortunately isn't always. It's something we need to work on.

But thanks. I feel better for having asked the question and having had it answered by you.
(It could have gone in another direction.)

Papa Frank said...

Thank you IHS. Some people view guns as a such a "big deal" and some people demonize the gun and some people simply fear them. Many people don't realize that there are literally millions and millions of people, like myself, who view them as common place as a shovel or rake. Around here gun ownership is the rule and not the exception. This is one of the reasons that the East Coast Media and East Coast Politicians will never "get" the Midwest. They have no chance of representing us because it is an entirely different world then they live in.

Anonymous said...

Ihave a gun just like this blck rubber stock &all, bought at an estate sale....also I have another 32-20 that I got from my father in law who was a chief of police in a small town in Mississippi, it is nickle palted & has a serial #, he said that he took it off a guy who killed another with it.....didn't know they were worth anything, just knew I liked them & they are great to shoot.

Matt L - IL said...

You mentioned that you did some research to find out the history of this in particular gun. Can you suggest some places to start such research? I have this same gun as well, a Police Positive Special and would love to know more about it. My Uncle who recently died had it wrapped in some newspaper from the 40's and stuffed in a box of china which is where I found it. I was told that some soldiers during WWII were given these guns by their local police departments since a side arm was not standard issue. Have you ever heard anything like that? Also, that is the best "why people like guns" answer I've seen, very nicely said.

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Anonymous said...

In it something is. Now all is clear, I thank for the information.

Anonymous said...

If it was manufactured in 1919, then that was after World War I. The war ended in November of 1918.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting. A 32-20 police positive colt with a wooden hand grip is $230 too much to pay