Colt Police Positive centrefire revolver, cal. .380 in. Special, rifled round barrel 101 mm (4 in) long.

Made by Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Co, Hartford, Connecticut, serial number 333487, 1929. Stamped on R.H.side of frame 'D (broad arrow) D', for Australian Department of Defence. Transferred from Australian Army School of Infantry, number M567.

Shipped by Colt's to Smeth Kirkpatrick, 18 December 1929; see Colt Archive Properties authentication letter, dated 22 March 2007.

Physical Description

Six chambered long fluted cylinder with cylinder stops on outer surface, cylinder is a swing-out model to allow for loading and extraction, solid steel frame, steel rounded trigger guard, steel back strap, all metal components with good original blueing, polishing of corrosion spots on frame R.H. side has removed blueing in some areas, brown two-piece finely chequered wooden grips with rampant Colt logo inlaid in a round silver escutcheon at grip upper on both sides. Bladed front sight, cylinder catch on frame L.H.side. Stamped on L.H.side of frame above grip is the rampant Colt logo. Stamped on R.H.side of frame 'D (broad arrow) D', for Department of Defence. Stamped under grip on R.H.side 'Z', stamped under grip on L.H.side with assorted numerals and letters, presumably inspection marks. One-line Colt address stamped on barrel with second line of patent dates.


The 'Police Positive' revolvers were an evolution of the preceeding 'New Police' models. Introduced in 1905, the models incorporated several mechanical improvements, among them being the chequered, and later grooved, triggers, and stippled frame top to reduce glare. It was followed onto the market two years later in 1907 by the Police Postive Special which was almost idential to the Police Postive with the exception that the cylinder was 1/4 inch longer to accomodate the new .38 Special cartridge found desirable by law enforcement agencies for its increased stopping power.

In 1926 a shortened 2" inch barrel was introduced for use by the plain-clothed police agencies. In James Severns' early work on the Colt cartridge models, he notes that the introduction of the shortened barrel variant came 'at the urgent request of the chief of one of our (USA) leading Police Departments'. This variant would later come to be known as the Detective Special. The example of a Police Positive here is one used by the Australian defence forces during the first half of the 20th century.

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