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Showcase cover image for History of the Colt .38 Special Kit pistols

General Information

Make
Colt
Year
1963-1972
Model
.38 Special Kit pistol (Model O2554)
Caliber
.38 Special
Barrel
5" with 1 barrel lug
Sight/Scope
Pistols were not factory equipped with sights
Colt Model O2554 (.38 Special Kit)

The Colt .38 Special Kit pistol was introduced in late 1963 as the first non completed pistol ever shipped by Colt. It came about as a collaboration between Colt, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, Gil Hebard and other noted Bullseye pistol shooters and Gunsmiths of the day. The .38 Special Kits were shipped complete but the slide, barrel, bushing needed to be hand fitted and the slide had no sights. The trigger guard only has the Colt factory fitter stamp and the final inspector stamp. There is no VP proof mark applied to the frame as the pistols were not capable of being fired. The first 150-ish Kits were sold through Gil Hebard Guns, Knoxville Illinois. The Colt .38 Special Kit pistols serial#'s had an "H" suffix which stood for "Hebard". The .38 Special Kit's were serial#'d 00100-H to 00703-H. Due to perceived liability issues, Colt ended the practice of shipping the Kit pistols in 1972. Only a very small amount (40-ish) made it into Military Gunsmiths hands, and a little over half of the 604 .38 Special Kit pistols produced were sold after 1965 until production ceased.

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.38 Special Kit pistols consisted of:

-All components inserted in a Serial#d cardboard faux woodgrain 2 piece box with plain brown base and lid insert

-Complete Serial#d frame with walnut 30 row checkered stocks, with attached complete slide (without sights) that only slides on the frame rails part way

-Wrapped in brown wax paper a guide rod with attached recoil spring

-Wrapped in brown wax paper together a slide stop and recoil spring plug

-Wrapped in brown wax paper a barrel with attached bushing (Barrel hood marked COLT .38 SPEC. (over) KIT)

-Wrapped in brown wax paper a standard Colt Gold Cup National Match .38 Special Mid Range magazine

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Colt .38 Special Kit pistol serial# 00451-H
This pistol was purchased from Clark Custom Guns in August 1966. It is equipped with a BO-MAR half rib rear sight and a undercut Patridge front sight. The trigger has a over travel adjustment screw installed. The front grip strap has aggressive stippling. Sold by Clark Custom Guns as their Model 61-S.

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Letter from Jim Clark Sr that describes the Colt .38 Special and .45ACP Kit pistol program.

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1962 Clark Custom Guns advertisement page highlighting the Clark Model 61 pistols in the Gil Hebard Guns catalogue.

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Clark Custom Guns also offered the .38 Special Kit and .45ACP Kit pistols in a 6" long slide version. This pistol is a .38 Special Kit "Long Slide" serial# 00616-H. Clark Custom Guns would weld a 1" extension to the muzzle end of the slide and produce custom 6" barrels. The weld on the slide is (almost) invisible, only noticeable with the final finish. Equipped with the BO-MAR half rib rear sight and undercut front Patridge sight. Trigger has a over travel adjustment screw installed. Front grip strap has the aggressive stippling. Built by Clark Custom Guns in July 1967.

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