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A hot summer day in Georgia, shooting a match with my Mark 3 Official Police:

848 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  LaVistaBill
The 1969 Colt Ads about the "new" J-Frame Colt Revolvers were very truthful ads. The durability and accuracy factors, being the top two features that those Colt ads of 44-years ago brought to our attention. My reason in mentioning this is that the J-Frame Colts, especially the Metropolitan and Official Police Models were actually .38 Specials built upon a .357 Magnum frame. The frame of the Metro & OP was the same frame of the .357 Lawman and Trooper. The 1969 Colt Ad on the "new" Official Police .38 Revolver mentions, that one test model OP was put through a 250,000 dry fire snaps and another test model was put through a 20,000 round test. Both test-models suffered through this ordeal and came out "still" fully functional! For a fixed sight service revolver of .38 Special chambering, that is fantastic in the durability and reliability departments! I bring this up for this reason here;
This past Sunday our local Police Department put on the monthly service pistol match that they have been sponsoring for the last 10+years. This is a friendly, but competitive 48-round combat match that pits one officer against the other, using their respective on-duty service pistol
. The PD uses the latest polymer S&W M&P .45 Pistol whereas the Sheriff's Office uses the Glock 21, save one, the writer here. For this match I took my Mark 3 Official Police, I have managed to place a few times using this same sixgun and I wanted to repeat, if possible. I purchased this Colt, as a PD trade-in, from a gun shop in New Plainfield NJ back in December 1990 for a whopping 100-dollars. Thanks to my Dad's FFL at that time, I got this Colt here and a Metropolitan for the same price the next month. The Metro became a duty revolver for me and this MK III OP of this post became a very fun shooter and carry-about sixgun. For the service pistol match the nice folks at the PD are just use to the old man and a .38 Colt, any .38 Colt, with fixed sights and a 4-inch or so barrel. Being a Labor Day weekend we had quite a few show up to view and participate. I use the 158-gr. LRN .38 Special, standard factory loading, for match shooting. This is a very accurate and mild load to shoot from my 4-inch OP Mark 3 Revolver. It was hot as blazes here in Columbus this past Sunday. I know 90+ and I had come from work to shoot in my uniform with all the hardware still attached to my duty belt. I was sweating like a "stucked hog", and thats sweating down south! That tan-colored uniform was drenched in sweat in no time, it was that hot! Well, if I didn't shoot well I could use the sweaty, slippery hand defense excuse! But these guys I'm shooting against, with their space guns (polymer Glock and M&P .45), are good competitive shooters and sometimes get great scores with those pistols. We were all sweating with some rather tame cursing going on until we got started. We all were roasting! I'm the only fella in uniform, that is shooting, as the rest are off duty in comfortable cooler clothing. Yeah, they had the old man, dead-to-right! We finally got the signal to start and as we walked to the first shooting position, I could feel sweat running down both arms, forehead and neck areas. I knew I was going home to shower and put on a new unform before going back to work. The signal to start the first 5-second 6-round fire was given as I pulled my MK III OP from my duty holster and began to fire. In no time the 48-round contest was completed as all of us were rushing our shots, I believe, due to the hot weather. When the last shots were fired from the 25-yard line, the range officer and two assistants walked down and scored our targets. On my relay, my Colt was topgun with "451" out of a possible 480 with 17 X's and while the others shot I went with the others and found shade to wait and sweat out the rest of the match. It was over shortly and my Colt, with small help from me, took 1st place in A-Class. Now this was done with a 1970-era Mark 3 Colt .38 Special. It had one law enforcement career from 1970 up until it was trade-in fodder, probably around 1989 or 90. From December 1990 until September 2013 in its second law enforcement career. I have shot this particular J Frame much over the passing years and recently while reading one of those 1969 Colt Ads on the "new" J Frame OP, it hit me like a ton of bricks! These particular Colts, for the most part, are maintenance free and have a durability factor off the chart! My 4-inch stovepipe barrel Mark 3 Official Police lived up to the 1969 Colt Ads for quality, durability, and accuracy! This 43-year old Colt just spanked some of the "best" in polymer shooting hardware this past weekend. It is still the individual that counts and "that" is why I still carry a quality double-action revolver for duty use, the Colt Official Police! Thank you my friends and sorry for the length.
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Good job. These were the most underrated ,and underappreciated revolvers during their regular production run. A real shame. Good to know some still use them. Goes to show you there are two kinds of people those with opinions ,and those who can shoot. This weekend I am going to put the finishing touch on my OP Mark 3 and add a Wolff trigger return spring to the 13 pound mainspring. This combo has worked wonders on a 4 inch Lawman Mark 3. If I get a chance to pick up my latest Mark 3 ,a 2 inch nickel Lawman ,this weekend will do the same. IMHO, if Colt had done this A, they would have sold a lot more Mark3s ,and B ,there would have been no need for the Mark V series
No doubt the MKIII Colts were and are a tough gun. You must have your cylinder reloads almost as fast as a magazine change as well. I would love to show up on requal day with my 50's vintage Colt trooper 38 and shoot the requal but I can't even walk in the door with my personal carry weapon. Times have changed.
Many thanks for your interest MARKO65!

If you would be so kind as to PM me with your mailing address I would be "honored" to send you an image or two of my Mark 3 OP. I'm sorry I do not have, yet, the means to post pics, but retirement ain't too far off and maybe then I can properly share some of the "blessings" I have received over the past 40+years. A picture is worth a thousand words and allows others to share in your joy. Thanks again kind sir!


P.S. Mr.Smkummer;

Ah, those reload challenges at qualification time. Our Ga. mandated course of fire is strictly for the auto-loader and there are two separate stages that I must speedload versus the Glock magazine slam! I lose precious time there because of the reload difference between the pistol and revolver. Its like John Henrys hammer and chisel versus the power drill! I do struggle at qualification time and most of the time I barely qualify, but the matches mentioned in my post are revolver friendly and the playing field is level for me and my "beloved" Official Police, and we do much, much better when the deck is NOT stacked! Thanks for your interest and acute observation!
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ooh look forward to reading this tonight when I get to my computer
Congratulations dabney on your good shooting!! I am glad to hear you beat the new and faster semi autos with your "oldschool/outdated" and slow revolver;)
Great story, great gun, great cop. Those Mel Gibson wannabes are no match for a cop that knows how to place shots well. Spraying a magazine down range will not draw a happy face on the target, but practiced shooting skills will
Good going compadre! I just got to shoot my 1923-vintage Army Special a couple of days ago and it (despite me) did a fine job. I put some target photos in my post. Be safe and watch your 6 brother!

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