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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was comparing these two guns last night. The DS is from 1933 the Chiefs Special is a pre-36 from about 1957. The S&W is a tiny bit smaller but I'd rather have the extra shot of the Colt. The finish on the S&W is more highly polished than the Colt and I really like it, but the DS somehow wouldn't look right with the same kind of high polish. Both finishes are perfect for the gun they are on I guess I would say. The coil spring on the S&W would never break, but it also makes the triggerpull far inferior to the Colt. Not even in the same league. The SA on the S&W is pretty decent though, but even that is not as crisp as the Colt.
I have to say I love them both, but if someone said I could only keep one it would definitely be the Colt.





 

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The S&W's main claim to fame is that it was smaller and lighter then the Detective Special, which to a lot of cops was all that mattered. All a lot of them cared about is that they "Be armed" per department regulations.
The smaller and lighter the better.

The Colt DS always had the reputation of being higher quality and more accurate then the S&W. Then too, if you were serious about these things, the DS had that sixth shot.
 

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I've had several of the Chief's Special and they are an excellent gun IMO. The first one was a pre-36 that still had the small trigger guard and my trigger would get caught in the trigger guard. I also had a Model 36 that I liked, and a Model 37 Airweight square butt that was a nice carry gun. I do like the Chief's Special.

Now with that said I must confess to not really being a Smith & Wesson gun guy even though they are excellent guns, but on the other hand I've had my share of S&Ws.

The Colt Detective Special also an excellent gun trumps the S&W just by having an extra shot. The blued finish is what it is and more an aesthetic issue than performance. The Model 36 is a bit more compact, but not enough to justify the lack of six shots.

At the moment I carry a Detective Special and don't have any Chief's Specials, but would be content with carrying either one. If I was concerned about a lack of firepower I'd carry two of them; either one; one of each; or a Commander .38 Super.
 

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The super early S & W Chief's Specials had a Half-Round Front Sight, and, thus look vastly better than the later 'Ramp Sight' ones.


None the less, all that aside, or with an early example of each, I would still prefer the Colt 'Detective Special' to the S & W 'Chief's Special', for the former having a Six Shot capacity, against the 'five' of the S & W J-Frame.


The S & W 'Terrier', with their shorter Frame than the Chief's Special, chambering the .38 S & W Cartridge, and with their Half Round Front Sight, are charming also, and very likeable! - but, again, one has five shots instead of the 'six' which the Colt 'Banker's Special' ( or which a Colt 'Police Positive' Cut-Down ) offered with the same Cartridge...so, again, I would prefer to go with the Colt.

Colt really ought to have offered the 'Army Special and 'Official Police' in Factory 2 inch configurations, for people who had larger Hands.

That, would be perfect for me in fact.
 

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Since I could not find ( since they nave made ) any 2 Inch 'Army Special' or 'Official Police'...and, since the 'Detective Special' ( as much as I love them ) is really a little too small for my Hand...

I finally went with the 2 Inch S & W 'M&P'.


Revolver Gun Firearm Trigger Starting pistol


I like these so much better than the S & W 'Chief's Special', in every way, 'Heft' especially.
 

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I am a member of both this site and the s&w site. I have a s&w model 40 and a 3" model 36. I carried a s&w model 60 for many years but lost it when my truck was stolen. I have a 2 1/2" python but not a small DS. I carried a 4" colt offical police on my job for many years.
I will tell you that smith & wesson guys have this idea that a colt go`s out of time fast, not many good gunsmiths understand how to fix colts, and parts are harder to find. While there may be a small percentage of truth to some of that, I believe they believe the overblown rumors that have somehow got to be Gospel and fact to them. Probley very few s&w lovers have ever owned colts. I have had a lot of colts too and I never had the bad luck of timeing issues that they are convinced is so common.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Since I could not find ( since they nave made ) any 2 Inch 'Army Special' or 'Official Police'...and, since the 'Detective Special' ( as much as I love them ) is really a little too small for my Hand...

I finally went with the 2 Inch S & W 'M&P'.


View attachment 49155

I like these so much better than the S & W 'Chief's Special', in every way, 'Heft' especially.
Yup, I really like mine. Hey Oye if you ever want to sell that nickel pearl one I wouldn't mind having another one of those. I like those earlier ones.
 

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Well I own both but have long preferred the S&W Chiefs Special. I have owned one or more since I was a teenager a long time ago. I shoot better with the Chiefs Special because of extensive practice over the years. I love my .32 DS though- a really fine revolver.
Regards, turnerriver
 

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I AM A S&W GUY all the way when i have to pick between these two. I have shot many different Colt snubs and could not make myself reach for my wallet when one's stewardship was at stake. My favorite were I to pick one is the 3" Cobra in 22 or 32NP. I saw and handled a LW Cobra 38 that had it's frame stretched so far with regular +P 38 loads you could darn near clean the B/C gap with your index finger. The frame was so soft on that Cobra I could peel strips of it with my pocketknife like it was balsa wood, and I am not kidding a bit. The rest of the ammo that did that was returned and shot up by me in a LW S&W 38 snub without incident.
I never met the S&W snub I could resist and I always thought the S&W DA was superior to ANY colt Da sixgun of any size or shape. I carry a M638FW all day or until I replace it or supplement it with a 45 G30.
I have shot 38/44 handlads in several J-frame 38 pistols without a problem; I WOULD NEVER EVER DO THAT IN A COLT DS SNUB, guys.
STILL, i would love to own and shoot a nice COBRA 3" 22 or 32NP PISTOL, OH YEAH !!!
And so it goes...
 

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the S&W always felt like a small revolver to me, while the Colt always felt like a full size hand filling revolver. I always felt the S&W was the revolver to have to have a revolver just in case ,while the Colt was the pick if you knew trouble was coming.
 

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I also have both of these guns. I think the Colt is superior in craftsmanship but aesthetically I actually like the look of the S&W better.
 

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I've tried them both and choose a S&W model 49 which is a 36 with a shrouded frame covering the hammer. A true "pocket gun". I carried my model 49 for almost four decades now. Never saw any difference in accuracy between the J frame smiths and the Colt DS's, but they were designed for up close and personal which is why they have the short barrels.
Although I collect Colts, I prefer an S&W trigger on a DA revolver. Colts seemed to have a better blue and nickel finish.
 
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