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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, Does anyone know what A.F.D. No.40, on the butt of this Colt Official Police .38 special stands for? The serial number indicates a 1943 production. Thank you!
 

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If you used one of the internet serial number lookup sites or the Colt lookup, your OP may be earlier than 1943.
Indeed. No Official Police was produced in 1943, although some still shipped.

The numbers for “1943” both on the Colt website and Proofhouse.com correspond to actual production in late 1941 and 1942, as documented by many archive letters.

I don’t know the abbreviation AFD, but it was some agency that got the gun through a DSC order likely in 1942.
 

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I agree it's probably a 1942 manufacture as Commando revolvers replaced in it production in late 1942. It probably was shipped to the military or some defense related company or law enforcement agency. An archives letter would be well deserved for this revolver...it can make a huge difference in the gun's value.
 
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Unless there are more A.F.D. guns with the No. 40 out there, the serial should be 702897, which would put at least its manufacture around May/June 1942.

The gun shows up in a few old auction postings from the past years. Interestingly, I can find no trace of any other, although there should be at least 39 more.
 

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Looking in Charles Pate's book on the secondary revolvers, if the Official Police in question was made in the May/June 1942 time period, it may have gone out in one of a number of shipments to a variety of locations...Anniston Ordnance Depot (possibly through the DSC), US Coast Guard (but would have been marked US Coast Guard on the backstrap), Penn. Ordnance Works, War Department Ordnance Engineer, Chicago with a 5" barrel, Springfield Armory in one of several shipments, Port Ordnance Officer in Brooklyn in one of several shipments, or simply to the US Government with no specific destination listed.

You can take your pick which it might be but only an archives letter will tell the tale. These were shipments to the government only. It doesn't include those going to the DSC. I would expect the DSC likely distributed the revolver to a law enforcement agency or defense plant.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Unless there are more A.F.D. guns with the No. 40 out there, the serial should be 702897, which would put at least its manufacture around May/June 1942.

The gun shows up in a few old auction postings from the past years. Interestingly, I can find no trace of any other, although there should be at least 39 more.
You sir are good! Yes that is the serial number. Just noticed it has an “L” above the serial number and a “B” below it.
Sub inspectors marks? Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Looking in Charles Pate's book on the secondary revolvers, if the Official Police in question was made in the May/June 1942 time period, it may have gone out in one of a number of shipments to a variety of locations...Anniston Ordnance Depot (possibly through the DSC), US Coast Guard (but would have been marked US Coast Guard on the backstrap), Penn. Ordnance Works, War Department Ordnance Engineer, Chicago with a 5" barrel, Springfield Armory in one of several shipments, Port Ordnance Officer in Brooklyn in one of several shipments, or simply to the US Government with no specific destination listed.

You can take your pick which it might be but only an archives letter will tell the tale. These were shipments to the government only. It doesn't include those going to the DSC. I would expect the DSC likely distributed the revolver to a law enforcement agency or defense plant.
Snidely, I will pursue an archives letter. Thank you for the info and help.
 

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Unless there are more A.F.D. guns with the No. 40 out there, the serial should be 702897, which would put at least its manufacture around May/June 1942.

The gun shows up in a few old auction postings from the past years. Interestingly, I can find no trace of any other, although there should be at least 39 more.
You should be a detective!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Looking in Charles Pate's book on the secondary revolvers, if the Official Police in question was made in the May/June 1942 time period, it may have gone out in one of a number of shipments to a variety of locations...Anniston Ordnance Depot (possibly through the DSC), US Coast Guard (but would have been marked US Coast Guard on the backstrap), Penn. Ordnance Works, War Department Ordnance Engineer, Chicago with a 5" barrel, Springfield Armory in one of several shipments, Port Ordnance Officer in Brooklyn in one of several shipments, or simply to the US Government with no specific destination listed.

You can take your pick which it might be but only an archives letter will tell the tale. These were shipments to the government only. It doesn't include those going to the DSC. I would expect the DSC likely distributed the revolver to a law enforcement agency or defense plant.
Humor me please, what does DSC stand for? Couldn’t find it. Thank you!
 

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Humor me please, what does DSC stand for? Couldn’t find it. Thank you!
The Defense Supplies Corporation was a public corporation, basically a government agency, responsible for the allocation of war-essential restricted goods and materials to all non-military recipients. The revolver program was a very small part of this after Pearl Harbor.

Until March 1942 the DSC actually functioned as a shipper, ordering large batches from Colt and S&W and then distributing them to approved users. See attached letter (not my gun). By late March, probably for efficiency, they shifted to still handling orders, approval, and payment, but had the factories ship directly to the end user.

So if you letter yours, the letter should show where the gun ended up.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Humor me please, what does DSC stand for? Couldn’t find it. Thank you!
The Defense Supplies Corporation was a public corporation, basically a government agency, responsible for the allocation of war-essential restricted goods and materials to all non-military recipients. The revolver program was a very small part of this after Pearl Harbor.

Until March 1942 the DSC actually functioned as a shipper, ordering large batches from Colt and S&W and then distributing them to approved users. See attached letter (not my gun). By late March, probably for efficiency, they shifted to still handling orders, approval, and payment, but had the factories ship directly to the end user.

So if you letter yours, the letter should show where the gun ended up.
Ab,wow thank you for all of that good information! I will
contact Colt about an archive letter and see where the story takes us. Regards, John
 

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