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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here are a few new photos of my 1952 Colt Official Police (former NYPD service revolver) wearing a set of correct-for-its-time-period Coltwood grips. The police accouterments in the second photo were carried and used by me when I was "on the job" with the NJSP many years ago now. Photo three shows the NYPD MOS's shield number as stamped on the backstrap of the revolver. As a point of interest, unlike this NYPD revolver, NJSP-issued Colt Army Special and Official Police revolvers had 6" barrels.





 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Very nice- I've perused that 52 Stoger's 'bible' it is chock full of retro firearms coolness!

Very nice OP thanks for posting.!
Thank you, Ugly!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Approximately 20 years later...

View attachment 461609
Haha Very nice! That's a neat little ammo holder, too!
We had swivel holsters for our 6"-barreled revolvers that had thirty ammo loops sewn onto the top of them arranged in two rows of 15 loops each. We never did switch to any kind of speedloaders. :rolleyes:
 
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Haha Very nice! That's a neat little ammo holder, too!
We had swivel holsters for our 6"-barreled revolvers that had thirty ammo loops sewn onto the top of them arranged in two rows of 15 loops each. We never did switch to any kind of speedloaders. :rolleyes:
Remember seeing them on NJSP in early 70s. Was stationed at Lakehurst NAS at the time. That’s a lot of ammo to carry on your holster... Colt OP is from 1966.
 

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We had a bunch of the same vintage colts like that one when I hired in on the Lockheed guard department. I checked the serial numbers and they also were 1952. Ours had LAC stamped on the butt with numbers in the 200 range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We had a bunch of the same vintage colts like that one when I hired in on the Lockheed guard department. I checked the serial numbers and they also were 1952. Ours had LAC stamped on the butt with numbers in the 200 range.
Very interesting info! Thanks for posting it!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here are three of my vintage holsters all of which work great with the Colt OP. The first is an unmarked, hand-tooled holster; the second, a Bianchi duty holster; the third, my favorite of the lot, a George Lawrence No. 120 Keith holster (a holster Elmer Keith helped design).









 

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Here is an example of an OP duty holster from an earlier period made by Folsom Audley. I have always thought it odd that the loops carry 10 rounds instead of 12 but maybe they were running out of space on the hanger portion. I believe the ST stamp on the holster stood for State Trooper model. It would have been worn with a Sam Browne belt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here is an example of an OP duty holster from an earlier period made by Folsom Audley. I have always thought it odd that the loops carry 10 rounds instead of 12 but maybe they were running out of space on the hanger portion. I believe the ST stamp on the holster stood for State Trooper model. It would have been worn with a Sam Browne belt.
We had very similar Jay-Pee spring lock safety holsters in the NJSP for our 6"-barreled revolvers. They had 30 cartridge loops in two rows of 15 cartridges each. Obviously, the top portion of our holsters was taller and wider than your example. Our holsters also had two D rings to accommodate our Sam Browne belts.

You can see the holster and Sam Browne belt we wore in our revolver days, which encompassed half my career, in the photo of the jaunty Jersey Trooper below.
NJSP_H-D5.jpg
 

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After personal travails with the Jay-Pee holster I wrote this up for fun and posted it elsewhere.

___________________________

Perhaps y'all can help out and provide additional information on this next holster featured.

Jay-Pee Holster



I'm sitting here, balefully eyeing this holster as this post is being typed out. Nailing down the history of Jay-Pee holsters on the internet is as unsatisfying as is the holster itself. Apparently Jay-Pee descended from the Audley Company holsters, famous in the early part of the 20th Century for the Audley Safety Holster. I've examined a few Audley Safety Holsters. I have a dim recollection of trading into a gun years ago that came with one. Don't know if I gave that holster away or threw it away. I never holstered a revolver in an Audley Safety Holster as it appeared that it would chew the finish right off of a fine revolver with its ominous-looking internal steel spring-loaded catch which directly contacts the revolver as the holster's retention feature. The Audley Safety Holster is one vintage holster that would be better kept as a memento of days of yore than it is to be pressed into service. The Audley Safety holster was made for quite a few years and they turn up in used holster bins at gun shows on occasion.

The Folsom Arms Company took over control of the Audley Company sometime after the death of its owner and founder, F. H. Audley in 1916. Folsom Arms Company was absorbed into the Courtland Bootjack Company even later on. The Jay-Pee emerged from that concern but no date has been yet discovered.

No information on the name Jay-Pee has been discovered either. Was it a play on someone's initials? Did it describe Jay's incontinence problem? These holsters were once popular with big city police departments so it was expected that more could have been discovered online.

It's hard to determine when the Jay-Pee came into general use in departments like the New York City Police Department. The problem of revolver retention was given a lot of additional consideration beginning in the 1960s. I'm guessing my holster dates from the 1960s or 1970s.

The Jay-Pee company could still be in business. This site was found and appears to be a Jay-Pee distributor.
www.stationhouse.com/uniforms/jaypee/sambrowne_belts.htm

This Jay-Pee features the maker's name on the back of the holster and nothing else. It is single-stitched and black finished. Mine appears to be the basic model but similar models could be had with swivel extension that positioned the revolver much lower, and could also have accessory cartridge loops or pen holders. The holster could be described as a clumsy-looking, over-sized socket made to receive a revolver. This holster was used with both the Colt Official Police and Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolvers with 4-inch barrel. Perhaps a few Ruger Service Six revolvers found their way into Jay Pee Holsters later when the Ruger gun was accepted as a duty weapon by the NYPD. This holster is larger than most holsters made to accommodate a mid-sized double-action revolver. The holster's size and the apparent thickness of the leather used in its construction would cause one to assume the holster is heavy but it is quite light in weight. So light in fact that one wonders if it could be made of paper, covered with thin leather as is found in cheap wallets. If the Jay-Pee is all leather then it is very curious.





The retention feature is variously described as a heavy sewn-in leather strip that catches on the outside of the revolver's cylinder to retain it or else a leather-covered spring steel strap fitted around the front of the holster body and sewn in, which serves to retain the revolver. Retain it this holster does! A magnet was placed on the thick strip portion of this holster, between the twin set of stitches, and it stuck so there is some sort of ferrous metal inside. It would be instructive to dissect one of these holster in order to find out more about its materials and construction.

This Jay-Pee holster is just the thing for the person who wants to wear his gun without being able to access it.

This holster came to me with a 1953 vintage Colt Official Police .38 Special revolver, acquired from a cache that R. M. Vivas promoted on both the Colt and Smith & Wesson forums a decade ago. Seems he obtained batch of old NYPD revolvers that had been transferred to the New York State Gaming Commission. These well-worn but serviceable revolvers had the NYPD officers' badge numbers stamped on their back straps. The Jay-Pee holster just showed up "unannounced" with the revolver when it arrived.



I went at the shop of the FFL dealer to pick up the Colt, looked it over, payed him his small fee for receiving the revolver, stuffed the revolver into the handy holster and headed home. Once home, I thought to inspect the revolver at my leisure but found it to be stuck in the holster. This proved maddening as quite a struggle ensured between the holster and its new owner in order to extract the revolver from out of it. I immediately figured out that it was some sort of retention holster but never did know how the revolver came out when I finally freed it. I never again put the revolver in this holster until just now.

Several different sites were consulted for this post, all offering different suggestions for drawing from this holster. All instructions found suggest the step of twisting the revolver. Some say the holster is designed to require both hands to facilitate the draw. Some say the right index finger inserted along side the cylinder and is required as well as the twist of the gun. Some say that the thumb is inserted along the left side of the revolver as it is twisted.

As part of this post I have just now tested the holster and the twist method, twisting the revolver's butt inward toward the hip, with thumb inserted along left side of the revolver, beneath the Colt's thumb piece, is the best of the methods that I tried. Donning the holster finds that two hands are needed to accomplish this. This is handy to know but is not something I'd want to practice unless I really wanted the cuticle of my right thumb sagging down around the thumb's first joint. As I type this my right thumb has much the same sensation as having been recently hit with a hammer and I've only made a few draws with it.

Some sites claim that officers could accomplish the draw one-handed with practice though never at speed. They must have had iron thumbs. Some sites claimed that the holster was faulty if the draw could be accomplished one-handed. One site described how some officers would partially withdraw the revolver immediately before they thought they would have need of it, allowing it to ride slightly cross-ways in the mouth of the holster. Some simply withdrew their revolver, holding it discreetly beside their leg if they anticipated trouble.

Despite wide acceptance of this holster in big-city departments back in the day, it is a recipe for disaster unique among retention holsters with which I'm familiar. Imagine the nightmare of having to grapple with one or more assailants, perhaps with a knife or other weapon being wielded against you, holding them off with one hand while desperately trying to extract the revolver with the other. The tactic of partially withdrawing the revolver, said to be adopted by some officers, potentially comes to grief in a couple of different ways. It takes little jostling to either cause the revolver to fully seat into the holster, now captured by the retention strip, or else fall out on the ground, neither of which bodes well for the officer.

The holster was described as very cheaply constructed by one fellow in a forum post on another firearms site. He said that the holsters were balky when new, yet with daily use, withdrawing the revolver and replacing it, they would last maybe 10 months. It was also claimed that they didn't hold up to being wet. As observed earlier, the materials used in construction of this holster are curiously light in weight. Since initially penning this narrative a query made to a nationally recognized longtime gun writer elicited the following response: "It seemed as if Jay-Pee had figured out how to skin a chicken, tan the hide, dye it black, and make a holster out of it."

Unlike this wretched and cheap holster, the Colt Official Police is a first rate revolver of very high quality and is a joy to shoot. It's been near a half a century since the Official Police was produced by Colt, at least in the old traditional way, yet it remains a great choice for many handgun chores today.

I would love to hear from someone who was issued one of these Jay-Pee holsters so we could learn how to properly use it. I'm not a lawman but "test-driving" the thing finds some glaring deficiencies even worse than holsters of the clam shell or front break variety. As important as retention is, especially for the lawman, at some point the wearer needs to access his gun.

I just noticed that I put the revolver back in the wretched thing so have to get it back out one last time. My thumb is not happy about it.

Badge number of the officer who carried this Colt. NYPD apparently made officers purchase their own side arms but also required that the officer's badge number be added to the revolver.

The stocks had to be replaced on this Official Police revolver. The originals appeared as if they had been used as a chewy toy by a Doberman Pinscher on amphetamines.


www.vintagegunleather.com/company-marks/audley_history.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great stuff, bmcgilvray! Thank you very much for posting it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I finally received my Colt factory letter for my 1952 Colt Official Police revolver (former NYPD service). It shows that this revolver didn't go directly to the NYPD, but instead was sent in a large order of 200 Official Police revolvers to John J. Tobler Inc., a firearms dealer based in Union City, New Jersey and shipped on December 23, 1952, to the H.T. Smith Terminal in New York City. Can anyone here shed some light on either John J. Tobler Inc. and/or the H.T. Smith Terminal? Thanks!

 
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