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Discussion Starter #1
This gun is a Detective Special in a .38 special. It’s parkerized and serialed to the box. The barrel is marked “Detective Special .38 special”, There is a “P” in the front of the trigger guard (left side) where it forms a triangle and a very pronounced “flaming bomb” (it almost appears to have been ‘burned’ in). I can’t find anything on this gun. What am I looking at?

 

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Discussion Starter #2
Furthermore, "US" is stamped on the backstrap.
 

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Addicted,

Read-back the post by ColtLarry about his DS (last posting at 09-07-05. I'm an ass when it comes to puting the URL with it, sorry). It also had a falming bomb stamped on it. Probably another DS, being possibly shipped to Spain? His DS was also parkerized and the stamp was probably done after leaving the factory.

Maybe you have a similar gun?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
His gun is a 1939. Mine is a 1970 (I think). I don't believe mine is a Spain gun but probably a US military gun.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The seller has sent some more pics.

 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've never seen a "Commando Special". This gun isn't a CS......is it???? /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
 

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It's a long shot...but two things occur to me without researching my Colt reference library. First, we know about Colt using the P mark to identify second quality "Pequano" (did I spell that correctly?) Police Positive models for South American export. But that doesn't seem to be consistent with the obvious military ordnance marking and finish on this one. Secondly, perhaps it was for the US Postal Service? They did use Colt DS, PPS and New Service models for their uniformed Postal Security Force, Postal Inspectors and perhaps less known, for a great many of their certified mail carriers and other employees handling certified mail. Many years ago, the certified carriers actually had trucks with an attached leather holster on the dash next to the steering column. Chic Gaylord, actually contracted with the U.S. Post Office Department (what they called it back then) to supply his 8 Ball pocket holster for 2 inch DS/PPS models throughout the 50's and 60's. The parkerized finish makes sense too, when I think about it. As a final thought (guess) it may have been produced for a defense contractor security service. That seems dubious based on it's date of manufacture but, it sure looks like a revolver that would have been made for war time defense plant guards...it will be interesting to learn the actual answer. I think your subject and question are fascinating! Good job!
Lefty
bellcharteroakholsters.com
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I spoke to the seller and I have more information. He's owned this gun for 10 years and he lettered the gun back when he first purchased it. It's been many years since he's looked at the letter. He's going to locate it and give me a call back with the letter information. He did remember one thing. The gun shipped to "Kenny Arsenal". Has anyone heard of Kenny Arsenal? I will advise with more information.
 

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Hi Addicted,
Your gun is a US Army contract piece. The Colt letter should give you all the details. Guns from this shipment show up from time to time. I have one that I got many years ago from Ed Faust at Old Sacramento Armory. I believe he got them surplus from the military, and this is where the ones that are being sold originated from. You might ask the seller if that is where he got it. There was another one offered for sale recently. I think it was from Randy Bessler out of Carson City. Bob Best
 

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Discussion Starter #11
He no longer has the gun for sale. Do you recall how much he was asking for it, condition, boxed, lettered and was it from the same era?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I now have more information. The gun left the factory in 1970. The finish was "blue" NOT parkenized and 1937 of them shipped to Kenny Arsenal (I assume for the military update). Asking price is $750 if anyone is interested. I'm going to pass on it.
 

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Hi Addicted,
I don't remember now how much it was... Seems to me that it was about $800 to $900 as I was considering buying it. It was from the same era (1970s) as mine and there was no box or letter. Condition was about 95% as I remember...

As I'm sure you already know, there is a person who has been supply replica Kraft boxes for US military handguns since the late 70s... I have purchased a couple of them myself for US marked Colt 1903 and 1908 pistols... A number of these replica boxes have been around long enough to have sufficient aging to make them look like WW II issue.

Also as I mentioned in another thread, US military proof and inspection stamps are available and a number of "restorers" are using them to take 50% guns and make them into 98% guns. The markings are re-cut and the finish is being brought back... Notice I said back to 98% condition... 100% condition military guns are suspect in themselves unless thy have correct arsenal and inspector rework markings...
I recently saw a before and after example of this... A Colt 1911 A1 Navy contract model. This gun was in terrible condition originally. A restorer brought it back to 98% and while the owner is selling it as restored, after a few sales it will become an "original" and will bring $7-8K, maybe more, in the market place.
I would suggest to any collector interested in collecting the US militaries, to do a lot of reading on them and examine a lot of finishes found on all manufacturers of US military arms before they buy. There were various parkerizing finishes on US guns during and after WW II and they varied even on the same manufacturers guns... Learn what the finishes looked like what the markings should be and how they were applied... Might save the new collector a few bucks on a "restored" gun...Bob Best
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm almost certain this was a restored gun. It left the factory with a blued finish and some of the stamping (as noted stamps can be purchased) looked like it was stamped yesterday. He was asking $750 and I told him no thanks before I discovered it originally was a blued gun. Parkerizing is a good way to hide defects. Isn't parkerizing done by bead blasting and then bluing?
 
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