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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here’s a tidbit I heard perhaps thirty, thirty five years ago. I was speaking with my boss, Lieutenant Frank MaGee, Commanding Officer NYPD Firearms and Tactics Section (now long gone). Anyway, Frank told me he had been told (didn’t say by whom or when. Keep in mind, by that time Frank had been on the job at least thirty years, came on after WWII, and this was in the early 1980s.) that back in the 1910s the NYPD issued department detectives with the very modern Colt pocket pistol of the time, to replace their revolvers. He said the change didn’t last too long as the detective had too many accidental discharges and the pistols were quietly replace by revolvers.

I know this is a real tease, but it’s all that I’ve got on the matter. I do recall seeing a Xerox of an NYPD training manual, the original printed about the proper time frame for the above to be accurate, on how to handle and fire the Colt pocket pistol.

If nothing else the above is interesting if not definitive.

Rich
 

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Rich,
Thanks for your information. It is always good to get what ever history you can about
the Colt hammerless to add to what is already known. In late 1913 the New York
Police started buying the 380 Hammerless, by mid 1914 they had a total of 821 Hammerless.
After a rash of accidental discharges in 1914 they brought in Alfred Lane, Olympic shooter and Gold medalist
to train the police officers how to shoot. The accidental discharges continued so as you mentioned
the pistols were quickly replaced with revolvers.

These PDNY Colt Hammerless (all except 20) were given a PDNY number
believed to the actual badge number of the officer issued the pistol.

These historic Colts are often found for sale on GB and at estate sales.

Photograph Snapshot Standing Room Uniform Gun Firearm Trigger Starting pistol Gun barrel

Visit Sam Liskers Web site to see more:
http://www.coltautos.com/mmpdm_pdny.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
"1914 they brought in Alfred Lane, Olympic shooter and Gold medalist
to train the police officers how to shoot."

Yup, that's the name of the instructor I recall being on that training handout (really a multi-page pamphlet, perhaps a dozen or so pages in length) that I remember having seen. Well, it seems that what I had been told by Frank MaGee was spot on after all.

Rich
 

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Absolutely spot on.
It is good to hear the same information from different sources
to add creditability to what is already believed to be true.

Another issue they might have had was the same the Shanghai Police
had with their Colt Hammerless, forgetting to flip the thumb safety in a
time of need.

The SMP pistols soon had their thumb safety's disabled with a
small screw relying totally on the grip safety.

A heck of a thing to forget when seconds count.
Not a problem with revolvers.
 

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If I recall correctly, the Shanghai Municipal Police policy was to carry the pistol with a loaded magazine but with no round in the chamber. They were trained to cycle the slide as part of the drawing action from the holster.
 

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I guess most any gun-wise person who's spent time in and around NY can recall events both positive & negative. I lived on Long Island, Nassau County just outside NY City 25 years and passed thru the City a number of times before and after. This one, probably 1949 on my way to or from Europe, I was in the cashier line in a NYC eatery, just behind a young cop & noticed his Colt PPS standing cocked in his holster. Shoulda kept my trap shut but got his attention about the cocked revolver. I got a first class NYC Cop dressing down, to the effect that it was the way it was to be carried, to mind my own business, I was interfereing with a LEO in his duties - figured I damn near got arrested, all in the presence of people present. I never heard any more about it & assume he learned his lesson. I learned mine.

Not all bad, this one made up for it all. Years later, 1970s, living on Long Island, got a call from a NYC detective. I had published my little book "Modern Kentucky Rifle" & he had found me, wanting some help building one of his own. He came over a few times & we got sort of acquainted. One day he told me of a bar run by retired cops in an obscure area in Brooklyn near the airport, they called 'the hole' , where he said they had a barrel of junky guns I might want to check out. I worked at Kennedy and found it during my lunch hour. Several cop cars around, I went in and soon found a tall cardboard box with maybe 10-12 beater long guns. The place was alive with a few uniforms but mostly plain clothes types. In the box I found a 1600s matchlock sort of carbine, got the bartender's attention and bought it $100. The holy grail for me at the time, I started out with it when one of the LEOs stopped me. I figured he knew something about what I had and the jig was up, but he was just curious why anyone would pay money for such a thing. Turns out with cleaning & very minor restoration I had the only real early gun I ever had that had all its proof and maker's marks I could find in my reference books. After a few months I traded it to a dealer for a mint Colt Pocket Navy, cased with all its accessories.
 

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After a few months I traded it to a dealer for a mint Colt Pocket Navy, cased with all its accessories.
Wow, what a great story. Thanks for taking the time to share it.
I always like to hear a good story about any gun I pick up, hoping that they are true, LOL.
You did good.
My Son is a LEO and oddly enough so are many of my friends.
I guess that is why I like to collect PD Marked Pistols.
In the business I retired from after 40 years I was in contact
with both the Bad Guys (at a distance) and the LEO's (Much Closer) often enough,
sometimes too often.
Now I mostly see them on the tube. LOL...
 

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My best friend a few years younger than I (I'm 89), LEO formerly Los Angeles Homicide, back in the day of un-restricted 'sidewalk justice'. Some of his experiences & corrective actions would curl your hair, now impossible due various restrictions imposed by any number of do-gooder organizations -- but it kept the lid on -- something we could use now in changing would-be repeat offenders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
“Another issue they might have had was the same the Shanghai Police had with their Colt Hammerless, forgetting to flip the thumb safety in a time of need.”

From time to time I make the mistake in engaging in debates on gun forums in regard the practical matters of issuing a general service police handgun. No where do I get my “grief” than when discussing the Colt 1911 series. My position, from quite a few years in police firearms training, is that this mechanism is too complex (too busy is probably a more accurate way of putting the matter) for general police issue.

Sometimes you would have thought that I insulted someone’s mom! None the less, my position is that the single-action (SA) semi-auto handgun is not suitable for general police issue as well as for personal defense purposes for most citizens (non-police types). The vast majority of people who carry sidearms are occasional firearms users. They simply do not have the time to develop the muscle memory needed in order to depend on a SA handgun. Yes, I know that certain specialized military and police units use this pattern handgun, but they are trained to a very high standard in order to make this work.

The only way you could successfully issue a single action semi to line officers is if, as with the Shanghai police, you require the chamber to remain empty until just prior to discharging the piece. This is the way the 1911 was carried by our troops. There is no practical way to train such a large number of individuals, with many, many other time and training requirements which must be dealt with by their leaders, in the carrying of a cocked and locked single action semi auto.

My response to the majority of citizens who ask me what handgun they should carry for self-defense is the revolver. Even the modern double-action (or safe action) pistol creates a difficult training situation (many hours of training firing quite a few rounds) which most people simply will not deal with.

Just my observation on the matter.

Rich
 

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Rich, nicely said.
My Son the LEO carries a Glock, and is at the range monthly.
I carry a S&W 38 Spl wheel gun and shoot sometimes.
It's just better not to need to remember too much
except what end the bullet comes out for me.
 

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Yeahhh, I can see how those guys may have gotten into trouble with the Colt m1908 .380s.


It is it's own thing, and, to carry with one in the Chute, Safety "On", one has to remember where one is at with the thing, and, to also have good, consistent Habits and or Training and practice, to instill the Habits.

They'd have been better off with the m1903 Colt 'Pocket Hammer' in .38 ACP.
 

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...There is no practical way to train such a large number of individuals, with many, many other time and training requirements which must be dealt with by their leaders, in the carrying of a cocked and locked single action semi auto...
Wrong. The military was in WWII, and is today, trained to operate complex weapons like the M-1 Garand and the M1911. And do more complex things like fire tank guns, drive them, and even fly airplanes! The problem with police back in 1914 is they got about 1 hour of weapons training a year. Today, they get hundreds.
 

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Wrong. The military was, and is, trained to operate complex weapons like the M-1 Garand and the M1911. And do more complex things like fire tank guns, drive them, and even fly airplanes! The problem with police back in 1914 is they got about 1 hour of weapons training a year. Today, they get hundreds.

I think so...


They needed not only to provide more Training, but, to encourage the Officers to excel in their Gunmanship and Carry practices...whether by Bonuses, Pay incentive, Pride and Camaraderie, Contests and Exhibitions, or all of the above.


Allowing the m1908 to be an 'Option' only for those who do excel and who demonstrate they excel with that particular Arm.


When people are motivated to learn something new, and when it becomes the thing TO do among them and their pals, they will tend to learn it well...

No motivation, no camaraderie, no status, no fun, tends to equal a reliable lack of interest, and, hence, a reliable lack of development/learning/facility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Gentleman, after being responsible for training many line officers in the NYPD I can only reiterate that my empirical experience has shown me a firearm (or any piece of equipment, tactic or policy for that matter) needs to meet two criteria; practicality and task relatedness. The police (and military) sidearm is one of the least likely tools these individuals (police or military) will probably ever use in their careers. I do understand that when their use is required their importance is paramount. None the less, the majority of both law officers and military personnel go through their entire career without having to utilize their handguns for "serious" reasons.

Virtually all police and military personnel are occasional firearms users, discharging their firearms when mandated to do so in training. You'd be surprised how many of these individuals attempt to duck out on even that minimal requirement. I understand that, in a forum such as this, this lack of concern on the part of law officers on how to use their personal sidearms is difficult to understand, but that is what I've observed.

Furthermore, in regard the single action semi-auto, the short, relatively light and abrupt trigger pull of these sidearms invites inadvertent discharge. It was determined by the Firearms and Tactics Section of the NYPD that the single biggest contributor to the accidental discharge for department members was the cocked revolver, the very same condition the single action semi-auto shooter finds themselves in as a matter of routine.

You can call for more training but the fact is, there is a finite money and time "pie" which can be cut into only so many slices. Therefore it is incumbent on administrators to promulgate the use of the most practical and task related handguns for use by the members of their agency. I believe you'll find that the majority of police departments have now opted for either double action only pistols or pistols with "safe actions" such as the Glock series. Such decisions are not made based on romantic notions of a firearm aesthetics, its history of service or the opinion of intensely interested hobbyists. Rather, in a professionally run agency hard data, obtained from field study, determines which piece of equipment is to be issued.

Rich
 
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