I know the post office was given a large number of Colt 1917 .45 ACP revolvers in the 1930's during the "Motor bandit" days of Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde.
There were a number of robberies of postal shipments on trains, so the post office was given the 1917's.
Of a somewhat more effective anti-bandit solution, they also got three man squads of US Marines to guard the trains.
The three men were armed with 1911 pistols, one man had a 1903 Springfield, one had a BAR, and the other had a 1921 Thompson SMG.
With this, no further postal train shipments were robbed. Even Bonnie and Clyde knew better than to try to take three Marines.
You could shoot with small town cops and sheriffs, but those Marines would KILL you.
Most of the 1917 Colts sat unused in locked drawers and safes until the post office sold them in the 1960's. Most of the ones I saw were in minty condition.
I remember something about the post office buying Colt Detective Specials and Police Positive Specials to arm postal inspectors.
These were purchased from the 1930's up until the 1970's.
Thanks again. I guess I'm looking for Police Positive Specials and Detective Specials. I remember a Police Positive Special that was recovered after a Post Office robbery. I believe it was marked USPO or something simular...........Steve
Steve: If you ever find a USPO M1917, the pic below shows what you will need to get next: an M4 style holster for it marked USPO made by Milsco (Milwaukee Saddlery). they also made smaller open top USPO holsters for the smaller frame guns. Charlie Flick
Steve: No, SRS has no connection to the Springfield Armory. Springfield Research Service is a privately outfit run by Frank Mallory in Maryland. For many years he has conducted exhaustive research of US Government Archives, with particular focus on records of the military branches. He has collected hundreds of thousands of serial numbers for US weapons with cross-references to the source documents. He publishes these serial number lists in bound volumes and in the quarterly magazine of his called the "Martial Arms Collector". Guys interested in USGI stuff are avid fans of Frank and his efforts. He sells copies of the documents he finds to collectors. His serial number database is now online. You can find it at http://www.armscollectors.com/srs.htm Finding a serial number for a firearm you own in the database is hard to do, but people get hits all of the time and oftentimes receive very interesting documents from the National Archives thorugh Frank. I got some once on a Smith Victory Model I own, and was very happy to pay the modest fee for the service. It made the years of subscriptions for the SRS/MAC worthwhile. HTH. Charlie
According to Pate, Detective Specials weren't bought until after WWII. When the Post Office bought snubbies before that, they were the slightly smaller Banker's Specials in .38 New Police (.38 S&W). They were marked on the butt with the P.O. inventory number. The exact number purchased is not known, but was certainly in the thousands.