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Old 03-09-2018, 06:29 AM
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Default Police Usage of 6" Revolvers?

I know we've a lot of cops and LEOs on this board so I'd figure I'd ask: did you ever carry a revolver with a 6" barrel on duty? If not did you know anyone else who did or other departments that did?

Seems the 4" reigned supreme but I've heard of some using 6" guns. Just wondering how you liked it and what rig you used. Always interested in hearing old revolver duty stories!

Thanks!

-Jay
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:39 AM
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Not a LEO, but believe that the Smith model 14 .38 special with a six in. barrel was carried by some Los Angelos, CA officers.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:05 AM
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My old partner was issued a 6" Colt Official Police when he joined the PA State Police in 1970, and carried it for several years. He didn't have any complaints about it, regretted not buying it when they were taken out of service.

The TV series "Adam 12" featured the 6" Model 14 in at least the first season, as that was LAPD used. The Model 14's were later replaced by the 4" Model 15.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:18 AM
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The CHP, when they were issued the model 68,it was 6inch
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:38 AM
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Yep. Between 1979 and 1989, I used 6" 66, 686, and a 28. All were traded away, unfortunately.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:38 AM
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My Dad carried a 6" .357 magnum Colt New Service before the war...... and after through the 60s..... he also had a 4" S&W M&P .38 (1946) and a 2" Colt Detective Special for court and off duty.

I think the 5 and 6 inch service revolver was more the norm through at least the mid-50 with the Model 19's introduction........ with a mix over the next 15 years or so...... think the Highway Patrolman in 6 and 4 inch..... with the 6" seemingly more common.........

I think the move to 4" guns really came about with officers/Depts switching to the 64,65 and 66 in the 70s.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:44 AM
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I carried a Colt Official Police in 1975-76 then a S&W model 64 into the 80s. Most departments in RI carried 4" guns with a few exceptions, including the State Police which carried 6" model 66s in cross draw holsters with a lanyard. I think that Patrol in vehicles prompted the move to shorter barrel revolvers.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:58 AM
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Leo career 1962-2007 (disability retired by agency)
I carried six inch service revolvers until 1998 when my agency's new chief dictated that everyone carry the issue Sig-Sauer P-229 .40.
In "The Day" the officers that were regular "Shooters" packed "Six Inches"
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheppard View Post
Not a LEO, but believe that the Smith model 14 .38 special with a six in. barrel was carried by some Los Angelos, CA officers.
My grandfather closed out his 33-yr career carrying a K-38 Target Masterpiece, 6".
First centerfire firearm I got to try!
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:33 AM
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When I started in the late 70's, new officers primarily walked a "beat". With few exceptions, our feet did not see the inside of a car the first year or two. During that time I carried a nickel finished S & W Model 27, 6 inch revolver in a Safariland swivel holster with a thumbsnap. I recall that it had a snap that kept it from moving fore and aft while walking. On those occasions when you were in the car, the swivel was unsnapped and you could rotate the bottom of the holster forward for ease while sitting. I carried a Safariland Model 78HV dump pouch. The plastic liners were removed which permitted me to utilize two Bianchi Speed Strips which held an additional twelve rounds

When I went to my second and last department, patrol was primarily by vehicle and I opted for a Safariland Border Patrol holster for my Model 15 and eventually Model 66 and Model 686. These three remaining revolvers had 4 inch barrels.

As an aside, I opted for the 6 inch barrel because, back then, .357 magnums utilized slow-burning powders. The longer barrel served to more completely burn these powders resulting in less "flash", blast, and un-burned powder granules beneath the extractor star. Over the years with advances in smokeless powder and bullets, I see this now as a non-issue.

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Old 03-09-2018, 09:35 AM
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I recall a number of the guys back in the early '70's carried 6" model 19's in the Bianchi model 27, front break holster.
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Old 03-09-2018, 10:06 AM
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I USED TO CARRY A 6" MODEL 629 WHEN I WAS IN PLAIN CLOTHES. I USUALLY STUCK WITH A 4" MODEL 57 WHEN IN UNIFORM. AS A MATTER OF FACT. WHEN I RETIRED 2 YEARS AGO I WAS THE LAST ONE AUTHORIZED TO CARRY A .41 MAG. I WAS GRANDFATHERED IN.

2 GUYS ON MY TEAM (PC) USED TO CARRY NICKEL MDL 25-5's. 1 CARRIED A 6" AND THE OTHER AN 8 3/8". BUT GEORGE (WHO CARRIED THE 8 3/8") WAS 6'6" TALL.
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Old 03-09-2018, 01:06 PM
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I have a '47 M&P 38 with a 6" barrel that was carries by a Chicago Police officer in the 40's and 50's. I've never seen a 6" carried by NYPD , but I didn't come on until the 80's.
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Old 03-09-2018, 01:12 PM
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Back when cops walked a beat 5" or 6" revolvers were fairly common, especially 5". When seated in a car they become as problem for most body types as they jab into the upholstery and can be very uncomfortable. I understand that is why swivel holsters became common for a while, before they started to switch to 4" tubes.
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Old 03-09-2018, 01:49 PM
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Speaking as a historian, not an officer, it appears that the policies of different agencies varied significantly.

For example, once NYPD began buying M&Ps and Colt OPs directly from the factories in bulk for resale to their officers, no 5 or 6 barreled guns were available. They all came with 4. That would have been in place about the end of WW II at the latest.

On the other hand, the California Highway Patrol specifically required a 6 barreled revolver from the time that regulations first appeared in the 1920s until 1976, when, with the introduction of the Models 67 and 68, the 4 became available, and other approved guns from Colt, S&W, and Ruger were also allowed with a 4 barrel.

Since, by definition, most CHP officers spent their patrol time in cars for several decades before 1976, Im not sure any change from foot beat to vehicle patrol was a factor here
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Old 03-09-2018, 01:55 PM
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Back in the early 80’s, I carried a six inch model 19 in a Safariland shoulder holster and later a model 29 for a while. I was in plainclothes and after a while I bought a model 66 four inch. It was so much lighter to carry. We had to purchase all of our own gear.
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Old 03-09-2018, 02:02 PM
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I tried a 6 inch Highway Patrolman for about a week, but it was uncomfortable sitting in the car.. I went back to my Model 58.

That Highway Patrolman rode in holster hanging from the gun rack in my pickup for 20 years while I was out at the ranch.
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Old 03-09-2018, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayFramer View Post
I know we've a lot of cops and LEOs on this board so I'd figure I'd ask: did you ever carry a revolver with a 6" barrel on duty? If not did you know anyone else who did or other departments that did?

Seems the 4" reigned supreme but I've heard of some using 6" guns. Just wondering how you liked it and what rig you used. Always interested in hearing old revolver duty stories!

Thanks!

-Jay
I went to the academy in 1986 and there was a big ole' fella' from a rural sheriff's department who brought along a 6" 586. Said they were issued them . . .
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Old 03-09-2018, 02:06 PM
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The first M10 that I bought was impulse purchase. Late 60s we
had a new Game Warden, he had bought 6" m10 and holster less
than a week before he came back to trade it on a 4". I happen to
be in the Gunshop when he came in for the trade. The owner
gave me a killer deal on the 6". By 70s most LEOs in our area
had 4" m19s. The old school guys with 5" & 6" guns were fading
away. 4"ers much easier to get in and out of vehicles with.
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Old 03-09-2018, 02:18 PM
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We carried 5" Model 10 (nickel) back when I was hired in 1976. About 1979 we all got new 4" Model 10 (nickel). The 4" ones were easier to carry in the car. The 5" holsters dug into the bench seat of the patrol cars pushing your gun belt up. Doesn't sound like a big deal but 8 hours in and out of the car it was. Around 1978 we began to get patrol cars with bucket seats which was a big deal especially if you were working a two man unit and you partner was tall and you were average height. Don't even know if they make cars with bench seats anymore!!

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Old 03-09-2018, 05:15 PM
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Carried a pre-27 with a 6.5" barrel in the early 1970s, mostly on motors ( first on Harley then Kawasaki) usually in a swivel holster (think it was by Tex Shoemaker).
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:35 PM
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When I came out of the Quantico US Marshal Academy in 1965, we graduated with our service weapon which was a Model 13 with a six and 1/2" long barrel.
We were trained to use this barrel as a baton.
But as an Air Marshal in a Brooks Brothers suit and tie, never got a chance to use this technique. Took a few years to get enough time in to get on a FA Team.(fugitive apprehension), which all training got applied in real arrests.
Batons were only issued when protecting a Federal Judge in court proceedings, which was our major job description.
For office duty doing paper work, a Model 10 3"barrel, was carried under our suit coat in a belt holster. Suit and tie was mandatory at all times.
And yes,, I still have my "office" three inch.
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:49 PM
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Default Regarding six inch service revolver question

I can only go back to the early 70's in Arizona, I never saw anything longer then a four inch in a police holster. With one exception, that was a BIA officer who had a single action that I took note of around 1973. Arizona DPS used a S&W model 15 as the issued side arm with 110 grain Super Vel ammunition.
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:12 PM
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Was issued a 6 in Model 10 at the MD State Police Academy August 1978. Heavy barrelled 4 inch model 13s were issued to many Troopers in the field replacing their Colt Official police revolvers. Most not all of the Colts were retired by then.

Good Luck
Jerry
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:18 PM
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The comments of others should clearly show that the 4" revolvers reigned supreme from the time officers had to drive automobiles and get into and out of those cars frequently.

I have carried 6" revolvers, but it was always a chore to do so when working uniformed patrol, other than foot beats.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:19 PM
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We were issued 4 m66s but could carry personally owned revolvers, .38 special and larger, that passed an inspection by the depts armorer. There were a few 6 m66s & m29s.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:47 PM
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In the early 1970s I was issued and carried a M19 6 inch for a couple of years. I was on the pistol team and all team members were issued the 6 inch as at that time the department didn't have enough of the regular issue M19 4 inch to issue us both. I carried in a Don Hume Border Patrol holster which did dig into the patrol car a bit. Not real comfortable but definitely comforting.
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrchuck View Post
When I came out of the Quantico US Marshal Academy in 1965, we graduated with our service weapon which was a Model 13 with a six and 1/2" long barrel.
We were trained to use this barrel as a baton.
But as an Air Marshal in a Brooks Brothers suit and tie, never got a chance to use this technique. Took a few years to get enough time in to get on a FA Team.(fugitive apprehension), which all training got applied in real arrests.
Batons were only issued when protecting a Federal Judge in court proceedings, which was our major job description.
For office duty doing paper work, a Model 10 3"barrel, was carried under our suit coat in a belt holster. Suit and tie was mandatory at all times.
And yes,, I still have my "office" three inch.
I was unaware that Model 13s were made with 6 1/2" barrels
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:02 AM
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I carried a 6" M19 for some time before switching to a 4" M58. My best friend carried a 6.5" M29. A good number, though not the majority, of Deputies in our department did have 6" barrelled handguns. We were allowed any S&W, Colt, Ruger, or Dan Wesson double action revolver we wanted to carry back then, .38 special or larger.

Edit: I just recalled that the 6" M28 was very popular with the Oregon State Police back then also.

Last edited by ASA335; 03-10-2018 at 06:06 AM. Reason: Additional info.
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:45 AM
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My dad 5ft9in carried a 4 inch model 10 with a j frame back up but his brother uncle James carried a 6 in highway patrolman in a swivel type holster with stag grips . He was renound as an old school officer back in tne seventies . He had to chase a guy who broke into a store downtown store chased him up on tne roof the guy decided to give up uncle James ( true story) pulled that hyway patrolman and said hexx no you ain't givin up you either jump or I'm gonna blow you off this building .He probabaly would have done it to ,yea the guy jumped broke his legs but he lived by the time the ambulance got there uncle James had convinced him he had fell accidently off that 2 story building .Most of the older guys I grew up around carried either 357 6 inch guns and a few carried 41 mags in 6 inch but they were old school actual beat cops most had been there and done that and we're not to be fooled with and the bad guys knew it .Oh yea uncle James was 6 ft ,and built like a bull ,he was on the ( oh **** ) crew .I went on a couple of ride alongside with him and I must say I was impressed he was respected by good people feared by the bad ,I didn't meen to rant on but I just remember when a woman or kid could walk to the store after dark in my hometown and no one would dare even say anything other than good evening because of fear of those old school type cops .So thanks for starting this thread and to all you old school cops I salute you .

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Old 03-10-2018, 08:14 AM
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A friend's stepfather carried a 6" M&P as when he was a Cleveland cop. My friend still has it.
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Old 03-10-2018, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyj View Post
I was unaware that Model 13s were made with 6 1/2" barrels
According to the SCSW, they weren't . . .
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Old 03-10-2018, 10:10 AM
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Not in LE, but had a small town officer that became a friend, and carried a 6 Model 28. Just before his retirement I saw him in town and he offered to sell me his gun. Two weeks after he retired I picked it up and still have it.
It shows what youd expect for wear, but is still tight and a great shooter.
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Old 03-10-2018, 10:28 AM
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I carried a 6" Model 19 in the late 70's. Several NJSP Trooper friends carried either the 6" Colt OP or later the 6" Smith K-38's. Both men stated they were excellent weapons. XTrooper could probable shed more light on this ref. that agency. Swivel Holsters make the 6" weapon very comfortable to carry and if your a Footman it's really not an issue.
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Old 03-10-2018, 12:57 PM
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TXDPS carried 1911s in the thirties. Switched to S&W .38 HD and Colt NS depending on bids, then were instrumental in the 28s for uniformed personnel after purchasing some 3.5" pre-war unregistered .357s for the Rangers. Also some early Colt Troopers made the bid for a time. All .38 HD and NS, and .357 revolvers were 4" other than the Ranger order.

I have one of the 1940 Texas Ranger issue .357s and an early 60s 27 that I carried for years.

Jack

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Old 03-10-2018, 03:47 PM
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In the 60's and 70's I carried a 6" K38 in a Border Patrol swivel holster. Then in the early 80's, Colt .45 Autos were authorized, so a few of us convinced the Chief that since the Model 25-2 took the same ammo we should be allowed to carry it. So I did! 6 1/2" M25-2 in a swivel again.

Those were good times......
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PPCSHOOTER View Post

BUT GEORGE (WHO CARRIED THE 8 3/8") WAS 6'6" TALL.
I'll bet the bad guys probably wet their pants when he pulled that gun!
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:47 PM
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I carried a 6" Model 66 S&W for a year in 1980-81. My partner carried a 6" Colt Python, as did several others who had more money than I. I loved that revolver until I bent it over a guy's head on a DUI traffic stop when he tried to disarm me. I literally warped the frame to the point that I had to get a gunsmith to unload it (took 14 stitches to close up the gash in the guys head. The gun carried well in a high-rise holster and was accurate. The extra barrel helped dampen the recoil of the full power .357 Magnums we carried. The down side was that it gave my arrestee and extra 2" of barrel to get hold of. I went back to my 4" Colt Trooper Mk III until we were allowed to carry semi-autos. It was built strong enough to serve as a club and offered little to grab hold of.
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Old 03-11-2018, 01:03 AM
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After the movie Dirty Harry appeared on the wide screen, it was almost mandatory that officers in my department purchase and carry a model 29 6 1/2 " or a model 57 6". Now these weapons were heavy and if you were vertically challenged, the barrel would bump against your knee. As officers got older and backs got older as well, the longer barrels were replaced by 4" varieties. My marriage to a 6" lasted about 6 months but we did live the legend for a time.
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Old 03-11-2018, 04:32 PM
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In college I earned extra dough working banquets for some of the ritzy Dallas hotels.

I believe DPD was issuing the M-66 at the time and recall some of the larger-framed officers who worked security packing 6 versions. One carried a 6 25-5.
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:19 PM
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According to the SCSW, they weren't . . .
Mrchuck mentioned these in an earlier discussion. I noticed their absence from the SCSW as well, so I asked Roy about them. His answer was that anything was possible
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:26 PM
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Mrchuck mentioned these in an earlier discussion. I noticed their absence from the SCSW as well, so I asked Roy about them. His answer was that anything was possible
Nobody can disagree with that last statement . . .
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Old 03-14-2018, 01:11 AM
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The Washington State Patrol carried 6” Smith and Wessons in crossdraw holsters right up until they transitioned to autos. I think they were Model 28s, but can’t recall for certain. Back then, Trooper applicants were required to be over 6 feet tall. I recall reading that back in the 40s they carried 6 1/2 inch 44 HEs.
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by JayFramer View Post
I know we've a lot of cops and LEOs on this board so I'd figure I'd ask: did you ever carry a revolver with a 6" barrel on duty? If not did you know anyone else who did or other departments that did?

Seems the 4" reigned supreme but I've heard of some using 6" guns. Just wondering how you liked it and what rig you used. Always interested in hearing old revolver duty stories!

Thanks!

-Jay
I carried a 6 Python. A 28 4 was departmental issue but I didnt care for it. The Python was a better choice.
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:32 PM
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No, I started my career with a 4 686 and carried it for the first 7 years before we went to autos. However, my dad carried a 6 Colt his entire career, in fact he wouldnt let any of his men carry an auto.
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Old 03-31-2018, 01:00 AM
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New South Wales Police Officers were mainly issued 3" Model 10's until the introduction of Semi-autos in the late 1990's.
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Old 03-31-2018, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daddy bear View Post
I have one of the 1940 Texas Ranger issue .357s
Jack, were those guns nickel or blue?
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