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Old 07-12-2017, 04:12 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Default Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack

I had just finished shooting at my indoor range, and took a quick look at their handgun wall. It is usually all tactical stuff, but today I was taken aback by what I thought was a flat latch Chief's Special. The tag said Model 36, but that short cylinder was a dead giveaway.



Finally, a Terrier. I've had a weird hankering for one dating back to my youth, when I was watching either "What's My Line" or "To Tell The Truth". One of the contestants was a police detective, and either Bill Cullen or Orson Bean asked them what a Terrier was. None of them knew, not even the real guy. Bill/Orson said - Its the kind of gun my neighbor the cop carries.

The seed was planted in my little pre-teen gun nut brain. I consulted the 1967 version of the internet (a stack of old Gun Digests) to see what the hell they were talking about.



Oh man. Bill/Orson had the coolest neighbor. His gun shot "Super Police" ammo!

Over the years I just never ran across one. I have two other .38 S&W revolvers - a Safety Hammerless and a WWII Enfield. They wanted $329, and I didn't even dicker.

It's not pristine. Plenty of wear, but the grips are right and it hasn't been refinished that I can tell.



I'm guessing its from around 1955. No Model number on it.



I love the stubby little rounds.





This is my first I frame. It is an I frame, right?



It feels great. It is light and handy and it's about the same size as my little LCP.

Anyway, it is great to finally scratch that old itch.

I've dipped my toe back into reloading with an old Lyman 310, and I have a set of .38 S&W dies. I'm looking forward to spending some range time with this old fella.
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:02 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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The closest Terrier on my list is 770xx which shipped in 11/55.
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:08 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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It is an I frame, yes. When the Model 30 came out as a J frame it replaced the I frame but the gun is still a .38 Smith & Wesson caliber.

I am pretty sure I got that right. I have one but haven't looked at it for awhile......
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:24 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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That is a very nice catch. I really like mine. The s/n is mid 55000 and shipped in Sept '50. Here's a pic so you can see the differences between them. Front sight, cyl. release, and trigger guard, stocks to name a few.
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:28 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Why blue? For $5.25 more you coulda had nickel.

Very nice piece of history.
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:36 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Terriers are a bit of a passion with me. You don't run across them all that often. The two I have are in the 55K range, about 500 numbers apart. One I bought in Houma, LA; it was tagged as a 36 also.
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:43 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISCS Yoda View Post
It is an I frame, yes. When the Model 30 came out as a J frame it replaced the I frame but the gun is still a .38 Smith & Wesson caliber.

I am pretty sure I got that right. I have one but haven't looked at it for awhile......
I think you meant to say "Model 32". The Model 30 (and 31) are .32 SWL.

Here's a pic of my 3 'Babies':

Top is a Chief's Special.
Middle is a custom "Terrier Special". It's a Terrier 'I' frame with a .38 Special cylinder (shortened just a hair) and fitted with a half moon Chief's barrel. It will chamber all but the longest .38 Specials.
Bottom is a Terrier.
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Old 07-12-2017, 06:15 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Nice pics, brings back memories. I only have one serial #7456X, sorry my dad wanted my to hard chrome it.
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Old 07-12-2017, 06:19 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Here's the only one I have, sorry my dad wanted me to hard chrome it.
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Old 07-12-2017, 06:40 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Damn - $329 is an incredible price! There's a better condition one, with box, from here in VA on GB. But, it's $700! Great pictures to boot - I saved one off to go into I-wish-I-had-one folder. I hate to admit that I had seen the term Baby Chief used here on SWF but I was afraid to ask what that meant - now I know! Well, I think I know - maybe the BC is something different ... Either way - great post!

Edited to add: Thanks, JSR, for the info about Baby Chiefs. As mentioned by Oldster later, I am also on a pensioners budget so I don't think a Terrier is in my future.

Last edited by GeoJelly; 07-13-2017 at 09:30 AM. Reason: Wrong about Baby Chief
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Old 07-12-2017, 07:44 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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I have a Pre War 38/32 Terrier that I looked long and hard for,I just love that pre war bluing and the half moon front sight.
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Old 07-12-2017, 07:57 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Quote:
I hate to admit that I had seen the term Baby Chief used here on SWF but I was afraid to ask what that meant - now I know! Well, I think I know - maybe the BC is something different ...
The baby chief refers to the first run of J frame Chief Specials. Since they were modeled after the I frame terriers, the trigger guard and the butt are smaller like the I frame predecessors. HOWEVER, they were never built on the "I" frame as the .38 special takes a larger cylinder and therefore a larger cylinder window. This enlarged I frame was called the J frame.

Eventually, (or so the story goes) many of the LEO's that the Chief Special was designed for, complained that the trigger guard and butt were really too small for a large mans hand especially with the greater kick of the .38 special compared to the .38 S&W. So, S&W enlarged the trigger guard and the butt of these J frame revolvers.

It would have been easier if the factory had called them the J frame and then the Improved J frame as they had done with their I frame predecessors however, they did not so collectors took it upon themselves to name the smaller early J frames as "baby chiefs" to differentiate between the two versions.

The baby chief and the chief special became the model 36 when S&W decided to assign model numbers.

Unfortunately, S&W has continued to confuse the issue for future collectors by coming out with a Chief Special in a semi automatic gun.
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Old 07-12-2017, 08:14 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Great guns guys!!!!

I love the Terriers. I only have two, but I look for the early ones all the time...

Here are my two:

a pre-war one (Aug 1939):





... and one that shipped after the conflict was over (Sept 1950):





The crazy thing is that they are 11 years apart, but less than 2,500 SN's apart.
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:02 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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3 38 S&W Terriers
top 57210 1 of 10 shipped to Albuquerque Oct 1950
Middle 63663 shipped to U.S. Post Office Washington D.C. October 1951
Bottom 56847 Shipped to New York City P.D. September 1950 100 in shipment


Smith and Wesson Historical Foundation research found invoices showing the U.S. Post Office purchased 4,000 Terriers in 1950/1951 time period.


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Old 07-12-2017, 10:19 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Richard-

Your pre war boxed Terrier has to be the cleanest example out there,WOW!
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:24 PM
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Buffalo Bore makes a decent .38 S&W self defense round.
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:26 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Nice doggies......I found one a while back, later model.....if i ever find a nickel one.....oh boy.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:39 AM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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All beautiful ! That's one revolver I've TRIED to steer away from to avoid getting nuts over another model (on a pensioners budget trying to keep to M&P/10s' and K38/15s'). But now you all have spoiled it for me. I MUST buy at least one Terrier, and need to study so I know what I'm buying.
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:37 AM
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I couldn't help myself one more Terrier photo !
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Old 07-14-2017, 03:56 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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I took my little Terrier to the range today, with some Fiocchi 145 grain FMJ.



It was a joy to shoot. Very little recoil and it shot to the point of aim.

I brought along my old Enfield. I had forgotten how much fun that old timer is to shoot. While the Terrier had light recoil, the Enfield had none. It shot low a little, but what a hoot.



Now that I have a stash of fresh empties, time to try my hand at reloading.
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Old 07-14-2017, 05:10 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OLDSTER View Post
All beautiful ! That's one revolver I've TRIED to steer away from to avoid getting nuts over another model (on a pensioners budget trying to keep to M&P/10s' and K38/15s'). But now you all have spoiled it for me. I MUST buy at least one Terrier, and need to study so I know what I'm buying.
John,

This commentary of the I frame evolution post war, including the Terrier, may help:

http://smith-wessonforum.com/blog.php?b=103
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Old 07-14-2017, 05:19 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigp220.45 View Post
I took my little Terrier to the range today, with some Fiocchi 145 grain FMJ.



It was a joy to shoot. Very little recoil and it shot to the point of aim.
You do indeed have a very nice find at a great price.

You're correct it's an I frame; more specifically, a Model of 1953 'NEW' I frame. At which time it acquired the larger grip frame, 1/8" longer, and larger trigger guard, same size and at the same time as the Model of 1953 'NEW' J frame.

It became a Mod 32 in 1957 and became a J frame as the Mod 32-1 in Jan of 1961.

Enjoy!
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Old 07-21-2017, 11:31 AM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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I loaded up my first ever .38 S&W loads, using my old school nutcracker and Lee powder scoops. A 125 grain SWC over a whopping 2.7 grains of Unique.



Very easy shooting load, hit a little high at 15 yards. Man, those sights are small.



I'm going to try it with some 200 grain pumpkin balls next.
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Old 09-17-2017, 12:11 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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A quick update - I did my annual LEOSA geezer qual yesterday. I shot my Hi Power first, then had to wait for all the one-gun folks to finish before I could qualify with my second gun, the Terrier.

There were noticeably more Shields than last year, probably thanks to the rebates. Lots of small Glocks, a few full sized Sigs, and one Beretta 92.

Mine was the only Hi Power. No 1911s. And the only revolver was my refugee from 1955.

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Old 09-17-2017, 04:06 PM
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+1 What Terrier said!

sigp220.45.
I would have dickered ... it's just in my bones. Luv your "new" firearm!
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:32 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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I wonder what the qualifiers would have said if I were there with my Baby Chief or my pre-War Terrier? Only one revolver in the lot??? Must be too many Junior G-Men and not enough geezers!

Froggie
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:06 PM
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Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack Hey, that's no Chief Special! A Terrier finally joins the pack  
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Quote:
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I wonder what the qualifiers would have said if I were there with my Baby Chief or my pre-War Terrier? Only one revolver in the lot??? Must be too many Junior G-Men and not enough geezers!

Froggie

I was the only junior G-Man! The oldest guy was an octogenarian from the Silt, CO, PD (he said Silt stood for Sorry Its Like This) who was shooting a Sig 226.

The really old dudes were all shooting semis. The Glock 43 was the hands down favorite among them.

The range guys were Sheriff's Deputies - the 75 year old guy next to me was shooting a first gen Glock 17 and the Deputy said, man thats an old one! Then he got to me and my little Terrier and just shook his head and said, go for it buddy.
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