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Old 08-08-2018, 03:29 PM
meltombradem meltombradem is offline
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Default Help in identifying retired police revolver

Hello,
I've been given my uncle's S&W .38 sp revolver. He was an officer with a municipal police department from 1949 to 1981. It's a 4" barrel, fixed sights, s/n C 34xxx. My cousin is not sure if this was an issued gun or was purchased commercially. I'd like to know the year of manufacture. Also would like to know if the factory can send me a factory letter which should show whether or not it was shipped to the police department. Thanks.
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Old 08-08-2018, 03:46 PM
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Pictures would be nice. It is probably a pre-Model 10 Military and Police shipped from 1948-1951, probably fairly early in that time frame due to the relatively low #. Yes, the historical society could supply you with a letter. Depending on where he worked possibly his department supplied his weapon, possibly he had to or he could have had an option.
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Old 08-08-2018, 03:53 PM
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That serial was likely produced in late 1948 and could have shipped that year or in early 1949.

It was a very common police gun. Departments bought both direct from the factory and from distributors. But other departments had their officers buy their own guns.

You can get a letter from the SW Historical Foundation which will tell you if the gun did indeed ship directly to the department, but there is no guarantee. If it shipped to some regional distributor, thatís where the trail will end.

Only occasionally did departments buy through a local gun dealer, and the letter will show the store it shipped to and mention it was for the PD; but thatís not common.

So a letter is always a bit of a gamble.

Hereís how you order the letter:

Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation - Letter Process - Insuring that the rich history of Smith & Wesson will continue for generations to come
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Old 08-08-2018, 04:04 PM
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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Your gun shipped in 1948. There is a link to a historian's letter form in a sticky post at the top of the page. Send a set of sharp, well lighted pictures with your $75 check and Roy will tell you all he knows about that gun.


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Old 08-08-2018, 04:17 PM
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C339xx shipped from S&W in 12/48. The first M&Ps in the C-series shipped in 3/48. As previously mentioned, different PDs had different duty handgun policies at different times. Many small (and some large) PDs required officers to buy their own, sometimes from distributors or retailers offering a LE discount. Other PDs owned and issued them. You may be disappointed in the information you get in the letter. Or maybe not. You pays yer money and you takes yer chance.

Last edited by DWalt; 08-08-2018 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:07 PM
meltombradem meltombradem is offline
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Thanks to all for quick replies. It will be interesting to see the factory letter.
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