View Full Version : Colt 1917 Snub nose

July 20, 2010, 09:17 AM
I have a Colt 1917 that was made in 1919. At some time it was cut down to a 2.5 in bbl. with a ramp front sight. The but was rounded and the loop area is not there anymore. Also the hammer is bobbed. Who ever did this was a expert gunsmith it looks factory. The gun still looks it's age and the modifications all blend in like they were done a long time ago. I read some time ago the government did this and issued the pistols to pilots and OSS and groups like that.

July 20, 2010, 10:37 AM
I think it is safe to say that this modification was not done by any government agency. At one time these guns were very common and very cheap, this was a standard chop job to achieve the ultimate " stubby ":)

July 20, 2010, 01:03 PM
These were the 'ultimate snubbies' with the 45 Colt cartridge .One of the things you might see is the front of the trigger guard cut away. This is a dumb thing to do as the trigger guard is soft and if you bump it it will bend and jamb the trigger !

July 20, 2010, 04:13 PM
Welcome to the forum Larry fj. I started a thread on the Firing Line revolver forum a year or so ago so that all the Model 1917 Revolver owners (Colt or S&W) could post a photo of their guns on the same thread. The idea was that this would give everybody a look at what variations are out there in case anyone wanted to see what the possibilities were. A lot of photos came in. They ranged from absolutely pristine stock models to heavily customized. I had hoped to see a photo of a gun like yours because I'd heard of Colts being chopped like yours, but no one ever posted a photo of a snubbie. I'd love to see a photo of your gun posted on that thread. You should be able to find that thread by using this forums "search" feature. Just type in "Model 1917 revolver" and the search feature should be able to pull up all the threads that pertain to those guns. I think mine will be about the fifth one on the list. If you'll post a photo of your gun on that thread, that'll bring that it back into the current list of topics so other 1917 Model owners reading todays topics will see it. If that's too much trouble for you, just post a photo of your gun on this thread. I'd love to see a photo of it and feel sure many other 1917 ownwers would too. Thanks, DG

July 22, 2010, 09:30 AM
Here are some pics. Having trouble getting around in here keeps logging me out.

July 22, 2010, 06:54 PM
As above, back in the 1960's this was a very common modification to the Colt 1917.

Back then, the US Post Office sold off a huge number of 1917's that had been given to them by the Army in the 1930's during the rash of post office robberies.
Most of them had sat unused in post masters safes or desks.

Also, at the same time, the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM) sold large numbers of 1917 Colt's and S&W revolvers through the NRA.
As I recall the price was around $15.00 to $20.00.

As was usual, since the guns were plentiful and cheap, a lot got customized, and snubby versions were popular.
I remember one thing that got the chopping craze really going was an article in a gun magazine by a Miami narcotics detective who chopped one that looked very much like yours and used it on the job.
He wrote about how big suspects eyes got and how they stopped making trouble after getting a look down that big barrel.

I've never seen or read anything about the military chopping 1917 revolvers for anyone.
Pilots or OSS needing snubby revolvers were simply bought Colt Detective Special revolvers.
Pilots were issued 4" barreled Colt Commando, or S&W Victory model revolvers, not snubbies.

James K
July 22, 2010, 09:05 PM
I am surprised no one mentioned the "Fitz Special" which was the forerunner of those chopped down Colt revolvers. Google "Fitz Special" for more info that I can give you here, but note that while the term was applied to other revolvers, "Fitz" was a Colt employee and the real "FItz Specials" were all Colts.


July 25, 2010, 07:37 AM
I'm pretty sure that is the article I read some time ago. Also after reading other stories on the web I figure this Colt was modified by really top notch gun smith back when the major companies did'nt make snub noses but it was a sort after modification. Thanks to all for tha help.