View Full Version : List of Service Revolvers by Department

June 12, 2011, 03:42 PM
I would appreciate any help TFL members could give me in compiling a list of which make/model of service revolver were issued by the various police departments. (I want to know specific revolver and specific departments ONLY.)

June 12, 2011, 04:37 PM
The Anchorage Police Dept. phased out their Model 15s and went to giving the choice of Model 28s or Model 13s in the late 70s.

Semis were coming on the scene in the early 90s but I still carried my Model 28 until I retired in '94. The PD gave me my Model 28 when I retired.

When I first hired on the issue ammo was 38, 158 RN Cast bullets, cast and loaded by jail trustees, needless to say I carried my own reloads. Later they went with Winchester 125 Grn 357s. or 38s, your choice.

I don't know what kind of plastic contraptions they issue now.

June 12, 2011, 04:52 PM
I've read NYPD used the Colt Police Positive

June 12, 2011, 05:38 PM
The VSP used to use the smith model 10. I can't say that they all used it but I know many did.

June 12, 2011, 07:25 PM
Los Angeles Police Department before 1988: S&W model 14 and 15 or K38 masterpiece and combat masterpiece. Also the S&W model 68.
Riverside County Sheriffs Dept. S&W model 64.
Sacramento County Sheriffs Dept. S&W model 13.
San Diego County Sheriffs Dept. S&W model 19&66.
San Fransciso Police Dept. S&W model 58 and 28. Colt Trooper.
Santa Ana Police Dept. S&W model 581.
Santa Clara Count Sheriffs Dept. S&W model 19 and model 686.
California Highway Patrol. S&W model 67 model 68, model 19, model 28, model 586 and Ruger GP100,
These are the agencies that I am aware of in California.

June 12, 2011, 08:50 PM
Thanks Howard.

June 12, 2011, 09:54 PM
Prior to the switchover to semi-autos in 1993, the NYPD issued S&W M64's. Prior to that, I believe they issued M10's.

The FBI, prior to issuing semi-autos, issued S&W M19's and M65's with 2 1/2" and 3" barrels respectively.

The U.S. border patrol, at one time, issued Colt New Service revolvers in .38 Special while during approximately the same time period the New York State Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police issued Colt New Service revolvers in .45 Long Colt.

nick mcpheron
June 13, 2011, 12:21 AM
The Canadian Mounted Police also used the S&W 1917 in .455. But that was some time ago.

June 13, 2011, 04:07 AM
Chicago Police Dept. issued Model 10 Smith and Wessons for quite a while. However, they also authorized the Colt Official Police as a duty revolver; then, also authorized the Model 65 as well as the Python and Trooper models.

Incidentally, the 1911 pistol was also authorized for a while.

June 13, 2011, 08:35 AM
Early 90s, Georgia Dept. of Corrections issued Smith model 10. Got the same gun, Smith Model 10 when I went to work with Georgia College Public Safety (1996). My current Department, McIntyre Police Dept. (we are in Middle Georgia) issues Taurus Model 85 ultra lite as back ups. :rolleyes:

June 13, 2011, 08:53 AM
The Canadian Mounted Police also used the S&W 1917 in .455. But that was some time ago.
My uncle is a retired RCMP officer who occasionally helped with firearms training in the 70s and 80s. IIRC, when he started out, the RCMP issued DAO S&W Model 10s with 4" heavy barrels. These were later replaced by S&W M5943 9mm DAO automatics.

According to the book "The Hall Street Shoot-Out" by Captain E.R. Walt (excellent book BTW), the Dallas Police Department's primary issue sidearm during the 1960s was the S&W M15, although they also had a few Colt OPs in inventory. However, the DPD had a very liberal firearms policy that allowed an officer to carry virtually any personally-owned .38/9mm or larger-caliber firearm while on duty. :cool: According to the author, the most popular choices were S&W M19s or Browning M1911s, but some officers carried Colt Pythons, some carried .357Mag, .44Spl, .41Mag, or .44Mag(!) S&W N frame revolvers, and others carried 9mm BHPs or S&W automatics (presumably M39-2s).

June 13, 2011, 09:04 AM
When I joined the US Border Patrol in 1976,they issued the Ruger Security Six or the Colt "Border Patrol",which seemed to be a Trooper MKIII with a different name.
Later,when I transferred to the Investigations Division,they were issuing Model 10 2" snubbies,although you could carry anything you were able to qualify on.
In the 80's,Investigations went over to the Ruger Speed Six,with Pachmayr grips and a 2 3/4"barrel.Great revolvers-they were rugged to a fault and very accurate on a practical basis out to 25 yards,and made a swell blackjack in a pinch.They were the revolver equivalent of the Dodge Slant Six engine.
Semiautos were optional at the agents' own expense in both the Patrol and Investigations.

Andy Taylor
June 13, 2011, 10:34 AM
Sacramento Sheriff's Department issued S&W
M13 and M15 Sacramento PD issued M686 and M15
LAPD issued S&W M14, M15, M68
CHP issued S&W M68
NYCPD issued S&W M64, M10, M60, M36, Colt Official Police, Detective Special, Ruger GP100
NY State Police issued S&W M13, M28
Florida Highway Patrol issued S&W M28

This is not a complete list of weapons for these departments. Only ones that I am certain were issued by these agencys at one time or another.

June 13, 2011, 10:50 AM
My father was NYPD from the late 60's to the late 80's. He transfered both of his pistols to me so I can enjoy them (he is not into shooting).

His on duty was a smith model 10-6
His off duty was a colt detective special.

He told me that these were not issued guns. When he was a cop, there was a list of acceptable firearms that he could have purchased. These are the ones that he chose


Mike Irwin
June 13, 2011, 10:57 AM
Washington, DC, metro police prior to 1989 or so issued 4" S&W Model 10s.

US Park Police also issued the same, loaded with Federal +P+ 158-gr. JHPs.

bdb benzino
June 13, 2011, 04:12 PM
My father was an Oregon State policeman for a long time. They carried S&W 686-1's from the early 80's to the early 90's, my dad gave me his. After that they went to Glock 17 for a couple years and then the Glock 40. I beleive before the 686 in the 80's, they used S&W M-10's. Hope this helps.;)

June 13, 2011, 05:23 PM
US Park Police also issued the same, loaded with Federal +P+ 158-gr. JHPs.

You can shoot +P+ in a model 10?
How 'bout the model 67?

Glenn Dee
June 13, 2011, 05:32 PM
198ster is correct.

The NYPD did not issue service revolvers. They had to be purchased by the individual officer when hired. Depending when you were hired you may have been required to carry your firearm at all times after being sworn in. About 1973 this changed, and the firearms were released after the rookie attending the PAFTS course and qualification. Usually towards the end of the Academy.

The NYPD may have used colt police positives.. but that would have been a long long time ago. I've never seen one in service. Although I have seen the holster for one... Pretty neat. It was actually a pocket holster with a belt loop, and a security strap. The belt went through the loop, and the holster was stuck into the back pocket. Like carrying the little gun in your back pocket.

When I was hired the list for authorized service revolvers was...

1) S&W Model 10 4" heavy, or standard barrel.
2) Colt official police.
3) Colt metropolitan Mk III in .38spl.

The requirement was for an all blue steel, 6 shot revolver, with fixed sights, and a 4" barrel in .38 spl ONLY!!!

I chose the S&W heavy barrel.

Sometime in the eighties they also accepted the Ruger service six in the above configuration. Shortly after they authorized stainless steel guns in the Ruger service six, and the S&W 64.

With the advent of new hiring standards resulting is a huge rash of N/D's they began authorizing only DAO firearms for new hires... and wouldnt let them have em until the day before graduation. These dao guns were available, and acceptable in several different configurations. Either Ruger Service six, or S&W 64 in any combination of round or squair butt, 3 or 4" barrel... but had to be DAO.

And so it was... until the transition to auto pistols... And the N/D's began...

Mike Irwin
June 13, 2011, 05:59 PM
"You can shoot +P+ in a model 10?"

Late issue ones (after the 1970s, I guess) apparently, because that's what my friend's service load was in his Model 10.

And, the old FBI load was a 158-gr. LSWCHP loaded to +P+. That load was fired in a lot of FBI model 10s over the years.

That was also the load that ended the Miami shootout in 1986, although Agent Mirelles (sp?) was firing them out of a 2.5" Model 19 at the time.

June 14, 2011, 12:01 AM
Before the switch to the M9 9mmNATO caliber in 1985, the US Army MPs(military police) & MPI(military police investigators) used a few S&W model 10 heavy barrel K frame DA(double action) .38spl revolvers. MPI section investigators used either 5 shot J frame S&W model 36s or 6 shot K frame model 10s with 2" snub barrels.
When I went to the US Army MP School in AL in the 1980s, female MPs & MP officers(O-1 to O-3) were checked out on both M9s & 4" barrel model
10 revolvers.
As a teen, I saw a few textbook & DoD file photos of US Army MPs & a few USAF security police(SPs) packing Ruger 6 shot Service-Six/Speed-Six revolvers in SE Asia.

Glenn Dee
June 14, 2011, 03:46 AM
Hey MIke

Yes model 10's can and did handle +p ammo just fine. As did the Colts, and Rugers.

Sometime in the late 70's the NYPD transitioned from standard velocity .38spl 158gr lead SWC to the same bullet configuration in +p rating. Then to the 158gr LSWC +p Nyclad. As I said I carried a Model 10 H/B as a service revolver. Although I dont remember the date there was a cut off in age for service revolvers, and some old timers had to buy new gun's. I believe there may have been some consideration for those planning to retire within two years.

However the department did make changes to what was authorized for off duty and back up use when the +p's became mandatory. Some of the authorized off duty gun's were light weight model 37, and 38 Smiths, Colt agents, and cobra's. These guns became unauthorized over night, and some officers were forced to carry their service revolver off duty, until they purchased new all steel ones.

I believe this was a pretty good laboratory for the +p round in carbon steel revolvers not marked as rated for the +P. Were talking about aproximately 70,000 guns over a period of about two years. It'd be interesting to know what the failure rate was.

Glenn D.

Mike Irwin
June 14, 2011, 06:17 AM

We're not talking about +P, we're talking about +P+, which has even higher pressure than +P .38 Special ammo.

June 14, 2011, 08:57 AM
You can shoot +P+ in a model 10?
Yes and no.

The problem with +P+ is that no SAAMI pressure standard exists. Since there was no standard, some commercial loads were a good deal hotter than others.

If a department successfully used a particular load in their guns for years- like the 158gr LSWCHP load references by Mike Irwin- all this tells us is THAT particular load is safe in the M10. However, this load could be a relatively mild one. This doesn't mean that all +P+ loads are safe.

June 14, 2011, 11:17 AM
The revolver equivalent of the Dodge Slant Six?! I'm not even sure how to take that!! That made my day!

Should we refer to the Speed/Service/Security Six as the Slant Six Series moving forward?

June 14, 2011, 10:48 PM
Personally I have not seen any boxes of +P+ 38 specials. But I know this. I use my model 10 heavy barrel 4 inch with Buffalo Bores 158gr LSWCHP +P which has a velocity of over 1100 fps in a 4 inch revolver. This round feels like a 357 magnum round when shooting it. I have had zero problems shooting it in my model 10. I don't know any factory load that gets close to this round. All +P rounds are wimps compared to this round. I believe any model 10 in good condition can handle many rounds of Buffalo Bore and have zero problems.

June 16, 2011, 07:28 PM
The only help I can give you is that I recently aquired a very nice Colt Official Police .38 special with a 5" barrel. On the backstrap is engraved very beautifuly the inscription, "Richmond Police Department No. XXX. The gun looks to be a
1960s' production.

when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico back in the 90s' I knew a couple of LEOs', two were city police, and a couple of Santa Fe County Sherrifs who all carried Ruger Security Sixs', and they all swore by them BTW.

In addition, I have a Ruger Police Service Six in .38 special that I purchased from a reputable gun shop in Md. He stated that he got 40 some of these from a sale and that these guns were used as sidearms for MPs' at an Air Force base, which one I do not know. He is a very reputable dealer who knows his stuff, so I believe it t be true. But I cannot confirm this.

I would be very interested on the information you gather when you coallate it. This is quite an interesting topic, to me anyway.

I hope this helps.


June 17, 2011, 12:43 AM
I re-read Slope's post about the Ruger "Slant-6" DA revolvers.
Unless a member post was edited or deleted Im not sure what in blue blazes that means.
I know Ruger marketed a "Security-Six" & a "Speed-Six". I think there may also have been a "Service-Six" duty revolver too but that was a few years before my era. ;)

Whatever that meant, I guess it broke somebody up.

June 17, 2011, 02:02 AM
I don't know how much help this is, but apparently at one time the Treasury Department Secret Service issued 4" Colt Official Police revolvers.

I've got one so stamped on the butt. S/N indicates the gun was made in 1939. I would guess that was the uniform division of the Secret Service.

The only help I can give you is that I recently aquired a very nice Colt Official Police .38 special with a 5" barrel. On the backstrap is engraved very beautifuly the inscription, "Richmond Police Department No. XXX. The gun looks to be a 1960s' production.

Richmond (Va.) also used the Model 10, as did neighboring Chesterfield County. I don't know if they were issued, or if the officers were given allowances to buy their sidearms. I just remember seeing them back in the day.

Oh, and back in the late 70's when I was working for Burns and Pinkerton's security I was issued both Colt Official Police, and Model 10 revolvers. I suspect they just purchased whatever was the least expensive at the time, and I suspect they bought used ones rather than new.

I suspect most police departments did the same thing really. They decided they needed "X" number of new revolvers, and they'd put out a bid. Whoever came back with the low bid at that time got the business. They didn't take the old guns out of service. One revolver was pretty much like another one really. They might have Colts, S&W's and later on, Rugers on duty at the same time.

June 17, 2011, 03:20 AM
The Canadian Mounted Police also used the S&W 1917 in .455. But that was some time ago.

RCMP were also issued New Service revolvers in .45 Colt, and later, when the NS became obsolete, some troops carried 5" Model 10 S&Ws. Some really beautiful unissued RCMP surplus sets of russet holsters, Sam Brown belts and handcuff cases, all S&W branded were sold off in the 80s.

I recently purchased a factory nickel 5" Model 10-2 S&W that was marked "Detroit Police Department" on the backstrap. Apparently, Century Arms somehow got a hold of these, as the box it came in was a generic Century and the printed label was numbered to the gun.

Also have the following:

A Smith & Wesson Model 10-7 marked "RHKP," for Royal Hong Kong Police. They were issued with factory lanyard rings and are, apparently, the only Model 10s to have that. (Notice I said Model 10, and not M&P.)

A Colt Official Police, 1939 vintage, marked "MSP" on the butt, that supposedly came from the Mass. State Police via Howco or Northeast Distributors back in the early 80s. (Don't remember which.)

A Webley & Scott Mk IV .38 cross bolt safety model marked "SPF," for Singapore Police Forces.

Another I once had a chance to own, but couldn't afford at the time, was a factory 4" Colt Shooting Master in .357 Magnum issued to the Utah Highway Patrol, and so marked.

Glenn Dee
June 17, 2011, 03:58 PM
Smith n Wesson offered lanyard loops for all their service sized revolvers. This was an alteration to the existing gun. I believe it was done by department armorer, or a private gunsmith. If an officer was reassigned to mounted (horses), or Highway patrol (motorcycles) he had to get a lanyard loop installed. I know one guy who sent his to S&W to get it done...

June 17, 2011, 09:48 PM
In the late 80's when I started the New York State police were starting to be Issued S&W 581's I am unsure of their ammo restrictions.

The County Sheriff's patrol I started with issued me a heavy 4" BBL model 10 with Winchester 125gr Silvertip ammo. I bought my own 4" model 19, We were allowed to purchase our own 4" .357 magnum as long as we qualified with it. We were restricted to Winchester 145 Gr Silvertips. The reason it was silvertip HP's and not other brands allowed was because of the name. Hollowpoint was not written on the box at that time. The county lawyers at the time were afraid of the word Hollowpoint. I transfered to another municipality in my county only to be issued yet another model 10 this one with the pencil BBL. That was short lived 2 weeks after I transfered we were issued Sig P226 9mm's our ammo was the 124 gr +P+ Federal hydrashock. We carried those for a few years and had some shootings where the bullet failed. We again stayed with Sig but went with the P220 45ACP with 230gr +P hydrshocks. I carried that gun until I retired in 2009, Hope all of this helps your reserch

June 18, 2011, 09:21 AM
Smith n Wesson offered lanyard loops for all their service sized revolvers. This was an alteration to the existing gun. I believe it was done by department armorer, or a private gunsmith. If an officer was reassigned to mounted (horses), or Highway patrol (motorcycles) he had to get a lanyard loop installed. I know one guy who sent his to S&W to get it done...

Except that the RHKP order (in the 1980s) for the 10-7s specified a factory installed ring. According to Supica's reference book, it was the only Model 10 ever issued with factory lanyard rings. The rings were installed toward the rear of the butt to keep from obliterating the serial number. (Again, I'm referrring to the Model 10, and not the earlier M&Ps.)

unit 900
June 18, 2011, 10:54 AM
Baltimore Police Department
Patrol: 4 inch S&W M10 and later 64. Colt OP, stopped that in early 70's

Detectives: Colt DS then S&W M 64 in 2"

158 gr LRN, then 158 SWC and finally the 158 gr LSWCHP


June 20, 2011, 04:42 PM
Michigan State Police were issued S&W model 10's till 1988 or so, when they switched to Sig P226's.

They are still issued S&W 649 in .38Spl +P for a BUG or off duty.

Andy Taylor
June 21, 2011, 10:59 AM
"I re-read Slope's post about the Ruger "Slant-6" DA revolvers...."

I believe the poster was refering to the Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth "Slant-6" engine. Known for it's longeviety, durability, and ability to take all kinds of abuse. He was comapring the Ruger Security/Service/Speed-Six revolvers which also have these attributes, with the MOPAR motor.

June 21, 2011, 07:30 PM
In the 80's Metro-Dade has S&W model 15s then switched to S&W 64 and some SS Ruger. The round was the LSCHP+p.

The city of Miami had S&W 64s modified for DAO.

Glenn E. Meyer
June 22, 2011, 10:44 AM
San Antonio PD issued Model 58's in 41 magnum. Here's a thread that mentions some others for the gun:


June 22, 2011, 06:38 PM
Raleigh, NC PD was issuing a mix of Colt Troopers, Trooper MKIII and Border Patrol's up until about 1981. Detectives were issued a mix of Colt DS's and Cobras.
After that, uniform went to S&W M66 4", and Detectives had the M66 2.5".

Stayed like that 'til 1990, when the first auto was issued - the S&W M1076 10mm.

June 23, 2011, 10:35 AM
Texas DPS issued 4" nickel Colt New Service .38s in the '40s (oddly they replaced 1911 .45s). In the early '50s they switched to 4" nickel S&W .38/44 Heavy Duties. Around 1954 they bought the new 4" blued S&W Highway Patrolman .357 (M28) and continued issuing those through 1991/1992 when the move to SIG P220s, P226s, and P228s began. DPS investigators and Texas Rangers got 4" blued Combat Magnums (M19s) in the mid '50s along with some later 2 1/2" 66s. In the early '80s 4" blued 586 .357s were also issued to uniforms and plainclothes alike. The old Colts and Heavy Duties were marked DPS on the butt or backstrap; the later Smiths were marked with DPS and an issue number on the left side of the frame under the cylinder window.

June 23, 2011, 11:34 PM
The National Park Service spec'd out a duty revolver as American made, 6-shot, steel framed 4" bbl, fixed or adj. sights, .38 or .357 cal, but in the early days, only .38 ammo was issued and carried, the Treasury Load 110JHP+p+. In the round gun days, my first issue. 1983, (you were issued the revolver at the duty post in those days) was a Smith Model 15. I transfered and received a Model 10 heavy barrel next. I got another Model 10 HB at my 3rd park.

Finally, in 1985 I got a M66 when I went to Hot Springs AR, still w/ .38 +P+ ammo. In 1988 another transfer and I ended up w/ a M686. We also made the jump to 125 JHP mag ammo, at the same time, as there had been some shootings and the +P+ did not prove to be the stopper in those shooting that it was alleged to be. If personnel were having trouble w/ full house 125/357, the 110 Mag load was also authorized.

I bought a Ruger Sec 6 as a personal, spare weapon (approved via policy) early on, as agency spares were scarce to non existant. Some parks bought Rugers as an alternative to the Smiths. I remember Gettysburg had some Rugers. The 5-shot steel J frames were approved for supervisors and concealed carry assignments. The 2 inch M10 was also common as a supervisor revolver, and lots of guys bought 2.5 inch M66's, round butt as a concealment and off duty revolver. They were really popular and hard to find,even then.

I NEVER saw a Colt of any kind on duty in the NPS. I saw a drawer full of old Detective Specials at the Liberty Bell, no shroud, but they were never issued.
We figured we'd go to autos about the same time the rest of the world went to ray guns, but the agency began central issuing SIGS in 1995-96.

June 24, 2011, 01:09 AM
Many moons ago(early 1980s) there was a big LE shoot-out where a young teen playing a video arcade game(remember those???) was shot by a police officer with a DA/SA .38spl revolver(I think it was a 67 or maybe a 4" barrel 66 Smith and Wesson).
The lethal force event was a huge media story in the south Florida area. The result was a big riot/civil disorder that lasted around 3 days. The civil unrest caused millions in property damage & there were deaths/injurys.
I think Janet Reno was the Florida/Dade County State Atty at the time.
After the huge mess, the Miami PD or the Miami-Dade County LE agency mandated the use of DA only .38spl revolvers by sworn officers/detectives(with policy waviers or PD exceptions).
I also heard around 2000, that the standard PD SOP was to only issue DA only 6 shot S&W revolvers to new hires for at least 24mo of continuous on duty use. ;)
I think the Glock model 23/22 or 17/19 has since replace the DA only revolvers(2011). ;)
Author & sworn LE trainer Massad Ayoob wrote a few gun press items in the 1980s/1990s about the Miami FL street riots. Nexus-Lexus legal searches may also shed more light on the cases.


Horseless Trooper
July 4, 2011, 09:55 AM
The New York State Police as previously posted started with the New Service the in the late 50's went with the Official Police 6in. Next was a 4in. Official Police then they went with S&W Model 10's in .357 (special made) and then the Model 13. During this period the Colt Detective Special was the plain clothes gun. Next came the S&W M28. From the late 70's until the time they adopted body armor you could carry any 4in. blue American made revolver, minimum caliber of .38 with approval. Issue ammo for the old 38's was 158gr. RNL. The 357s were issued 158JSP ammo. After the M28's the state went with the S&W 581, the last issue revolver and the 3in. Model 65 for plain clothes. If you opted for a .38 during this period the authorized ammo was the 158 SWC +p. Any gun carried off duty for "Police Purposes" was restricted to issue type ammo.

July 4, 2011, 09:59 AM
There is at least one section of DHS issuing 4" Taurus 38 Special revolvers.