This Old Gun: Colt Official Police Revolver

posted on June 26, 2020
American Rifleman TV is detailing the history behind Colt’s Official Police revolver in this latest “I Have This Old Gun” segment shown on Outdoor Channel. Watch the above video for details.

Title screen for "I Have This Old Gun" Colt Official Police

It was in 1836 that Samuel Colt was issued a U.S. patent to build his firearm design and factory, paving the way of the legacy brand for more than a century. Among the myriad military contracts and legacy designs produced by Colt throughout the years, the Official Police model came at a time of transition. The U.S. military adopted the semi-automatic M1911 pistol and Colt shifted focus of its revolver sales toward police contracts.

Left side of Colt revolver cutway image with text calling out parts.

Colt’s Official Police revolver was an improvement on the Army Special model and featured a medium-size frame with double-action lockwork. The gun’s swing-out cylinder was initially chambered the .38 Spl. cartridge and .41 Long Colt, but would handle heavier loads brought to market by Smith & Wesson. The cylinder featured an unshrouded ejector rod and chambered six founds.

Close-up view of Colt revolver cylinder.

The Official Police can be broken into two issues, pre- and post-war production cycles. Mechanically, the gun’s remained virtually unchanged throughout the years. First issue and second issue Colt Official Police models came from the Colt Hartford, Conn., factory hand finished with rich bluing.

Vintage catalog art with revolver.

Myriad options left the factory throughout its production cycle, models available with barrel lengths of 2”, 4”, 5” and 6” were available and Target variants with adjustable sights made their way to Camp Perry. Round- and square-butt variants were made as well. Colt discontinued its Official Police design in 1969.

Man wearing protective gear while shooting a revolver with fire blast coming from the muzzle.

Watch our American Rifleman Television “I Have This Old Gun” segment above to learn more the Official Police revolver from Colt.


Springfield Armory XD M Elite 10 Mm OSP
Springfield Armory XD M Elite 10 Mm OSP

NRA Gun Of The Week: Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 4.5” OSP In 10 mm Auto

Watch American Rifleman staff on the range to learn about the 10 mm Auto-chambered XD-M Elite 4.5” OSP, one of the latest offerings in Springfield Armory's feature-rich lineup of Croatian-made pistols.

The Armed Citizen® Dec. 2, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Rifleman Q&A: M1903 vs. M1903A1 Rifles

I’ve seen references to an M1903A1 rifle. I’ve looked around at a bunch of gun shows, and I have not found a rifle marked “M1903A1.” How does that variant differ from a standard M1903 rifle?

PrairieFire Emerges Following Front Sight Chapter 11 Filing

PrairieFire announced this week that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada confirmed the Chapter 11 plan of reorganization under which it will acquire 100 percent of Front Sight Management’s equity.

5 Common Grip & Stance Mistakes

Even for those who are seasoned and train regularly, sometimes mistakes can persist when it comes to shooting techniques. Here are five of the most common grip and stance mistakes made by shooters.

Windham Weaponry: Makers Of ARs & More

For Richard Dyke, previous owner of Bushmaster, his legacy has evolved under a new banner, Windham Weaponry, which continues to manufacture a number of AR-type rifles and pistols to this day.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.