Colt Police Positive (4th Issue) 1977-1978

The Police Positive was actually the first D-frame size handgun produced by Colt. These guns were made from 1907 to 1978 and then revived in 1994 to 1995. I would be surprised to see it revived again in my lifetime. As I write this, I'm thinking of the internal hammer block safety Colt called the "Positive Lock". This gun sold for $175 new in 1977.

1977 Colt Police Positive Fourth Generation

1977 Police Positive Fourth Issue/Series in the Gun Cabinet

Colt's Positive Lock safety, the innovation responsible for the gun's introduction, functioned by preventing the firing pin from striking the primer of the cartridge unless the trigger was deliberately pulled. Intended to address deficiencies of earlier models such as the Single Action Army, the Positive Lock prevented an accidental discharge even if the hammer was struck or the pistol was dropped, allowing the revolver to be safely carried with all six chambers loaded.

There are five issues or versions of the Colt Police Positive Special.

  • Issue 1 Years 1907-1928: Blued or nickel, hard black rubber grips until 1923, checkered walnut with silver medallions from 1923 to 1928.
  • Issue 2 Years 1928-1946: Wood grips were smoothe at first and then changed back to checkered. The top strap was grooved to cut down on glare. The trigger was textured, and the space between the trigger guard and grip frame was widened.
  • Issue 3 Years 1947-1976: Ramped front sight, improved cylinder retention system, grooved trigger. Several grip changes took place in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Issue 4 Years 1977-1978: New shrouded ejector to modernize look. Blued or nickel. The “Special” was dropped from the name and was only mentioned in terms of the .38 Special chambering.
  • Issue 5 Years 1994-1995: The last of the Police Positive Series was also known as the Mark V. Heavy 4″ barrels and rubber grips.

A Short-Lived Anomaly

If you've read my blog, you know how irritated I get at sellers using unwarranted descriptions like "ultra rare", but in this case I think "rare" can be used on a one year production gun. I don't have the inside scoop on Fourth Series sales numbers, but I plan to research and learn as much as I can. My gut tells me this model was not very popular by 1977.

This gun has the distinction of being only the second gun added to my collection without me even considering having a holster made for it. I just don't see me ever carrying this gun. I'll tell you that I was not actively seeking this model when I bought it. I was shopping for something else altogether. As I scrolled passed it, I backed up because a bell was going off, "VIPER."

happiest customer of the day
I love the paperwork that came with this one!

If you are still here reading about this old Police Positive, I have to assume that you are a true Colt lover. The Police Positive was very successful. Along with the Colt Official Police it dominated the law enforcement firearms market in the early 1900s. But by the time this Fourth Issue was released in 1977, it was the end of an era.

American gangster Al Capone used a Police Positive, a nickel .38 with walnut grips and a 4-inch barrel, manufactured in 1929. In June 2011 a private collector sold it at Christie's for the sum of $109,080.

1977 Colt Police Positive

Purchased Unfired in 2021 for $2,094

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