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Colt Police Positive Special
Colt Police Postive Special.png
Colt Police Positive Special in 32 S&W Long Ctg
Type Revolver
Place of origin United States
Production history
Manufacturer Colt's Manufacturing Company
Produced 1908-1995
Barrel length * 4 in (102 mm)
  • 6 in (153 mm)

Cartridge * .32 Colt New Police
Action double-action
Feed system six round cylinder
Sights Fixed iron; Blade front, V-notch rear

Introduced to the firearms market in 1908, The Colt Police Positive Special is a small frame, double-action revolver with a six round cylinder, primarily chambered for the .38 Special cartridge, designed and manufactured by the Colt's Manufacturing Company. The Police Positive Special was intended primarily for sale to law enforcement agencies and enjoys the distinction of being Colt’s most widely produced revolver design with over 750,000 built.[1]

Development and history

The Police Positive Special was an iterative improvement of Colt's earlier Police Positive model, the only differences being a slightly lengthened cylinder and elongated and strengthened frame to allow the chambering of the longer, more powerful .32-20 Winchester and .38 Special cartridges.[2] In the early 20th century the Colt Positive and Positive Special teamed with Colt's other admired model, the Official Police, to capture the lion's share of the law enforcement firearms market.[3] Very popular with law enforcement officers due to its light weight, the Positive Special went through a number of series or “issues”. The first issue ran from introduction to 1927 and had the early 1900-era distinctive Colt black hard rubber grips. The second issue introduced wooden grips which were smooth in the early years, later giving way to a checkered style, also the smooth topstrap was replaced with a serrated one. The Third issue began in 1947, and the Fourth issue in 1977 introduced a Colt Python-style shrouded ejector-rod housing. Production of the Police Positive Special ended in 1995.[2]


Produced with fine carbon steel, the Positive Special featured Colt’s characteristic highly polished surfaces and was available with Colt's signature bright royal blued finish as well as a nickel plated veneer. Built on Colt’s “D” frame,[1][2] it was offered in four, five, and six inch barreled models,[4] weighing a scant 23 ounces in the four inch.[2] The Positive Special also incorporated Colt’s “Positive Lock” safety which preventing the firing pin from hitting the primer unless the trigger was deliberately pulled. Intended to address deficiencies of earlier models such as the Single Action Army, Colt's Positive Lock prevented an accidental discharge even if the lowered hammer was struck or the pistol was dropped, allowing the revolver to be safely carried with all six chambers loaded.[1] The pistol’s sights consisted of a blade front with a fixed iron open rear sight, which was a simple V-notch shaped groove milled into the revolver’s topstrap.[1]


The Colt Police Positive was the pistol that the President of Brazil, Getúlio Vargas, used to commit suicide in 1954. He was in his bedroom in the presidential residence at that time, which was called Palácio do Catete, in Rio de Janeiro.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Cumpston, Mike. “.32 Colt Police Positive Special”, Gunblast Webzine. Accessed September 11, 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Miller, Peyton. “Colt Police Positive Special”, Guns and Ammo magazine Web site. Accessed September 11, 2008.
  3. Scarlata, Paul. “Colt's Official Police Revolver”, Shooting Times magazine Web site – Handgun Reviews. Accessed August 13, 2008.
  4. "Colt Police Positive" Bellum Web site. Accessed September 11, 2008.

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