New York City Police Department
Smith & Wesson
Model 36 - Square Butt


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   This Smith & Wesson Model 36 #412083 was a direct shipment from Smith & Wesson to the New York City Police Department on November 1, 1965.
    In 1967, the NYCPD's Equipment Bureau sold this gun to Probationary Patrolman John P. Krohn, shield #7158. The sale is recorded in Book 67 Series C Page 62 Gun No. A2509.
    This gun is rather good shape, despite having been knocking around for almost 40 years. Note the pinned barrel and semi-flat latch.
    Notice in the topmost image the presence of a circular wear mark on the right sideplate. This wear mark, which I often refer to as the "Silver Doughnut", is caused by the snap on the department authorized off-duty holster rubbing on the gun and wearing away the blue. I've seen this on many guns and it is a very common and usually accurate way of identifying off-duty NYCPD revolvers.
        Chiefs Special/Model 36 sales records are in fair to good shape, but with several gaps (some spanning many years). A quick perusal of these records, especially when contrasted against Colt Detective Special sales records, show that the Chiefs Special/Model 36 was THE claasic NYCPD off-duty gun. Early sales records are missing, but guns in the 1x,xxx range do appear in surviving records.
    Model 36's were purchased in both Round Butt and Square Butt configuration. The Round Butt is the more common variation. As an aside, some collectors may remember the very first episode of the television series Cagney & Lacey when the Cagney character mistakenly took umbrage at the Equipment Bureau clerk who was handing out guns who asked her "Square butt or round?".
    NYCPD Chiefs Specials/Model 36's fall into 4 categories:
    Chiefs Special/Pre-Model 36
    Model 36 Square Butt
    Model 36 Round Butt
    Model 36-1 Square Butt, 3 inch
    Possibly an argument can be made for 5 categories if you want to differentiate bewteen Chiefs Specials with large vs. small triggerguards.
    As with most firearms used by the members of the NYCPD, Model 36's were purchased, NOT issued, to the individual officer. Since this made the gun the personal property of the individual officer, the gun bore no markings to identify it with the NYCPD. Off-duty guns were exempt from the regulations that required one's shield number be stamped on the gun. Thus, it is very hard to  identify an NYCPD Model 36 without either a factory letter or a check of the NYCPD records.
    Surviving Chiefs Special/Model 36 records show sales of approximately 21,373 guns. There are several gaps of different sizes in the Chiefs Special/Model 36 records. While I can document 21,373 2-inch guns by serial number, I suspect the actual number purchased by the department is likely 35,000-40,000. These figures, both surviving and postulated, do not include the 3-inch Model 36-1.



 
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