Colt Police Positive from The Thin Man

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

This weeks movie gun is the Colt Police Positive which was used in the 1934 detective film The Thin Man. The small frame double-action revolver was introduced by Colt in 1907. This beautiful specimen was engraved and presented to William Powell.

You can learn more about this gun at the NRABlog and by watching the latest installment of the Curators Corner (Click on “program Archive” button, then click the Apr 08 tab, then scroll down to “Curator’s Corner”. As of now the program is not yet online.).

Sadly this is the last gun in the movie gun series. This series was made possible by the NRA’s Senior Media Specialist Lars Dalseide. Thanks Lars! Next week we will have something different.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

More by Steve Johnson

Join the conversation
2 of 9 comments
  • WPZ WPZ on Apr 10, 2010

    I'll go right ahead and identify myself as a Colt person, and then...
    The Police Positive (and Special) is possibly one of the best personal protection revolvers ever.
    First, the provisos: If you accept +P 158 grain semi wadcutters as an effective personal protection bullet. I pretty nearly do. Buffalo Bore's version makes 1050fps in my PPS. That's hot stuff.
    Then, you have to be able to accept six-shooters as satisfactory. Ten is far better. Six only might be enough. Ten could very well be. That's a notable difference.
    Yes, thirty .308s is much closer to enough.
    Anyway, the PP(S) is the progenitor of the Detective Special, that snub being merely a shortened PPS.
    The frame size is ideal for a portable .38, compact and just exactly the right weight. Even among Smith fans, if you get them lubed up well enough, they'll nearly all confess to having a DS somewhere, and lots of them will admit to actually carrying it.
    The four-inch version is a superior device for delivering bullets and as old Skeeter Skelton so often pointed out, for a belt gun, an extra inch or two makes a snub far more useful: you'll hit better.
    It so happens that I put on USPSA and IDPA matches in this neck of the woods, and it also so happens my March IDPA match was tilted towards "carry guns", close and fast and all 12-round stages to eliminate reloads as as big factor.
    I found time to actually sneak in and shoot my own match for a change (eight stages for 96 rounds), and put aside my DS for my Police Positive Special stoked with +P reloads and using Safariland Comp IIIs (they work fine on D-frames).
    In a field of 34, I managed a fourth-overall finish. With a small, light, carry revolver, and trailed only a 1911 and two G19s. (Incidentally, the winning G19 was in the hands of an actual female person, the second match I've ever been to won overall by a woman. She thinks I put on good matches, natch.)
    The Police Positive Special is still a useful tool.

  • Abprosper Abprosper on Apr 12, 2010

    The .38 version of that was basically the Glock of its day. Decently accurate, light to carry and very reliable. Once decent hollow points came out it became a pretty effective gun and even now it would still be a good defensive arm.

    Its shorter cousin, the Detectives Special is of course of the most useful handguns every made.