Ithaca Model 37 shotguns have a long and loyal following by scattergun fans across the country. The Browning-designed M37’s classic styling and legendary dependability have collectors and shooters alike on the hunt for good specimens on auction sites like Gunsamerica.com.
In past decades, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) both issued and retired the Ithaca workhorses presumably in favor of shiny new patrol carbines or Remington 870’s. It’s a bit sad to think of those veteran guns being put out to pasture without some sort of ceremony or send off.
Well, not so fast. A few years ago the LAPD held a lottery: any interested officer of a certain vintage could apply for the chance to purchase and own one of the classic guns, complete with LAPD markings. The one caveat was that each officer must have gone through the academy during a time when the Ithaca shotgun was being utilized. Seems like a fair deal.
The largest single users outside the US Military were the New York City Police Department in 2 versions- 13″ barrel with forend hand-strap for the Emergency Service Unit and 18″ barrel for the Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department. Along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, numerous other users include military, police, security agencies, and prisons. The Ithaca 37 was a popular choice among civilians for both sport and personal protection. The Ithaca model 37 feather light was commonly seen in the hands of farmers in the Midwestern United States. With higher prices for new Ithacas and decreasing availability compared to the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870, use of the Ithaca 37 continues to decline. Interestingly, Ithaca’s loss of market share was hastened by competition from a copy of the shotgun. Chinese copies of the Ithaca 37 have been imported recently. Additionally, the supply of used civilian and departmental shotguns has been a steady competitor.
If those old guns could talk.
Be safe LAPD.