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Hello - I am just looking to get some historical info on this model of a S&W .38 Special. This was my father's service gun for the Chicago Police Department when he came on in 1966. We was Military Police stationed in Panama prior to that so I am not sure if this was the same gun he used there or not. Not sure If Chicago would have allowed him to use the same gun. Regardless, I am just looking for an appx date this model would have been manufactured and some historical info on this model as well.

Thanks in Advance
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Your gun dates to 1966. It is built on the K (medium) frame and is a Model 15-2 also known as the Combat Masterpiece. Smith and Wesson usually reserves the "combat" name for guns with a 4" barrel such as yours. Your gun shows honest wear consistent with it's use. Shoot it, clean it, and enjoy it. 148 grain cowboy loads should be fun to shoot.
 

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I'm thinking that was issued (or specified if he had to buy his own) by Chicago PD.
In every movie I've ever seen in which an officer resigned, retired, or was fired, there was a "big scene" of him handing in his badge & service handgun. How well that reflects reality, I have no idea, but it seems a little surprising that a gun-hating town like a Chicago would allow officers to retain their service weapons when their employment ended, unless they'd actually been purchased by them--which I suspect would only be a prerogative of detectives.
 

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They're great guns. I've got a 15-2 also from 1966, but yours is a little older by the S/N.

Enjoy it.
 
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Looks like a nice shooter. I can hear the sentimental value as you typed. Enjoy every minute of it.
 
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In that era many police departments either presented the officer his firearm or allowed him to purchase it for a nominal fee (usually 1.00) upon retirement. That tradition has faded away in many parts of the country for a number of reasons, including unionization (a "we're not giving them anything that's not in the contract" attitude on management's part), anti-gun sentiment, liability concerns, cost consciousness, etc. My agency allowed us to purchase our weapon for 1.00, but only in the case of a time in service retirement or an on-duty injury retirement. Medical retirements not related to duty did not qualify. To my knowledge that is still the case.
 

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I too was an MP and used a 1911 and the Army would never let you take it home after your daily tour of duty much less when you left service. I retired from LE in 2006 and was given my badge as a retirement gift and I purchased my issued duty pistol for $200.
 

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Chicago PD has always been quite liberal as to
guns its officers carried and carry. When the OP's
father joined the force, he was given an allowance
to buy "at least" a .32 in blue or nickle 4-inch barrel
from either Colt or Smith & Wesson. Later, Ruger
was included and stainless steel when it became
common was allowed.

Besides the most common .38s, a smattering
of officers opted for .357, .41 or .44 Magnums.

It was not uncommon by the 1980s for officers
to carry hi-cap autos. I remember one officer
who had his regulation revolver on his hip and
a Browning High Power in a shoulder holster under
his jacket. I met a sergeant one day in an elevator
and he had his revolver on his left hip, butt forward,
and a Smith Model 59 on his right hip.

The grandfathering of revolvers was permitted until
2019 and by then only a few handfuls of officers still
carried the revolver as primary.

Nowadays, officers have or did have choices among Glocks,
Sigs, Smith, Springfield Armory, Beretta and possibly Ruger autos.
Because of pricing and promotion you'll see more
Glocks than anything else. Some autos once OK'd are
now only grandfathered but no longer on the approved
list. Ruger, I believe, is one such example.
 

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The choice of weapon for patrol officers was determined by my department and was limited to the 4" S&W Model 10 .38 Special. No .357 mags allowed for fear of excessive penetration in an urban enviornment. Detectives could carry the model 36 also in 38 spl.

Although the department ordered and issued the new-in-the-box non-PD stamped duty weapons, officers paid for them out of their own pockets along with a pair of S&W handcuffs...$48 for the gun and $12 for cuffs ($60 = a week's pay in 1965) and kept both after retirement. Many years later the dept began issuing city owned and stamped duty weapons which could be purchased after retirement. Beginning in the 80's, individually purchased 9mm semi-auto's were approved w/8 hours PD instruction and qualification.
 
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