Police issue S&W .38 special - tracking history? [Archive] - Glock Talk


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02-20-2013, 11:37
Hello folks.

My father picked up a old police issue .38 special revolver last night. He's a bit of a history buff and bought it because it was old and was police issue and had lots of holster wear. He's always appreciated guns like this. Anyway, we wanted to see if we could learn more about it's history. Primarily, which police department issued it and when it was produced.

Is there a way to learn more about it using it's serial number? I was hoping there was a database somewhere (similar to the ones I've seen for Glocks and Benellis).

Model: Smith & Wesson 10-5
Serial number: D216730
Also marked: B.P.D. 1487-M

02-20-2013, 11:48
The serial number dates it between 1969-70. The B.P.D indicates a police department from a town that begins with B. I assume you know that. The 1487-M might be a butt/rack number assigned to the weapon. The model 10 was a very popular police issued firearm. You may never know which department it was assigned to.

02-20-2013, 12:00
Thanks for the info.

I'll keep searching for what the "B" stands for.

02-20-2013, 12:37
With a rack number that high I'd start researching the Boston PD.

02-20-2013, 14:22
What exactly is a rack number?

02-20-2013, 14:47
Say a PD has 1000 guns. They will assign each gun a number 1-1000. Within the armory there will be 1000 spots set aside for these guns in numerical order. This is easier to deal with than serial numbers.

For instance in the AF I had a M-15 assigned to me with a butt/rack number of 57. When I drew my weapon from the armory, the armorer would go to the model 15 rack and give me gun number 57. Much simpler than asking for good old K747471.

02-20-2013, 15:10
Got it. Thanks for the reply.

02-20-2013, 16:37
You can get it lettered though S&W.. roy Jinks is the historian. If you are lucky, it will show a direct shipment to the department. If not, it may have been shipped to a local LE distributor, gunshop or hardware store. Its a place to start. http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_757825_-1_757814_757812_image

Jason D
02-20-2013, 17:25
My gun too has a rack or tracking number on it, but it says on the back strap Detroit Police and the number in full.

02-21-2013, 08:33
Rack numbers might suggest a police issue, and larger departments like Detroit or Boston did get guns supplied directly from smith. However back in the revolver days it was very common for large departments ( nypd comes to mind) that required cops to buy their own.
And many smaller pd's would place orders through gun shops or distributor channels, then stamp rack numbers themselves.
It is needle in a haystack as far as finding out who or what organization may have issued a gun. A letter from smith is a crapshoot, you pay fifty bucks and you may get info the gun was ordered and sent to the FBI, or just bill's hardware store.

S. Kelly
02-22-2013, 16:40
I believe it's one of our old turn-ins, from Boston P.D. Nice gun!

02-22-2013, 19:17
S. Kelly - Is this where Boston P.D. would have marked them?


02-22-2013, 20:34
a lot of S&W Mod 10's have been around in my neck of the woods since NYPD went to 9mm. $100… $150. Nice gun. I'm pretty sure I read that if you think you have a former NYPD firearm they'll give you what history they have of it. Some have had multiple NYPD owners. As I recall there wasn't even a fee.

S. Kelly
02-22-2013, 21:08
That looks like one of ours.