PO Box 900 • Philmont • New
York • 12565
The Arms Of Law & Order:
New York City Police Department Small Arms
From 1896 onward
Guns & Markings
A common question
is "What sort of handguns does the NYCPD issue its officers"?
The answer is: none!
The NYCPD does not 'issue' an officer his sidearm
(with very, very few exceptions). Each individual officer purchases his
gun, usually from the departments Equipment Bureau. An officer may
purchase his gun elsewhere, but it must be inspected and approved by
the department if he does so. Most officers will buy their gun at the
Equipment Bureau because of the low prices offered through the
Technically, the department is a re-seller. Guns are
shipped directly from the manufacturer to the department. The
each gun and then re-sells it to the individual officer. Since the gun
purchased by the officer, it is not department property and therefore
no departmental markings.
If you factory letter an NYCPD handgun it will
usually show it as going directly to the department, leading one to
mistakenly believe that the gun is/was department property.
Since the gun is the officers personal property, he
may lawfully dispose of it as he see's fit; this is why NYCPD guns are
plentiful on the market.
If you're looking for a Model 10 or Official Police
stamped PROPERTY OF NYPD, you're not going to find one. Not a real one,
Recently the NYCPD dropped it's requirement that
officers purchase their own guns and has instead started giving the
guns to the officers for free. Since the guns are still the private
property of the officer,
the guns are not considered 'issue' in the traditional sense.
Although an individual officers gun might not bear
an NYCPD PROPERTY stamp, regulations did require that the officers
shield number be stamped on his gun (and other equipment). On
occassion, this regulation
would be ignored, so it is not unusual to find a revolver from the
without a shield number.
On Colt's, the shield number was usually stamped on
the butt. On S&W's it was usually on the backstrap (to prevent
the serial number).
Since Patrolman and Sergeants used different
shields, there was always the possibility that a shield number might
overlap between the two ranks. For this reason a system of markings was
12345 - Patrolman #12345
S.12345 - Sergeant #12345
12345X or X12345X or
Formerly the property of Officer #12345 but no longer. Often found with
a new number stamped nearby indicating that original purchasing officer
sold the gun
to another officer.
While regulations required the officers gun be
stamped with his shield number, it was not always done. Towards the
the practice was on the wane and is now no longer done.
It is important to note that the stamping of the
officers shield number was required for his on-duty gun but not
More detailed information about markings on
guns may be found on the Markings Page.
Prior to World War Two the department did acquire
some of it's guns from distributors rather than the manufacturer. These
usually NYC dealers like: Jon Jovino, Greenblatt, Sile and others in
Manhattan. these same distributors also handled special order guns for
who wanted something special for their working gun. At least one
(S&W) offered a special non-cataloged revolver for the NYPD that
be special ordered by an officer through commercial channels.
Non-typical handguns for special use are sometimes
provided to officers, but are department property and must be returned
the department. These are usually handguns that are not typically
of as 'police arms' and are used by undercover people. Also, handguns
are subject to NFA regulation are available and must be returned. A
of 'training type' guns is maintained by the department and these are
as needed and remain as department property. Among these training guns
at least a dozen of the rather rare .22 caliber S&W M&P's.
Until the mid-late 1960's, the department maintained
a collection of handguns for use by officers whose primary handgun was
out for repair. These loaners were kept at the Equipment Bureau and
logged in and out as needed. Interestingly, they were not usually
in the sense that they had been purchased for use as loaners. Instead
were usually guns that came in from the Property Clerk (turned in,
confiscated, found, etc.).