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Thread: Score: S&W US Model of 1917 .45 ACP Revolver,

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  1. #1
    Legacy Member imarangemaster's Avatar
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    Score: S&W US Model of 1917 .45 ACP Revolver,

    Still working part time at a local gun shop and a decent S&W 1917 .45 ACP came in. Original, except missing lanyard ring (though a friend has an original for me). The finish is 50% is or better, and the timing is dead nuts on. Probably not shot much as the bore is bright and rifling is crisp.

    It has the US property markings on the bottom of the grip frame, and it has the smooth walnut grips, one of which has a well worn WW2 Civil Defense emblem on it. That is intriguing, as 1917s were drawn from storage to be re-issued, especially at home, in WW II.

    I'll post pics of it the next time I go to work, though I did take a picture of the grip with the the Civil Defense logo when I had the grip off, as I have the revolver stripped down and giving it a thorough cleaning.



    I did some research. During WW2, some US Police Departments had Civil Defense Auxiliary Police. (see attached badges). This was because of concerns about saboteurs and sabotage. Possibly this revolver might have been used by one of these department's CD auxiliary police.

    Civil Defense Badges - Numismatic News

    Civil Defense Organization, Insignia, and Ranks

    The more I dig, the more I find that WW II Civil Defense Auxiliary Police were very common across the county. I have founds lots of different examples Civil Defense auxiliary Police badges.

















    I have read somewhere that during WW II, some 1917s were issued to Defense plant guards, as well a CONUS Military Police. I think it is a reasonable assumption that they were also issued to the CD Auxiliary Police. The Federal Government would issue what was available in stores, leaving production for front line weapons.

    This from an article that cited Ian Hogg and Bruce Canfield:

    "...most of the revolvers were re-issued to stateside security forces and military policemen, but 20,993 of them were issued overseas to "specialty troops such as tankers and artillery personnel" throughout the course of U.S. involvement in lWorld War II."

    I would think the Civil Defense Auxiliary Police would be included in those security forces.

    This makes me fairly certain that this was my 1917's last duty assignment.

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  4. #2
    Legacy Member imarangemaster's Avatar
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    It will be a shooter, but I am making an nice grouping around it. I already load .45 ACP for my 1911A1, and I have full and half moon clips, Here's pics of the 1909 holster for the 1917 I got. It is missing the plug in the end (at least IIRC, the 1909 has a plug), but it is actually pretty decent for $90. It will go well with the original 1912 Mills belt I got. Someday, I'll replace the repop lanyard and ammo pouch I also have, with originals.












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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Nice, can't wait to see the revolver now.
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member rcathey's Avatar
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    That decal on the grip is SO COOL. I want one!
    -Ryan

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    Legacy Member oldfoneguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcathey View Post
    That decal on the grip is SO COOL. I want one!
    Exactly which is why if you haven't already those grips must be replaced and the originals preserved. Don't even handle them any further if you can avoid it. 1917 grips are readily available so dont delay or you will destroy a piece of history.

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  12. #6
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldfoneguy View Post
    the originals preserved
    I don't think I've ever seen a set with that decal.
    Regards, Jim

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  14. #7
    Legacy Member imarangemaster's Avatar
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    I agree! That is a great idea. I think I have another 1917 left grip panel with a yellow rack number in my parts drawer. I dig it out.

    ---------- Post added at 10:10 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:04 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    I don't think I've ever seen a set with that decal.
    That's what fascinates me about this revolver. We know they were re-issued, mostly stateside, during WW2. We know they were issued to Military Police and unspecified "Security Forces". IIRC, there were something like 130,000 Civil Defense Auxiliary Police during WW II, and they had to be issued some kind of handgun. It is a logical assumption that this may have been issued to Auxiliary Police, since they were essentially Security Forces to help the Police protect ports, airports, defense plants, and critical infrastructure during wartime.

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    Legacy Member imarangemaster's Avatar
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    Interesting! I went to work today and stuck the grips back on. I did not notice before that the CD grip Is slightly undersized. It is not as small as a 38 Victory model because I checked it against the right side panel of a couple Victory models grips. Seems to be half way in between the two. The left side grip with a rack number fits perfectly. Pics to come.

    It seems probably that the grip is a replacement at some point. Whether is was done at arsenal, arms room, or user, is impossible to say. I bought the gun, though, not the story! It is still a cool piece of history.

  16. #9
    Legacy Member imarangemaster's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Here's the pistol:

    Note that the grip is slightly smaller grip.



    Bottom and serial number:



    Barrel Markings



    The other left hand panel with rack number: Better fit:


  17. #10
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Nice piece, nice-nice.
    Regards, Jim

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