I love my Colt Detective Special. It has the best double-action trigger of any of my revolvers (though my S&W M1902 gives it a run for it’s money) and I have no trouble printing halfway decent groups at 25 yards DA. It’s chambered in .32 Colt New Police (.32 S&W Long) so even with stout loads recoil is never unpleasant.
When I got it it had the factory hammer shroud and unconvincing Franzite ‘stag’ grips. They didn’t provide the best hold so I supplemented them with a Tyler T-grip that my pal Jake sent me for Christmas. This worked OK but wasn’t entirely comfortable, tending to jam my middle-finger against the trigger-guard.
Eventually the ancient plastic grips cracked, and I happened to have some antler on-hand so I made a new set, and since I was making them for me they were kind of chunky, but I found I no longer need the Tyler T-grip.
For a long time this gun was a range toy; I was dubious of trusting my life to a .32, but after ballistic tests of some of the hotter .32 S&W Long recipe’s in Sharpe’s 1939 manual I decided to use it as a carry gun. How well I handle and shoot the gun outweighed any concerns I might have about the caliber.
I put together a pretty nice paddle-holster for the gun that holds it high-and-tight, is nicely secure and is easy to put on and take off without messing with my belt. The I started practicing draw-and-fires at the range and found there was trouble in paradise; I was having to shift my grip on the gun during the draw. This was not good.
The problem was that pesky space behind the trigger-guard. Works fine on the range, not so good on the draw. Something had to change, and I didn’t want it to be those lovely antler grips.
Long before Tyler-T-grips came on the scene S&W offered a device that mounted between the grips and frame on their pre-war large-frame guns and filled in the space behind the trigger without pushing your middle finger into the guard.
I thought I could probably do something similar with the Colt. I had a small scrap of Desert Ironwood and made a simple adaptor as a proof-of-concept. To attach it for testing I simply epoxied it in place, and when the adhesive had fully cured I practiced drawing the gun. Success!
I didn’t really expect the epoxy to hold permanently, but I took it to the range to for some draw-and-fire exercises and it worked a treat. However, as I pretty much suspected it would, the adapter worked loose after a few cylinders full. Time for a more durable solution.
I grabbed a piece of half-inch aluminum and cut and ground it to shape, then got a thin strip of scrap nickel-silver to make tabs to would fit under the grips to hold it in place, exactly as a number of grip adapters function. I figured I’d just silver-solder it in place and… nope. The low-temperature solder I use doesn’t stick to aluminum. High-temperature solder would melt the nickel-silver. I needed a different method. We will draw the curtains of charity over the scenes that followed…
Eventually I was able to rivet the clip in place with a small piece of brass tubing, and it was all a terrible pain in the butt.
Sometimes a little change can make a big difference. The adapter allows me to get a consistent grip when drawing the gun, moves my hand high on the backstrap of the frame and brings the sight into alignment naturally. It feels great in practice draws, and I can’t wait to try it out at the range next week!
Take care and stay safe.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 25 April 2021
If you like what you see here please consider clicking the link above and supporting me on Patreon.