The earliest pistols acquired for the Shanghai Municipal
Police were at least 270 in quantity (based on SMP
records) with no indication of caliber. It is presumed that
these were obtained from commercial distributors since there
are no Colt records of these shipments documenting a
contract order prior to the Colt documented contract
shipments from 1925 to 1938.
Photo courtesy of Ron Hampton
A 1930 Photo of the Shanghai Municipal Police with their guns drawn in a
"Search Party." Note, the English Cpl. has a Colt 1911 and so does the Chinese
Officer next to him while the other three have their Colt 1908 pistols. It seem
to be a posed picture. It may be hard to see but they all have on, what looks
like, a Bullet Proof Vest of that period. You can see a lanyard on 4 of them
BUT not the HOLSTER as it would be under the vest.
In 1882, China's first water company was founded in
Shanghai. The photo shows the water tower beside the office
of the Shanghai Water Works Co. on Kiangsi Road.
The Colt documented contract pistols also
had the following installed features:
- a staple shaped lanyard loop on the lower left
side of the frame (this feature was installed on
this pistol but has been removed.) The grips were
also notched to accommodate the presence of the
lanyard loop. (See the
with Lanyard Loop)
- a screw to block the thumb safety from being
engaged (the screw is present)
- a key shaped leaf spring on the left side of the
slide used to put pressure on the barrel during
recoil - this was to prevent jamming. This feature
was installed on most pistols at the SMP armory
rather than at the Colt factory. If done at the
Colt factory, this part does not encroach upon the
left side factory roll marks.
This pistol, serial number 94560, is one of 24 pistols
shipped July 30, 1926, making it part of the fourth
documented shipment of SMP marked pistols. The total number
of Colt documented SMP shipped guns number 4,185.
Virtually all of the SMP marked Colt Model M .380 pistols
have been reblued at some point in time. The harsh climate
was very unforgiving to the finish of these pistols. These
guns were shipped with medallion checkered walnut grips and
the walnut held the moisture against the frame of the pistol
causing extreme pitting under the grips.
The magazine safety disconnectors were typically removed
from these guns, allowing them to be operational when
changing the magazine. This example has had the magazine
safety disconnector removed.
Frame is marked SWW Co 22 for the Shanghai Water
Works on the right side of the frame. It is not marked
"SHANGHAI MUNICIPAL POLICE" above the trigger. The
slide and frame are mismatched with the frame bearing number
SMP 3692 on the front grip strap (done at the SMP
Armory). Also present is the number No 3168, present
on the barrel (visible through the ejection port) and on the
slide (to the right of the right side slide legend.)
These pistols were fitted with factory lanyard loops on the
left side of the frame.
Some SMP contract magazines had the viewing holes in the
front and back, as opposed to the sides as on standard
commercial magazines. Others have side viewing holes as
well as viewing holes in the back. There are varying
opinions as to why the location of the viewing holes was
changed. One story is that the Shanghai Municipal Police
would trade the bullets from their guns and replace the live
round with a spent brass casing. In a Colt magazine with
standard viewing holes, the magazine would appear loaded.