Monday, December 6, 2010

Tom Selleck's 'Fitz Special' Brings Reality to Blue Bloods

PLEASE READ FIRST READER'S COMMENT BELOW FOR IMPORTANT CORRECTION TO THIS POST [THANK YOU, ANONYMOUS]
Is it me or does Tom Selleck's character Frank Reagan (NYC's fictional Police Commissioner) in Blue Bloods
remind you of the character A.J. Cooper, which he played on the now-cancelled but former hit show Las Vegas? Those of you who watched both shows will notice that both character's are wearing the same gun, which I thought was a 1911, but now, after watching an episode of Blue Bloods where it is specifically mentioned, I understand it is called a Fitz Special. (And I have been reading that he may have even worn the same pistol in Magnum P.I.; Selleck is a gun collector, I bet it is his own piece.) The website wethearmed.com, a weapons-enthusiast site, offers some interesting insight into Selleck's understanding of guns, and the Fitz Special in particular. I quote:
"Anyways, as you are all aware I am sure Tom is a real gun guy.  I was watching an episode and 'Grandpa' walked in and noted that Tom (Chief of Dpt) was wearing a Fitz Special, they talked about how it was a classic, built to last, and that the Chief liked wearing his dad's gun, and 'gramps' notes that HIS father passed it down to him first.



Montecino owner A.J. Cooper (Selleck) strapping a Fitz Special?
"I immediately think 'this is Tom's influence on the show.
"I think only a true gunny would understand that guns are long lasting, and often carry family history enough to have a story about a 'back up gun' being carried by 3 generations and still being a good reliable sidearm.
"Second, the Fitz Special isn't that common of a gun.
"For those who don't know, there was a real fast gunner in the 1930s -- JH Fitzgerald.  He basically invented (or re-invented) the snub nose.  In that day the shortest barrel you could get on a double action revolver was 4 inches, so he took a pair of colt revolvers in 38 special and cut the barrel to 2 inches, reattached the front sight, chopped off the hammer spur, and rounded the butt, and finished it off by cutting the front of the trigger guard off, figuring that all those changes would speed up getting the gun into action."
It is a very unique-looking piece.
Selleck is a member of the Board of Directors and public spokesman of the 4-million-member NRA. Remember his legendary argument on Rosie O'Donnell's awful talk show or rather the legendary argument she forced him into out of the blue? You don't? Watch it here. And please stay off TV, Rosie, we don't miss you. Really.

15 comments:

  1. Tom Selleck is personally very knowledgeable about firearms, no doubt about it. But you are mistaken about him carrying a Fitz Special while portraying the characters Thomas Magnum, A.J. Cooper, and Jesse Stone. Mr. Selleck carried a Model 1911A1 .45 ACP semiautomatic pistol while portraying all those character on television. The Model 1911A1’s appeared to have been different manufacturers and models on each show but they were not Fitz Specials. A Fitz Special is a revolver that has been modified by bobbing the hammer spur, shortening the barrel to two inches, rounding the butt, and removing the front half of the trigger guard. Reshaping the hammer and the butt allows the gun to be drawn quickly with little risk of the weapon snagging on clothing. The halved trigger guard facilitates quick trigger acquisition, even for shooters with large fingers or gloves. This modification was developed by J.H. Fitzgerald, a Colt Firearms employee and noted pistol shooter of the early 20th century. In the case of Mr. Selleck’s portrayal of NYPD Police Commissioner Frank Reagan the Fitz Special is a six-shoot .38 Special revolver with the Fitz Special modifications, which manufacturer and model I am not sure. The .38 Special revolver either Colt or Smith and Wesson were the authorized weapons for NYPD officers up until 1994 when the department started issuing 9mm semiautomatic pistols.

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  2. Thank you. I did think it was a 1911 he carried in those other shows, but I did some reading and apparently got the wrong information -- thanks so much for clearing this up. I know Selleck is savvy about guns and thought maybe he was doing in real life what his Blue Bloods character was doing on the show -- carrying a gun that has personal sentimental value. Apparently not. Thanks again!

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  3. You are welcome. I believe that Mr. Selleck's personal favorite pistol is the Model 1911A1 .45 ACP Pistol. He has carried one while potraying three different characters on television. But Mr. Selleck is a man who knows firearms and the history of them. He would know the New York City Police Department Officers were issued carried .38 Special Revolvers from 1926 to 1994. He would know that the character of NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan would have carried a .38 Special Revolver during his long police career. It was very nice touch having the weapon be a .38 Caliber "Fitz Special" Revolver that was given to Frank by his retired police commissioner father, Henry Reagan. The Fitzgerald Special is a unique firearm that only a man with a true understanding of the "fast out of the holster and on target" tactical advantage it would give a New York City Police Detective or "Plainclothesman" in a gun fight on the streets of New York.

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  4. I noticed he wore it behind him, just like AJ Cooper wore his holstered piece. Is this because that is wear a back-up piece is usually carried?

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  5. No not necessarily. The place on his belt that Mr. Selleck wears his holster: on his right side, slightly to the rear, almost over his back right pants pocket, is a position favored by many officers and agents who carry a weapon dressed in civilian clothes. Some literature has dubbed this holster location as “the FBI carry position,” because in the late 1930’s this position was taught to “agents in training” at the FBI Academy. But most shooters who know weapons know that this position allows a man easy access to his weapon while it sits concealed under his suit jacket. Also if a man’s suit jacket falls open the weapon won’t be seen which it would if it were worn directly on a person’s side.

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  6. In regards to a “back-up” weapon, the term “back-up” refers to a secondary weapon usually carried in an ankle holster or in a holster worn at the small of a person’s back. In the Lethal Weapon film series, Danny Glover’s character carried his “back-up” pistol (a S&W 9mm pistol) in a shoulder holster while his primary weapon (a S&W .38 Special revolver) rode in a holster on his right hip. A “back-up” weapon would be used when person’s primary weapon (which is usually worn on the officer’s belt on their strong shooting side depending on whether the person is right or left handed) has malfunctioned or been lost in action.
    In the case of Tom Selleck portraying Commissioner Frank Reagan a NYPD police commissioner has their own security detail usually consisting of several experienced well-armed Detectives. Most of the highest-ranking officers in large police agencies are administrators and commanders who due to the responsibilities of their positions are not out on the street patrolling or investigating a lot. So for comfort and economy they carry a smaller frame weapon like a Glock Model 26 (9mm) pistol or in Commissioner Reagan’s case a .38 Special six-shot “Fitz Special” revolver. Possibly a Colt Detective Special since at one time this particular revolver had been carried by Frank Reagan’s father and grandfather when they were “on the Job.” The Colt Detective Special was introduced in 1927. It was the first and at that time the only double action “D-Frame” two-inch barreled (snub nosed) .38 Special six-shot revolver used in large numbers by police departments throughout the United States. So in the case of Frank Reagan the .38 “Fitz Special” revolver that he carries on his belt is his everyday duty weapon as police commissioner, not his “back-up.” Although a .38 Special of that type would serve as a “back-up” piece for many patrol officers and detectives while on duty and as their “off-duty” carry weapon in their off hours.

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  7. Thank you for the kind words. Check your email I sent you a letter.

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  8. I am a retired trooper and i was looking the the holster that he wears in blue bloods but i cant find it and i was wanting to know if anybody knew where i could find it? Thanks

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  9. The snub-nose revolver Selleck carries in "Blue Bloods" is a Colt Detective Special. Regarding the holster, I'm pretty certain it's an old Bucheimer. Sadly, I've been unable to locate any Bucheimer product codes to determine the correct size for a Colt D-frame.

    Bob Boyd
    Assistant Editor, Shooting Illustrated Magazine.

    P.S. For more information on the Fitz Special, check out my article on the historic snub-nose at the link below:

    http://www.shootingillustrated.com/index.php/294/perfect-fitz/

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  10. I believe it is a Bucheimer Clark DETECTIVE 37-11. I have one I carry a DS in. My DS was made in 1963. The holster looks very much like the one Selleck wears in Blue Bloods. Hope this helps.

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  11. The holster is a Clark Cross Draw Spring holster. I talked to a fellow at the NRA Firearms Museum who got the info for me. Now, I need to find one. Any suggestions?

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  12. Anonymous,i've learn more from you today than i have in a couple of years(ha). Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge.

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    Replies
    1. You wouldn't be Dino S. or C.? Ever read my other blog, Cosa Nostra News? My email is eddie2843@gmail.com if you wanna chat....

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  13. I have watched Magnum PI and it looks like the magazine for his M1911A1 is a .38 super sine the .45ACP will not cycle blanks. I enjoy Blue Bloods very much

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