Before law enforcement went to all auto pistols in the 80s and 90s, there was a last flowering of .357 revolvers. The sweet spot seemed to be a 3″ or so barrel on a stainless six-shooter from one of the big manufacturers. Many of these were acquired by the government, but since the Clinton Administration the Feds have preferred to dispose of them by destruction rather than sale. These are examples of the 20th Century law enforcement revolver at its highest level of evolution.

Smith & Wesson Customs Service Special

Here’s a special-order Smith that was made for the Customs Service, in the last gasp before going to auto pistols.


The seller, Paul Bailey says:

Here’s a rather rare S&W stainless .357 revolver (with the 3 inch barrel). When I purchased it yrs.ago, I was told that S&W only made a few thousand of these for the U.S. Customs Service, and then quite a few were destroyed by the government (go taxpayers!). The pistol is in fine condition / no problems as you can see by the photos … It’s not in NEW _ MINT cond… but it’s super nice.

Bidding’s at $750 but reserve not met.

Postal Inspectors’ Ruger .357 non-catalog “PS-3” Speed Six

And here’s the Postal Inspectors’ equivalent.


This seller says:

Ruger Speed Six 357 Mag. originally issued to the US Postal Inspectors. These were initally issued in the 80’s and returned in the 90’s when the postal service transitioned to auto pistols.

If you’re looking for a bit of law enforcement history, or looking for a high-quality revolver, you can’t go wrong with these auctions.

This entry was posted in Consumer Alert!, Pistols and Revolvers on by Hognose.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

5 thoughts on “Two Rare Fed Revolvers on Gun Broker


The under lug on that Speed Six makes for a great looking version. Alas, $900+ is too rich for me. I’ll eventually find somebody to pretty up the 4″ version I already have in the safe.


I’d carry either one of those!

For “obsolete” firearms, it’s impressive what kind of prices decent wheelguns will command.


Why on Earth would a Postal Inspector be issued a firearm? Am I missing something obvious?


That Speed Six is the gun that I have been trying to find for years. Either blued or stainless…I think I’ve seen exactly 1 in the entire time since I decided I really need to own one. And that was sitting in a case with SOLD written on the tag. I have a 4 inch Security Six. The early version. It had pretty much zero miles on it when it came to live with me. Im a big time revolver nut. Never could understand why the 3″ barrels never seemed to catch on more than they did.