Hopkins & Allen Safety Police  BruceVarner.com

Image #1

Hopkins & Allen Safety Police Revolver

Internal Function

--.38 S&W Caliber--

Updated 04/20/21

After reasonable searching, I was unable to locate any sensible guide to the internal functioning of the Safety Police revolver. This information will hopefully help others with an understanding of this models mechanical operations. I provide a simple visual understanding of the internal interaction and functioning for the Hopkins & Allen Safety Police Revolver.

With this model, H&A produced a unique method to prevent accidental discharge from actions such as the pistol falling on its hammer. Findings for Hopkins & Allen firearms is lacking. There are several reasons for this phenomenon. H&A was marketed and sold as an economical firearm. For this reason they were popular but are often passed over by a majority of collectors.  Company arms were also sold under other markings.  These "trade" guns were manufactured by H&A, but had many other names on those guns. The company factory, along with all records were destroyed in a fire in 1900. Hopkins & Allen set idle after 1915 and the facility was taken over by Marlin Arms in 1921.  No one seemed to think it important to save existing records.

A basic read for those interested in Hopkins & Allen and specifically the Safety Police model is “Safety Police Revolvers”, by Charles E. Carder. This 60 page booklet was published in 2001 and is available online from Cornell Publications for a very reasonable price.  More detailed information about the company and other firearms H&A manufactured can be found, but some diligence must be provided by the looker.

This particular .38 S&W caliber specimen is nothing special (See image #1). In fact it is modified and well used. The barrel and front sight has been hacked off. No real effort to crown the remaining barrel was attempted. Someone seemed to have used a wire wheel afterward on the barrel. But it also has wear consistent with a revolver that was carried and used, a lot! With no front sight, this pistol was only good for arm’s length to across small room distances. If only it could talk.

Here is a schematic of the Safety Police and it’s parts, courtesy of Numrich Gun Parts Corporation.
Images #2


For comparison, this pistol disassembled. Some parts were not fully removed for my purposes.
Image #3

Disassembly and reassembly of this pistol is relatively easy, as long as you know how the parts are to fit together. The way those parts are laid out in the images, disassembly and more importantly assembly is not so self-explanatory. There are videos and instructions out there covering breakdown on similar pistols. I do not cover full disassembly/assembly here.

I have found that slave pins make reassembly much easier. I have also found that doing added machining on each slave pin allows me to more fully understand the exact interaction between internal parts. This is accomplished by placing the workings in their correct location, on the outside of the gun.
Image #4 (Slave pin pieces)

Image #5 (Slave pins in place)

Continue to page 2 for the remainder of the discussion.

Page 2 of Hopkins & Allen Safety Police Revolver

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