Got this ole Ithaca Model 37 DS Police Special off Gunbroker a few months ago. It was inexpensive and pretty much exactly what I want. It's a 'newer' 'old' 37 with a SN of MAG – 870042xxx and it did come without the two carrier screw locking screws. Took it out to the range and it shoots fine, but won't slam fire.

Ithaca Model 37
Place of originUnited States
Production history
DesignerJohn Browning, Harry Howland
ManufacturerIthaca Gun Company
Industrias Marcati
VariantsBataan Modelo 71, Ithaca Model 87
Barrel length13 inches (330 mm) to
30 inches (760 mm)
Cartridge12, 16, 20, or 28 gauge
ActionManually operated, pump-action
Feed system4, 5, or 7-round tubular magazine (riot, standard, and extended tube versions)

The Ithaca 37 (or Model 37) is a pump-action shotgun made in large numbers for the civilian, military, and police markets. Based on a 1915 patent by firearms designer John Browning for a shotgun initially marketed as the Remington Model 17, it utilizes a novel combination ejection/loading port on the bottom of the gun which leaves the sides closed to the elements. Since shotshells load and eject from the bottom, operation of the gun is equally convenient for both right- and left-handed shooters. This makes the gun popular with left-handed shooters.


Following the First World War, the Ithaca Gun Company sought to produce a pump-action shotgun to compete with the ubiquitous Winchester Model 1912. They used the Remington Model 17 as their model and made modifications—such as simplifying and cost-saving alterations of the firing pin and ejection mechanism, the work of Ithaca designer Harry Howland in 1931[1]—while waiting for related patents to expire. After gearing for production of their new shotgun as the Ithaca Model 33 in 1933, Ithaca discovered a Pedersen patent that would not expire until 1937, and production had to be delayed. In 1937, it was released as the Ithaca 37.

With the depression dragging on and another war looming on the horizon, it was possibly the worst time to introduce a sporting arm. Many sporting arms ceased production entirely during the same period. While Ithaca did produce some shotguns for military use during the war, they also produced M1911 pistols and M3 submachine guns.

After World War II, Ithaca resumed production of the Model 37. Made in many different models, the Ithaca 37 has the longest production run for a pump-action shotgun in history, surpassing that of the Winchester Model 12, the original inspiration for Ithaca's entry into the market. Ithaca has suffered many setbacks in its history and changed hands numerous times. At one time, the Ithaca 37 was renamed the Model 87, although it was soon changed back in one of many ownership changes. Production paused in 2005 when Ithaca once again changed hands. Production has resumed in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.

ITHACA Model 37, 20GA, 'EARLY MFG, SLAM FIRE VERSION', MFG 1945 Description: ITHACA, MODEL 37, 20GA, 28' Barrels, Excellent Bore, SN#195356, MFG: 1945. ORIGINALLY KNOWN AS, 'SLAM FIRE PUMP'. By Holding Trigger the gun will fire as Fast as it Loads. This Capability was no longer Available after a few years. Original Gun, Professionally Refinished. MODELS, SERIAL NUMBERS AND MANUFACTURING DATES FOR ITHACA GUNS. Reprinted with express written permission from Walter Claude Snyder’s books “ The Ithaca Gun Company From The Beginning ” and “ Ithaca Featherlight Repeaters: The Best Gun Going: A Complete History of the Ithaca Model 37 and the Model 87 ”. I want to disable the slam fire on my 16ga Ithaca 37 to make it safer for shooting trap, I have had a few slam fires by accident and want to make it safer. I think I just need to grind off the triangle shaped tab on the side of the hammer, anyone tried this? 16ga 3-Win 37 16ga Win 12 1953 16ga Ithaca 37 1946 16ga LeFever Long Range 1937.

According to an article by the Ithaca Times dated June 11th, 2003, the one-millionth Model 37 was produced in 1968; and as of 2003, more than 2,000,000 Model 37s have been produced. The Ithaca 37 is the only pre–World War II shotgun still in production.


The Model 37 was used by the United States Armed Forces in World War II, the Korean War, and especially the Vietnam War, where it gained a great reputation for reliability in the jungles of Vietnam when generally used by special forces/special operationsforces like the Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets. The largest single users outside the US Military were the New York City Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department. The New York City Police Department used 2 versions of the Model 37: one with a 13' barrel with forend hand-strap for its Emergency Service Unit and one with an 18' barrel for its Highway Patrol and solo patrol officers of designated low-crime precincts through a short-lived program spanning from the late 1970s to early 1980s. The Model 37 was issued by the LAPD beginning in the 1940s and remained in service until the late 1990s. Other users include the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and various military, police, and security agencies and prisons around the world. The Ithaca 37 remains a popular choice among civilians for both sport and personal protection. The Model 37 Featherlight has commonly been seen in the hands of farmers and hunters in the midwestern United States.


Loading the Ithaca 37 involves inserting shotshells of the proper gauge through the loading/ejection port in the bottom of the receiver and pushing them forward into the magazine until retained by the shell stop. The slide release is pressed and the slide retracted completely then pushed forward.Pulling the trigger fires the gun and releases the slide for reloading. On most models up to 1975, a second sear was installed that would drop the hammer as soon the gun went into battery if the trigger was in a depressed condition. Thus, holding the trigger down allowed the gun to fire the instant a new round is cycled into the chamber without requiring the trigger to be released; this feature was called 'slam-fire.' Otherwise, the Model 37 operates in much the same way as other pump-action shotguns.

Selected versions[edit]

  • S-prefix: were manufactured for a 1962 United States military contract. S-prefixed serial numbers ran from approximately 1,000 to 23,000 with 'U.S.' on the receiver and 'P' proof markings on the barrel and receiver. The guns have a Parkerized finish with a 20 inches (51 cm) barrel and plain stock with plastic butt plate and no sling swivels. A few later contracts produced smaller numbers of guns with sling swivels and serial numbers in the high 900,000 range. Some had 'duckbill spreader' shot diverters for use by United States Navy SEALs. Others were fitted with a ventilated handguard and bayonet adapter. New bayonets were manufactured by General Cutlery, Inc. and Canada Arsenal, Ltd.[2]
  • Ultralite: an aluminum receiver variation.
  • Deerslayer: a version with a shortened barrel and rifle-style sighting system.
  • DSPS: for Deerslayer Police Special. A military and police version
  • Stakeout: short version with a 13 inches (330 mm) barrel and pistol grip stock, which was notable for being the signature weapon for Ricardo Tubbs, Philip Michael Thomas' character on Miami Vice as well as being the secondary weapon of Corporal Hicks in Aliens (although it was technically a modified hunting variant) and Aliens: Colonial Marines, where it has the words 'no fate' carved into the top, a reference to Michael Biehn's role in The Terminator. Because of its barrel length and overall length, this model is classified as a National Firearms Act 'any other weapon' and must be registered with ATF.
  • 28 Gauge: 28 gauge model built on traditional size 28 gauge receiver.[3]
  • Defense: an affordable 12 or 20 gauge model built for home defense purposes. 18.5' barrel with 5-round capacity or 20' barrel with 8-round capacity. Essentially the same as the Model 37 M&P's used by military and police for many years.

Argentinian variants[edit]

An unlicensed, near identical copy known as the Bataan Modelo 71 is manufactured by the Argentinian firm Industrias Marcati.[4][5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^Canfield, Bruce N. American Rifleman (March 2002) pp. 44-47 & 92-95
  3. ^[1][dead link]
  4. ^'Archived copy'. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-06-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^'Archived copy'. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2011-06-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^'Archived copy'. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2011-06-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)


  • Fawcett, Bill. Hunters & Shooters, An Oral History of the U.S. Navy SEALS in Vietnam. NY: Avon Books, 1995. ISBN0-380-72166-X, pp. 79–80, especially.
  • Snyder, Walter C. Ithaca Featherlight Repeaters, The Best Gun Going. NC: Cook and Uline Pub, 1998. ISBN0-9629469-1-5
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Disconnector Feature[edit]

I removed this entry:

'This is because, unlike most modern pump-action shotguns, the Ithaca 37 had no trigger disconnector. Like the earlier Winchester Model 1897, and Winchester Model 1912, it too fired each time the action closed with the trigger depressed. Some recent sporting versions of the Ithaca 37 have deleted this desirable combat feature for safety reasons.'

This was deleted because it's incorrect. The Ithaca 37 was made with three different trigger mechanisms. One was experimental and resembled a later model Remington Model 17 trigger with a proper secondary sear. Now, the original version had a disconnector. This is what causes the gun to fire when the slide is all the way forward. This disconnector engages a lug projecting from the right side of the hammer. When the slide trips the slide release while the trigger is held to the rear, the hammer is released and can strike the firing pin.

On guns WITHOUT the disconnector, the hammer will follow the slide home and rest on the firing pin, but will not fall with any velocity, therefore it won't discharge a round, however the gun will have to be cycled again to recock the hammer. This is a common misconception. You must visually examine guns with and without a disconnector to understand this well. The book referenced at the end of the article is an excellent source of information and explains this well. For laymen, the only way to verify that you have a disconnector gun is to fire it at the range. Both trigger mechanisms will perform similarly when manually cycled without live ammunition. Disconnector, or 'Slam Fire' guns will have a projection on the right side of the hammer.Asams10 07:18, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarification. I have never owned an Ithaca 37 (but do have a Winchester Model 12). Based the input on the book, Hunters & Shooters, which I referenced, and which made the case that the version of the Ithaca 37 that the Navy SEALS used would fire each time the action was cycled with the trigger held down. I (erroneously) thought it applied to all Ithaca 37 shotguns. Thanks! Yaf 13:10, 1 March 2006 (UTC)


Removed text because it's anecdotal and beyond the scope of this article. I encourage you to create an article or sub-article under the Shotgun Choke article that describes this choke system. --Asams10 17:09, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

So the book reference is not adequate? When does a book become anecdotal? Yaf 17:14, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Ithaca 37 Slam Fire
Also removed claim that it was uneffective. Do you have a reference saying it was uneffective? Several authors in the book I cited claim to the contrary, that it was very effective. I personally don't argue with multiple US Navy SEALS in their written and published observations :-) Yaf 17:19, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I've never heard the oral argument, but I read official accounts which I cannot cite at this time, but all came to the same conclusion. The official finding was that a cylinder choke was substantially identical in effectiveness. While I don't want to argue with the Navy Seals, I'll have to say that one anecdote is as good as another. At any rate, I don't believe that any of this belongs in a section under the Ithaca 37 as it only happens to be the case that this device was attached to the Ithaca instead of other guns. If your fond of the device, I think it is more appropriate that it have its own referenced article instead.--Asams10 19:34, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
OK. We still need to cite a public verifiable record to validate your claims. I am not particularly fond of the duckbill attachment; I only just read about them last week in a book, which I cited. So, I have a very open mind on the topic. Still, I think we need to document your claims; otherwise, they look like POV. Yaf 20:08, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I'll stop reverting, but I suggest that you take the discussion to another article. This is irrelevant to the Ithaca 37 article. I'd like to see those published reports or at least a transcript of the oral history you cite because it disagrees strongly with what I've read.--Asams10 21:17, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
The first use of the Ithaca 37 was mentioned, when it was being T&E (Tested and Evaluated) in Vietnam.

'The shotgun with the duckbill was an Ithaca Model 37, and the duckbill was a muzzle attachment that changed the spread of shot from a circle to an oval four times as wide as it ws tall. After we started to get some good hits, I picked up the shotgun as a preferred weapon for close-in, especially around hooches. With the duckbill, you didn't have to lead a moving target as you did with a regular shotgun. The spread of the shot made up for any target movement at the short ranges we fought at. The No. 4 hardened buckshot was my preferred load. Double-ought buck was good, by you could hit more with the greater number of pellets in a No. 4 load. Flechette was also good, at least I thought so. You could hit a man at longer range with it than with a regular shot load.'

This is from Master Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Mike Boynton, USN (Ret.), on pp. 79-80 of the cited reference, relative to his tour in Vietnam that started in 1967. Additional sections, written by others, went into considerably more detail regarding the Ithaca Model 37, and it was used more and more, with typically one or two members on each patrol carrying one. If you have any other references on the duckbill attachment, it would be interesting to see what the claimed differences in performance were. Yaf 02:03, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Yaf, thanks for your efforts. I reread your comments and looked through the material I have without luck. Here's a logical argument. Even with a duckbull attached and, if you are to believe the claims of 'four times wider' patterns, then you would have n 8' pattern vs. a 2' pattern in a hut. Using number 4 shot is old gun-shop and armchair commando lore. In fact, Number 4 shot penetrates significantly less and is less reliable at stopping. While these sailors certainly had positive things to say, their stories are not emperical. It is my belief that they would have had similar positive experiences using a cylinder or modified cylinder choke and 00 buck. What gets under my skin is anecdotes and conjecture that is contrary to logic and emperical data that gets published as fact. It's voodoo and should be reported as that. At close range, the shot pattern hasn't opened up enough on the vertical plane to make a significant difference. At medium range, the shot pattern has, indeed, opened up, but the 'killing zone' range where the shot is both dense enough to score multiple hits and wide open enough to account for aiming errors is reduced by a factor of four. Further, as the pellets are essentially 'scattered' horizontally and 'full choke' vertically, range errors for hits beyond 30-40 yards are critical. For 'human wave' attacks, this makes it practically useless unless you intend to estimate range and 'hold over' your targets as they charge. Since I obviously can't cite anything emperical, I will appeal to your trust that I have seen the data. Duckbill patterns sporadic and variable. Different loads would pattern wildly different based on the individual choke used. One would be heavy on both ends, some would be heavy in the middle, some would look like a snake that swallowed two large rats. Few patterns resembled the 'holy grail' pattern that is essentially a wide oval. The bottom line being, if they were so good, why didn't they keep using them? I'm sure somewhere in my mounds of research there is the article I seek.--Asams10 00:58, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

28 gauge[edit]

I added reference to the 28 gauge model. The current Ithaca shows a special order only 28 gauge built on a 28 gauge specific receiver.

US Military Use[edit]

Since the US Military bought and used the weapon, shouldn't the US be listed under the Users section?

Thom430 (talk) 14:39, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

The US is listed under the 'Users' section. But there was a second 'users' section that apparently only included users of the Argentinian variant. It was redundant, since the variant section discusses users, so I deleted it. Felsic2 (talk) 15:50, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

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While the Ithaca 37 has been standard issue with many police departments and was adopted by the US military, most US users were sportsman by sales numbers. A better illustration for the article would be one of the hunting, skeet or trap shooting model variations. -- Naaman Brown (talk) 13:34, 4 January 2018 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Ithaca 37[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Ithaca 37's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named 'Congo':

  • From M3 submachine gun: Sicard, Jacques (November 1982). 'Les armes de Kolwezi'. La Gazette des armes (in French). No. 111. pp. 25–30.
  • From M2 Browning: Sicard, Jacques (November 1982). 'Les armes de Kolwezi'. La Gazette des armes (in French). No. 111. pp. 25–30. Archived from the original on 2018-10-19. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  • From M16 rifle: Sicard, Jacques (November 1982). 'Les armes de Kolwezi'. La Gazette des armes (in French). No. 111. pp. 25–30. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.

Reference named 'Bishop':

  • From M1 Garand: Bishop, Chris (2002). The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II. Sterling Publishing. p. 223. ISBN978-1-58663-762-0.
  • From Winchester Model 1895: Bishop, Chris: The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, p. 239. Sterling Publishing, 2002.

Ithaca Model 37 Slam Fire

Reference named 'Jones':

  • From M1911 pistol: Jones, Richard (2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009–2010. Jane's Information Group. pp. 896, 897, 899. ISBN978-0-7106-2869-5.
  • From M14 rifle: Jones, Richard (2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009–2010. Jane's Information Group. pp. 893–901. ISBN978-0-7106-2869-5.
  • From .38 Special: Jones, Richard (2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009–2010. Jane's Information Group. p. 621. ISBN978-0-7106-2869-5.
  • From Pakistan: Adam Jones (2004). Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction. Routledge. p. 420. ISBN978-0-415-35384-7.
  • From Malta: Jones, Huw R. (1973). 'Modern emigration from Malta'. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 60 (60): 101–119. doi:10.2307/621508. JSTOR621508.

Reference named 'Capie':

  • From M16 rifle: Capie, David (2004). Under the Gun: The Small Arms Challenge in the Pacific. Wellington: Victoria University Press. pp. 63–65. ISBN978-0-86473-453-2.
  • From M60 machine gun: Capie, David (2004). Under the Gun: The Small Arms Challenge in the Pacific. Wellington: Victoria University Press. pp. 63–65. ISBN978-0864734532.
  • From Heckler & Koch MP5: Capie, David (2004). Under the Gun: The Small Arms Challenge in the Pacific. Wellington: Victoria University Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN978-0864734532.

Ithaca 37 Slam Fire

Reference named 'French':

  • From The Terminator: French, 1996. p. 16
  • From M1941 Johnson rifle: Vigneras, Marcel (1989) [1957]. Rearming the French(PDF). The United States Army in World War II, Special Studies, Publication 11-6. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army. p. 252.

Reference named 'PRC':

  • From United States: 'Executive Summary: A Population Perspective of the United States'. Population Resource Center. May 2000. Archived from the original on June 4, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  • From Pakistan: Miller, Tracy, ed. (7 October 2009). 'Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population'. Pew Research Center. Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2010.

Reference named 'Smith':

  • From North Hollywood shootout: Smith, Doug; Mather, Kate (February 28, 2017). '20 years ago, a dramatic North Hollywood shootout changed the course of the LAPD and policing at large'. LA Times. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  • From Mk 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle: M14SE “CRAZY HORSE” SQUAD DESIGNATED MARKSMAN (M14SE SDM) AND MK14 SEI RIFLE. Retrieved on September 23, 2008.

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 08:58, 27 October 2019 (UTC)

Ithaca 37 Slam Fire History

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