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Smith & Wesson is a firearm manufacturer, particularly know for its line of revolvers.



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Snippet from Wikipedia: Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson (S&W) is an American manufacturer of firearms, ammunition and restraints. The corporate headquarters is in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Smith & Wesson was founded by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson as the "Smith & Wesson Revolver Company" in 1856 after their previous company, also called the "Smith & Wesson Company" and later renamed as "Volcanic Repeating Arms", was sold to Oliver Winchester and became the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The modern Smith & Wesson had been previously owned by Bangor Punta and Tomkins plc before being acquired by Saf-T-Hammer Corporation in 2001. Smith & Wesson has been a unit of American Outdoor Brands Corporation since 2016, after corporate restructuring in the 21st century.



Smith & Wesson (S&W) is a manufacturer of firearms in the United States. The corporate headquarters is in Springfield, Massachusetts. Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson's pistols and revolvers have become standard issue to police and armed forces throughout the world. They are also used by sport shooters and have been featured in numerous Hollywood movies, particularly Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry. Smith & Wesson has been known for the many types of ammunition it has introduced over the years, and many cartridges bear the company's name.



In 1852 partners Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed a company to produce a lever-action pistol<ref>Smith & Wesson History. Accessed 26 August 2009.</ref> that was later nicknamed the Volcanic pistol. The company became known as the “Volcanic Repeating Arms Company”; financial difficulties caused it to come into the majority ownership of investor Oliver Winchester, who renamed it the New Haven Arms Company (which later became Winchester Repeating Arms). Previously, in the late 1840s, Daniel Wesson's brother Edwin, of Hartford, Connecticut, had manufactured revolvers under the name of Wesson & Leavitt. After Edwin Wesson's death, that firm continued under the supervision of Thomas Warner.<ref name =“Boorman”>


In 1856 the partners left the Volcanic Company to begin a new company and to manufacture a newly designed revolver-and-cartridge combination which would become known as the Smith & Wesson Model 1.<ref name =“Boorman”/> The success of Model 1 was due to a combination of new innovations, the bored-through cylinder and the self-contained metallic cartridge. A gunsmith by the name of Rollin White had patented his invention (patent #12,648, 3 April 1855) on bored-through revolver cylinders. Smith & Wesson negotiated with Rollin White for assignment of the patent, agreeing to pay him a 25-cent royalty on every pistol sold. In return, White agreed to pay any legal fees associated with the defense of his patent against any infringements. For more than one decade Smith & Wesson was the sole manufacturer of this technological improvement. However, the success did not come without a fight. Other manufacturers quickly developed unique metallic cartridges and cylinders designed to circumvent White's patent. White took these manufacturers to court, where he eventually won in 1862; however, full implementation of the ruling did not take effect until 1865. The timing of the founding of this new company proved quite opportune for the partners, since the onset of the American Civil War five years later produced a great demand for Smith & Wesson's products, specifically the 2.<ref name =“Boorman”/>

In 1867, Smith & Wesson began a global sales campaign that introduced the company's revolvers and ammunition to new markets, such as Russia, and established the company as one of the world's premier makers of firearms.<ref name =“Boorman”/> The 3 eventually became known as the “Russian Model” and was a favorite of US lawman Wyatt Earp. The US Army adopted the Model&nbsp;3 as the “Schofield” and used it throughout the Indian Wars of the West.

In 1964, the company passed from Wesson family control when it was acquired by the conglomerate Bangor Punta. Between 1987 and 2001, Smith & Wesson was owned by the British engineering company Tomkins plc.

Agreement of 2000

S & W K-22. />

In March 2000 Smith & Wesson was the only major gun manufacturer to sign an agreement with the Clinton Administration.<ref name=“guvpr”>"Clinton Administration and State and Local Governments Reach<br>Breakthrough Gun Safety Agreement With Smith & Wesson"</ref> The company agreed to numerous safety and design standards as well as limits on the sale and distribution of its products. Gun clubs and gun rights groups responded to this agreement by initiating large-scale boycotts of Smith & Wesson and by consumers refusing to buy their new products while Police agencies flooded the firearms market with used S&W guns. The sudden flood of used guns came primarily from law enforcement agencies that were trading their department issued revolvers for semi-automatic pistols, additionally the trade in pistols were often considered better quality than the revolver products being produce by Smith and Wesson during the late 1990's. <ref name=“guvpr”/><ref name=“sw1”>17 March 2000 CNN transcript of UD Secretary Andrew Cuomo announcing agreement</ref><ref name=“gufo”>

</ref> After a 40% sales slide,<ref name=“kdm”>

</ref> the sales impact from the boycotts led Smith & Wesson to suspend manufacturing at two plants.<ref>

</ref> The success of the boycott led to a Federal Trade Commission antitrust investigation's being initiated under the Clinton administration,<ref name=“gufo”/> targeting gun dealers and gun rights groups, which was subsequently dropped in 2003.<ref>

</ref> This agreement signed by Tomkins PLC ended with the sale of Smith & Wesson to the Saf-T-Hammer Corporation. The new company (Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation), which publicly renounced the agreement, was received positively by the firearms community.<ref name=“GunWeek”>


Acquisition by Saf-T-Hammer

On 11 May 2001, Saf-T-Hammer Corporation acquired Smith & Wesson Corp. from Tomkins PLC for US$15&nbsp;million, a fraction of the US$112&nbsp;million originally paid by Tomkins. Saf-T-Hammer assumed US$30&nbsp;million in debt, bringing the total purchase price to US$45&nbsp;million.<ref name=“swsold”>Article on Sale of Smith & Wesson</ref><ref name=“bizj”>Phoenix Business Journals on Smith & Wesson Sale</ref> Saf-T-Hammer, a manufacturer of gun locks and other firearms safety products, purchased the company with the intention of incorporating its line of security products into all Smith & Wesson firearms in compliance with the 2000 agreement.

The acquisition of Smith & Wesson was chiefly brokered by Saf-T-Hammer President Bob Scott, who had left Smith & Wesson in 1999 because of a disagreement with Tomkins’ policies. After the purchase, Scott became the president of Smith & Wesson to guide the 157-year-old company back to its former standing in the market.<ref name=“kdm”/>

On 15 February 2002, the name of the newly formed entity was changed to Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation.

Ammunition types introduced by Smith & Wesson


  • .22 Short<ref name=“COTW”>


  • .32 S&W—sometimes called .32 Short<ref name=“COTW”/>
  • .32 S&W Long—sometimes called .32 New Colt Police<ref name=“COTW”/>
  • .32-44 S&W, defined as .32 Caliber (true .32 caliber measures .323“, sole use in Model 3 Revolver to 1898.<ref name=“phsharpe” />
  • .38 S&W—sometimes called .38 Colt New Police and the 38/200 in England.<ref name=“COTW”/>
  • .38-44 S&W There are two distinct loads with this designation. The first was intended for use in model 3 revolvers up to 1898. The second was a predecessor to the .357 Magnum. Using the latter load in a pre-1898 gun could cause serious injury.<ref name=“phsharpe”>Complete Guide to Handloading by Philip Sharpe 1937 to 1957</ref>
  • .38 S&W Special<ref name=“COTW”/>—Usually referred to as ”.38 Special“
  • .357 S&W Magnum<ref name=“COTW”/>—Usually referred to as ”.357 Magnum“
  • .40 S&W<ref name=“COTW”/>—Smith & Wesson developed the cartridge but the first firearm to hit the market chambered in .40 was manufactured by Glock<ref></ref>
  • .41 Magnum—While Remington Arms developed the ammunition, Smith & Wesson made the first revolvers to chamber the cartridge.<ref name=“COTW”/>
  • .44 American<ref name=“COTW”/>
  • .44 Russian<ref name=“COTW”/>
  • .44 S&W Special<ref name=“COTW”/>
  • .44 Remington Magnum<ref name=“COTW”/>
  • .45 S&W Schofield<ref name=“COTW”/>
  • .460 S&W Magnum<ref name=“cotw11”>


  • .500 S&W Magnum<ref name=“cotw11”/>

Notable revolvers

<center> <gallery> Image:Smith-et-Wesson-Volcanic-1854-1855-cal-31-p1030158.jpg|Smith & Wesson Volcanic, caliber .31, between 1854 and 1855 Image:Smith & Wesson Model 1, 2nd Issue.jpg|Smith & Wesson Model 1 Second Issue, .22 rimfire Image:Smith & Wesson Army No 2.JPG|Smith & Wesson Army No 2, made 1863, caliber .32 Rimfire Image:Smith-et-Wesson-Model-3-cal-44-1874-1878-p1030157.jpg|Smith & Wesson Model 3, Cal. .44, between 1874 and 1878 Image:Smith-et-Wesson-44-crosse-p1030158.jpg|Smith & Wesson Model 3, Cal. .44, between 1881 and 1923 Image:S&W M&P Hand Ejector 1899 model.jpg|Smith & Wesson .38 Special Model 1899 Military and Police Hand Ejector File:Smith and Wesson .44 Hand Ejector 1st Model New Century Triple Lock Canadian Contract .455 Webley-transparent.png|Smith and Wesson .44 Hand Ejector 1st Model “New Century”, chambered for .455, with British proof marks, likely used by British forces in WWI File:M1917 revolver.jpg|Smith & Wesson M1917 cal. 45 File:M&Prevolver.jpg|Smith & Wesson Model 10 cal. 38 </gallery> </center>

Smith & Wesson has produced revolvers over the years in several standard frame sizes. ”M refers to the small early Ladysmith frame, I to the small .32 frame, J to the small .38 frame, K to the medium .38 frame, L to medium large, and N to the largest .44 Magnum type frame.<ref>The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms Dean K. Boorman, 2002, pp 44–45</ref> In 2003, the even larger X frame was introduced for the .500 S&W Magnum.

;I-Frame (small) Models

  • Smith & Wesson Model 30—A small six-shot .32-caliber revolver.
  • Smith & Wesson Model 32—“Terrier” A small five-shot revolver chambered in .38 S&W .38-caliber. Coil or flat mainspring, round front sight, 2“ barrel.
  • Smith & Wesson Model 35—A Small six-shot target revolver with adjustable sights and six inch barrel chambered in .22 LR. 22/32 Target Model of 1953. Produced from 1953 to 1973. <ref> Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson, 3rd Ed. 2006, Supica, Jim and Richard Nahas, Gun Digest Press, Iola WI, , P. 207 </ref>

;J-Frame (small) Models

  • Smith & Wesson Model 36—known as the “Chiefs Special”; first J-frame (1950), 5-shot revolver<ref name=“EPR2002”>


  • Smith & Wesson Model 37—known as the “Chiefs Special Airweight”;
  • Smith & Wesson Bodyguard—standard and “Airweight” (Models 38, 49, 438, 638, 649)
  • Smith & Wesson Model 60—first regular production all stainless steel revolver (1965); the stainless Chief's Special<ref name=“EPR2002”/>
  • Smith & Wesson Model 340PD—first revolver made of scandium alloy, very light, possibly the final evolution of the classic J-frame Chief's Special introduced over 60 years earlier, weighs 12 ounces (340 g).<ref name=“EPR2002”/>
  • Smith & Wesson Centennial—standard and “Airweight” (Models 40, 42, 442, 640, 642) (at one time available in 9×19mm caliber as the Model 940)<ref name=“EPR2002”/>

;K-Frame (medium) Models

;L-Frame (medium-large) Models

;M-Frame (extra small old) Models

;N-Frame (large) Models

  • .44 Hand Ejector First Model "New Century"—first N-frame, introduced in 1908. The first chambering of .44 S&W Special.
  • Model 1917—first revolver chambered for .45 ACP<ref name=“GCH”/>
  • Smith & Wesson Model 22—.45 ACP/.45 Auto Rim; also called the M1950 Military; Base for the 2nd issue Thunder Ranch Revolver; This was the evolution of the M1917 revolver
  • Smith & Wesson Model 25—similar to the Model 29, but chambered for the .45 ACP/.45 Auto Rim and later, the .45 Colt cartridge. The best known, and most common, variants of this revolver are the Model 25-2 (.45 ACP) and Model 25-5 (.45 Colt).
  • Smith & Wesson Model 27—first .357 Magnum; usually a custom or limited-run revolver, with a deep blue lustre<ref name=“EPR2002”/>
  • Smith & Wesson Model 28—“Highway Patrolman” .357 Magnum; fewer frills than the Model 27, same performance; marketed to police for its reduced price and equal performance.<ref name=“EPR2002”/>
  • Smith & Wesson Model 29—first .44 Magnum by S&W, made famous by its appearance in the film Dirty Harry<ref name=“EPR2002”/>
  • Smith & Wesson Model 57—first .41 Magnum; initiated and sponsored by Elmer Keith and others, top end premier model identical in features, fit, and finish to .44 Magnum Model 29.<ref name=“EPR2002”/>
  • Smith & Wesson Model 58—.41 Magnum; 4-inch barrel with fixed sights; marketed as basic, entry-level police duty revolver offering greater power than .38/.357 revolvers when using a reduced power .41 Magnum police load.
  • Smith & Wesson Model 625—used by Jerry Miculek in .45 ACP to set the world record for 12 rounds (with one reload) on target in 2.99 seconds<ref name=“EPR2002”/>
  • Smith & Wesson Model 627—8-shot .357 Magnum, adjustable sights, stainless steel, 2.5“ or 5” barrel, removable compensator, Performance Center



Notable semi-automatic pistols

Semi-automatic pistols

In 1953 the US Army was looking for a pistol to replace the Colt 1911A1.<ref name=“EPR2002”/> To obtain a bid from the US Government, Smith & Wesson began working on a design similar to the German Walther P-38.<ref name=“EPR2002”/> A year later the Army dropped its search and Smith & Wesson introduced its pistol to the civilian shooting market as the Model 39.<ref name=“EPR2002”/>

The Model 39 would come to be known as a first generation pistol. Since the Model 39 debuted, Smith & Wesson has continuously developed this design into its third generation pistols now on the market. The first generation models use a 2 digit model number, the second generation use 3 digits, and third generation models use 4 digits.

For many of the 2nd and 3rd generation models, the first digit identified the material used in the frame; thus a first digit of 4 indicated an alloy, a first digit of 5 indicated stainless steel.

Sigma series

Smith & Wesson introduced the Sigma series of recoil-operated, locked-breech semi-auto pistols in 1994 with the Sigma SW40F, followed by the Sigma SW9F 9&nbsp;mm, which included a 17-shot magazine.<ref name=“EPR2002”/> Glock initiated a patent infringement lawsuit against Smith & Wesson. The latter paid an undisclosed amount to settle the case and for the right to continue producing models in the Sigma line.<ref name=“genitron”>

</ref> The gun frame is manufactured from polymer, while the slide and barrel use either stainless steel or carbon steel. In 1996, Smith & Wesson updated the Sigma by adding a compact model by shortening the barrel (from 4

to 4&nbsp;inches) and again, in 1999, modified the series by changing the grip by adding checkering and adding an integral accessory rail for lights and laser targeting devices.<ref name=“EPR2002”/>

SW99 Series

S&W reached an agreement with Walther to produce variations of the P99 line of pistols.<ref name=“EPR2002”/> Branded as the SW99, the pistol is available in several calibers, including 9&nbsp;mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, and in both full size and compact variations. Under the terms of the agreement, Walther produced the frames, and Smith and Wesson produced the slide and barrel. The pistol has several cosmetic differences from the original Walther design and strongly resembles a hybrid between the P99 and the Sigma series.<ref name=“EPR2002”/>

M&P Series

In 2005, Smith & Wesson debuted a new polymer-frame pistol intended for the law enforcement market. Dubbed the M&P (for Military and Police), its name was meant to evoke S&W's history as the firearm of choice for law enforcement agencies through its previous lineup of M&P revolvers. The M&P is a completely new design with no parts interchangeable with any other pistol including the Sigma. The new design not only looks completely different than the Sigma but feels completely different with 3 different back straps supplied with each M&P. Many of the ergonomic study elements that had been incorporated into the Sigma and the SW99 were brought over to the M&P. The improved trigger weight and feel, and unique takedown method (not requiring a dry pull of the trigger) were meant to set the M&P apart from both the Sigma and the popular Glock pistols.

The M&P is available in 9x19mm Para, .40 S&W, and .357 SIG. Also a .22 LR M&P was developed with Carl Walther and is made in Germany. A .45 ACP model was released in early 2007, after making its debut at the SHOT Show. In addition, compact versions are available in 9x19mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .45 ACP.

SD VE Series

Smith & Wesson introduced the SD VE series in 2012 in hopes of remaking and improving the discontinued Smith & Wesson SD. The SD VE design has an improved self-defense trigger and a comfortable, ergonomic, textured grip. The SD VE also features an improved stainless steel barrel and slide that the SD did not include. The Smith & Wesson SD VE is available in 9x19mm Parabellum and .40 S&W calibers in either a standard-capacity version (16+1-round capacity for SD9 VE and 14+1 for SD40 VE) or in the low-capacity version (10+1-round capacity for both calibers.)

SW1911 Series

In 2003, Smith & Wesson introduced their variation of the classic M1911 .45 ACP semi-automatic handgun, the SW1911. This firearm retains the M1911's well known dimensions, operation, and feel, while adding a variety of modern touches. Updates to the design include serration at the front of the slide for easier operation and disassembly, a high “beaver-tail” grip safety, external extractor, lighter weight hammer and trigger, as well as updated internal safeties to prevent accidental discharges if dropped. S&W 1911s are available with black finished carbon steel slides and frames or bead blasted stainless slides and frames. They are available with aluminum frames alloyed with scandium in either natural or black finishes. These updates have resulted in a firearm that is true to the M1911 design, with additions that would normally be considered “custom”, with a price similar to equivalent designs from other manufacturers.

Smith & Wesson's Performance Center produces the top of the line hand fitted competition version knowns as the PC 1911. While most 1911s run around

, the PC 1911 is heavier, at approximately

. The full-length guide rod adds some weight, and so does the add-on magazine well.

Rifles and carbines

During the early years of WW2, Smith & Wesson manufactured batches of the Model 1940 Light Rifle under request from the British Government.

In January 2006, Smith & Wesson reentered the rifle market with its M&P15 series of rifles based on the AR-15 platform. Unveiled at SHOT Show 2006, the rifle debuted in two varieties: the M&P15 and the M&P15T. The two are basically the same rifle, chambered in 5.56 NATO, with the T model featuring folding sights and a four-sided accessories rail. At its debut, the M&P15's suggested retail price was $1,200 while the M&P15T retailed for $1,700. Their current line consists of four models ranging in price from $1,049 to $2,200. These rifles were first produced by Stag Arms but marketed under the Smith & Wesson name.<ref name=“ir1”>S&W press release on new M&P15 Rifles</ref> Currently Smith & Wesson makes the lower receiver in-house while the barrel is supplied by Thompson/Center, a S&W company.

In May 2008, Smith & Wesson introduced its first AR-variant rifle in a caliber other than 5.56 NATO. The M&P15R is a standard AR platform rifle chambered for the 5.45×39mm cartridge.<ref>

</ref> In 2009, it released the M&P15-22, chambered for .22 Long Rifle.<ref>Rackley, Paul. An AR Plinking Good Time, American Rifleman</ref>

Smith and Wesson manufactured a line of bolt action rifles called the i-Bolt. These synthetic stock rifles were available in .25-06 .270 Win or .30-06 caliber.

Submachine gun

In 1967 Smith & Wesson produced a 9mm submachine gun, hoping to capitalize on US sales of the Israeli Uzi and HK MP5. It borrowed the magazine of the Carl Gustav M/45 submachine gun (Kulsprutepistol m/45 or Kpist m/45) which had been popular with the US forces in Vietnam as the “Swedish K”) and made a similar side-folding stock. But the rest of the straight blowback (arms) weapon had no parts in common with the earlier Swedish gun. The S&W Model 76 submachine gun was made in limited numbers and was primarily used as a police weapon. Because all of them were made prior to 1986, many of them made it into civilian hands in the USA and are commonly used in submachine gun competition.<ref name =“Supica”>



Smith & Wesson bought patents and tooling for a 12 ga. shotgun design from Noble Manufacturing Co. in 1972 and produced it as the Model 916, 916T, and 916A.<ref>

</ref> The guns were plagued by a variety of quality issues, including a recall due to a safety issue with barrels rupturing.<ref>

</ref> The 916 series was discontinued, then later replaced by the Models 3000, based on an improved Remington 870 design, and 1000 intended to compete with the popular Remington Model 1100; both were produced by Howa of Japan.<ref>

</ref> However, with the sale of the company to British Tomkins PLC, Smith & Wesson exited the shotgun market in the mid'80s to return to their “core” market of handguns.

During the 1980s, Smith & Wesson released the S&W assault shotgun, which had full automatic capability.

In November 2006, S&W announced that it would reenter the shotgun market with two new lines of shotguns, the Elite series and the 1000 series, unveiled at the 2007 SHOT Show. The 1000 series was discontinued in 2009. Along with the new shotguns, S&W debuted the Heirloom Warranty program, a first of its kind in the firearms industry. The warranty provides both the original buyer and the buyer's chosen heir with a lifetime warranty on all Elite Series shotguns.<ref name=“ir2”>S&W press release on new line of shotguns</ref>

Internal locking mechanism

Most Smith & Wesson revolvers have been equipped with an internal locking mechanism since the acquisition by Saf-T-Hammer. The mechanism is relatively unobtrusive, is activated with a special key, and renders the firearm inoperable. While the lock can simply be left disengaged, some gun enthusiasts prefer “pre-lock” guns.

Smith & Wesson announced in March 2009 that it would begin phasing the internal lock out of its revolver lineup.<ref>Ayoob, Massad.(2009) “S&W Gives its Customers What They Want”. American Handgunner. Mar–Apr 2009.</ref> The company is now producing the original model 442 and 642 without the internal lock.

Other products

Smith & Wesson markets gun accessories, handcuffs, safes, apparel, watches, collectibles, knives, tools, air guns, emergency lightbars, and myriad other products under its brand name, including cologne, handbags, and washing machines.<ref name=supicagg>


Knives: John Wilson and Roy G. Jinks designed the Smith and Wesson model 6010 Bowie knife in 1971 and the 1973 Texas Ranger Bowie knife. Blackie Collins designed the subsequent model 6020 and 6060 Survival knife in 1974–1979. All of these limited-production and custom knives were made at the Springfield, Mass., USA factory.

In October 2002, Smith & Wesson announced it had entered into a licensing agreement with Cycle Source Group to produce a line of bicycles designed by and for law enforcement. These bicycles feature custom configurations and silent hubs (for 'stealth' cycling) and are available for purchase by 'civilians'.<ref name=“ir3”>S&W press release on new line of bicycles</ref><ref name=“ir4”>S&W press release on Police Bicycles</ref>

Smith & Wesson flashlights are available to the general public. They are designed and produced by PowerTech, Inc, in Collierville, Tennessee.<ref>


Smith & Wesson has a line of wood pellet grills named after various pistol cartridges, such as .22 Magnum, .38 Special, .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, and .500 Magnum.<ref name=supicagg/>

Smith & Wesson has entered into a licensing agreement with North Carolina-based Wellco Enterprises to design and distribute a full line of tactical law enforcement footwear.<ref name=“ir5”></ref>

See also


External links

smith_wesson.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/12 18:38 (external edit)