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The Most Popular Revolver in the World : S&W Model 10

The Smith & Wesson Model 10, previously known as the Smith & Wesson .38 Hand Ejector Model of 1899, the Smith & Wesson Military & Police or the Smith & Wesson Victory Model, is a revolver of worldwide popularity. It was the successor to the Smith & Wesson .32 Hand Ejector Model of 1896 and was the first Smith & Wesson revolver to feature a cylinder release latch on the left side of the frame like the Colt M1889. In production since 1899, it is a six-shot double-action revolver with fixed sights. Over its long production run it has been available with barrel lengths of 2 in (51 mm), 3 in (76 mm), 4 in (100 mm), 5 in (130 mm), and 6 in (150 mm). Barrels of 2.5 inches (64 mm) are also known to have been made for special contracts. Some 6,000,000 of the type have been produced over the years, making it the most popular center fire revolver of the 20th century.

History


In 1899, the Army and Navy placed orders with Smith & Wesson for two to three thousand Model 1899 Hand Ejector revolvers chambered for the M1892 .38 Long Colt U.S. Service Cartridge. With this order, the Hand Ejector Model became known as the .38 Military and Police model. That same year, in response to reports from military sources serving in the Philippines on the relative ineffectiveness of the new cartridge, Smith & Wesson began offering the Military & Police in a new chambering, .38 S&W Special (aka .38 Special) - a slightly elongated version of the .38 Long Colt cartridge with greater bullet weight (158 grains) and an increased powder charge, from eighteen to twenty-one grains of gunpowder.

In 1902 the .38 Military & Police (2nd Model) was introduced, featuring substantial changes. These included major modification and simplification of the internal lockwork and the addition of a locking underlug on the barrel to engage the previously free-standing ejector rod. Barrel lengths were 4, 5, 6, and 6.5 inches with a rounded butt. Serial numbers for the Military & Police ranged from number 1 in the series to 20,975. Most of the early M&P revolvers chambered in .38 Special appear to have been sold to the civilian market. By 1904, S&W was offering the .38 M&P with a rounded or square butt, and 4, 5, and 6.5-inch barrels.

The .38 S&W Military & Police Model of 1905 4th Change (introduced 1915), incorporated a passive hammer block and enlarged service sights that quickly became a standard across the service revolver segment of the industry. Heat treatment of cylinders began in 1919.


Victory Model

The S&W Model 10 military revolvers produced from 1942 to 1944 had serial numbers with a "V" prefix, and were known as the Smith & Wesson Victory Model. It is noteworthy that early Victory Models did not always have the V prefix. During World War II over 570,000 of these pistols were supplied to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa under the Lend-Lease program, chambered in the British .38/200 caliber already in use in the Enfield No 2 Mk I Revolver and the Webley Mk IV Revolver. Most Victory Models sent to Britain were fitted with 4" (102 mm) or 5" (127 mm) barrels, although a few early versions had 6" (150 mm) barrels. In general, most British and Commonwealth forces expressed a preference for the .38/200 Smith & Wesson over their standard Enfield revolver.

Post-World War II models


After World War II, Smith & Wesson returned to manufacturing the M&P series. Along with cosmetic changes and replacement of the frame fitting grip with the Magna stocks, the spring-loaded hammer block safety gave way to a cam-actuated hammer block that rode in a channel in the side plate (Smith 1968). In 1957, Smith & Wesson adopted the convention of using numeric designations to distinguish their various models of handguns, and the M&P was renamed the Model 10.

The M&P/Model 10 has been available in both blued steel finish and nickel finish for most of its production run. The model has also been offered throughout the years with both the round butt and square butt (i.e. grip patterns). Beginning with the Model 10-5 series in the late 1960s, the tapered barrel and its trademark 'half moon' front sight (as shown in the illustrations on this page) were replaced by a straight bull barrel and a sloped milled ramp front sight. Late model Model 10s are capable of handling any .38 Special cartridge produced today up to and including +P+ rounds.

As of 2012 the Model 10 was available only in a 4" (102mm) barrel model. The Model 10's stainless steel (Inox) counterpart, the Smith & Wesson Model 64, is also available with only a 4" (102 mm) barrel.

Posted by George Freund on July 30, 2015 at 3:15 PM 4586 Views