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The History of Smith & Wesson in 10 Pictures

Check out our pictorial history of Smith & Wesson.


Perhaps the most famous firearm brand in the world, Smith & Wesson has what many would consider one of the most interesting and meaningful histories of all.

Smith and Wesson was originally formed in the early 1850's to produce the Volcanic, a lever action pistol.  From there, history began to be created.

We wanted to give a crash course in the company's lineage, and fill you in on some of the most intriguing aspects of this legendary firearm manufacturer.

Smith & Wesson's complete product line can be viewed here.

View the slideshow to learn more about this iconic gun brand.

All photos from wikimedia

The Volcanic lever action pistol ended up being the beginning of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. In the mid 1800's, Smith and Wesson began producing the Model 1.

The Model 1 fired a self-contained cartridge.  Slight improvements were made as production increased and the S&W Model 2 was released in the 1860's.

RELATED: These Famous Folks All Used Smith & Wesson Guns [PICS]

By 1974, S&W had "improved" the Model 2 and designated it the Model 3.

In the late 1800's, Smith and Wesson began producing the first series of "hand-ejector" models including the S&W Model 1899.

When the 1900's rolled around Smith and Wesson paired the 45 caliber cartridge with a large frame revolver to create the S&W Model 1917 (45).

RELATED: History of the 1911

The early 1900's also brought about the "classic" S&W Model M&P 38 caliber revolver.

1935 brought about the introduction of the 357 Magnum cartridge. Smith and Wesson's most popular model chambered in the 357 Magnum cartridge is the Model 686.

RELATED: Smith & Wesson Releases New M&P22 Compact Pistol

In 1955, the first American made double action auto was released as the Model 39.  Following close behind was the S&W Model 29 revolver in 44 Magnum.  This model was popular with hunters, long range shooter and other that liked the power of the 44 Magnum combined with the large frame revolver. The Model 29 achieved famous status on December 22, 1971 with the release of the movie Dirty Harry featuring Clint Eastwood.

Smith and Wesson released the first stainless steel revolver in 1965 as the S&W Model 60. Smith and Wesson continued to produce revolvers in a variety of calibers and configurations as well as some semi-automatic pistols throughout the 20th century. In 2000, Smith and Wesson experienced financial difficulties that resulted in a series of actions that created the Smith and Wesson Holdings Company. Many innovations were released during the first part of the Millennium.

Today, Smith and Wesson's line-up includes many of the revolvers that have been around for decades as well as the popular and newly revised S&W M&P series pistol and revolvers that are the mainstay of today's Smith and Wesson product line.

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The History of Smith & Wesson in 10 Pictures