If this pistol doesn't sound like the perfect pistol, well some 6 Million have been produced over the years, making it the most popular center-fire revolver of the 20th century.
The 1st Model came with a 6.5" barrel, a blue finish, with a shrouded ejector rod. The 2nd Model had no shroud on the ejector rod and a lighter weight barrel. From what I've read, today these are prized by collectors.
The 1st and 2nd Models were very popular with the British. In fact, the British purchase many during World War I and into World War II.
When talking about the history of Smith & Wesson, there are many many very note worthy Models. Among the most famous was the Model 1911 .22 caliber Target Pistol, the Model 1917 in .45ACP, the Model 19 .357 magnum California Highway Patrol model, the Model 13 in .357 magnum with a 3inch barrel, and of course the snub nosed Chief's Special.
Just a little over a year into his first term, Bill Clinton went after the gun industry full force with threats of lawsuits and over-regulation.
Then came the Brady Bill that banned many firearms just based on their looks.
The passage of the Brady Bill cost Bill Clinton his Democrat Party in Congress. After two years in office, his policies at offended the American public to the point of their voting out his Democrat majority in Congress.
In many ways, Bill Clinton made history by losing the Congress. The Democrats had ruled Congress through 40 years of Liberal control.
Smith & Wesson's problems only just started after they signed that agreement.
Many in the public saw Smith&Wesson as making a deal with the Devil. The agreement was not at all accepted by the gun owning public. Gun clubs and gun rights groups responded to this agreement by initiating large-scale boycotts of Smith&Wesson by refusing to buy their new products.
What followed the boycotts was a flooding of used S&W firearms on the gun market, of all sorts of used S&W guns. And yes, it nearly ruined the company for good!
The acquisition of Smith & Wesson was chiefly brokered by Saf-T-Hammer President Bob Scott, who had left Smith&Wesson in 1999 because of supposed disagreement with the policies at Tomkins PLC.
On 15 February 2002, the name of the newly formed entity was changed to Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation. But of course, most folks will always know them as simply Smith & Wesson.
A lot of companies out there can learn a great deal by seeing where and how Smith &Wesson righted itself to get back on the road to being a successful company.
Next month, I hope to finish Part 3 where I go into Smith & Wesson's history of the semi-automatic pistol market. And yes, to answer one email that I've already recieved on this topic, I promise that I will try to research Smith & Wesson's tactical rifles as well.
Smith & Wesson - A Tough Success Story - Part 1
Smith & Wesson - A Tough Success Story - Part 3
Smith & Wesson - A Tough Success Story - Part 4
Story by Tom Correa