smith and wesson guns, American firearms manufacturer based in Springfield, Massachusetts. The partnership was first founded in 1852 by Horace Smith (1808–93) and Daniel B. Wesson (1825–1906) in Norwich, Connecticut, to make lever-action Volcanic repeating handguns firing caseless self-consuming bullets. smith & wesson guns

That venture failed, however, and the two men established a second partnership in 1856 in Springfield to produce small “tip-up” revolvers. Those pistols featured completely bored-through cylinder chambers that were accessed by “tipping” the barrel up at a hinge at the front of the top strap and fired self-contained metallic cartridges—the original .22 rimfire—of Smith and Wesson’s own design. The American Civil War made Smith & Wesson a leading revolver manufacturer. Its introduction in the 1870s of large-frame “break-top” revolvers (“breaking” the revolver at a hinge in front of the trigger guard exposed the rear of the cylinder) that fired more-potent cartridges created business in the American West and around the world.

Smith & Wesson later supplied thousands of swing-out cylinder “hand ejector” revolvers to police forces around the world as well as to the Americans and the British in World War I and the Allies in World War II. During the 20th century the company also developed a number of famed cartridges, including the .357 and .44 magnum rounds. In the mid-1950s Smith & Wesson introduced its first semiautomatic pistol (Model 39), which inaugurated several generations of self-loading handguns.



If you aren’t sure what Smith & Wesson model you’ve got pulled up, take a look at the side of the barrel or slide. All S&W handguns have the make and model, usually relatively easy-to-spot, etched in their stainless-steel barrels or slides.

Another quick front-end identifier is whether you’ve got a ported barrel or not. If it’s got cut-outs in the front end, that means the barrel is ported.

Good news! Porting means your handgun will have less muzzle flip. One example of a great ported-barrel is the Performance Center M&P M2.0.

If you’re planning on using your handgun for combat use, there are some great options out there with a threaded barrel…a necessary feature if you’re wanting to use a suppressor.

How do you know if you’re looking at a gun with a threaded barrel? The tip of the barrel is smaller in diameter than the rest, and has grooving. Check out this M&P9 for reference. smith and wesson pistols



You can tell if you’ve got an S&W revolver or semi-automatic by looking at the action. If there is an obvious rotating cylinder, you’re dealing with a revolver like the Model 610 10MM Revolver.

If not, it’s a semi-automatic like the M&P Shield EZ.

With the semi-auto handguns, some will have a hammer you can see, but others don’t — like the SD40 VE .40 S&W (which is striker-fired).

Another thing you can usually tell about the action by looking, is whether it’s single-action (has to be cocked before firing) or double-action (fired just by pulling the trigger). smith and wesson pistols



The frame of your handgun gives you several more clues about it. For example, a textured grip means you’ve got more control. One example of a nice grip texture is on the M&P Bodyguard. buy smith and wesson online

Likewise, the material of the frame/grip can tell you about the age or style of your weapon. You could have a polymer like the Bodyguard .380 ACP, or you could have a stainless frame like the Model 642. buy smith and wesson online

You could even have a wood stock such as the Model 36 Classic.

If you see small horizontal grooves running the length of your frame, it means you can mount accessories like lights or sighting systems on these Picatinny rails.

I like to fit my S&W handguns with a light for duty encounters.


Some Smith & Wesson handguns come with built-in sights, but others are adjustable, like these that fit the M&P. smith and wesson for sale

With a gun featuring adjustable sights, you can see the groove along the top where the sight can slide back and forth. smith and wesson for sale

You’ll be able to tell if your sights are night sights or not by the color. Night sights have luminescent (usually green or reddish) dots that glow in the dark for easy targeting.

Weapons like the M&P Shield ship already fitted for night sights like these Ameriglos.


The last category of quick S&W handgun identification I’ll talk about is the type of safety your weapon uses. There are three main types of safeties on a Smith & Wesson: grip, thumb and trigger (also described as having no manual safety).

A grip safety is easy to spot because the back of your weapon will have a wedge-shaped piece sticking out like in this M&P Shield EZ. This is because you have to be holding the weapon and pressing in the grip safety to fire the gun.

Thumb safeties have to manually be turned on and off by the user, and typically look like a button or lever above the trigger assembly. Take a look at this Shield (which actually has a grip and thumb safety) to see a classic thumb safety.

A trigger safety just means the pull weight of the trigger is heavier to prevent an accidental pull.

A trigger safety can also be a small, raised section on the trigger that prevents it from being pulled back unless there is a finger pressing it down.

This happens with a natural trigger press while shooting. This M&P .380 ACP is a handgun with no manual safety.

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