Smith & Wesson History


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A Brief Overview of the History of Smith & Wesson

For starters, the Smith & Wesson company has been around for OVER 150 YEARS!  In addition to being one of the oldest firearm companies, Smith & Wesson is also known as the largest gun manufacturer in the world.  S&W is well known the world round for their revolvers and handguns.  The company has gone through it's fair share of ups and downs over the past 150 years, but in the end it has both survived and thrived.  The founders of S&W were Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson.  Horace gained his firearms experience while working in the National Armory, while Daniel gained his valuable firearms experience while working with his brother Edwin Wesson, a well known gun maker at the time.  Horace and Daniel joined forces to start Smith and Wesson in 1852.  Listed below are some of the highlights and popular weapons that Smith and Wesson has produced over the years. 

Antique S&W Revolver


1852 - Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson produce a lever action Volcanic pistol. 

1854 - Due to financial difficulties, Volcanic Repeating Arms company sold to Winchester.

1856 - Smith & Wesson join again to create a new rimfire revolver known as the Model 1.

1870 - Model 3 revolver is released - famous .44 & .45 caliber revolvers.

1880 - S&W releases a .38 double action revolver.

1899 - The famous Model 10 revolver (aka .38 Military & Police) released.

1935 - Legendary .357 Magnum revolver released - first magnum pistol.

1955 - Model 20 .44 Magnum revolver raises the bar further on magnum pistols.

1955 - Model 39 is the 1st American made double action semi-auto pistol.

1965 - Model 60 is the 1st stainless steel revolver.

1979 - Model 629 combines the famous .44 Magnum with stainless steel.

1981 - Model 681 medium sized L frame .357 Magnum revolver.

1990 - Model 4006 semi-automatic pistol released.

1994 - Economically priced Sigma series of semi-auto pistols released.

1999 - Airlite Titanium lightweight revolvers introduced.

1999 - S&W and Walther produce semi-auto SW99 (based on Walther P99).

2000 - S&W signs a controversial gun control agreement with the US Government.

2003 - SW1911 released - S&W variation on the famous M1911 semi-auto .45 pistol.

2005 - Releases M&P (Military & Police) line of semi-auto pistols for law enforcement.

There you have it... a brief Smith & Wesson gun history listed in chronological format.  Over it's extensive 150 year history, there have been MANY other models of guns released, but this listing shows some of the most famous Smith and Wesson firearms.  Smith and Wesson now offers many different handguns including both revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.  In addition, S&W also offers tactical rifles for use by both law enforcement and consumers.  Furthermore, Smith & Wesson offers other items such as knives, handcuffs, and security related products.  The security products include barrier systems for preventing vehicles from passing into restricted areas.  These barriers are designed to protect military, government, and other sensitive areas from being breached by a vehicle.  Some of these barricade systems are designed to withstand the ramming force of a large commercial truck crashing into the barrier at high speed.  These are just a sample of the many products that are now offered by S&W.  What started out as a couple of guys with an idea for an innovative new pistol, grew into the largest gun manufacturer in the world, and further branched out into other areas of security and law enforcement products.