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Smith and Wesson History: How One of the Biggest Firearms Brands Came To Be

By    |   Tuesday, 07 April 2015 11:38 AM

 Smith & Wesson is a household name in firearms. Since its inception in the 19th century, the company has grown to be one of the largest handgun manufacturers in the world.

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Smith & Wesson has a long history, recounted in detail on the Smith & Wesson website. New Englanders Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson founded the company in 1852 with the invention of the lever-action repeating pistol. But success wasn’t immediate.

Though the first firearm made by Smith & Wesson was popular, bad financial decisions put the pair in a position that required them to sell their design. So technically, the first Smith & Wesson eventually became a product of Winchester Repeating Arms Co.

It was a hard lesson for Smith and Wesson to learn, but in 1856 the company recovered with the production of the first small revolver with a fully contained cartridge. The weapon was called the Model One and set the tone for Smith & Wesson firearms success.

Smith and Wesson quickly patented their Model One design and created a lucrative firearms company as a result.

They are known for paving the way for many firearm models. In 1880, the company released a .32 caliber double action revolver, followed by the first hammerless revolver in 1887.

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In 1889, the United States military became Smith & Wesson’s client, ordering .38 caliber Model 10s (also known as the .38 Special) for soldiers in the armed forces to use. To date, the Model 10 is the brand’s most popular and successful product. According to Dury's Guns, the product went on to become the preferred sidearm of law enforcement officers across the country. It is also considered a collectible and a popular choice in home defense.

Smith & Wesson also invented the .357 Model 19 (1935) and the .44 caliber Model 29 in 1955. In recent years, the brand has not only provided firearms for the law enforcement and military, but also offered training. The Smith & Wesson Academy provides weapons training to law enforcement members from more than 50 countries across the globe.

The history of Smith & Wesson is preserved by the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation in Maryland. The foundation, started by a pair of gun enthusiasts, documents and stores all records pertaining to the company’s operation.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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Smith & Wesson is a household name in firearms. Since its inception in the 19th century, the company has grown to be one of the largest handgun manufacturers in the world.
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Tuesday, 07 April 2015 11:38 AM
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