Smith & Wesson: Performance in Action

— Kat StevensCADRE Dispatch

Most gun owners are familiar with Smith & Wesson, the gun maker with a solid reputation for producing rugged, reliable firearms. The name of the company is practically synonymous with freedom and its history spans centuries. And while the Smith & Wesson M&P line is likely the company’s most recognizable, there is more to the long-time manufacturer than those guns alone.

Today, we’re going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the history of one of those most well-known firearms manufacturers in the industry and fill you in on some of the various models they make.

the original smith & wesson factory
The original Smith & Wesson factory. (Photo credit: Lost New England)

When was Smith & Wesson founded?

Smith & Wesson can trace its beginning to 1852 when founders Horace Smith and D.B. Wesson decided to team up to design and manufacture a gun that took self-contained cartridges. At that time, the technology we now see as commonplace was revolutionary and exciting, and it was a significant step toward firearms progress to create firearms that used only the newest ammunition. This resulted in the creation of The Volcanic, a patented repeating pistol with a fascinating design.

While you might assume The Volcanic was a revolver, it wasn’t. The Volcanic was a lever-action pistol that saw a relatively short production run of 17 months. According to Rock Island Auction, approximately 1,700 of the .41-caliber pistols were made during that time.

The Volcanic gave users the ability to use self-contained ammunition. (Photo: Flickr)

After the Volcanic — the demise of which many firearms historians attribute to low-powered ammunition and the popularity of then-modern revolvers — came the Model 1. It was 1857 when the Model 1 came out. It was a tip-up style, .22-caliber revolver with a 7-round capacity. After that, the new gun designs were introduced with regularity, with quite a few historically relevant highlights along the way, including:

  • The 1887 38 Safety Hammerless, the first shrouded hammer, double-action revolver.
  • The 1889 introduction of the .38 Special and the .38 Military & Police revolver, now known as the Model 10. Today more than six million Model 10s have been sold.
  • The 1913 .35 Automatic, which was the company’s first autoloading pistol.
  • The 1935 launch of the .357 Magnum, a cartridge that remains a mainstay to this day.
  • The 1955 unveiling of the Model 29, the gun that would later be declared the “most powerful handgun in the world” in the movie Dirty Harry.
  • The 1965 Model 60, the first entirely stainless steel production model firearm in history.
  • The 1990 production launch of the .40 Smith & Wesson, a ballistically fantastic cartridge for the era. It continues to see a following today.
  • The 2005 debut of the ever-popular M&P line of polymer handguns, which quickly became the favorite of many police departments.
  • The 2012 M&P Shield, which surpassed the original family of guns for popularity.
  • The 2017 M&P M2.0, an enhanced version of the first M&P guns.
  • The 2018 M&P380 Shield EZ, a gun designed for easier use by shooters with weak or arthritic hands.
  • The 2019 Model 610, a revolver chambered in 10mm that can also take 40 Smith & Wesson. It quickly became favored by many hunters.

Smith & Wesson is constantly researching ways to make not only their firearms but ammunition perform better. There is always room for advancement, and this is a company that’s spent almost two centuries keeping up with the times and setting the pace for others. Whether you’re in the market for handguns or long guns, Smith & Wesson undoubtedly has a model that will suit your needs and outperform your expectations.

the smith & wesson military & police revolver vintage advertisement
The real first M&P. (Photo credit: Smith & Wesson)

the Smith and Wesson M&P Series

The Smith & Wesson M&P is a term that encompasses an enormous family of handguns. Most consider the original M&P handguns to be those that were launched in 2005, but that isn’t technically accurate. The Model 10 was first produced under the name of the Smith & Wesson Military and Police. Today the Model 10 is still in production and not many gun owners realize it’s the original M&P.

As for the M&P we all know well, those have been in production for almost 20 years. The first run of polymer frame, striker-fired pistols was launched in 2005 and there have been countless variations since. These include the M&P Shield, the M&P M2.0m, and the M&P380 Shield EZ. There’s also a rifle, the M&P15. The M&P line has encompassed everything from revolvers to striker-fired handguns to rifles, and it continues to grow.

Holsters for the S&W M&P

IWB holster
The Safariland 27 Inside the Pants Holster is compatible with more than one of the Smith & Wesson M&P guns. (Photo credit: Safariland)

Numerous Safariland holsters fit a wide variety of Smith & Wesson M&Ps. This includes the  5198 Open Top Concealment Paddle/Belt Loop Holster with Detent. That model is compatible with the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Pro, and it works with a red dot sight such as the Trijicon RMR. If you prefer the M&P M2.0 in 9mm, you could easily carry it concealed by using the Safariland 27 Inside-the-Pants Concealment Holster.

There are quite a few options for OWB and IWB carry of various guns within the M&P family, so be sure to check out the Safariland Holster Finder.

Smith and Wesson CSX

smith & wesson csx
The S&W CSX is a micro-compact 9mm designed for concealed carry. (Photo credit: Smith & Wesson)

The Smith & Wesson CSX is a line of micro-compact handguns designed for concealed carry and self-defense use. For those who wonder what CSX stands for, when the gun giant named the line, they did so as an homage to the 1950s Chief’s Special. That particular “CS” was a five-shot revolver that was designed for use as a backup gun for the larger-framed revolvers. As for the “X” in CSX, Smith & Wesson states it was added as a reference to the way the company’s past and future are crossing (in positive ways, of course).

As for the CSX’s features, at this time the guns in the line are chambered in 9mm and are hammer-fired, aluminum-alloy frame pistols. Features of the guns include an ambidextrous external thumb safety, ambidextrous slide stop, and interchangeable backstraps. The CSX has a flat-faced safety blade trigger. An Armornite finish lends resistance to use-related wear and the gun’s overall compact dimensions make it easy to conceal.

The CSX is also the perfect size for pocket carry, and if you intend to carry it that way, it’s wise to have an appropriate holster. That’s where the Safariland 25 Inside-the-Pocket Holster comes in. This holster is made of thin material to reduce printing and has an outer suede to help it grip the interior of your pocket and remain in place. It’s a great option for CSX owners whether the gun is being used as a daily carry or backup gun.

Does Smith & Wesson have a lifetime warranty?

smith & wesson m&p
S&W guns do have a Limited Lifetime Warranty. (Photo credit: Smith & Wesson)

Smith & Wesson offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty. The specifics depend on the exact firearm and details related to the purchase, so please be aware that this information might not apply to every situation. Generally speaking, the Limited Lifetime Warranty covers defective parts. For example, this is an excerpt from the company’s Warranty page online:

“This warranty is limited to the original owner of the Covered Product and is not transferable. If the Covered Product was not purchased new from Smith & Wesson or an authorized retailer this warranty is null and void. In order to be eligible for service or replacement under this warranty, the original owner must provide valid proof of purchase (e.g., a dated sales receipt). With respect to such Covered Products, this warranty supersedes any and all other warranties.”

The Smith & Wesson Limited Lifetime Warranty includes specific parameters for coverage, which is understandable and common.

Should you get a Smith & Wesson gun?

Firearms made by Smith & Wesson have proven themselves reliable and accurate for generations. This includes everything from the company’s revolvers to their striker-fired handguns to their rifles. There are even Smith & Wesson knives. These products have not only stood the test of time but tend to outperform their price point. And if you want something custom-made or of custom quality, there’s the S&W Performance Center, which produces enhanced firearms that perform impressively and are well worth the investment.

Smith & Wesson offers something for every gun owner, whatever it is they’re focused on. A Smith & Wesson is a fantastic gun to add to your collection.

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