The Smith & Wesson gun company was formed in 1852 by Horrace Smith and Daniel Wesson. They immediately began producing a new lever-action revolver but it wasn’t until their Model 1 pistol debuted in 1857 that the company truly began to prosper.
When the Civil War broke out a few years later, demand for Smith & Wesson revolvers skyrocketed. This turn of events proved very fortunate for the Springfield, Massachusetts company which would catapult forward in the arena of firearms production and design with the profits brought back from Civil War battlefields.
Smith & Wesson have been active in production of different pistol, rifle, and shotgun designs but what the company is still best known for is it’s extensive line of finely crafted revolvers. These are found primarily in four groups based on size which include:J-Frame Revolvers – first produced in 1950, these are typically the smallest guns that Smith & Wesson. These pocket revolvers were among the first to be ascribed the pejorative nickname “Saturday Night Special” by those in the anti-gun. Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers continue to be among the best selling small guns year in and year out due to the quality and reliability that the guns have become known for.
K-Frame Revolvers – the first K-Frame was the Smith & Wesson Model 10. The first representative of a new generation of service revolvers, the Model 10 was targeted to the military and police communities. It saw service in more than one international conflict and set the pace for government adoption for years to come.
L-Frame Revolvers – most of these guns closely resemble their slightly smaller K-Frame brethren. These guns almost all are chambered in for the .357 Magnum and feature reinforcing elements such as a full barrel under lug. As with all .357 handguns, these ones can also shoot .38 special ammunition.
N-Frame Revolvers – until the introduction of the X-Frame in 2003, these were the largest guns that Smith & Wesson made. They typically shoot high powered ammunition such as the .44 Magnum but have also been developed to shoot rounds as diverse as the .45 ACP.
X-Frame Revolvers – currently these guns rank as some of the largest, most powerful handguns in the world. Currently comprised of only two models, the S&W Model 500 and the S&W Model 460XVR. Due to their extreme size and over-the-top power, these guns are primarily used for hunting and target shooting.
While revolvers make up the bread-and-butter of Smith & Wesson sales, the company is active in producing semi-automatic service pistols and a line of .22 rifles as well. A long line of pistols have been produced by the company as far back as 1955 with the introduction of the Model 39. Since then the company has brought over 30 all-new designs to the market. Some, such as the Glock-based Sigma series never achieved sizable market share while others, like their M&P series have enjoyed good success. Looking to expand their pistol sales further, Smith & Wesson introduced their first 1911 pistol in 2003 which has proved to be a solid contender in a rather crowded market.
Below are the newest Smith & Wesson guns reviewed which have been reviewed. A complete index of all S&W reviews is found via the link at the bottom of this page.