SOLD FOR: $1525.01
Make: Smith & Wesson
Model: .38 Military & Police Airweight, Pre-Model 12
Serial Number: C237442
Year of Manufacture: 1953
Caliber: .38 Special
Action Type: 6-Shot Double / Single Action, Swing-Out Fluted Cylinder Revolver
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “SMITH & WESSON” and the right is marked “AIRWEIGHT / .38 SPECIAL CTG.”. The side plate has S&W’s monogram logo, the right side of the frame is marked with the four line Marcas Registradas. The yoke and yoke cut have inspection marks. The sides of the grip frame have inspection marks. The butt of the grip frame is marked with the serial number “C237442”. The inside of the right grip panel is stamped “237 / 442”. The front face of the ejector is marked “237442”. The back of the yoke is marked “237442”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “C237442”. The barrel flat is marked “C237442”.
Barrel Length: 2? Pinned
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a serrated ramped blade integral to the barrel. The rear sight is a square notch at the rear of the top strap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut magna stocks with S&W logo medallions and smooth diamonds around the grip screws. The panels both have a chip loss at the top corner where the frontstrap widens into the frame. There are some scratches, the most noticeable are on the right panel at the top and have darkened with age. There are some scattered little compressions. There are scattered light handling marks. The checkering is strong. The grips rate in about Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: Black Alloy with Blued Barrel and Yoke
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 85% of its metal finish. There is finish loss on the barrel at the muzzle. There are some scattered little marks on the barrel. There is finish loss on the edges of the cylinder, most noticeable at the front. There are a few scattered little spots of finish loss and little marks through the finish on the cylinder. The cylinder has a turn line through the finish. There are a few light spots of thinning on the cylinder. There are some little nicks through the finish on the trigger guard and there is some wear on the edges. There is some finish loss and thinning on the frame at the front of the trigger guard. There are some little nicks and spots of finish loss on the top strap. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: Due to the alloy construction of the cylinder, we do not recommend shooting this revolver. The action functions correctly with light side-to-side play in lockup. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Included is a black leather U.S.A.F. holster. The holster is marked “U S A F” and “55D3513”.
Our Assessment: This is a .38 Military & Police Airweight, an alloy framed version of the famed .38 Military & Police Pre-Model 10. When the Korean War started in 1950, the US Air Force put out a call for lightweight, compact personal defense weapons they could issue to aircrews and this model was used as one of the iterations of the M13 Aircrewman and simply had its markings changed. Fun Fact: While a common material today, aluminum was almost exclusively used in prototypes and one-off firearms prior to the 1950s. Oliver Winchester built a prototype shotgun with aluminum receiver plates as early as 1865, but the cost to purify and process aluminum was prohibitive back then. Unfortunately, the alimunum alloy that was so cutting edge and lightweight that it helped Smith & Wesson win the Air Force contract was this product’s ultimate undoing. Many of the aluminum cylindars and frames of these revovlers showed significant breaks, cracks, and weaknesses, some units having ruptured altogether. For the civilian marketed M&P Airweight, Smith & Wesson discontinued the use of an alloy cylinder after producing about 120,000 and used steel instead. In using their M13 Aircrewan iteration, the Air Force found that the revolvers required low-pressure M41 Special Ball ammunition as they couldn’t withstand commercial ammo loaded with lead bullets. While not produced with alloy cylinders for long, these guns were the beginning of a revolution in gun materials. Whether you’re a general firearms collector or specifically a Smith & Wesson fan, this revovler would improve any collection it joined. Please see our photos and good luck!