SOLD FOR: $3900
Make: Smith & Wesson
Model: Victory Model
Serial Number: V180853
Year of Manufacture: 1942 (Smith & Wesson Letter)
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 / 38 S.&W. SPC CTG”. The butt of the grip frame, barrel flat, rear of the cylinder, front of the ejector star (no letter prefix), and rear flat of the yoke (no letter prefix) are marked with matching serial number “V180853”. The side plate has S&W’s monogram logo, the right side of the frame is marked “MADE IN U.S.A.”. There are inspection marks on the crane, its cut, and the sides of the grip frame. The inside of the right grip panel is stamped with a number that does not correlate to the serial number.
Barrel Length: 2”, Pinned
Sights / Optics: The revolver has a square notch at the end of a groove in the top strap and a half-round blade front sight fixed to the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece smooth walnut. There is a chip loss on the bottom edge of the right panel at the front. there are some scattered compressions and dings, most noticeable on the right panel. There are no cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Black Magic
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There are a couple of sptos of faint surface erosion.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 30% of its metal finish. Most of the remaining finish is in protected areas with the rest showing a mottled patina. There is a coat of erosion and light pitting, some of the most notable is on the barrel and grip frame. There are some scuffs, a few scratches, and nicks. There is a turn line on the cylinder. There are light handling marks. The screwheads are lightly tool marked. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in about Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with some side-to-side play. The double-action trigger is smooth and the single action is crisp. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Included is a Smith & Wesson letter and correspondence regarding the revolver between Mr. Williams and collector colleagues.
Our Assessment: At the beginning of WWII S&W began producing their M&P revolver for military use. They added a “V” for Victory to the serial number; this iteration thus became known as the Victory Model. As we entered the fray, we were producing them for U.S. forces as well as for our allies. Victory model revolvers were standard issue for Naval and Marine aviators as well as guards back in the States at defense installations and factories supporting the war effort. While we did get the Victory and win WWII, the revolvers went beyond the call of duty and were used long after the conclusion on the conflict. Continuing after WWII, regulations prohibited the 1911 and 1911A1 from being carried with a loaded chamber, this made racking the slide a difficult task for aviators as well as K9 handlers so revolvers were the clear choice. The preferred issue of revolvers for aviators lasted quite a while, and Army helicopter pilots even used Victory Models until they replaced them with modern double action 9mm semi-autos, a testament to the S&W design. This one comes from the collection of author Kevin Williams, best known for his exceptional work on the topic of General Officers Pistols & Clandestine Organization Pistols of WWII. The Smith & Wesson historical letter is from 1942 and was one of 300 units shipped to Fort Mason, CA. in December. Further discussion between Mr. Williams and Mr. Jinks as included in the printed email correspondence leads them to belive that it may be a Washington Naval Yard shipment gun. With its rare 2″ barrel this is a nice addition to a WWII, U.S. Martial, or Smith & Wesson collection. Please see our photos and good luck!