SOLD FOR: $1125
Make: Smith & Wesson
Model: .38 Military & Police Airweight, Pre-Model 12
Serial Number: C317442
Year of Manufacture: 1954-1956
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 “C317442”. The inside of the right grip panel is stamped “317 / 442”. The front face of the ejector is marked “317442”. The back of the yoke is marked “317442”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “C317442”. The barrel flat is marked “C317442”.
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. There are some compressions and little scuffs that have thinned the finish. There are some draglines and handling marks. There are no chips or cracks. There are scattered light handling marks. The checkering is strong. The grips rate in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blued with Black Alloy Frame
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. The backstrap has been polished and is now bright. There are a few scuffs that have thinned the finish, most noticeable on the trigger guard. There is finish wear on the edges, most noticeable at the muzzle. There are some little marks that have thinned the finish, plus a few marks through the finish. The cylinder has some draglines and a few faint hairline scratches. There are a few little spots of light surface frost, most noticeable on the cylinder. There is a turn line through the finish on the cylinder. The screw heads are sharp to lightly worn with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: 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: None.
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 a 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 aluminum 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 cylinders and frames of these revolvers 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. This is a commercial Pre-Model 12 Airweight M&P with a steel cylinder, it is in good sharp and retains good mechanics. Whether you’re a general firearms collector or specifically a Smith & Wesson fan, this revovler would be a nice addition to your collection. Please see our photos and good luck!