SOLD FOR: $6916
Make: Smith & Wesson
Model: USAF 56, K-38 Combat Masterpiece, KTX-38
Serial Number: K505987
Year of Manufacture: 1962-1963, Shipped 1965.
Caliber: .38 Special
Action Type: Single Action and Double Action Swing Out Cylinder Revolver
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “SMITH & WESSON”. The yoke cut is marked “MOD. / 56” while the yoke is marked with inspection marks. The butt of the grip frame is marked with the serial number “K505987”. The sides of the grip frame are marked with inspection marks. The side plate has a large S&W logo and the right side of the frame has the four line Marcas Registradas address. The right side of the barrel is marked “38S.&W. SPL.”. The backstrap is marked “U.S.”. The interior of the right grip panel is stamped “505987”.
Barrel Length: 2” Pinned
Sights / Optics: This revolver is mounted with a serrated ramped front sight fixed to a rise in the solid rib. There is a square notch micrometer click adjustable rear sight screwed to the topstrap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut manga stocks with S&W medallions. There is some light wear on the left panel at the corner where the fronstrap widens into the frame. There are some little compressions and draglines, the most noticeable are on the bottom faces. There are some dings into the wood, the most noticeable is on the back bottom corner of the left grip panel. The checkering is strong. There are no chips or cracks. The grips rate in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 96% of its metal finish. There are some spots of light oxidation on the grip frame under the grips. There are a few little scuffs and draglines. There are a couple of hairline scratches, the most noticeable is on the sideplate. The edges have finish wear, some of the most noticeable is on the muzzle, trigger guard, and front edges of the frame. To the left of the notch, the rear sight insert is bent down slightly. There is some wear on the back corner of the butt of the grip frame. There a thin turn line on the cylinder. The screw heads are lightly worn. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver rates in about Fine Plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The single action is crisp and the double action is smooth. The cylinder lockup produces almost no play. We have not fired this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be required to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Included is a Smith & Wesson letter.
Our Assessment: The Smith & Wesson Model 56, a rare U.S. Air Force contract revolver and a member of the Combat Masterpiece family of revolvers. Though firearms development has progressed since the ’60s, the name “Combat Masterpiece” was well earned by this family of revolvers. Often issued by law enforcement agencies in the mid-20th century, these revolvers embody the reliability for which Smith & Wesson is famous. This one was made in the 1960s as part of a contract for the Air Force. The main difference between it and the Model 15 is its heavy barrel which required a slightly larger frame where the barrel and frame meet. To differentiate, Smith & Wesson marked this revolver the Model 56. The revolver is also interesting in that it has a special non-serrated rear sight that extends all the way to the front sight base and it is a target revolver without a serrated backstrap. Smith & Wesson made 15,205 of this model but it is believed, but not confirmed, that the government destroyed most of them. The 2″ version became so popular that Smith & Wesson added the 2″ barrel length to the Model 15 and the Model 56 was never made again. This rare revolver comes from the collection of author Kevin Williams, best known for his work on the topic of General Officers Pistols & Clandestine Organization Pistols of WWII. The gun looks good and only has a couple of light marks to the finish. This is a rare find and will improve any collection it joins. Please see our photos and good luck!