• 1940/41 Military & Police

    1940/41 Military & Police "Pre-Victory" (6 inch) .380-200 Revolver
    (Mfg. by Smith & Wesson)

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Caliber: ...................... .380 Service Revolver (.380-200, .38 S&W, .380Mk1, .380MkIIz)
    Barrel Length: ............. 6.0 in. (152mm)
    S&W frame: ................ J frame
    Action: ....................... Double Action
    Weight........................ 1.8 lbs
    Cylinder capacity: ....... 6 rounds.
    Qty mfg: ..................... 571,629. (In production from 1940 - 1945, including Victory model variants)

    Source: .................... Smith & Wesson 1857-1945 by Robert Jinks & Roy G. Neal, ASIN: B000K83F4U
    Main Page - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ....... http://www.coolgunsite.com

    1940/41 6" Military & Police "Pre-Victory" .380-200 Revolver (27 picture virtual tour)
    Observations: (by "Claven2")
    Note: Pics of revolver provided courtesy of MILSURPS.COM moderator Claven2.

    The Smith & Wesson Military & Police Revolver was originally developed in 1902 as the .38 Hand Ejector model, but was later renamed to the Military & Police model with minor changes. It is a .38 caliber 6 shot handgun with fixed sights and fluted cylinder with typical barrel lengths of 2", 4", 5" and 6".

    During the First World War, the issue sidearm of the Commonwealth forces was the Webley MkVI in .455 Webley. Manufacturing could not, however, keep up with demand and large quantities of comparable sidearms were adopted for issue in the same caliber, including Smith & Wesson Hand Ejectors - primarily the MkII model. Canada received comparatively large quantities of the S&W HE MkII's throughout the war.

    After the First World War, the Commonwealth decided that a .38 calibre sidearm firing a 200 grain (13 g) bullet would be as effective as the .455 calibre round in the intended role. While the merits of this decision can be debated, the British Army, in 1932, adopted the Enfield No.2Mk1 revolver (based on the Webley & Scott MkIV) in .380-200 as the new standard sidearm.

    When war was declared in 1939, Canada, like most of the Commonwealth colony nations, was still primarily equipped with the older WW1 era sidearms in .455. Furthermore, these were only available in limited numbers as many arms had been sold off as surplus after the 1918 armistice. It was hurriedly decided that a new sidearm should be procured that would make use of the same ammunition as the British units using the same supply chain while the .455 arms still in inventory could be used by the Navy and secondary units.

    RSAF Enfield, however, could only supply limited numbers of the new No.2MkI revolvers to Canada as manufacturing capacity was already being stretched after the Dunkirk disaster. The Canadian government, as in the First World War, decided to turn to the American arms manufacturer Smith & Wesson. S&W was already manufacturing the Military & Police model in great numbers for Law Enforcement agencies the world over, mostly in .38 SPL. It was a minor change to manufacture these revolvers in .380-200 and so in 1940 Canada placed orders for these revolvers with 6" barrels.

    The S&W revolvers most associated with the WW2 allied war effort are the "Victory" series revolvers. Around the time of the Lend-Lease act (March, 1941), S&W began to greatly simplify manufacture of the Military & Police model to facilitate mass production on a grand scale. The vast majority of Victory models are either in .38 Special with a 4" barrel or in .380-200 with a 5" barrel. All have a "V" serial number prefix, show signs of machining marks that would not have been acceptable on commercially sold guns and feature either a sandblasted & blued or sandblasted and parkerized finish. They also have lanyard rings, smooth grips, and a U.S. government property stamp, though several versions of the stamp exist. Once the victory revolver pattern had been adopted, Canada stopped receiving the 6" commercial grade M&P revolvers and began instead to receive the 5" Victory models which had been standardized for supply to all Commonwealth allied nations that used the .380-200 service ammunition. The .38 Special models mostly being issued to the US navy and Army air Corps after Pearl Harbor (Dec. 1941).

    The so-called "pre-Victory" models with commercial finish and 6" barrels are comparatively rare. The S&W revolvers were supplied to allied nations from 1940 through 1945, but most "pre-victory" revolvers were made in 1940 and 1941. Serial numbers for the Victory model began at about V1 in early 1942 and ran until VS811119 with a date of late August, 1945. V1 to approximately V39,999 were predominately .380-200 caliber models.

    Versions of the S&W Military & Police remained in military service well into the 1980's in various countries, often being issued to airmen. Canada officially adopted the John Inglis made version of the Browning Hi-Power near the close of the Second World War, and as a result most of their stocks of revolvers were sold as surplus after the war.

    Production Figures:

    38/200 Service Revolver* - Over 571,629 produced October 1941 to May 1945 for the Commonwealth.
    Union of South Africa (21,347)
    Canada (45,328)
    Australia (8,000)
    Britain (384,100)
    *Dates shown are only for Victory pattern revolvers, but numbers likely also include pre-victory M&P deliveries to Canada.

    38 Special Victory Model – 352,000 shipped to the Army and Navy.

    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. The depicted revolver is a typical 6" "pre-victory" model as procured by Canada prior to the Lend-Lease Act and adoption of the Victory Model "no frills" specification S&W followed throughout most of the war.

    These revolvers are characterized by a high-grade commercial blue and often beautiful color case hardening on the hammer, lanyard ring and serrated trigger.

    Examples sold to Canada in 1940-41 will be marked with the C broadarrow on the cylinder-release side of the frame, just behind the hammer. Additionally, most will be marked with the "P" proof mark on the butt next to the lanyard ring to indicate S&W proofed the revolver to military specification. Serial numbers should be higher than 700,000 and not bear a "V" prefix to be considered a "pre-victory" model.

    Serial numbers should match on the butt, cylinder, inside of the lock plate, inside of the right grip panel, the back of the ejector and sometimes under the barrel. Additionally, an assembly number will be stamped inside the crane recess on the frame that should match the number stamped on the crane. this number will be different than the serial number.

    These revolvers will have checkered walnut grips with the diamond pattern surrounding the grip screw and a silver colored S&W medallion inlet into the top of each grip panel.

    As always, premium prices will be paid for examples with the least amount of wear, matching numbers, and lack of import marks. Additionally, examples without British Nitro Proofs were likely surplussed in Canada and some collectors will pay a premium for the absence of those markings. Some collectors will also pay a premium for a gun with a provenance letter from Smith & Wesson, though these letters are easily obtained from S&W, even today, for a small fee.

    Needless to say, "pre-victory" models will generally command a greater price than the later 5" roughly finished Victory models which are more commonly encountered.

    Collectors should also be on the lookout for the proper accessories which can increase the value of a given piece. These include the issue cleaning rod (different depending on country of issue - the Canadian issue rod is pictured), the pattern 37 lanyard and the pattern 37 web holster. It is also impotant to note that only the Canadian made Pattern 37 web holster will typically fit the 6" model revolvers, most other holsters being slightly too short. ........ (Feedback by "Claven2")
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 1940/41 Military & Police "Pre-Victory" .380-200 Revolver started by Badger View original post
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