Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Model 1917

This is my newest stimulus to the firearms industry - a nickel plated S&W mod 1917 in 45 ACP .

I bought it today and as soon as I get my permit amended I'll bring it home, probably Monday or Tuesday.

The model 1917 was introduced to supplement the 1911 semiautomatic Colt pistol during WWI. It uses moon clips to load the .45 ACP cartridge (which are rimless).

These clips can be bent, introducing primer strike problems. Therefore under combat conditions this is not the most reliable weapon to have at your side. There are .45 auto rim cartridges which do not need the clip but these are very hard to find.

From the William B. Umstead World War I Collection, North Carolina Collection Gallery, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill:

American soldiers after World War I were allowed to keep the bulk of their military gear and clothing after they were discharged. Government-issued side arms and some other items, however, had to be purchased. On the day of his discharge at Camp (now Fort) Dix, New Jersey, on April 9, 1919, Umstead paid eighteen dollars for his 45-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver (U.S. Model 1917), its holster, and belt. [...] The serial number on Umstead's revolver—12375—confirms that it was made fairly early in the weapon's production run. Smith & Wesson manufactured 169,959 Model 1917 revolvers before the United States government cancelled its contract with the company in January 1919.

In the 1950's and 1960's mail order companies were selling these WWI relics for as low as $50, perhaps even less.

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