WWII / WWII British Army
Smith&Wesson M1917 .455 Revolver
6 1/2in Barrel Version
Brand new, includes box, instructions 6x Tanaka .455 firing cartridges (reusable).
N-Frame series, double action with swing out cylinder and lanyard ring. Full Smith&Wesson markings.
Weight loaded: approx. 545
Constructions: heavyweight Abs and metal parts
Open barrel for venting smoke
We ship internationally. Any questions please ask away: email@example.com
PFC Primer caps: €11.00 / £8.50 per box (1 box = 100 PFC caps) These are needed to make the bang and smoke!
Chambered in .455 Webley for contracts to the British Army. The US Army’s standard pistol was the Browning-designed Colt .45ACP M1911 and upon their entrance in the Great War, they placed orders for as many 1911s as could be manufactured. However a little math revealed that there would be a shortfall between how many men they needed in the field and how many 1911 pistols could be delivered from all production sources on time. Thinking outside the box, they asked S&W if they could redesign a revolver to fire the same .45 ACP round (of which they had many) and deliver thousands of them ASAP.
Smith and Wesson immediately knew their plan of attack; taking their Hand Ejector .455 design and changing out the cylinder to accept the new caliber, they could be in production in weeks. Smith and Wesson proposed to the US Army a six shot double-action revolver with a solid frame and swing out cylinder to have a standard 5.5-inch barrel and a 10.8-inch overall length. Since the .45ACP was a rimless cartridge meant to be fired in autoloading firearms with an ejector/extractor, the cylinder featured recesses machined into the face so that the rounds could be held securely while still having a safe headspace.
SW Model 1917 revolvers were put into play
immediately during World War 1. It served as the sidearm of officers,
infantryman and support personnel on multiple fronts of the conflict. The
revolver proved a solid, durable and reliable system even in the harshest of
conditions and gave a good account of itself in combat. The Smith & Wesson Model
1917 series - like the Colt Model 1917 - survived the war and saw use in the
conflicts to follow, a testament to its strong design and engineering. After
World War 1, Smith & Wesson continued to offer their Model 1917 to police and
civilian markets sensing recent war-time performance as a tremendous selling
point for the product. In 1920, a rimmed .45 cartridge - the ".45 Auto Rim" -
was introduced by the Peters Cartridge Company which allowed moon clips to be
disused. Smith & Wesson also manufactured all-new cylinders to handle the
standard .45 ACP cartridge of the M1911 and offered these to M1917 owners.
Like the early 1911s, all of the M1917s were made with a lanyard ring at the bottom of the grip so that soldiers would be less likely to lose them. Weighing in at 36-ounces it was very close to the same weight as the Colt 1911, held one round less, was considered by some to be more accurate with a slightly longer barrel/sight picture, reliable as any Smith and Wesson revolver and could be placed into production immediately.
The Smith & Wesson M1917 made it into the army’s hands in time to equip the first Military Police units in France during WWI
While it never replaced the standard M1911 Colt longslide, it saw significant service with 163,476 manufactured and a little over 130,000 shipped before the war ended in November 1918. Almost immediately after WWI, the US military put the big Smith in storage as they had enough Colts to go around once it returned to its peacetime size.
During the 1920s and 30s several were loaned to other government departments such as the Postal Service and Treasury to help defend against robberies. Still others were sold as surplus. Those remaining in Uncle Sam’s closet were called out again in World War 2 and issued to front line troops. It was well liked in harsh climates due to its reliability, ease in cleaning, fast immediate action drill on misfires, and simplicity of training. Examples continued to show up in US soldiers’ holsters as late as the Vietnam conflict.
On the civilian market, S&W soon started selling the model commercially, with a better finish and checkered grips. They found enough customers to keep the piece in and out of production until the 1940s by which point another 11,200 commercial model had entered the market. In 1920, Remington-Peters introduced the .45 Auto Rim cartridges, a .45ACP with a rim around the edge to work in the growing population of new and surplus Colt and S&W Model 1917s. The use of these rounds, still in production today by Corbon and others, eliminated the need for half-moon or full moon clips. Heck even that adventurer of the 1930s, the fictional Indiana Jones, chose to carry one.