Smith & Wesson .38 Special
Victory Model U.S. Navy
Ship
Date: January 31, 1945 S/N SV774890


The Victory model was so named for the "V" prefix which was placed before the serial number and represented "Victory" against the Axis powers in World War II. The pistol shown below is a 1945 production Victory model revolver in the .38 special configuration.

This revolver has the "S" marking on the right side plate as well as before the serial number on the butt. The "S" in the serial number on the butt appears to be machine applied and this would indicate this revolver was produced with the improved hammer block, and that it was not added later or it would have been hand stamped. The improved hammer block was put into production after a accidental discharge killed a sailor during World War II and is still utilized in today's commercial Smith and Wesson revolvers

This revolver was shipped on January 31st, 1945 to the United States Navy, Springfield Armory, Springfield, MA. See Smith & Wesson historical letter below.

 Serial numbers for the .38 special Victory model began at about V1 in early 1942 and ran until VS811119 with a date of late August of 1945 (end of production). V1 to approximately V39,999 were predominately .38 S&W Caliber (I have observed revolvers in the 1-40000 range in .38 special caliber).  Serial numbers are located on Inside right grip, frame butt, Cylinder, extractor star, and bottom of barrel. Crane and crane recess are also serial numbered to each other, but this is a different number then the revolvers serial number as is correct for Victory model revolvers.

A total of 352,315 .38 specials were ordered of which 264,815 were ordered by the Army.


Left

Right

S&W shipping record

U.S. Property and
G.H.D acceptance mark

S&W barrel legend

.38 Special

Proof mark

S mark indicates
improved hammer block

Serial number and
barrel proof

Back of cylinder with
serial number and proof mark

Butt serial number
Images courtesy the
T. Moore collection

 

  • Approximant date of the new hammer configuration is December - January, 1945.

  • The "S" stamped on the slide plate is found on revolvers that have been updated to the improved hammer block configuration as well as revolvers that have been manufactured with the improved hammer block.

  • Reference:
    -US Handguns of WW II - The Secondary Pistols and Revolvers by Charles W. Pate
    -Americas Right Arm - The S&W Military and Police Revolver by John Henwood
    -Smith and Wesson 1857 - 1945 by Robert J. Neal and Roy G. Jinks