Smith & Wesson .38 Special
Victory Model "U.S. NAVY"
Ship Date: January 8th, 1943 S/N: V210725

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 1943 production Victory model revolver in the .38 special configuration. S&W applied the U.S. NAVY mark on the left top strop. These Navy revolvers typically had no other proofing or acceptance marks. According to Charles Pates book the last Navy contract pistol was delivered in January of 1943. Another variation of the WWII .38 Special Navy can be found on this site, that variation has the property mark on the left side of the frame and is filled with red paint. Click here to see an example

This pistol was shipped on January 8th, 1943 to United States Navy Depot, Oakland, CA. See Smith & Wesson letter below.

Total of 352,315 .38 specials were ordered, of those the U.S. Navy contract orders were for a total of 65,000. These were 2 individual orders with 1 of 20,000 and 1 of 45,000 while the second order was with military finish.



S&W Letter - Page 1

U.S. Navy property mark

U.S. Navy property mark

S&W Letter - Page 2

Cylinder Serial Number

S&W Logo

Crane and recess number

Barrel legend

.38 Special

Barrel legend

Grip serial number

Barrel serial number

Butt serial number

Extractor serial number

1943 USN holster

1943 USN BOYT holster

1943 USN holster snap

Collection of 4
U.S. Navy small arms
Images courtesy the
T. Moore collection

  • Serial numbers are correct and matching. These 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 standard on most manufacturers revolvers.

  • Crane and crane recess number should match, but is not the serial number.

  • NAVY marking can be found more forward or aft of the example shown above

  • Revolvers with the "S" before the serial number have had the new hammer block added. Approximant date of the new hammer configuration is post January, 1945.

  • Some Navy marked revolvers that were delivered in the period of January to March 1943 have been found to have the Army ordinance insignia on the butt. See Charles Pates book for contract details.

  • Reference "US Handguns of WW II - The Secondary Pistols and Revolvers" written by Charles W. Pate