Expert Witness Testimony

Firearms-specific Research

Who is Mike Helms

I specialize in firearms from the early 19th to the early 20th century. 


Firearms Expert. Historian. Speaker. Author.

As a heavily-invested historian and firearms expert with a focus on American firearms from the early 19th to early 20th century, I unite academic research, historical genealogy, and passionate collecting. I hold a history degree and defended a thesis focused on Smith and Wesson’s success as America’s first modern firearms enterprise. I provide various services including sales consulting, public speaking, expert witness testimony, and firearm-specific research. My goal is to discover beneficial information that gives insight, value and a greater overall understanding of a firearm.

Learn More

Biographies Developed


Pages of Original Documents Transcribed

20 +

Presentations Delivered


Companies Researched

After completing my Honors thesis on the rise of Smith and Wesson in American firearms, I decided to become an expert on their original gun, the Model 1.

Smith & Wesson Model 1

Smith & Wesson’s Model 1 was the first commercially successful cartridge load revolver to be manufactured in the United States. Earlier cartridge load revolvers tended to use pin fire ammunition, which was more difficult to load and less reliable.

Model 1 Issues

There were three major issues of the Model 1. When identifying a Model 1, the first thing that needs to be ascertained is the issue.

Model 1 Serial Numbers

One of the most asked questions is, “when was my gun made?” Manufacturing dates for any firearm are difficult to ascertain since the manufacturing process can be a lengthy one. Shipping dates are more commonly discussed among collectors, since they are more readily obtained from the company’s records.

Model 1 Values

A common question that gets asked is “how much is my Model 1 worth?” What follows may be a longer answer than you want, but this question is deceptively simple and deserves a fuller response.

``If guns could talk... When you learn the history of an artifact, it becomes more than an antique. You help it tell the story.``

Contact Mike

Discover the history of your firearm.