My innate interest in understanding the past led me to obtaining a history degree with an accompanying thesis focused on the evolution of the American firearms industry in the 1800s.


Through my extensive research I uncover unique information regarding a firearm’s history that may provide increased value.


My deep-rooted passion for historical firearms enables me to constantly develop and expand my research methods and knowledge.


I maintain an extensive network of consultants and dealers that serves as an additional resource for my clients.

Michael Helms is a firearms historian living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

He holds a degree in history (summa cum laude) from North Carolina State University where he wrote his thesis on the evolution of the American firearms industry in the late 1850s and early 1860s. The focus of that research was on Smith & Wesson and its seminal Model 1 revolver, but the research expanded into the worlds of Samuel Colt, Simeon North, Robert Johnson, Rollin White, and a dizzying array of other gun makers, engineers, craftsmen, lawyers, politicians, and crooks.

He is particularly interested in how Smith & Wesson’s rise fits into Alfred Chandler’s theories about management and the growth of the modern enterprise, and how this intersects with the rapid advances in metalworking and machine tools over the first half of the 19th century. He also examines the parallel shift in how patents were being increasingly leveraged by large enterprises to maintain monopolies, and how “production engineering” became an important vocation.

An accomplished public speaker, Michael has displayed and presented his research to the following organizations and publications:

Michael maintains active memberships in numerous collecting organizations including the American Society of Arms Collectors, the Smith & Wesson Collectors Association, the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation, and the Colt Collectors Association. A skilled marksman, he earned the Appleseed rifleman designation and is a certified range safety officer, a certified Glock armorer, and a hunter.

Michael Helms has been an amateur genealogist for over 30 years and actively maintains an online family tree. He is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution through his g-g-g-g-g-grandfather John Frederick Gaul. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 2014 while still a junior at NCSU and has been a Toastmaster since 2006. He earned a Geological Technician diploma from Fleming College in 1999. And his call sign is W5MJH.

Awards Received

Intermediate Award

The Smith & Wesson Collector’s Association 2019 convention in Richardson, TX, where his Model 1 display was awarded the intermediate award

Judges Choice

The Texas Gun Collectors Association fall 2018 show in Denton, Texas, where his Model 1 display was awarded a Judges Choice award

Judges Choice

The Texas Gun Collectors Association fall 2017 show in Ft. Worth, Texas, where his Model 1 display was awarded a Judges Choice award

Antique Award

The Smith & Wesson Collector’s Association 2017 convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he won the Antique award for his Smith & Wesson Model 1 exhibit

Uncover the History Behind Your Firearm, Today.