The Smith & Wesson Model 1 was the first American cartridge load revolver. Revolvers prior to this were typically percussion revolvers, which were loaded using separate powder, primers and bullets. The development and commercialization of the cartridge load revolver was a seminally important moment in American firearms history, and it put Smith & Wesson on the map as one of America’s preeminent gun makers.

My research has focused heavily on the development and production of the Model 1, and many of the questions I get emailed to me deal with this gun. Please use the links below to explore the Model 1 in greater detail.


The first step in understanding a Model 1 is to correctly identify its issue. There were three issues of the Model 1, and this guide will help you take this important first step.

There were over twenty different variations of the Model 1 made over its 25 year production run—many of which have deviled collectors for years.

Looking to understand when your gun might have shipped from the factory? Here’s the most comprehensive information on the web about how to date a Model 1

Interested in reading more about the Model 1’s history? This was the gun that started the cartridge revolver revolution.

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