Michael Helms

Smith & Wesson .38 Single Action, 1st Model, aka the “Baby Russian”

They don’t get much better than this.

The Smith & Wesson .38 Single Action, 1st Model was the first gun in the world to be chambered in the .38 S&W caliber.

By 1876, Smith & Wesson needed to compete in the mid-tier market. The First Model American (chambered in .44 S&W and, occasionally, the .44 Henry rimfire round) established the company’s presence in the large frame market, but its 40+ ounce weight and hefty 8″ barrel made it unsuitable for any sort of urban carry. It was also clear that centerfire cartridges were the way of the future, and Smith & Wesson was eager to once again lead in this space.

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