The Smith & Wesson company was formed in 1852, in Norwich, Connecticut. The company's first offering was a lever-action repeating pistol. Moving forward from those beginnings, Smith & Wesson shaped innovations in the manufacturing of modern handguns. As of March 2011, Smith & Wesson offers approximately 110 different pistols of varied designs and features.

  1. Examine the barrel of the Smith & Wesson pistol. Locate either 'Smith & Wesson, Springfield, Massachusetts' or 'Smith & Wesson; Houlton, ME' stamped on the barrel. This identification proves that the handgun is an authentic Smith & Wesson pistol.

  2. Locate the serial number on the left side of the pistol's frame. The standard location for the serial number is above the trigger guard. Some serial numbers are located underneath the frame in front of the trigger guard. Others are on the rear of the frame, above the gun's grip.

  3. Look up the pistol's full serial number -- including all letters and numbers -- in the back section of the 'Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson' book. These listings inform you of the pistol's date of manufacture, based on the serial number.

  4. Items you will need

    • Smith and Wesson pistol

    • Smith & Wesson catalog


    Get a basic idea of whether your Smith & Wesson pistol was manufactured at a very early date or a later date by identifying the letters from A to Z in the serial number. The letter 'A' denotes a pistol manufactured at a very early date. The letters continue on through the alphabet, for pistols manufactured at later dates.

    The numbers in the Smith & Wesson serial numbers are random numbers.


  1. I was hoping someone could look in their Smith and Wesson book and tell me the year of my model 41. The serial number is 97XXX, all numbers. I have not seen similar looking serials on model 41 and I am very curious.
  2. Many people have questions about how to identify a S&W revolver and when was it made. Sometimes the serial number is here, especially in later models. 41 1957 start of model numbering system. There is some dispute regarding the dates on some serial numbers and your gun may actually be a.

About the Author

Christopher John has been a freelance journalist since 2003. He has written for regional newspapers such as 'The Metro Forum' and the 'West Tennessee Examiner.' John has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Memphis State University.

Smith & Wesson Model 41
Smith & Wesson Model 41
TypeSemi Automatic Pistol
Place of originUnited States
Mass41 oz
Barrel length5​12' or 7'
Cartridge.22 long rifle
Actionblowback, single action only
Rate of fireSemi-automatic
Feed system10-round single column, detachable box magazine

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The Smith & Wesson Model 41 is a semi-automatic pistol developed by Smith & Wesson after World War II as a competitive target pistol. It was designed with a 105 degree grip angle, the same as the Colt M1911 pistol, to maintain a consistent grip angle.[1]

Production history[edit]

In July 1947 two prototypes, numbered X-41 and X-42 were produced, tested, and improved for the next 10 years. In 1957 the Model 41 was made available to the public for sale when S&W produced 679 units.[2] At the end of 1958, they had built 9,875 Model 41 pistols. A lighter 5' barrel was offered in 1958 for field use. The Model 41-1 was introduced in 1960 and was chambered in .22 Short for International Rapid Fire competition. Only 1000 were made using light aluminum slides necessary for function with the lower powered .22 Short.

In August 1963, the 5' heavy barrel version came into the market. Stoeger's Shooter's Bible of 1964 shows a 7 3/8' barrel grooved for Olympic center weights. The cocking indicator and 7 3/8' bbl were dropped in 1978. The 7' bbl was introduced in 1978 with no provision for a muzzle brake. A 6' barrel was offered for a few months in 1991. In 1992 the Model 41 was dropped from production. In 1994 Smith & Wesson returned it to production as the Model 41 (New Model).[3]

Model 46[edit]

Smith And Wesson Model 41 Serial Number Lookup Numbers

In 1957, Smith & Wesson offered a 'no frills' version of the Model 41 designated the model 46. In 1959 it was selected by the U.S. Air Force for basic marksmanship training. About 4000 units were made in total: 2500 with a 7-inch barrel, 1000 with 5 inch barrels and 500 5 1/2 inch barrels. The pistol lacked the checkering, polished blue finish, and other refinements of the Model 41. It proved to be a commercial failure with consumers who preferred the more costly Model 41 and production ceased in 1966, according to firearm historian Sam Fadala.[4]

Smith Wesson Serial Number Lookup


Smith And Wesson Model 41 Serial Number Lookup

  1. ^Hartink, A.E. (2002). The Complete Encyclopedia of Pistols and Revolvers. Edison, New Jersey: Chartwell Books, Inc. pp. 271–272. ISBN978-0-7858-1519-8.
  2. ^Jinks, Roy G.; Krein, Sandra C. (2006). Smith & Wesson (MA) (Images of America). Boston: Arcadia Publishing. p. 128. ISBN978-0-7385-4510-3.
  3. ^Supica, Jim; Richard Nahas (2007). Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson (3 ed.). F+W Media, Inc. p. 279. ISBN978-0-89689-293-4.
  4. ^Fadala, Sam (2002). 'Smith & Wesson's Model 41: collectibles, edibles, and a lesson in history'. American Handgunner. 22 (6): 83.
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