A Smith & Wesson Model 10 M&P that I saw growing up came to be known as “the poker gun.” My grandfather, Hix Green, kept it in a box on the top shelf of his closet. Born in 1900, he worked as a ranch hand in Texas in 1924. The ranch owner kept this pistol in his truck, but it was stolen. The ranch hands felt so bad that they all chipped in and bought him a brand-new, identical pistol. While the ranch owner was thrilled, the gun thief was arrested a few weeks later, and his original gun was returned. He gave the new gun back to the cowboys to decide what to do with it.
They played five-card draw, and my grandfather claimed he won with a royal straight flush. The likelihood of this always seemed to be astronomical, and I wonder if the older cowboys ceded him the winning hand. He couldn’t afford a new holster, so he altered the existing one, chopping off the bottom for his barrel—to suit his needs on horseback.
In 1941, he worked for a branch of General Motors. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he went out and purchased a new box of .38 wadcutters, dating it as such: Dec. 9, 1941. He shot six rounds in the backyard in Atlanta and decided he was still an expert cowboy and placed the six rounds you see here back in the gun. He was too old to join the military, so he joined the auxiliary police for Fulton County, helping to replace the men who had gone overseas. They issued him this badge and baton to do his duty.
Strangely, my father claimed he never heard the poker story from his own father. Well, grandpa could weave a pretty good tale. True or not, the entire family knows the story, and I was fortunate to end up with the small collection. It’s too good of a tale to forget, and the Model 10 M&P has become my favorite gun.
—R. Barry Green