My New Gun

posted on February 28, 2013
wiley-clapp.jpg (4)

On a recent trip back to my where I was once a police officer, I dropped by the gun store where I used to spend a lot of time—The Stockade, in Westminster, Calif. Tucked back in one of the display cases was a type of Smith & Wesson revolver that I had never handled. A conversation ensued, money changed hands, and I now own yet another S&W revolver. The little gun—a S&W Model One-and-a-Half, 2nd issue—is far too old to ever fire. I got it as a piece of history, and it is easily the oldest handgun I own. In its day, the 1 1/2 was a big seller for the Springfield plant, with over a 100,000 units made. Its day was right after the Civil War (1868-1875).

A hinged-frame revolver, this one is of the tip-up type, where the frame-barrel hinge is on the top, front corner of the frame. The revolver has a 4-inch, round and ribbed barrel. There are five chambers in the fluted cylinder. S&W used fancy rosewood for the round butt grips, which remain in excellent condition. A single action, the little revolver fires via a sheathed trigger. It is chambered for a .32 rimfire cartridge. Interestingly, there is no extractor system. To punch out the fired round, you open the action, pull the cylinder forward off its axis, invert it and run each chamber in sequence down on the rod.

It is a small and compact revolver with an almost toylike nature. Nevertheless, it was serious gear back when the grand old company was young and full of vigor. The little Smith is a tangible link to days gone by.


TangoDown Light Portal Front Sight
TangoDown Light Portal Front Sight

Preview: TangoDown Light Portal Front Sight

Due to their location on the gun, most front iron sights preclude the placement of a tactical light forward on a defensive carbine’s 12-o’clock rail, as they typically obstruct the light’s beam.

Holiday Gift Guide: Specialty Knives, Hand Axes & Multi-Tools

While smaller blades can be plenty helpful for everyday carry, sometimes bigger blades and tools are necessary. Here are a few larger specialty knives, hand axes, and multi-tools worth keeping in mind as the holiday season approaches.

NRA Gun Of The Week: KelTec P15

Watch American Rifleman staff on the range this week with the KelTec P15, the company’s first striker-fired handgun and also one of the thinnest 9 mm Luger concealed-carry pistols to ever hit the market.

The Armed Citizen® Nov. 25, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Hodgdon Powder Celebrates 75 Years

This year, Hodgdon Powder celebrates its 75th year in business, having grown from humble origins in 1947.

Handloads: Hunting With The .375 Winchester

Although it is often difficult to find components for reloading the .375 Winchester cartridge, this lever-action round is deserving of customization for hunting in today's game fields.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.