Originally featured in Points West in Spring 2008
Smith and Wesson Victory Revolver
The mention of World War II often brings to mind the weapons of the period. For the United States military, this usually includes the M1 rifle, the M1 carbine, and the 1911 pistol. However, many people ignore, or were never aware of, the many other personal arms produced during the war years.
One of these is the Smith and Wesson Victory Model .38 caliber pistol, a simple, six-shot, .38 special, double-action revolver. Support staff, naval crews, and other service members carried more than 242,000 of these revolvers—often while not expecting to use them.
According to research performed by Roy Jinks, historian for Smith and Wesson, the company shipped this particular revolver to the U.S. Navy Strategic Command on February 21, 1944. After that, the Navy sent the revolver to the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. Without knowing the more recent history of this gun, those several decades after its shipment to Massachusetts would be a mystery. However, paperwork shows that the donor purchased this revolver from the estate of General Mark W. Clark. With this connection, it lends credence to the claim that General Clark carried this revolver as a sidearm through his service during World War II and again at the end of the Korean War.
Smith and Wesson .38 caliber Victory Model revolver, 1943 – 1944. Gift of W.L. Limehouse. 2007.3.1