By Bob Walsh
The Gun of the Week this time around is the rather unusual Smith and Wesson Perfected Target Pistol, Model 1909.
On first glance this looks like a top-break long barreled revolver. It isn’t. They are actually single shot .22 pistols, though as an option was in the catalog for a time that would set the weapon up as both a revolver and a single-shot pistol.
Earlier renditions of this weapon were built on different frames, but by the time the 1909 came around it was built on the frame for the .38 Perfected Double Action.
A rare variation of this weapon was called the Olympic Model. The chamber of the Olympic version was actually 1/16 of an inch shorter than normal specification and the cartridge had to be forced into the chamber, engaging the rifling prior to ignition. This did result in a modest increase in accuracy.
This pistol was produced thru 1923 and was still in use by some diehards thru the 1960s. The normal pistol had a 10 inch barrel and the pistols left the factory in blue only except on special order. It is interesting to note that a successor pistol came out in 1925, called the Straight Line. The trigger pulled back in a straight line, like a Colt automatic pistol. It was thought that this would disturb the sight pistol less and make for a more accurate gun. That might have been true, but the gun was a commercial failure. It was dropped in 1936 with a total production of less than 2,000 units.