By Bob Walsh
The Gun of the Week this time around is another blast from the past, the Smith and Wesson Model 15 revolver.
This weapon, sometimes known as the Combat Masterpiece, is built on the K-frame and has been around in some form or other since the ass-end of the 19th century. They are six shot revolvers chambered for the .38 special cartridge and are equipped with the excellent S&W micrometer adjustable sights.
They were produced from 1949 thru 1999, and have been reintroduced as part of the S&W classic revolver line. I bought this particular one as a police surplus gun at the old Davis Company in Sacramento. It had originally been owned by the DMV and issued to their investigative unit. This particular version has a square butt and a 2 inch barrel. It is about 7 1/8 inches long with the 2” tube and weighs about 32 ounces loaded.
This weapon was very popular with the Strategic Air Command and later the U. S. Air Force police as well as other military police non-uniform personnel and investigative units as well as a great many police departments, including L.A. and N.Y.C. It was also a very common platform on which to build PPC competition guns. I suspect that there are still a very few dinosaurs in LA and NYC that still carry them, though I understand the old timers with grandfathered revolvers are getting to be very rare indeed. Even the pack of cave men I used to work for, the CA Dept. of Corrections, is now getting rid of the .38 revolvers and going to Glock pistols. It is, however, interesting to note the reason for the change was ammunition cost and not utility. The .38 ammo has gotten MUCH more expensive and it finally got to the point it was worth the department’s trouble to switch and as I thump this out the department has almost (but not quite) completed the switch-over.