Friday, August 25, 2023

The American Double-Action


America's first double-action revolver, which allowed gunfighters to shoot without manually cocking the hammer first, was the Colt Model 1877, also known by its popular nicknames "Lightning" (for the .38 caliber version) or "Thunderer" (for the .41 caliber version). The Model 1877 was a revolutionary design that enabled the user to simply squeeze the trigger to both cock and fire the weapon, a significant improvement over the single-action revolvers prevalent at the time.

However, while the Colt Model 1877 was a significant step forward in firearms technology, it had its fair share of problems. The mechanism was delicate and prone to jamming or breaking, especially if not properly maintained. Additionally, the double-action trigger pull was long and heavy, making accurate shooting more difficult.

Smith & Wesson, a major competitor to Colt, improved upon the double-action revolver concept with their designs. 1880 they introduced the Smith & Wesson Model 3, a top-break, double-action revolver. This model had several refinements over Colt's Model 1877, including a more robust mechanism and a smoother trigger pull. Smith & Wesson continued to refine their double-action revolvers throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In 1899, Smith & Wesson introduced the .38 Military & Police (M&P) revolver, which would become one of the most popular and enduring double-action revolvers ever produced. The M&P, later renamed the Model 10, featured a swing-out cylinder for easy reloading, a more reliable double-action mechanism, and a shorter trigger pull for faster shooting. Over the years, Smith & Wesson would introduce many more double-action revolvers based on the M&P design, including the famous .357 Magnum Model 27 and the .44 Magnum Model 29, which was famously used by Clint Eastwood's character "Dirty Harry" in the movie series of the same name.

The double-action revolver quickly became the preferred weapon of many law enforcement officers, military personnel, and civilian gun owners due to its ease of use, reliability, and ability to deliver rapid, accurate fire. It played a significant role in shaping the history of firearms and the development of modern handguns.



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