American Rifleman - December 2020 - 50

S&W VICTORY MODEL REVOLVER

shotguns. It is sometimes believed that such initials
represent the person who actually inspected the guns, but
that was not the case. Rather, it indicates that the arms
were inspected by Ordnance personnel operating under
Col. Drewry's authority.
The standard ammunition procured for issue with the
.38 Spl. Victory Model revolvers was manufactured by the
Remington Arms Co. The cartridges had 158-gr. steel-jacketed
bullets, and the cases were head-stamped "REM UMC 38
SPL." Standard commercial .38 Spl. ammunition with lead
bullets could not be utilized in overseas combat zones due
to provisions of the Hague Convention, thus the necessity
for the steel-jacketed bullets. The cartridges were packed in
green, commercial-style, 50-round cardboard cartons with lot
numbers in the 5,000 range. There was also a limited quantity
of .38 Spl. tracer cartridges produced during the war intended
for signaling purposes.
Initially, the Navy restricted issuance of the M1911A1
.45 ACP pistols to overseas combat zones and used the
.38-cal. revolvers for stateside Navy and Coast Guard
personnel. Part of the reason for this policy was to mitigate the logistical problems inherent to having handguns
chambered for two different cartridges in oversea theaters.
Nonetheless, it didn't take long for the impracticality of
this policy to become apparent. The lighter .38 revolver
was actually preferred over the heavier .45 pistol by many
Navy and Marine Corps aviators. By mid-1944, the Navy
reversed its original policy and began to issue M1911A1 .45
pistols to some non-combatant personnel, such as guards
aboard merchant vessels so that the .38 revolvers they would
ordinarily be armed with could be available to flight crews.
The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviators generally carried their Victory Model .38 revolvers in a leather shoulder
holster, often with web loops sewn onto the strap to hold
extra cartridges. A leather hip holster was also made for
these revolvers, but the shoulder holster was generally
preferred by pilots due to space constraints in the cramped
cockpits. The hip holsters were used more often by security

personnel, but period photos show some flyers with their
Victory Model revolvers in hip holsters.
While the U.S. Navy was the primary user of the S&W
.38 Spl. Victory Model revolvers, Ordnance records indicate
that some of the guns were also purchased by the U.S.
Army and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). As was the
case with the S&W .38-200 revolvers previously discussed,
the majority of these .38 Spl. revolvers were undoubtedly used for arming foreign security personnel and, in
the case of the OSS, irregular military units. However,
some of the revolvers were utilized overseas by American
combat troops, including U.S. Marines. As stated in R.G.
Rosenquist's Our Kind Of War, Illustrated Saga Of The U.S.
Marine Raiders: "The M1911A1 .45 automatic pistol was the
standard issue sidearm, but also plenty of .38 caliber Smith
& Wesson 'Victory Model' revolvers saw action."
There are a number of contemporary accounts of .38-cal.
revolvers being used in combat during World War II by
American troops. Often the exact model is not mentioned,
but, based on the numbers made and wide issuance, the
odds are that most were the S&W .38 Spl. Victory Model.
For example, Marine Raider R.G. "Rudy" Rosenquist carried
a .38 revolver, quite likely a S&W Victory model, and found
it to be a literal life-saver during fierce fighting on Guam
when he was bayoneted by a Japanese soldier: "[A]s the
enemy soldier ... stepped over him, Rudy reached up and
grasped the man's canteen strap and was yanked to his
feet. The Japanese tore loose and rushed on. Now a second
enemy soldier came running, and Rudy took a bayonet
wound in the stomach. By this time, he had got out a .38
pistol, which he emptied into the man, who fell back upon
the Marine at the machine gun ... ."
As the S&W Victory Model .38 revolver was becoming a
commonly issued sidearm, a problem arose that caused a
temporary halt in the procurement of the guns. As discussed in an Ordnance Dept. document: "The death of a
sailor, resulting from dropping a loaded Smith & Wesson,
Caliber .38 Special Revolver prompted a test by the Navy

This Smith & Wesson
advertisement touts
its Victory models and
promotes the guns for
plant defense by guards.
It states that the revolver
was adopted in 1942 as
" ... the official sidearm
for all U.S. Navy Flying
Personnel, and is widely
used by U.S. Marine
Corps Flyers, the U.S.
Coast Guard and in the
Merchant Marine." The
gun was marketed for
S&W via the Defense
Supplies Corp.

50
R2012_F_SWVICTORY copy.indd 50

December 2020

american rifleman

Courtesy of Charles Pate

10/13/20 3:19 PM

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American Rifleman - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - December 2020

Contents
American Rifleman - December 2020 - C1
American Rifleman - December 2020 - C2
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 1
American Rifleman - December 2020 - Contents
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 3
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 4
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 5
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 6
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 7
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 8
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 9
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 10
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 11
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 12
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 13
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 14
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 15
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 16
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 17
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 18
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 19
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 20
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 21
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 22
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 23
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 24
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 25
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 26
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 27
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 28
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 29
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 30
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 31
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 32
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 33
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 34
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 35
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 36
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 37
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 38
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 39
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 40
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 41
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 42
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 43
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 44
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 45
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 46
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 47
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 48
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 49
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 50
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 51
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 52
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 53
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 54
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 55
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 56
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 57
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 58
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 59
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 60
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 61
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 62
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 63
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 64
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 65
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 66
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 67
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 68
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 69
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 70
American Rifleman - December 2020 - State_1
American Rifleman - December 2020 - State_2
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 71
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 72
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 73
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 74
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 75
American Rifleman - December 2020 - 76
American Rifleman - December 2020 - C3
American Rifleman - December 2020 - C4
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