A new war and a new revolver bring success to the young Smith & Wesson company.
“The timing of the introduction of the Model 2 proved important to the partners, for the first guns reached the market in June of 1861, only two months after the first shots were fired that marked the beginning of the American Civil War. … Fear of invasion gripped the North, and northern soldiers were searching for compact arms to carry to war. Smith & Wesson found itself in an enviable position with the exclusive patent on a cartridge revolver. The Model 2 … could be quickly loaded with the new waterproof metallic cartridge and it proved ideal for the soldier as well as those on the home front. Smith & Wesson quickly felt the impact of the gun’s popularity. Orders rose so fast that by 1862 the company was forced to close its books because there were orders already for more arms than could be produced during the next three years.”–Roy Jinks on the S&W Model 2 Army revolver, History of Smith & Wesson, Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition (1977).
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About the Author: Jennifer L.S. Pearsall joined Gun Digest in summer 2011 as a books editor. She began her career selling guns in a retail gun shop and handgun range in Northern Virginia in the early 1990s. Recruited by the NRA to join its editorial staff in 1999, she then went on to succeed as a freelance writer and photographer. She's been a competitive shooter in many disciplines, including sporting clays, IPSC, and metallic blackpowder cartridge silhouette, and she has been an avid hunter for many years.
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