Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday Smith #24: Model 10-8, 1983
The Smith & Wesson Model 10 was available in standard barrel lengths of two, four, five, and six inches for most of its life, but early on Smith offered a three-inch tube as a special order item, usually for large departmental orders. The 3" square butt configuration was popular with many foreign police departments, being used from France and Turkey to Malaysia and Australia. It was only when combined with the round-butt frame of the 2" Model 10, however, that the three-inch barrel really came into its own.
By the early 1980s, the 3" round-butt Model 10 had become a regular catalog offering, and some people immediately recognized the virtues offered by this package. The 3" barrel and round butt made the gun compact enough to be discreetly carried on the belt. Unlike its 2" snubbie cousin, though, the 3" barrel offered usable sight radius and even more importantly it had a full-length ejector rod stroke to ensure positive extraction of spent cases. The steel frame and thick barrel profile made the gun heavy enough to easily tame the recoil of even hot +P ammunition, while not rendering it too heavy to comfortably carry. The fixed sights were rugged and snag-free, and added to the all-business aura of the piece.
Domestic agencies, including the Criminal Investigative Division of the much-loved IRS, quickly saw the virtues of this configuration, and the FBI issued its .357 Magnum sibling, the Model 13. Many fans today still consider this the best all-around concealed-carry revolver configuration.
In 1997, Smith finally discontinued all configurations except the 4" heavy barrel, and the Model 10 lingers on mostly for bulk orders to private security firms. The above pictured revolver, a Model 10-8 produced in 1983, was purchased for $275 back in '03, which was a pretty fair price for a 95% gun with the box, docs, and tools. Cleaned up and sold at auction today, it could bring as much as $350-375, given its configuration, condition, and correct accoutrement.