Welcome to another instalment of TFB’s Wheelgun Wednesday series, where we cover a little bit of everything, from new, used, and historical revolvers. Today’s wheelgun hails from Smith & Wesson in Massachusetts, but was sent to Great Britain in the Lend Lease program during World War II. After the war, a number of these Lend Lease S&W revolvers made their way to Germany, where they served local police departments for a time. Up to this point, everything seems in order, until you look at the muzzle of this particular wheelgun.
WHEELGUN WEDNESDAY: LEND LEASE S&W WITH A TWIST
This interesting piece was recently discovered at a gun show by Redditor, Tristan, whom was glad to let me share his curious revolver with TFB readers. The six-shot revolver is a Smith & Wesson 1905 Hand Ejector (dating from before the Model 10 and Victory designations), chambered in .38S&W (not .38 Special). Upon purchasing the well travelled S&W he was told about it being part of the Lend Lease program to arm Great Britain and its stint with the Gelsenkirchen Police in Germany, which in and of itself makes this a gun you wish could tell of the tales it has seen.
There have been a number of other collectors that have purchased these models that displayed evidence of the Lend Lease program and German police markings as well. You can read about them on the S&W forum, the US Militaria forum, and The High Road forum. Other such models made their way to Canada and Austria as well. There are two interesting excerpts about the establishment of the US Constabulary in Occupied Germany HERE and HERE, which later incorporated the German Police, although Tristan’s revolver came from the British occupied zone.
The barrel of the revolver had, at some point, been cut down, and fitted with an odd device on the muzzle. It’s a little hard to tell from the photos, but Tristan says there’s a hint of threading on the muzzle device. He was told it was used to attach a suppressor, which, on the surface appears to be the case, yet causes more questions than answers.
During my research on the background of the Lend Lease S&W revolvers, I was unable to find any documentation or photos in regards to similar muzzle devices like that of Tristan’s revolver. If it was indeed part of a fixed suppressor, or a mount for a removable suppressor, it was most likely a pet project of someone in Germany, or an American after its return home to America. One question that comes to mind is if this suppressor project predated the use of suppressors for Tunnel Rats in the Vietnam War? TFB’s Chief Editor Pete touched on the topic of suppressed revolvers several years ago.
Thanks to Tristan for letting us share his historic find, you can also check out his original post HERE. Here are some more photos of the revolver:
What do you think of Tristan’s new-to-him Lend Lease S&W? Do you think the muzzle device was part of a suppressor, or do you think there’s something else involved? The only other possibility I can think of would be to attach a tear gas launcher (an example of which I should be able to share in the near future), however, I don’t think that’s very likely. Have you seen other well-travelled Lend Lease S&W revolvers?