There was no conflict with the ‘S’ prefix assigned to fixed sight K frame guns because the N frame numbers were much lower, continuing a number sequence for prewar N frame guns that did not have a prefix.The ‘S’ numbers on N frame guns lasted until late 1969, when they were discontinued at S333454 and were replaced with ‘N’ prefixes, beginning with N1.
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Small frame revolvers - I frame and J frame - did not have a letter prefix in the serial number until 1969.
By then, the I frame had been completely phased out and all small frame revolvers were built on the J frame.
Near the end of that run, an internal change was made in the lockworks, which was designated by an ‘S’. When the war ended and civilian production picked up again, the postwar Military & Police revolvers got a simple ‘S’ prefix until the Victory number series ran out. S&W had a policy of never going to more than 6 numeric digits in a serial number sequence.) So, in March, 1948, the company needed a new letter prefix for the .38 Military & Police line. No one seems to know why it was a ‘C’ and not some other letter, but ‘K’ had already been chosen for the target K frame series and ‘C’ apparently seemed a logical choice for the fixed sight K frame guns.
The ‘C’ prefix remained in use for those revolvers until C999999 was reached at the end of 1967. Meanwhile, N frame revolvers were given an ‘S’ prefix for the serial sequence.
Smith & Wesson played a major part in the development and success of the cartridge and revolver that went with it.
Firearms writer and experimenter Philip Sharpe is credited for its development during the 1930s when police agencies were asking for a more powerful round.
At that time, they were assigned a ‘J’ prefix, which, with variations, remained in use until 1983.
In 1983, the discreet serial prefixes were discarded in favor of a scheme that was common to all S&W revolvers, regardless of frame size or caliber.
The Model 10 is a rugged design yet easy to mass produce. At the start of WWII, the United States was woefully unprepared for a second world wide conflict.
The official handgun of the military at the time was the Colt .45-caliber M1911 and its variants.
After the Second World War, S&W began using one-letter prefixes on several models of revolvers. This was the beginning of the ‘V’ (for Victory) prefix.