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Smith & Wesson Baby Aircrewman Revolver

Air Force Ordered Them Cut, Crushed or Torched

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NRA Museums director Jim Supica and senior curator Phil Schreier return to Curator's Corner for a Gun Gurus reunion at the 2018 NRA Annual Meetings in Dallas. They're joined by Rich Nahas, co-author of Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson​, Fourth Edition with Jim. He presents a Baby Aircrewman Revolver prototype. It's a five-shot, aluminum J-Frame .38 Special. In the early 1950s, the Air Force wanted a lightweight survival gun. Smith & Wesson submitted 605 guns. The Air Force settled on the larger S&W six-shot model, weighing just 14.5 ounces. With standard ammo, they were prone to blowing the cylinders apart. By 1959, the Air Force ordered the guns recalled with a letter of destruction to cut, crush or torch the guns. Rich estimates 125 complete guns survived.

Season 11