Smith & Wesson Baby Aircrewman Revolver

Air Force Ordered Them Cut, Crushed or Torched

Help Save the 2nd.

Donate Now.

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