HandgunHistory A New Beginning



HandgunHistory a new beginning that started in the 1950's when the action and design for most Handguns was changing. The idea was to give shooters a better hammer fall, smoother. Some call it a shorter fall. Most double-action shooters like a smooth action. It was during this period, manufactures introduced new snub-nose five shot pocket revolvers along with bigger updated models in 38, 357, 44 and 44 magnum calibers. To round out the changes manufacturers also offered a wider selection of 6 1/2, 6, 4 and 5 inch barrels. These changes were brought on by higher design and production standards which benefited the manufacturers because they appealed to the shooting community.

In the 1980s, a new wave of Handgun-History as revolvers arrived with rounded butts and heavy underlug barrels. On shorter barrels the lug (enclosed ejector rod ) ran the full length of the barrel giving the gun a solid look. In 1954, there were only 12 handgun manufacturers. They offered basic guns usually with a matte blue finish. No-frills revolvers began to be upgraded in the mid-fifties to target models with heavy bull barrels, target hammers, and triggers. They would also be offered in a variety calibers, even 45 Colt.

The year 1955 is especially significant A radical new revolver was put forth by Elmer Keith who convinced manufacturers to bring out a new gun to house his 44 Special magnum cartridge. Keith had asked for a 1200 fps load. He received a true magnum with a 240-grain bullet that traveled at 1450 fps. The new longer 44 Magnum was born. The new more powerful handguns increased in popularity. One of the benefits to the shooting community was an increase in handgun hunting.

In the mid 1960s manufacturers started dropping the number of models they were putting out. This continued until 1986 when the Model 28 Highway Patrolman by S&W was dropped. Further in to the 1990s more changes were made. More stainless steel models were being manufactured. Revolvers began to show up with six and seven-shot enlarged cylinders sporting full length under-lug barrels. Manufacturers did this to add weight for more stability. It also looked great. Stainless steel was by then firmly established as the material of the future. Standard conical barrels, square-butt grips on blue steel frames were out of style, replaced by a stainless steel full length under-lug barrel that shielded the ejector rod. They were mounted on a stainless round-butt frame with fitted recoil absorbing rubber grips. In 1989, more changes to handgun actions were made for tighter fitting parts that could endure the blast of heavier loads without becoming loose.

As metallurgy became more influential on Handgun-History, the use of Titanium and Scandium resulted in seven-shot 18 1/2-ounce guns around 2001. Manufacturers didn't stop there. Soon we had a 12-ounce five-shots handgun. These lighter guns could be carried all day, virtually unnoticed. This contributed to the growing demand for concealed carry. Only a lack of imagination can keep us from further innovations.

What do you think? Yours, Jeffrey


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