Re: S&W Model 39
Smith & Wesson 39
Notes: Immediately after World War 2, Carl Hellstrom (the president of Smith & Wesson at the time) saw the large number of automatic pistols used by both sides during the war and saw that the American public would be fascinated by them. He thus designed the Smith & Wesson 39 and insisted it be marketed, despite the fact that previous Smith & Wesson automatic pistols had been dismal commercial failures. The 39 seemed to also be a failure until the late 1950s, and in 1967, the Illinois State Police became the first police agency to equip with the Model 39. There was some small use by US personnel in Vietnam, and then the US Navy modified the Model 39 into a silenced weapon (the Mk22 Mod 0 "Hush Puppy"). Most Model 39s are made of blued or phosphated steel, but Model 439 variant uses a carbon finish, and the Model 639 variant is made of stainless steel. Virtually all subsequent Smith & Wesson pistols can trace their ancestry more or less to the Model 39.
The first Model 39 was manufactured from 1954-1966. It has a steel frame and slide, but the barrel is fairly short, and it is a light weapon. Civilian versions have walnut grips; military versions (known as the Model 41, and not to be confused with the .22 Long Rifle-firing Model 41) have black plastic grips. From 1958-1959, the military version was also manufactured in a single-action version, and called the Model 44. All three have an adjustable rear sight, and all three are identical for game purposes.
The Model 39-1 is also nearly identical, but has a light alloy frame. It was manufactured until 1971. The Model 39-2 is a Model 39-1 with a modified extractor for more reliable functioning, and it was manufactured until 1982. In 1968, Smith & Wesson started what was then a top-secret project: the Model M39-WOX-13A. (This is otherwise identical to the Model 39 for game purposes.) This weapon was designed for the US Marines, but some were given to the Navy, fitted with a silencer kit, modified for use with subsonic ammunition, and became the Mk22 Mod 0 "Hush Puppies" (elsewhere in these pages). The Model 439 began as simply a re-named Model 39-2, but it was later modified with an ambidextrous safety and squared trigger guard. The Model 539 is a Model 439 totally in steel, and is otherwise identical to the Model 39 for game purposes. The Model 639 was the long-awaited civilian stainless steel version; early models had a round trigger guard, but later versions had a squared trigger guard, and it was produced until 1988.
( I'am not the autor of this text)