Legacy Of Steel

S&W's Engraving Shop — Need We Say More?

Model 57.41 Magnum

Model 19 .357 Magnum

Model 21 .44 Special

Model 38 .38 Special

The craving and cutting of steel by human hands with handheld tools is always something that has intrigued me. Some people don’t understand that the engraving of weapons is probably art in one of its earliest forms. The earliest weapons uncovered have yielded scratchings and colors for decoration. Weapons of all kinds, from shields to swords, canons and armor and virtually all the rest have borne artwork.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of these masters of steel at work at both the Colt and Smith & Wesson factories. While at Colt Armorers School in the 1970s, one of the Colt engravers cut my initials on the first handgun I ever owned, a lightweight .45 Commander made circa 1949 I carried on duty in those long-ago days. Since then it has only gone in one — somewhat costly — direction for me. To the point that now anyone who knows me understands I have a basic dysfunction when it comes to engraved guns. As would be appropriate of course, my softest spot is for handguns. Being sort of a utilitarian person by nature I can’t think of anything more functional than a handgun that works. I’ve always thought since I may have one, it might as well be attractive to the eye. I’ve also been fortunate to know some of these artists of steel, with some of my favorites being the staff of the engraving department of Smith & Wesson. Favoring a finer, more delicate type of engraving, the S&W folks have made me some outstanding engraved handguns over the years and I thought it might be of enjoyable interest — and maybe even just plain fun — to share these with you.

Oh, and case you are wondering, although some might consider it insane, I use and enjoy these guns on a daily basis. They get shot, carried, cleaned, holstered, handled, shown to students and otherwise used and enjoyed virtually every day. No “gun safe princesses”

are these! Enjoy.

Model 29 .44 Magnum

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