Lost And Found

Wheelgun Diaries

They say every gun has a story. A reader submission series from American Handgunner, Wheelgun Diaries seeks to tell some of those stories through the words of revolver owners.

The following stories were shared by email with permission to publish.

Lost And Found

I’ve loved revolvers from the very first day I laid hands on a Colt .38 Detective Special in the early ‘60s as a teen growing up in South Texas. During the Vietnam era, little did I know that one day in the near future I would be involved in that war and find, purchase, carry, lose and then find again a very special revolver.

On arrival in Vietnam in October 1968 I was assigned to an infantry line unit. While in preparatory training, I wanted a backup to my primary but not so popular M16. Even though our armories were full of .45 automatics, I never really warmed up to the .45, much less gained any confidence in my shooting ability with them. So, after I put the word out, a very resourceful NCO came up with a used Smith & Wesson Model 10, a holster, belt and a bunch of .38 Special rounds for my consideration.

I was immediately attached to that Model 10. I carried it every day while in-country for approximately 11 months through rain, mud and heat of the jungle. And, although I never used it for its intended purpose, I fired it every chance I had.

Then separation. One night in September 1969, while in a jungle defensive position, we were probed, and at some point, I was wounded by mortar fire and had to be medevacked. At time of extraction, all my gear was removed, but my revolver, which I kept tucked under my fatigues, was overlooked. After medical treatment, I was transferred to Japan and eventually stateside — without my revolver. It wouldn’t be until 2018 when I saw it again.

A good friend and shooting partner of mine wrote an article for the Texas State Rifle Association on my Vietnam experience and how I got separated from my treasured revolver. Astonishingly, a former Army helicopter pilot in my area of operations read it and contacted me. The pilot explained how he had come to possess a 5” Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver that he believed was the one that belonged to me. According to him, it was the only revolver in the armory of the helicopter unit that had evacuated me sometime earlier. He took possession of it and carried it during his tour. Upon completion, he brought it home and had been in possession of it ever since.

I could not begin to explain my emotions! I was a seasoned 23-year-old First Lieutenant when I was separated from my cherished revolver. Now, as a semi-old and mellow senior citizen of 73, I have been reunited with the revolver I lost approximately 50 years ago. I might not be a hard-charging, gung-ho troop anymore, but I still appreciate the virtues of a good revolver and a fine gentleman.

Louis Charles
LTC, USAR, Retired

Made for a Woman

This fine Smith & Wesson Model 65LS “LadySmith” belonged to my mother before she gifted it to me. My father had bought it for her when they retired to a rural farmhouse. She wanted a handgun of her own for when my dad would be off boating or fishing and she would be left alone out in the country.

The small grips it came with originally fit her hands perfectly, and she was quite comfortable shooting standard and +P .38 Special with it. The smooth action S&W provided on this 3” K frame meant she could hit what she aimed at and the colorful “purse” looking case it came in also endeared the gun to her. Women must be stylish, you know!

Advancing age has taken some of her hand strength and we have found her a smaller, lighter revolver. The Ladysmith now lives with me. It gets shot regularly with either my 158gr. LSWC or JHP .357 Magnum handloads. The double-action on this gun is an absolute joy. It wears either the rubber grips pictured or some custom wood combat style stocks and rides in either the nylon shoulder holster shown, or a leather strong side belt holster.

The combination of the K frame and short barrel make this revolver easy to carry. The fully enclosed ejector rod adds enough weight up front to make it very comfortable with magnum loads. Black paint on the rear sight and yellow on the front provide a good sight picture. With a couple of speed-loaders in a belt pouch this is a defensive handgun I would bet my life on. It fits the slogan of the popular Secret brand ladies deodorant — “Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman!”

David Griffith

Submit Your Wheelgun Diary

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