Model 12 Secrets

Okay, not really secrets, but in all honesty it wasn’t until just a few years ago I found out the frames of the first three generations of Model 12’s are about 0.08" narrower than standard Model 10 frames. I put a set of stock Model 10 grips on a Model 12 once and there was a gap under the grip panel at the side plate. Huh? What? A bit of research yielded the reason and once I knew it, I could “see” it when I handled the guns. The Model 12 does feel “slimmer” — not by much, but it’s there to a practiced eye and hand. The final Model 12-4 introduced in about 1984 went full-width. Oh, and any of them through the years could be had in square or round-butt, with round butt being my favorite. There’s a joke somewhere nearby, but I won’t go there.

Our friends at S&W introduced the “Night Guard” series some years ago as a new line of lightweight revolvers. One model, the 315 Night Guard, was essentially a Model 12 but modernized. They sold out and the line is discontinued, but you can find them on Gunbroker.com and the like. Worth a look if you ask me. The amazing thing is today, a nice, clean Model 12 (any generation) can go for a low of about $500 for a basic shooter to upwards of $1,200 for a minty one in a box and such. If you stay away from +P ammo and just enjoy the gun, you can’t go wrong, and it will always be worth what you paid for it or more.