About the Handgun:
The largest of the 'Third Generation' series, these double-action pistols all chamber the .45 Auto cartridge and employ single-column magazines.
About the Manufacturer:
This company began in 1852 when Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson entered a gunmaking partnership in Norwich Connecticut. In 1857 they produced the first metallic cartridge breech-loading revolver. Their first double-action revolver was produced in 1880. In 1964 the company passed from Wesson family control, and subsequently several conglomerates took control of it. From 1987 to 2001 Tomkins PLC, a British company, owned Smith & Wesson. In March 2000 Smith & Wesson signed an agreement with the Clinton Administration in order to avoid lawsuits. This agreement was not at all liked by the gun owning public and boycotts and floods of used S&W firearms in the market nearly ruined the company. On May 11, 2001, Saf-T-Hammer Corporation acquired Smith & Wesson Corp. from Tomkins PLC for a fraction of what Tomkins originally paid. The new company, Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation, publicly renounced the Clinton agreement which was received positively by the firearms community.
About the Cartridge:
This cartridge was developed by John Browning and was adopted by the United States Ordnance Department along with the Colt-Browning automatic pistol in 1911. It has also been made the official military handgun chambering by several other governments, notably Argentina, Mexico and Norway. The 45 Automatic is the most powerful military handgun cartridge in use today. This is a heavy and powerful sub-sonic round. Although its muzzle energy can exceed 400 ft-lbs, its velocity and bullet weight creates a steep trajectory curve that limits its effective range to self-defense distances.