Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

The S&W Model 12 Airweight

ImageScottsboro Gun & Pawn (256-259-0693) is the “Cheers” of gun shops located near my home. They know everyone worth knowing, you can catch up on all the latest happenings, and they never fail to have some very nice revolvers on the shelves, both Smiths and Colts. I would like to visit more often, but it’s like every time I stop by there’s another “must-have” pistol capturing my attention.

My most recent purchase is a Smith & Wesson Model 12 -3. I didn’t really know what it was when I saw it in the display case, I just knew it wasn’t something uncommon. Plus, it had a really nice nickel finish, which would fit well with my other shiny S&W K frames.

Research revealed that the Model 12, introduced in the 1950’s, is basically the same as the .38 Spl K frame Military & Police Model 10 except the 12’s frame is made from a strong aluminum alloy, a “new” material at that time developed during WWII. The first models had an alloy cylinder as well, but this was changed to steel after it was discovered to crack, even using a special low-pressure .38 cartridge known as the M41. Early 12’s have a frame that is .080″ thinner than standard K frames but the 12-4, 1984, has a standard width frame allowing it to use standard K frame internals and grips. The Model 12 came in round and square butts, blued and nickel, and in 2″ and 4″ inch barrels. According to the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, 3rd Edition, 5″ and 6″ barrels were cataloged, but are not to be found. The model was discontinued in 1986.

I occasionally buy firearms because they are rare or models that I have strong attraction to, but most of my weapons do see carry and use. At a minimum I want to know that they will actually shoot. If it won’t function reliably what you have is a sculpture of a firearm, a non-firing replica. I also want to make sure it’s zeroed, or in the case of non-adjustable sights any variation between point-of-aim and point-of-impact noted. Any firearm I own can be retrieved, loaded if needed, and used in defense against a threat.

Because of my job I don’t carry revolvers as much as the 1911, but for defensive use I’ve never felt under-armed, especially with the .357 magnums and the ability to reload. Should you decide to carry a revolver you are going to have to practice with a revolver. Don’t train/practice exclusively with a semi-auto, “because that’s what everyone else is shooting,” when all you carry is a revolver. Choosing two different type weapons means you’ll need to practice twice as much to be efficient with both, otherwise you’re better off picking one and being the best you can with it.

I have some firearms that don’t get fired often, and some “Sunday-go-to-meeting” pistols worn for special occasions such as weddings and such. But, if necessary, all of ’em will fight.

March 8, 2012 - Posted by | Revolvers

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