Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless also known as New Departure and Lemon Squeezer
Tulsa, Oklahoma - NRA Museums Director Jim Supica made the most of the few days he spent at last month's Tulsa Arms Show. He inspected a few hundred guns, walked almost ten miles of displays, and recorded nearly 20 episodes of Curator's Corner for Cam & Company on Sportsman Channel. Given the vast quantities of firearms at his disposal, you have to wonder why he'd choose such a teeny-tiny gun like the Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless?
Besides the fact that it was the property of the President of the United States of course.
"This is a little Smith & Wesson top break revolver," Supica began. "Incredibly popular when they introduced the concept right in 1870. One great features is that they automatically eject the cartridges while leaving the rear face of the cylinder open for a fast reload."
Doesn't sound all that impressive? Well remember that we're talking 1870. Most revolvers didn't have automatic ejection. Instead, you have to poke out each individual cartridge one by one. Impressed now?
And we haven't even begun to talk about the hammerless design. Why? Well, because it wasn't really hammerless.
"The hammer is entirely enclosed in the frame so it makes it snag free. That enclosed design is still incredible popular on solid frame cylinder swing out cylinders J-frame revolvers today.
"Double action only which means it take s heavy trigger pull to fire. Smith & Wesson added a grip safety, so you had to take a firm grip on the gun to fire."
Interesting innovations for a piece put together more than 140 years ago. And for the most interesting part? The President? Well I can't quite give it all away.
Suffice to say, we're talking about a President who owned guns, who rode horses, who sported a mustache and who first made it way onto the front pages of every American newspaper after charging up San Juan Hill. Yes, we're talking about President Theodore Roosevelt. The bull moose himself.
But if you want to learn about the Teddy side of this Smith & Wesson's story then you only have to do one thing — tune in around 6:40pm this afternoon as Jim Supica takes you down the River of Doubt with Roosevelt's hammerless revolver on Sportsman Channel.
See all of the guns in the NRA National Firearms Museum at nramuseum.com