Way back in the mid-1980s, after the United States Army adopted the Beretta 92F as its new standard sidearm, police agencies around the country began to follow suit. Living in Maryland as I was, and not far from the Beretta plant in Accokeek, Maryland, I noticed a lot of local agencies making quick transitions to the 9mm pistol. With one local agency that meant getting rid of their Smith & Wesson Model 64 stainless steel revolvers. These revolvers, in .38 Special sporting a 4-inch barrel, were being surplused onto the market through various dealers. I happened to have been lucky enough to purchase one of them and have enjoyed it for about twenty years now. In this week's review, we're going to take a look at the revolver as a field gun while hunting, camping, etc., and specifically the S&W 64 as it still performs two decades after being phased out of police use.
When purchasing firearms, I think used guns are often good options (however, ask the “new or used” question on any gun related forum and you’re sure to start an argument). So when my friend Tara decided she wanted a revolver for her growing collection, it was off to the Small Arms Review (SAR) show to see what we could find. The goal was to find the best deal we could on a 4” magnum or SPL in stainless with a budget of $350.
If you were born before 1990, chances are that you remember seeing police officers wearing a holstered revolver. If you were born before 1975 and served as a police officer, it is highly likely that it was your first handgun out of the academy. For nearly 100 years the .38 Special was the “go-to” cartridge for law enforcement officers.