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  #1  
Old 12-01-2012, 08:57 PM
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Default U.S. Air Force S&W Model 10

So...I could sure use some help from all you experts.

I've seen a local advertisement for a S&W Model 10 revolver that the seller states was issued "by the Air Force to a pilot in 1974". Unfortunately, the seller does not offer any photos with his advertisement. I've sent an email to the seller requesting photos and additional information such as markings identifying it as USAF issue, barrel length, etc.

If I follow up on this ad and either get photos or actually see the firearm, what should I be looking for to ensure that it is actually USAF issue? For the price the seller is asking, I'm sure I could make some resale profit, if not add it to my collection.

Thanks in advance...
Rogue
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue12153 View Post
So...I could sure use some help from all you experts.

I've seen a local advertisement for a S&W Model 10 revolver that the seller states was issued "by the Air Force to a pilot in 1974". Unfortunately, the seller does not offer any photos with his advertisement. I've sent an email to the seller requesting photos and additional information such as markings identifying it as USAF issue, barrel length, etc.

If I follow up on this ad and either get photos or actually see the firearm, what should I be looking for to ensure that it is actually USAF issue? For the price the seller is asking, I'm sure I could make some resale profit, if not add it to my collection.

Thanks in advance...
Rogue
So, someone is offering to sell US government property on the internet?
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by shawn mccarver View Post
So, someone is offering to sell US government property on the internet?
Unless the serial number of the gun the OP is referring to is listed in NCIC as stolen property, I would not worry about it. Many US military pistols and rifles have been sold as surplus over the years and are in civilian hands. There are a few on this forum that have posted photos of their USAF marked S&W Mod 15's as well as other guns. The OP can contact his local law enforcement agency and have them run the serial number, which would not be a bad idea..
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:49 PM
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Not that I am an expert, but I think the K-frame .38s issued to AF pilots had adjustable sights, in which case they would be Model 15s in 1974. The Model 10 was the traditional fixed sight gun.

If you get photos and a serial number, please report back with what you have learned. It will be interesting to know barrel length.

Fakes are known, so be careful.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:00 PM
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The only way to be sure is to have a factory historical letter stating it shipped to the US military.

Firearm History Request - Smith & Wesson

There have been both Army and USMC model 10s verified, but as David stated the USAF generally used model 15s. Usually this will have a property stamp of some kind, but these are easy to duplicate.

It's a gamble, spend the money for the gun and the letter and take your chances...please let us know what happens.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:13 PM
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Thanks guys, I'll let you know how this comes out. As of this point, I haven't received a response to my email to the seller...hope this isn't indicative of the sale offer.

Rogue
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:43 PM
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During the Cuban Missile Crisis I was issued a Victory Model S&W. I don't believe there were enough Model 15's to go around or the transition from the 1911 as issue was not yet complete. It has been so long I don't recall.

Hope this helps.

Bill
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:06 PM
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Well, it was exciting for a short time. The ad I'd seen for a supposedly Air Force model 10 has disappeared from Armslist, where'd I'd seen it. Too bad, I would have really liked this to have been an actual collectors firearm.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:33 AM
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I carried one from 84 till 89 when I changed career fields and they started issuing 92s. Does the AF still retain any of those or did they dispose of them, or were they destroyed? .....if anyone knows, I'm just curious......
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:25 PM
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I used a model 15 to qualify in 1995. I believe they are either in storage at present, or they were quietly turned into tiny pieces under the radar.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10-12 View Post
During the Cuban Missile Crisis I was issued a Victory Model S&W. I don't believe there were enough Model 15's to go around or the transition from the 1911 as issue was not yet complete. It has been so long I don't recall.

Hope this helps.

Bill

Bill-

Your memory is probably correct. I was in the AF then and usually carried a Victory Model unless I opted for a .45 auto. I remember being asked to volunteer to invade Cuba, and accepted. But nothing came of it, as the Soviets backed off. Thank God!

The Model 15 was then in short supply, with most available going to SAC and to units in Vietnam.

I graduated Air Police School in 1963, and when I got out in 1967, supply of Model 15's still wasn't universal. Some pilots headed for Vietnam were told to bring their own sidearms. Now, they aren't even allowed to do that!

I've read that M-15's are still used by the dog trainers. About everyone else with a pistol probably has the Beretta 9mm. OSI agents probably have SIG P-228's, adopted as the M-11. Some air units bought Glock 19's from unit funds.

US Navy and maybe USMC aircrew have some M-11's, but one Navy pilot recently told my son that he was issued a Beretta for two of his last three deployments.

Army CID also has the P-228, supposedly. Anyone here know?

Last edited by Texas Star; 12-05-2012 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wyatt View Post
Unless the serial number of the gun the OP is referring to is listed in NCIC as stolen property, I would not worry about it. Many US military pistols and rifles have been sold as surplus over the years and are in civilian hands. There are a few on this forum that have posted photos of their USAF marked S&W Mod 15's as well as other guns. The OP can contact his local law enforcement agency and have them run the serial number, which would not be a bad idea..
Just so everyone knows, I probably should have added a smiley face after my post. I was advise caution to the OP concerning the claims about this revolver. It may or may not be Air Force, and if so, it may or may not have been lawfully released as surplus. Also, the Air Force is known for their Combat Masterpiece revolvers, not for Model 10s, making it something that you would want to check out thoroughly before paying a premium. If the price is just as a shooter, then as long as it is not stolen, then who cares.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
Bill-

Your memory is probably correct. I was in the AF then and usually carried a Victory Model unless I opted for a .45 auto. I remember being asked to volunteer to invade Cuba, and accepted. But nothing came of it, as the Soviets backed off. Thank God!

The Model 15 was then in short supply, with most available going to SAC and to units in Vietnam.

I graduated Air Police School in 1963, and when I got out in 1967, supply of Model 15's still wasn't universal. Some pilots headed for Vietnam were told to bring their own sidearms. Now, they aren't even allowed to do that!

I've read that M-15's are still used by the dog trainers. About everyone else with a pistol probably has the Beretta 9mm. OSI agents probably have SIG P-228's, adopted as the M-11. Some air units bought Glock 19's from unit funds.

US Navy and maybe USMC aircrew have some M-11's, but one Navy pilot recently told my son that he was issued a Beretta for two of his last three deployments.

Army CID also has the P-228, supposedly. Anyone here know?
CID carries 228s now, not sure when they started. I was OSI from 89-94 (military) and 94-99 (civilian). In the late 80's OSI carried cut down customized .45s (that's a whole story in it's self), they were just switching over to 92s in 89 when I started. We carried 92s for just a few years then switched over to 228s pretty quickly. They either carry 228s now or 229s.......I think most Federal LE that carried 228s have now moved to 229s, either in 9mm or 40S&W.....I think SIG stopped making 228s.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:37 AM
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Lots of USAF Model 15s were sold off surplus just a few years ago, at $200ish.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:59 AM
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When I served in security police 74-95 mostly in SAC I saw some missile crews with model 10s not many though. I only qualified with two handguns, model 15 and beretta 92. Always liked the 15 best. Wish I had one now. Oh and just to add the model 10 was a 2 in.
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:01 AM
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I don't know about the Model 10 being used by the AF during Viet Nam. What I do know is that during my two tours, the Model 15 was definitely not in short supply, but then I didn't go over for my first tour until 1970. My issue revolver was a Model 15 and I knew lots of guys that were carrying them - from pilots to the SP to ammo troops. We also were allowed to use personal weapons on the air crews and some guys I knew did. I was happy with the Model 15, so I did not.
SCSW mentions 133,000 Model 10s that were purchased by the military over a period of 12 years, but it says nothing about which 12 year span this was. Nor does it say which branches received them. I do remember something about Warner Robbins AFB having some, but I don't know where I saw that reference.
I don't know if this helps, but I offer it as information for the mix.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:07 AM
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My brother was a door gunner in 66-67 near Plekiu. They were issued M10s and shoulder holsters. He "found" a Browning Hi Power, and also a 45 cal Grease Gun, besides the bungi hung M60, and at one point during an extract, used all of them when the M60 failed, and thought it was going south for the ship. No one complained as long as he was firing.
He recently bought a 1911A and that is his first purchase since 1968 return from RVN.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:19 PM
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I was a USAF pilot in Vietnam & Thailand 1969 - 71. We were issued the Combat Masterpiece with "U.S.A.F." on the frame, below the cylinder window.
The Blue Book of Gun Values, 2011, says they bring a 300 PERCENT premium over standard value. So apparently some have been released to the public. I have photos.
-Harkrader

Last edited by Harkrader; 01-19-2013 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:11 PM
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A friend of mine was an Air Force maintenance officer in Vietnam in 70-71. He was issued a Model 10.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:36 PM
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Default S&W 15-2 USAF

Here are pix of my 15-2 USAF-marked revolver. I got a factory letter and verified every screw and part of it. The serial number is K66XXXX. Roy Jinks said the "USAF" adds 300% to its value.
It has some holster wear and a number of minor dings and nicks, all tantalizing hints at what it did.
I have been told there are fakes around, so either check it out by serial number first, or be sure to get an iron-clad return gaurantee.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:54 PM
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Texas Star:
Your comments reflect my experience. I was in Vietnam '69 - '70 and '70 - '71. We were issued the "USAF" marked 15s. I didn't know until I got there that we could have brought our own guns. Very few did, that I knew, and all were S&W .357 Magnums of one sort or another. Like some others, I got a .45 Government Model from an Army troop.
Our oldest son didn't listen to his father and took his expen$ive 5-yr degree in engineering and became a tactical USAF pilot, joining in July, 2001. Four deployments later . . .
As you said, he was forbidden to take his own gun. He said the Berettas they were issued were pretty worn, and most pilots couldn't hit their asses with both hands, or even handle them safely. My, how things have changed.

Last edited by Harkrader; 02-25-2013 at 09:54 PM. Reason: fumble fingers
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:06 AM
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Texas Star:
Your comments reflect my experience. I was in Vietnam '69 - '70 and '70 - '71. We were issued the "USAF" marked 15s. I didn't know until I got there that we could have brought our own guns. Very few did, that I knew, and all were S&W .357 Magnums of one sort or another. Like some others, I got a .45 Government Model from an Army troop.
Our oldest son didn't listen to his father and took his expen$ive 5-yr degree in engineering and became a tactical USAF pilot, joining in July, 2001. Four deployments later . . .
As you said, he was forbidden to take his own gun. He said the Berettas they were issued were pretty worn, and most pilots couldn't hit their asses with both hands, or even handle them safely. My, how things have changed.


I think a lot of pilots are elitists/techies who don't like to think about having to fight with handgun or knife, if shot down. Yes, they should evade, but they might NEED to kill someone or procure food with a pistol.

When Capt. Scott O'Grady's F-16 was shot down over Bosnia some years ago, he found that his M-9 rusted some during his evasion, which often involved some wet conditions. His survival knife also rusted, and he was glad that his Swiss Army knife didn't. He seems to be pretty small arms-savvy and has been an NRA Director. His book, "Return With Honor" is well worth finding.

I think, too, that many pilots are victims of our current indoctrination of the public against guns. And they receive little training with them.

I believe that O'Grady's Swiss Army knife was his own. But I think that all aircrew should be issued one and shown how to use knives effectively, not only for combat (including sentry removal) but for general survival utility. I agree with O'Grady about the issue survival knife, and if allowed to buy my own as a pilot, would select either the Randall Model 5 or the Fallkniven S-1, both with five-inch blades. The latter with optional black blade has been authorized for unit purchases. It has a National Stock Number.

You probably know about the USAF cop who killed an AK-47-wielding gunman at Fairchild AFB, WA some years ago. Drilled him dead at about 80 yards with one shot. Some airmen can shoot!

Last edited by Texas Star; 02-26-2013 at 01:12 AM.
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