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Old 07-14-2018, 02:26 AM
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model3sw model3sw is offline
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Arrow early pre-39 with prototype upper

I've followed this one since the mid 1990s, purchasing it from a long time member of the S&WCA who had purchased it from another long time member of the S&WCA, all here in Florida. 1st purchase by a known member in mid 1990s in Lakeland, Florida (as the purchaser / seller best recalls).

I knew, when I first saw it, it was "special" and not like the standard production 9mms. It did not have the commercially released "production" slide with the wide extractor that everyone dogs on (said or rumored to break easily) but something different that I had seen before ... somewhere.

With the help of the members that first acquired it and 2 other, tenured 39 collector / members it is known that all available commercially released specimens pre-39s SNs: 1001 to 1020 shipped with the standard commercial upper (slide and extractor). Also, all of the SN range 1001 to 1020 were either gifts and / or military shipments, with 1020 being listed in Kevin Williams' GO Pistol book shipped to USAF.

It also seems all subsequent pre-39s that can be located, SNs starting with 1022 to 1093, (of those that could be located and/or documented) also shipped with the standard commercial upper (slide and extractor). I own 1093 and have seen 1054. I also have reliable data on 1027 (IIRC) from another member .. all shipped with the commercial production slide assembly (with long extractor)

SN: 1021 has the identical upper (slide and extractor) documented on at least 2 other known, prototype (or experimental), pre-production 9mms.

This shipped to Jesse Harpe Co. a large S&W distributor, in Tampa, Florida, in early 1955. Jesse Harpe, himself, was a serious semi-automatic handgun aficionado. So, from 1955, where it was shipped to Tampa, and where it surfaced, 40 years later, it traveled less than 40 miles. Pretty neat, eh ?

I am only speculating that Jesse Harpe, being such a semi-automatic handgun-guy, probably took an earlly interest in the S&W 9mm project which was S&W's first venture back into semi-automatic pistols in approximately 30 years, since the failed .35 auto of 1913 and subsequent .32 auto, which also failed just by association. It appears that 1021 may be "the" first or (at minimum) "one of the first" shipped to the commercial market.

For you guys that did not known, S&W "borrowed" heavily from the German P-38 taking (almost verbatim) the Walther's safety and magazine. Also, S&W R&D chose to incorporated the slide type like the Colt 1911, with the floating barrel instead of the fixed barrel like the P-38, in the early stages of development. Remember, after WWII, captured German technology was royalty free, typical of S&W. It could be stated the M39 S&W appears as though a hybrid of both the P-38 and the 1911 Colt, in 9mm.

It is only my opinion that S&W intentionally designed it NOT to look like the P-38, as captured P-38s were then (and are now) all over the place, many still being traded at very reasonable prices but post WWII they were dirt cheap. Post WWII the P-38s could be found at bargain prices from most large wholesalers so why would someone buy a S&W if it looked exactly like the P-38? BTW, the P-38 is one heck of a great pistol. Actually, it could be said that the solid barrel configuration of the P-38 makes for a more reliable, stable and accurate shot.

Then later on for the model 59, added some of the Browning Hi-Power features for the wide body and magazine.

Enjoy. R.S. "Sal" Raimondi, Sr. a/k/a MODEL3SW
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early pre-39 with prototype upper-p7030081-jpg   early pre-39 with prototype upper-p7030082-jpg   early pre-39 with prototype upper-p7030084-jpg   early pre-39 with prototype upper-p7030095-jpg   early pre-39 with prototype upper-p7030098-jpg  

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Last edited by model3sw; 07-15-2018 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:08 AM
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model3sw model3sw is offline
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early pre-39 with prototype upper early pre-39 with prototype upper early pre-39 with prototype upper early pre-39 with prototype upper early pre-39 with prototype upper  
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Arrow Photos and article on Jesse Harpe (thank you Kevin)

This is some data on Jesse Harpe, courteously supplied to me by collector, author and member, Kevin Williams. Thank you, Kevin.
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early pre-39 with prototype upper-harpe-jpg   early pre-39 with prototype upper-colt_harpe_05a-jpg   early pre-39 with prototype upper-harpe-pdf  
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:46 AM
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Truly funky.

Later
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