I was going to do a long blog about the S&W Model 15 Combat Masterpiece, but I found several other bloggers have “been there and done that” and they did it very well, so I’ll just paste some links and keep my remarks brief.
The revolver in the photo is a 1971 vintage S&W Model 15-3, with the typical 4’’ barrel and .38 Special chambering. It is an old “cop gun”; one of many revolvers that some law enforcement agencies chose to trade in during their upgrade to semi-automatic pistols (many agencies chose to have their retired revolvers destroyed). Some agencies marked their service revolvers and some did not. This revolver has no identifying department markings so I have no idea where it served. It has some extraordinary holster wear, especially on the side-plate where it looks like a retention strap’s metal snap dragged every time the officer removed the revolver from its holster. Some of the gun’s bluing still has luster, but large areas along the barrel and trigger guard have been worn down to shiny metal. The grips show wear and are somewhat dry, but are still sound. The action of the gun was tight when I bought it, but some cylinder end-shake has developed because of my putting many +P rounds through it. I may send it in to have the end-shake and cylinder gap corrected, but I think I will leave the gun’s imperfect finish as it is, a testament to its years as a tool of law enforcement. For the $180 I paid for it, it was quite a bargain. I do not see too many of these old trade-ins on the gun store shelves anymore. My guess is that the days of readily finding one for less than $200 are gone. If you can find one for a decent price, they make great shooters and the .38 Special is a very adequate home defense / self-defense cartridge.
Click here to read Xavier’s range comparison of the S&W Model 15-3 Combat Masterpiece versus a Colt Diamondback.
Click here for Xavier’s explanation of what exactly makes The Combat Masterpiece a masterpiece.
EDIT 2/7/2011: CLICK HERE to visit the Fishing Musician and read about the stainless steel version of the Combat Masterpiece, the S&W Model 67