35 Responses to Gun Preview: Smith & Wesson Model 10-6

  1. There are lots of fancier, sexier, higher-style guns out there. But when I had one of these it would reliably go “Bang!” every time I pulled the trigger, and a hole would appear where it was pointed. That’s really everything it needed to do.

    • Well, sort of. The XX-X designation used by S&W is a model iteration identification. Every change to the number after the dash corresponds to a change in the gun, some more obvious than others. The Model 10 was originally a police and military issue firearm. The thin barrel and fixed sights were designed for low cost manufacturing and ease of carry. When the 10-6 came out, the .38 spl had been replaced as the gun of choice for police and so the gun with upgraded with a heavier barrel and target style (instead of the half-moon blade) front sight for more civilian target shooting.

      In the end, the 10-6 is the best .38 revolver made. It shares a frame with the Model 66. Although it is not a .357, it can handle any factory loaded .38 +P+ including the old Winchester 110 grain “treasury load” and Federal 147 LE Hydra-Shock.

  2. I love those old S&W’s. I have a Model 13 (the .357 Mag version) and it is great. They are quite often found cheaply on the 2ndary market. Every now and then some surplus pops up.

  3. How about making a revolver for lefties S&W? We make a giant chunk of the shooting population. Would love to get a 586 but id rather not switch hands and re-adjust my hold every time I reload.

  4. I have the 10-5 which uses the slimmer profile barrel. The only time this would not be my first choice in a sidearm is if I was an active duty soldier headed to a hot spot or a cop in heavily gang infested areas. If I was a small town cop, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it as a duty weapon.

    A k frame smith and a 12 bore shotgun will see a citizen thru most any emergency requiring firearms. Add a decent rifle to the package and you have a 3 gun setup that will see you thru most anything.

  5. A certain old(ish) Afrikaaner used to say of revolvers: “They’re forks. Pick em up and they work.” Surprised he hasn’t tripped over this site, yet. Though he could be lurking…

  6. The double-action .38 was the Glock of its day. Excellent choice for home defense for neophytes. Hell, it’s a great choice for anybody. It doesn’t get any more bread & butter.

    Gotta love mature technology.

  7. 38 special..meh! Buy a 38 cause its historical/classic?, double meh!

    Just buy a .22 mag revolver, 1/3 the price and similar knock down power, more fps and less recoil.

    • It is much better to get a gun that can shoot 38/38+p/reduced357/regular357/hot and heavy 357 for dangerous game. A great price is what really appeals to people getting the model 10 over those guns that shoot 38 and 357.

      • I demand 10-14″ of penetration through a torso wearing heavy clothing and desire reliable expansion. Any excess energy (measured in foot pounds) can go into increasing the temporary cavity (hopefully, near a nerve center) which can cause temporary incapacitation (which is why the 357 was such an excellent “man stopper” when used by the cops). You can use your 22short and pretend your James Bond and shoot for the eyes. Me, I like science and logic.
        In any case, why not have the ability to fire multiple cartridges and power levels? I hear Black Bears don’t like 357.

        • There’s nothing at all wrong with owning a .357. I have done it a time or two in the past. If I lived in bear country I would look into another one. But in a self defense scenario with a handgun placement trumps power.

          I don’t know from science but I’ve shot a lot of things. Some of which were living before I pulled the trigger. A .44, .45, .357, .38 are equally useless with a miss or badly placed bullet. If the bullet is placed properly they’re equally effective.

          As for penetration, one of the main complaints with the old police standard .38 load(158 grain round nose lead bullet at about 750 fps) was that it often shoot completely thru the person. Admin types became worried about hitting bystanders. (Obviously they weren’t admin types from NYC)

        • I got my old man one of those Aussie police trade-in Model 10s for his home defense gun and boy has it got a sweet trigger.

          However, I’ve betrayed the wheelgun crowd. I recently switched my home defense handgun from a 686 to a Browning Hi Power.

          I shoot the Hi Power exceptionally well and it’s got 15+1 rounds of 9mm.

        • Jwm, I would only say that one should try to shoot the weapon with the most energy that they can handle effectively (which can be an area of discussion as to what constitutes effectiveness). No one can argue that you really don’t want to miss the target. I think the big three calibers (9/40/45) in semi, and a wheel gun that can shoot both 38/357 are the rounds packed by most for defensive purposes.
          I am saying that you would probably choose a 22magnum over a 22lr or 22short because more energy to work with (as long as you can effectively handle it) is a useful thing.

        • No problem with what your saying Pat. It’s been my experience that a large number of people buy a gun for protection that aren’t really gun people. For them the built in accuracy and mild recoil of the .38 is a big plus.

          My real concerns with using a .22lr or mag, I have both, for a defense weapon isn’t power levels. It’s the rimfire. More chances of a misfire.

        • A 38 for a great price is a good thing, for sure. If presented with the option of getting a similar sized 357 that can shoot 38 in the same price sphere, I would take that option. I have a Ruger SP101 with 3″brl. that can be stuck in jacket or pants (for limited time, as it aint light) that is a great “everything” gun (if I only had one gun, this would be it). You can shoot 38, then work your way up, if desired (38+, reduced power 357, regular 357, hot 357, hard cast heavies for Bear). 22 has its place for many things (I own a Buckmark). Really, if you have any interest in firearms at all, you will end up owning a lot of different stuff.

    • I like the .22 mag cartridge, but the DA trigger pull on a wheel gun is usually significantly heavier than a .38/.357.

  8. The 3-inch, heavy bbl, round butt is the most elegant revolver made. I have a Model 64. Beautiful, more accurate than I am, and I don’t care it only holds 6 as long as I have fewer than six attackers.
    The round butt also solves the grip problem for people with raccoon-size hands, like me.

  9. Though I have never owned a Smith and Wesson Model 10 (K-Frame) .38 Special Military and Police
    Revolver ,I own three K-Frame variants of this classic historical and venerable handgun. They include:
    an S&W Model 15 .38 Special Combat Masterpiece, Model 19 .357 Combat Magnum, and the Model
    19’s stainless version: the Model 66. All three revolvers have 4″ barrels (pinned), while the two .357’s
    have countersrunk chambers; this was standard on pre-1982 Smith and Wessons. I laud the classic
    Smith and Wesson K-Frame .38’s and .357’s so highly I even posted three online comments at the
    NRA’s American Rifleman: “I Have This Old Gun: Smith and Wesson Model 10.” Too, I even own John
    Henwood’s 1997 book titled, “America’s Right Arm: Smith and Wesson Military and Police Revolver.”
    There are two ways an S&W Model 10 can be improved for today. By replacing the skimpy S&W factory
    Magna grips with a pair of Pachmayr or Uncle Mikes combat rubber grips, and also by loading revolver
    with modern .38 Special ammo: Winchester Silvertip Hollowpoint, Remington Golden Saber, Hornaday’s
    XTP, and Federal’s Hydra-Shok in their +P loadings of 125 and 129 grain (Hydra-Shok), respectively.
    Too, the .38 Special target wadcutter for hunting small game: rabbit and squirrel, dispatching vermin:
    raccoon, skunk, possum, etc, butchering livestock, and likewise CCI’s classic .38 Special shot or
    “snake load” containing No. 9 shot for killing rattlesnakes up close with a headshot. Conclusion: I
    wouldn’t feel the least undergunned while armed with a Smith and Wesson Model 10.

    • I would bet that if some of the newer 8 shot 38/357 revolvers were around in the early 80’s (with the more effective rounds AND whose cylinders were cut for full moon clips), the wondernine semi revolution (flocks of Glocks) would have been delayed by a decade or more.

  10. I’ve got an old Model 10 that was originally owned by a police officer. The blueing is probably only about 70% at best and there are plenty of scratches from duty use, but it’s a wonderful wheel gun. Incredibly smooth trigger pull and once you’re used to the miniscule sights, it’s accurate enough to shoot the nuts off a gnat. It’s a rare trip to the range that I don’t bring it with.

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