Marketing Strategies

The new, innovative handgun found an immediate market in urban
areas in the Northeast, in the West (during the gold rush) and in the
middle west (over issues of slavery). Its power was limited, but it was
lethal at short range, making it a good “hideout weapon.” The later
(but similar) Model 2 was favored during the Civil War by soldiers
because of their compact build. It was this Model 2 that was also used
in the Old West.[1]

Here, the Smith & Wesson seven shooter is advertised as
having the advantages of being “the lightest Revolver in the world”
while it still “shoots with as much force as any other arm.”  It is also
recognized for its “certainty of fire in damp weather,” “convenience and
safety” in which the ammunition could be carried and the “facility with
which it may be changed (it requiring no ramrod, powder-flask, or
percussion-caps.”[2] Once again, it was only when “repeating firearms
evolved in the nineteenth century, the modern “fixed” cartridge came
into use, with powder contained in a brass case with the projectile held
by friction at one end and the ignition system mounted at the other.”[3]

(Also see: Origins of the Revolver)



This image emphasizes the fact that, not only does it shoot accurately,
but it “can be left loaded any length of time without injury, is not liable
to get out of order, is safe to carry.” This meant that there was, firstly,
a way to carry it to ensure that it did not spontaneously fire. Also, the
bullets would not corrode any of the metal or harm the weapon, as
previous materials would have done were the firearm to be left loaded
for any period of time.



[1] Boorman, Dean K. “The Cartridge Revolver Through the Civil War.” The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms. Connecticut: Salamander Books, 2002. 20-24
[2] Jinks, Roy G. History of Smith & Wesson: No Thing of Importance Will Come Without Effort. California: Beinfeld Publishing Inc, 1977
Hardy, David T. “Ammunition, Types of.” In Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture and the Law, edited by Gregg Lee Carter.   2003.

First image: image from Jinks, Roy G. and Neal, Robert J. Smith & Wesson: 1857-1945. New Jersey: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1966 page 26
Second image:
Jinks, Roy G. and Krein, Sandra C. Images of America: Smith & Wesson. Illinois: Arcadia Publishing, 2006. 20.