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Smith & Wesson Model 52

S&W M52-2 with bbl weight
Type Semi-automatic Pistol
Place of origin  United States
Weight 40 oz.
Length 8.55” (192 mm)
Barrel length 5” (102 mm)

Cartridge .38 Special
Action Short recoil, SA
Rate of fire Semi-automatic
Feed system 5-round single column, detachable box magazine

The Smith and Wesson Model 52 was a semi-automatic pistol developed by Smith & Wesson for Bullseye shooting. It was one of the first semiautomatic pistols chambered in .38 Special with flush-seated, full wadcutter bullets. The shape of the rimmed cartridge limited the magazine capacity to five rounds. A variant, known as the Model 952, in 9 mm Parabellum, is still produced in limited quantities by Smith & Wesson's Performance Center. The Model 52 was discontinued in 1992 when the machinery to manufacture the pistol broke down and it was deemed too costly to replace.[1]


The Smith and Wesson Model 52 was introduced in 1961 as a match weapon derived from the Smith and Wesson Model 39. The first version known simply as the Model 52 retained the basic trigger mechanism of the Model 39, with the Double-Action function selectable via a simple frame-mounted setscrew, allowing the pistol to be fired in either Single action or Double-Action mode depending on the setscrew's adjustment. In 1963 the Model 52-1 was introduced with a separately developed single-action trigger system and was manufactured until 1970, when it was succeeded by the Model 52-2. Changes to the 52-2 included an improved extractor. In 1992, the 30 year-old machinery used to make the Model 52 broke down and Smith & Wesson decided against replacing it, so the gun was discontinued. The last model 52-2 bore serial number “TZW9149” and was completed on July 23, 1993 and delivered to the S&W gun vault.[2][3]


  1. Jinks, Roy G.; Krein, Sandra C. (2006). Smith & Wesson (MA) (Images of America). Boston: Arcadia Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-7385-4510-3. 
  2. Supica, Jim; Richard Nahas (2007). Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson (3 ed.). F+W Media, Inc. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-89689-293-4. 
  3. Hartink, A.E. (2002). The Complete Encyclopedia of Pistols and Revolvers. Edison, New Jersey: Chartwell Books, Inc. pp. 278–279. ISBN 978-0-7858-1519-8. 

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