S&W model 10


September 18, 2008, 05:00 PM
I need information on the model 10. How does it shoot? How reliable is it? What's the trigger like? It shoots .38 spcl, right?

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September 18, 2008, 05:06 PM
I own a old school model 10 police special that was made sometime in the 1970's i'd think. However its one of the most accurate handguns I own.

It's a 38 special revolver thats DA/SA. DA trigger pull seems heavy, however smooth.. in SA mine feels almost like a hair trigger. I shoot 2" groups at 25 yards normally in SA with it.

Using WWB 125g FMJ I can nail milk jugs 80% of the time at 100 yards or so. VERY good shooting revolver. I use it also as my nightstand gun.

September 18, 2008, 05:09 PM
The S&W model 10 is a true classic. I particularly like the 4" heavy barrel version. A lot of these were standard issue for PD Depts before most of them started going to .357 mags.

September 18, 2008, 05:12 PM
Best 38 revolver ever made, been in production for a very very looong time. I have a 10-8, greatest wheelgun I ever owned, wicked accurate and reliable as the day is long.


September 18, 2008, 05:27 PM
Mine's an early 60's gun. Belonged to my grandpa and little fired until I got it. It cracked a forcing cone. Best to be sure you have all the lead out of that area when brushing the bore and clean often. It's a K frame weak point. I don't much care for the flat spring, either, but it's a good shootin' old gun. The Trigger is okay, but not something to do back flips over. I never had it worked on. They can be really slicked up, but it's not really a shade tree gunsmith type of job. It is the classic of classics .38 special DA service revolver, though. Mine is quite accurate, about 1.5" at 25 yards from a rest. Some amazing PPC competition guns have been built on M10s. I've thought of doing that, but don't wanna mess up Grandpa's old gun that much. Besides, all that work ain't cheap and I don't shoot PPC.

I don't get so carried away over the M10. Yeah, it's a good revolver, but there have been better. And, then, there's all those .357s that can fire .38 out there. Frankly, my M66 Taurus 4" is a bit more accurate and has a better trigger. I usually shoot that for local competitions. The S&W guys hate it when I whip 'em. :D I won't sell the 10, though. It'll be around here as long as I am and my heirs will inherit it.

I agree with Coug, the 4" heavy barrel version balances best for me. I had a pencil barrel on mine, but when the forcing cone cracked, I had a heavy barrel installed.

September 18, 2008, 05:31 PM
I have one with the "thin" barrel.

Truly a classic that's fun to shoot.

September 18, 2008, 05:45 PM
There literally over a million of 'em out there, both the Model 10 and its pre-model-number version, the Military and Police (M&P). I bring this up to say that, wth that many out there, over that long a period of time, you may find the very finest revolver or one that's ready to be used as a trot-line weight. The have a fine reputation overall, and are GENERALLY accurate and GENERALLY have good trigger pulls. You mileage may vary.

September 18, 2008, 05:50 PM
The one my dad handed down to me is WAY more accurate than I am. That said, I could hit anything I pointed it at back when I was in better shape. It is still the best shooting gun with the best trigger I own.


September 18, 2008, 06:06 PM
It was probably stupid on my part to not say what I wanted it for. I may not be able to afford a $400-$500 carry gun gun, or even a $250 carry gun, and I was researching my options. I started this thread
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=390975 and someone mentioned a S&W model 10. I've ruled out the nagant revolver, and maybe ruled out the hi-point when someone suggested a makarov.

By the way, how would a model 10 stack up to a makarov for this purpose?

I will have a .22 to practice with, so ammo cost isn't too big of a concern.(Will have to reliability test though.)

September 18, 2008, 08:58 PM
First place, you're going to have to search long and hard for a 10 in any decent condition for 250 bucks. They're going up quick and have always been high down here. Me, I'd go with a Makarov. My son-in-law has one and I'm sorta impressed with it. Trigger ain't bad and the thing is amazingly accurate. Sights sorta suck, but it's a lot more carry friendly than a M10. Well, if you could find a 2" M10 round butt, you'd have a more carry friendly revolver, but they're even higher down here. The Mak is a little big for pocket carry, but it's really flat and light and disappears in an IWB and a spare mag is a lot easier to carry than speed loaders and faster in use. I like .38 special better than 9mm mak, though. It's the trade offs that you'll have to decide for yourself. If you do find a M10 in good shape cheap, you'd better not hesitate or one of these vultures around here will pounce on it before you can get your wallet out. LOL

I have a M66 Taurus 3" I carry sometimes. You'd be surprised how much a lousy inch of barrel can make a difference in carry comfort. Still a bigger,heavier gun than a Mak to tote all day, though. My favorite carry is a 9x19 Kel Tec P11, 100 percent reliable, very accurate, and pocket friendly in a caliber superior to .38 special from a snub and packin' 13 rounds of 'em in a pocket friendly gun. I gave $263 for it 12 years ago. They can be had for that now. It's got a trigger you have to get used to, but I like it better than most revolvers, a little longer, but a lot smoother. The KT's get bashed about as much as Taurus, but I'm here to tell you they're both fine guns, at least mine are.

September 18, 2008, 09:04 PM
I said it in a previous post, just picked up a 10-6 with about 95% original finish, later 60's gun, serial number range in the c904xxx range. Timing is perfect. Just put it on hold until my paperwork clears for 215 out the door. The day after that the local store by me had a 10-5 that had obviously been sitting in a drawer but was mechanically sound and would have cleaned up real nice for 200. They are out there, ya just have to find em.

September 18, 2008, 10:19 PM
A co-worker sold me two for $100 each, had no idea what he had. Gone now, but the deals can be had.
A good solid 38 beats a lot of other options, and I would never feel outgunned with just my Model 10.
Whether with bootgrips and a nice shoulder rig,


Or regular Pachmeyers and a Master Leather belt holster.


September 19, 2008, 09:50 AM
Might not be under-gunned with a 10, but you're better gunned with a 13, and they're the same size. :D When I tote a revolver that big and heavy, it's generally in .357 magnum. The little SP101 is a little heavy, but melts away in a good IWB. You notice a K frame all day, constantly hitchin' up your pants, real pain especially if you have a bit of a dunlop going around the middle. LOL Carry is more than just about your favorite gun. Same answer for the 1911 lovers. Suit yourself, though. It is YOU that must be happy with your choice. Just try to avoid the koolaid when making that decision. Try a few of the guns if you have a chance. Find a friend with one of each or see if you can find a range with rentals.

September 19, 2008, 10:05 AM
In your price range, I think you've identified the two best options. I have both (several of both, actually), and you can't go wrong. Ammo for the M10 is a bit more powerful, more widely available, and much more diverse in bullet weight, pressure, etc. You can even carry shot loads for serpents. (they also work on bothersome carpenter bees; don't ask me how I know). If you're, patient, hold out for the 10, if time is not on your side buy whichever of the two you have selected shows up first. Maks are available in both 9x18 Makarov and .380ACP, if you didn't already know. Doesn't really matter which you choose, imho, altho' on paper, the 9Mak is a bit more powerful. My carry load for the 9Mak is the CCI Blazer Gold Dot. For .38Spl, I generally use the "FBI Load", 158gr LSWCHP +P.

September 19, 2008, 12:07 PM

Of all the revolvers available to me in their different chamberings, this is the one I chose and the only revolver I currently own.

September 19, 2008, 12:40 PM

Of all the revolvers available to me in their different chamberings, this is the one I chose and the only revolver I currently own.


Pic with the Tyler T-grips installed, the best and most effective accessory available for this revolver.

keyboard commando
September 19, 2008, 12:50 PM
amprecon, that is lovely. What vintage or dash number? Those are some very good looking stocks too.:D

September 19, 2008, 12:51 PM

Since you are thinking of one for a carry gun one thing I'd suggest is to drop by your local gunatorium or a gun show and pick one up and look them over. By doing this you'll be able to get a better idea of the size and weight of the guns (Mak and the M10) and of others as well. Also look at the price ranges available.

You may also want to take a look at the Bersa Thunderer in .380 acp. These are low priced yet reliable guns. The .380 is a bit less powerful than the Makarov but the types of ammo available for it are more varied. The Bersa gun is about the size of the Mak but is alloy framed and lighter.

The M10 has been in continuous production for about 100 years now (before they were the M10 they were called the Military and Police, or M&P) generally they are reliable and accurate.


September 19, 2008, 01:12 PM
It's a 10-5, someone in the know said it was a '64 model. Found it at Brighton Arms in Brighton, TN for about $300.

September 19, 2008, 01:14 PM
Everyone else has pretty much covered the merits of the Model 10.

The only thing I will add is that in a snub nose the Model 10 is pretty much the defining look IMO. When I think "classic snub nose" I think Model 10.

Here's a project I did earlier this year, it now has some nicer factory grips. I think I have $250 in the base gun so they are still out there if you look around.


September 19, 2008, 01:14 PM
I really like my 4" 10-6 HB. I almost bought another off this forum, even though I did not need it. Great guns. :)

I have a 6" 10-5 Pencil Barrel (http://thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=83335&d=1219196511), but I don't shoot it.

September 19, 2008, 01:15 PM
double tap..

September 19, 2008, 01:37 PM


The Bushmaster
September 19, 2008, 03:12 PM
I own three Mod 10's and would not hesitate to buy another in a heart beat...

September 19, 2008, 03:34 PM
I carried one for over 20 years while working for a Sheriff's Office. One of the best guns I ever owned. Accurate, dependable, easy to carry. A work horse with a history to back it up.

September 19, 2008, 04:12 PM
The only thing I will add is that in a snub nose the Model 10 is pretty much the defining look IMO. When I think "classic snub nose" I think Model 10.
That sounds like a cue if ever I heard one... :D


September 19, 2008, 04:14 PM
These Military & Police Models with 2" barrels and round butts are pre-Model 10s and would be perfect of concealed carry. Showing some wear but functioning perfectly I paid $200 and $210 respectively at local shows for them.

Good deals can be found with some looking.


September 19, 2008, 05:02 PM
Even prettier... I like the graceful hammers and round front sights on those.

September 19, 2008, 06:07 PM
Now what's the difference between a 10-5 and a 10-6 and any other models?

September 19, 2008, 06:51 PM

the -X numbers are manufacturing revisions which date the gun and its variations. My 10-8 was built in 1978 (so says the book), and the -9 would have been built later, with some revision or other. At some point S&W switched to MIM (metal injection molding) parts, and those guns are less desirable. I don't have a date on that change.

I got mine for $205. They're worth waiting for. Well-built, very shootable, reliable, accurate, classic. There's plenty of ammo available from cheap to powerful.

If you were collecting iron curtain guns, then a Mak or a Nagant would of course be necessary. But for practical use, I'd go with the highly esteemed local product.



New User
September 19, 2008, 08:04 PM
This settles it, my next revolver will be a model 10. It will be my first used revolver. Time to go read the "what to look for when buying a used revolver" sticky.

September 19, 2008, 11:11 PM
This is a 10-5 from 1969 that I had gussied up a bit.


Here it is in its El Paso rig.


September 20, 2008, 12:56 AM
That's NICE.

September 20, 2008, 04:32 PM
At some point S&W switched to MIM (metal injection molding) parts, and those guns are less desirable
Is that just for collecting purposes, or is it less durable or something like that?

September 20, 2008, 08:29 PM
I need information on the model 10. How does it shoot? How reliable is it? What's the trigger like? It shoots .38 spcl, right?

I own two Model 10s and a Model 64, their twin in stainless. All have 4" barrels. There's a good reason these were the handgun of choice for most law enforcement agencies for decades. They're as reliable as the day is long. They handle well and they're easy to shoot accurately. And the ones made after the mid 50s can handle 38+P ammo with no sweat.

I can honestly say that I enjoy shooting these three more than any other handgun I own. Two thumbs up.

September 20, 2008, 10:29 PM
If you wind up with a Model 10 be aware that the grip is not for everyone and one of the Pachmeyer grips can make a world of difference. It did for me.

September 20, 2008, 11:20 PM
I love my model 64. If I found a mod.10 to go with it at a good price I wouldn't hesitate to get it. My 64 currently wears Pachmayr Presentation grips.

September 20, 2008, 11:28 PM
If you can find a set, the Rogers Combat grips rock!

September 21, 2008, 12:23 AM
At some point S&W switched to MIM (metal injection molding) parts, and those guns are less desirable

Is that just for collecting purposes, or is it less durable or something like that?

The motivation:
The pre-MIM parts are machined from a forged piece of steel, whereas the MIM parts are injection-molded. Obviously filling a mold and then cleaning up the edges/surfaces is cheaper than paying a machinist to make a complex part from a block.

The complaint:
The theory goes that the forged parts have better metallurgical properties because the particles of their parent blocks were pounded together in the traditional fashion, and that the pressure of forging creates a stronger, denser part with no unexpected internal cavities or weaknesses that may crop up in a part molded in liquid form at low pressure. IANAM (I am not a metallurgist, by the way).

In the conversion of some parts from forged/machined to molded, some minor alterations were made to ease manufacturing with the new process. On a S&W, the firing pin in the frame (as opposed to being pinned to the face of the hammer) is the dead giveaway. There may be others. Check Xavier's S&W identifying thread for details, he's the expert.

From a practical standpoint, most new guns are made with some molded parts these days, and they are very good. If you have the luxury of choosing a more collectible gun with feel-good forged parts, that's great. However, if you need a solid gun for practical reasons and a more modern sample comes your way at the right price, I would pick it up and not look back.

One advantage of buying a newer model is that spare parts will be available from the factory longer. However, there were SO MANY pre-MIM K-frame guns made, that I'd not expect it to be an issue for a long time.

Ironically, with factory-new Model-10's costing in the $600+ range, you can probably pick up an older, "better" gun for half the cost of a gently last-year's model. Be sure to read the Used Revolver Checkout sticky thread. It will help you decide if that nice old sixgun is really a good deal or not.


September 21, 2008, 05:10 AM
I just bought mine 2 days ago. Original box papers and such. Message printed on box dated 1955, the Price list inside for parts efective Jan 1 1960. It also has the T-grips on it. The serial number starts C-79... I pumped 150 rounds through it on the first day. Shoots like a dream. Never going back to an automatic. Im a wheel gun man now.

Ala Dan
September 21, 2008, 10:16 AM
as I own 2x Smith & Wesson model 10-5's Military & Police model .38 Specials
myself. The first is a 4" pencil barrel, factory nickel, square butt with a pinned
barrel model, that has the original diamond-cut walnut grips on it; and was
manufactuered between 1963-1965, as its C737xxx) S/N indicates. This
weapon is pristine in every respect, but without box or documents.

The other S&W 10-5 is a factory nickel 2" round butt model with a pinned
barrel and Pachmayr grips. Its condition is only 'bout 90%, as the previous
owner didn't do a good job of T-L-C. Its serial D---- puts it in the 72-74
range of manufactuer.

September 21, 2008, 10:41 AM
I can't add to anything that has already been said. But just like others here have stated the S&W M10 is deadly accurate and reliable as the day is long. Here is a target I shot at 10yd standing unsupported when testing some +P reloads with the Hornady 158gr SWCHP.:)



September 21, 2008, 10:53 AM
And the ones made after the mid 50s can handle 38+P ammo with no sweat.
How can I tell when it was made?
I think the ability to shoot +P is very desirable.

September 21, 2008, 01:36 PM
I own a pre-Model 10 Military & Police 3rd Change. It was manufactured in 1913/14 and is very accurate. By today standards it would be considered semi-custom I believe. The Model 10 is a great revolver.

September 21, 2008, 01:46 PM
How can I tell when it was made?
I think the ability to shoot +P is very desirable.
The general rule is that if it's an all steel gun and it has a model number stamped in the crane recess under the barrel, it's safe with +Ps.

I've got an M&P from about '47(?). I don't shoot +Ps in it, but if it were my only handgun and I needed it for self-defense, I wouldn't hesitate to CARRY +Ps in it. They aren't going to blow it up, just accelerate the wear process more than normal. A cylinder full of of the "FBI" load every six months or so isn't going to hurt it. That said, if I were looking for an exclusively self-defense oriented gun, I'd look for a Model 10 in preference to an M&P. Still, if money was tight and I could get a great deal on a functionally excellent M&P, I'd get it. It's going to be a LOT more effective all around than any Hi Point or Makarov.

September 21, 2008, 03:13 PM
Here we go again...

Factory +P is not... repeat NOT a warm load. Barely a decent plinking load in my book. Most factory ammo is down-loaded for legal reasons. You will wear out your trigger finger shooting +Ps in a K frame S&W before the gun shows any damage.

One more time. A 1942 M&P with nary a model number in sight pictured with some of the 500 rounds of +P and 600 rounds of my own +P+ (125 JHP @ 1,150 FPS) I shot through it just for fun. No metal fatigue. No cracks. No stretching. No bulging. No loosening.


September 21, 2008, 03:18 PM
So no matter what model 10 I get, as long is it is still in good shape, it should be safe to carry 38+p?

The Bushmaster
September 21, 2008, 05:21 PM
Check under the cylinder crane for a model number like M10-2 or 10-3 ect. (numbers may vary). If those number configurations are there, then yes. It will handle +P...

September 21, 2008, 11:17 PM
For reference, .38spl+P is only like 12.5% more pressure than standard.

The S&W Model-13 is the IDENTICAL gun, but the chambers are bored ~1/10" deeper for .357mag, which specs at TWICE the pressure of .38+P. Now the K-frame is not the beefiest of .357 guns, but at literally half the pressure of .357's, .38+P is no threat to the gun at all.

In fact, one might argue that the Model-10 is "stronger" than the Model-13 because it has a smidgen more steel in it (shallower chambers), thus increasing the cylinder's inertia and thereby decreasing it's recoil velocity and attendant battering of the frame by the cylinder.


September 22, 2008, 10:00 AM
Don't forget the Model 12. It is just a model 10 with an alloy frame. Not good for +P, but lighter in weight for carry.


September 22, 2008, 10:01 AM

September 22, 2008, 10:02 AM

September 22, 2008, 04:41 PM
You are obviously concerned about that big, bad +P damaging your gun.

Better avoid it.

September 22, 2008, 08:35 PM
How can I tell when it was made?

Look at the frame after you've opened the cylinder. If the frame is stamped "Model 10" or Model 10 - some number, then it'll shoot +P all day with no complaints.

I think the ability to shoot +P is very desirable.

I enthusiastically agree.

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