All of those had 6-1/2-inch barrels, full blue finish except for the color case hardened trigger and hammer and a lanyard ring on the butt. Grips were checkered walnut and sights were S&W’s trademark “half-moon” front with groove in the frame’s topstrap for a rear. I have a sample in my collection that factory letters to the Canadian Government in 1916.

Even so, the military duty of Hand Ejector, 2nd Models was just beginning. Being almost as bad as the British for declaring war while lacking weapons, the United States entered WWI in April 1917. The US Army was desperate for handguns, so S&W was contracted to provide N-Frame revolvers altered to function with rimless .45 ACP cartridges—this was done by snapping the cases into little 3-round spring-steel clips. The Hand Ejector, 2nd Models were given the military designation of Model 1917. All were fitted with 5-1/2-inch barrels, lanyard rings and smooth walnut grips. Finish and sights were the same as for the Brit’s contract revolvers.

Production of Model 1917’s was enormous. Jinks’ book says 163,476 were made for the US Government in their own serial number range. Those are marked “United States Property” under their barrels as mine is. After WWI ended the company kept this model in their catalog until 1949 and produced about another 50,000. This order included 25,000 sold to the Brazilian Government in the late 1930’s, with many of those returning to the United States for the surplus market in the 1980’s. The commercially made Model 1917’s had checkered walnut grips instead of the military’s plain ones.