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Thread: The only factory S&W Fitz Revolver

  1. #1

    The only factory S&W Fitz Revolver

    S&W M&P 2” .38 Special factory Fitz conversion.
    This was my birthday present to me this year. I have been trying to find the means to acquire this rare piece for a year.
    This gun represents an era and piece of history. It was commissioned by a man named Bob Nichols, the editor of Field & Stream magazine back in the .40’s and 50’s. It was a very popular publication then. Bob was a friend and student of many of the great instructors and experts of the era. He took that expertise and became a huge advocate for the use of the Double Action revolver shot in double action as the ultimate for close quarters combative work. He published a really interesting book in 1950 that is called the Secrets of Double Action Shooting. I am reading it now and realize that little has changed in the various opinions and positions we debate in the firearms world. In the book he documents using his position to have Smith & Wesson build him a Fitz Revolver. The “Fitzgerald Special” or Fitz was the brainchild of John Fitzgerald who was a heavyweight in handgun deployment and tactics in the early part of the 20th century. The problem was he worked for Colt from 1918-1944, S&W’s arch rival. In 1946 Bob Nichols had S&W take a long action 2” M&P, cut the trigger guard, bob the hammer to make it snag free and prevent it from being hammer cocked into single action, under cut the front sight and set the Double Action trigger at 6-6.5 pounds. He had his friend Walter Roper make a set of custom grips for the gun. It is truly amazing in the trigger feel and how it fits in the hand. The sights are very usable for this type of gun. According to the book it shoots like a target gun.
    Many deride the cut front trigger guard as unsafe. It is not something I would ever recommend. In that era Fitz designed his guns to be deployed from large coat pockets and being from the North East, cold weather was an issue and use of gloves common. The cut trigger allowed access onto the trigger and the guns were either lifted from the pocket and fired immediately if attacked, or could be fired from the pocket. The trigger is significantly heavier than the gun, so it is not necessarily “unsafe” deployed this way. The issue comes from a finger on the trigger and things like overflow issues and startle responses. Also an issue would be access to foreign objects that could hit the trigger and firing initiated. Also a problem is if something, or someone is struck with the trigger guard which could fire or damage the un-protected trigger.
    I have another twin to this gun that is stock and I may build a sort of shooting duplicate but with a half Fitz trigger guard (thinned but not cut) that I could really shoot and train with.
    This gun fits perfectly in My American Classic Gunleather Brill style holster. It simply harkens to a time gone by. A world where the United States led the Allies to the defeat of the Nazi’s and their allies in Europe and Imperial Japan and we were gearing up for a long term Cold War with the Soviets and Chinese communists. I time of great change in our country and this is an amazing artifact of that era and a return to domestic gun production from wartime production. This gun is a work of shooting art and a tribute to the master craftsmen that built guns at Smith & Wesson. Enjoy!
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    Just a Hairy Special Snowflake supply clerk with no field experience, shooting an Asymetric carbine as a Try Hard. Snarky and easily butt hurt. Favorite animal is the Cape Buffalo....likely indicative of a personality disorder.
    "If I had a grandpa, he would look like Delbert Belton".

  2. #2
    Site Supporter CWM11B's Avatar
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    Beautiful pieceand incredible history. I have that book and have read it several times. I love finding old copies of shooting/gunfighting books and relearning there is nothing new under the sun. If we take the time to read these classics, some at least a century old, we understand that adage more fully.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by CWM11B View Post
    Beautiful pieceand incredible history. I have that book and have read it several times. I love finding old copies of shooting/gunfighting books and relearning there is nothing new under the sun. If we take the time to read these classics, some at least a century old, we understand that adage more fully.
    Having this gun and understanding what Nichols was talking about in the trigger has been enlightening. There is not a bit of stacking or anything in that long action trigger to hint as to when it is going bang. The trigger is amazing. Here is a Test...6 rounds in 6 seconds at 10 yards and a HiTS Snub Super Test. It has one cylinder that times a hair off that is an issue, but I have been amazed at how this gun shoots for its age and history.
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    Last edited by Dagga Boy; 06-03-2019 at 05:23 PM.
    Just a Hairy Special Snowflake supply clerk with no field experience, shooting an Asymetric carbine as a Try Hard. Snarky and easily butt hurt. Favorite animal is the Cape Buffalo....likely indicative of a personality disorder.
    "If I had a grandpa, he would look like Delbert Belton".

  4. #4
    Revolver Enabler-in-Chief Stephanie B's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
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    SE CT
    That is really nice.

    When I was practicing in NY, the town judges often weren't attorneys. One of the ones in my town was a retired cop. He carried a Fitz Special. I never got a close enough look to see if it was a Smith or a Colt, but it had the cut trigger guard, no front sight and very little bluing to speak of.

    I coveted that gun, but I didn't know the judge well enough to broach it.
    Many a many married man, wants to go back to France again, hinky, dinky, parlez-vous.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie B View Post
    That is really nice.

    When I was practicing in NY, the town judges often weren't attorneys. One of the ones in my town was a retired cop. He carried a Fitz Special. I never got a close enough look to see if it was a Smith or a Colt, but it had the cut trigger guard, no front sight and very little bluing to speak of.

    I coveted that gun, but I didn't know the judge well enough to broach it.
    Likely a Colt as it was mostly a Colt thing being Fitz worked for Colt. That is what makes the Nichols gun so rare is that it is the only Fitz I have ever found actually done by S&W at The factory. I ll post some more Fitz stuff with my Colt version.
    Just a Hairy Special Snowflake supply clerk with no field experience, shooting an Asymetric carbine as a Try Hard. Snarky and easily butt hurt. Favorite animal is the Cape Buffalo....likely indicative of a personality disorder.
    "If I had a grandpa, he would look like Delbert Belton".

  6. #6
    Wow, that thing shoots! Would be pretty cool if someone could repro those grips.

    Can describe or show the half fitz, thinned out trigger guard on the other one?

  7. #7
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    North Cenral Idaho
    A Treasure won! Like the poster above would love to see those old Ropers duplicated. And I love the American Classic Brill!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by wvincent View Post
    Wow, that thing shoots! Would be pretty cool if someone could repro those grips.

    Can describe or show the half fitz, thinned out trigger guard on the other one?
    I haven’t built it yet. I am picking up a 1940’s M&P in a week, but it doesn’t have the long Action I want to duplicate in a trigger job. I may do a custom snub 1926 3rd Model HE with a killer action job instead. So many projects, so limited on funds....
    Just a Hairy Special Snowflake supply clerk with no field experience, shooting an Asymetric carbine as a Try Hard. Snarky and easily butt hurt. Favorite animal is the Cape Buffalo....likely indicative of a personality disorder.
    "If I had a grandpa, he would look like Delbert Belton".

  9. #9
    Most expensive sub forum on PF — well, maybe the one with the Raptor porn is close.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter
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    Texas
    Does the timing being slightly off on one cylinder cause any major issues?

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