S&W Model 1 Through 1 1/2 and Variations With Pictures of Each

The Smith & Wesson Model 1 was issued in three different variations. Each issue included technical advances and redesigns. Listed below are the specifications of each issue  and what was changed as well as a visual example of each variation.
Model 1 - 1st Issue
Smith and Wesson Model 1 - 1st Issue
The S&W Model 1 1st Issue is the most rare. Only 12,000 were produced over 3 years. 
The distinguishing features for the 1st issue are:
•             flared, square cornered shaped grip (also featured in the 2nd Issue)
•             split articulated hammer
•             small round side plate located between the rear of the cylinder and the grip (similar to early Colt open tops)
•             in early models a flat spring barrel mount catch.
There are said to also be 6 sub-variations within the 1st Issue. Each of these include minor changes in design such as the barrel latch going form a flat spring to a bayonet style. The barrel rifling and recoil shield was also changed.
Serial Numbers range for Model 1 1st issue were 1-12,000
Model 1 - 2nd Issue
S&W Model 1 - 2nd Issue
The 2nd Issue of the Model 1 shares the same grip and frame design as the 1st issue so they are often confused. There are several notable differences listed below.
•             The side plate on the 2nd Issue was much larger and irregularly shaped replacing the round one.
•             The profile of the frame was more flat
•             the hammer was now made in one piece
110,000 2nd Issues were produced from 1860- 1868
Serial numbers range  12,000 - 120,000
Model 1- 3rd Issue
Smith and Wesson Model 1- 3rd Issue
The Model 1 3rd Issue included a more substantial change in design from the 1st and 2nd  Issue.
Changes included:
  • fluted cylinder
  • round barrel
  • rounded "bird's head" style grip
  • Finish options included nickel plate and blued steel
Produced from 1868 through 1882, the 3rd Issues were serial number range 1 -  131,000.

The Model 1 1/2 had three issues. The first two (known as the first and second issues) were "tip-up" revolvers with the barrel release catch located on the side of the frame in front of the trigger, while the third (known as the "Model 1 1/2 Single Action Revolver") was a "top-break", with the barrel release catch located on the top of the frame, just in front of the hammer.
Model 1 1/2 1st Issue
S&W Model 1 1/2 1st Issue
The first issue of the Model 1 1/2 can be identified by :
·         smooth cylinder (lacking fluting)
·         square shape of the grip butt
·         blued or nickel plated finishes
·          most had 3 1/2" barrels, 4" barrel were made but less common
Serial number range 1 - 26,300
Model 1 1/2 - 2nd Issue
The second issue of the Model 1 1/2 features:
·         rounded barrel
·         rounded shape of the grip butt
·         also produced in blued steel and nickel plated finish
·          commonly 3 1/2" barrel, A rare 2 1/2" barrel was also made with the barrel markings on the side of the barrel  as opposed to the top strap on  3 1/2" barrels.
2nd Issue serial numbered consecutively after the 1st Issue were 26,300 -  127,000.
There was a transitional run in 2nd issue that used unrounded 1st issue barrels. The serial number range for transitional models was approximately 27,200 through 28,800.
Single Action Revolver
Smith & Wesson Model No. 1 1/2 Single Action Revolver
The third issue Model 1 1/2 is known as the "Model No. 1 1/2 Single Action Revolver"
There were major changes in this model including:
·         Top break design (just forward of the hammer)
·         No ejector rod under the barrel
·          large hinge located in front of and just below the barrel
·          an extractor that ejects spent cartridges when the barrel is opened
·         rounded butt grips similar to ones on the 2nd Issue
·         marked the debut of the .32 S&W centerfire cartridge.
Serial numbers range  1 - 97,500