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Bourjaily: Behind the Scenes at Smith & Wesson, Part I

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September 27, 2010

Bourjaily: Behind the Scenes at Smith & Wesson, Part I

By Phil Bourjaily

The Smith & Wesson factory in Springfield, Mass., lies right on the way from the Hartford, CT, airport to Amherst College where my older son is a senior. Gordon and I stopped over to tour the factory in August as I was taking him back to school. I only wish I had thought of this three years ago when he was a freshman.

I have been on several gun factory tours and I can tell you that Smith & Wesson is a very impressive facility. The machines are new and state of the art, while the workforce is, on the whole, older and experienced. I haven’t done much handgunning but I came away from this visit wanting a Smith & Wesson.

To look at more pictures that show some of the manufacturing steps, click here or on the photo. You can see the whole thing for yourself if you’re ever in Springfield. Tours are available Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 800-331-0852 xt 3259.

Here's Part II of this factory tour.

Comments (22)

Top Rated
All Comments
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Phil,

There are only two handguns that I have holstered when I knew for certain that my life was on the line with them. One was a Smith & Wesson Model 19 and the other was a Browning Hi-Power. All the others have been incidental carry. If I knew for certain that I had to go to a handgun fight today. I would bring TWO S&W's (matched pair of 19's) and the Hi-Power as the back up!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jason Hart wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

IMHO S&W makes the best revolvers out there! Great slide show and I can't wait for Part II.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MJC wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Cool pictures. And I take my hat off to your son. It must be tough to go a serious school that's surrounded by UMASS party central.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Covington wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

The best semi-auto pistol I've ever owned (or handled) is S&W M&P 9mm. They are a great company.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from countitandone wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

PB ~ Thank you for a look I would have never seen at the S&W factory. Maybe I'll take the tour you suggest. Part Deux should be entertaining.

Gordon needs to eat. That young man is skin and bones...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

I have 2 S&W, 1 686 Plus ( 7 rounds ), 1 Mod 63 (22) backup 3 Rugers, 1 Buckmark,and a 1911A1 the S&Ws travel with me the most often

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Moishe

Horace and Daniel are the best travelling companions! LOL

WAM

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Cool. I'd love to take that tour. I'm quite fond of my S&W's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Modern Day Moun... wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

My dad grew up in a house down the street from the S&W factory. he tells stories of him and his friends going and using the "throw-away" stocks when they would play cops and robbers. said back then there wasn't a fence, and any stock that wasn't up to their standards would be in a huge pile out back.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nc30-06 wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

I like the way Smith and Wesson revolvers feel in my hand. I have a model 29-2, a model 66-2, and my wife has a Ladysmith. All excellent revolvers. I also have a 1911 Sc, which I carry. It to is a fine example of Smith and Wesson workmanship. I am always looking for a nice model 10 or 15.
I would love to go take the factory tour and whet my desire for another fine handgun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

WAM your so right on that.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

It is very interesting that they do forgings for other companies.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Sorry to buck the trend but I never thought much of S&W before they sold out to Clinton, and even though the company has changed hands several times since then I've seen nothing to change my mind.

Perhaps they are getting better but to me they are still the one who sold out to the gun grabbers, It'll take alot to shake that image in my head. Sorry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scott powers wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

man i want a new gun now!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

I have always been a Smith & Wesson fan, and carried a Model 36 Chief Special for many years. I have switched over to the Colt Detective Special for concealed carry in recent years, because of that extra round and more generous grips. I also don't care for the styling changes in the newer revolvers and the visible locking feature.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Not much for handguns but did really like the S&W Mdl 629 44 mag I carried for bear protection on fishing trips. The fit and finish was much better than the big Ruger back in the 80's. The last year or so up there I switched to a small but very powerful rifle the Remington Mdl 660 in 350 Remington Magnum.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Oops that was when the wife and yours truly lived in Fairbanks, Alaska.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

99

That Colt Detective Special is a sweet little piece. The newer S&W Bodyguards are rated for +P ammo whereas the old 36's were not.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jacq0088 wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

100k signatures

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

There are many good and some great firearms manufacturers worldwide. If one only selected a single maker for his pistols and revolvers S & W has to be at the top of the list everything considered.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 3 years 28 weeks ago

I own a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol and I can hit clay pigeons at 50 yards. Stationary target of course but off hand. It holds 15 rounds and has tritium sights and is green, the State Troopers carried them here when I bought it. It has fired every time I have pulled the trigger and I have fired it at least 5,000 times. For the price I couldn't ask for anything more. http://library.thinkquest.org/08aug/01776/images/hitler460.jpg

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 3 years 28 weeks ago

Don't hit the link on the other post this is the gun.... http://www.gunshopfinder.com/smithandwesson/modelsw40g.jpg

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

It is very interesting that they do forgings for other companies.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from scott powers wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

man i want a new gun now!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Phil,

There are only two handguns that I have holstered when I knew for certain that my life was on the line with them. One was a Smith & Wesson Model 19 and the other was a Browning Hi-Power. All the others have been incidental carry. If I knew for certain that I had to go to a handgun fight today. I would bring TWO S&W's (matched pair of 19's) and the Hi-Power as the back up!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jason Hart wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

IMHO S&W makes the best revolvers out there! Great slide show and I can't wait for Part II.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MJC wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Cool pictures. And I take my hat off to your son. It must be tough to go a serious school that's surrounded by UMASS party central.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Covington wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

The best semi-auto pistol I've ever owned (or handled) is S&W M&P 9mm. They are a great company.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from countitandone wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

PB ~ Thank you for a look I would have never seen at the S&W factory. Maybe I'll take the tour you suggest. Part Deux should be entertaining.

Gordon needs to eat. That young man is skin and bones...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

I have 2 S&W, 1 686 Plus ( 7 rounds ), 1 Mod 63 (22) backup 3 Rugers, 1 Buckmark,and a 1911A1 the S&Ws travel with me the most often

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Moishe

Horace and Daniel are the best travelling companions! LOL

WAM

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Cool. I'd love to take that tour. I'm quite fond of my S&W's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Modern Day Moun... wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

My dad grew up in a house down the street from the S&W factory. he tells stories of him and his friends going and using the "throw-away" stocks when they would play cops and robbers. said back then there wasn't a fence, and any stock that wasn't up to their standards would be in a huge pile out back.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nc30-06 wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

I like the way Smith and Wesson revolvers feel in my hand. I have a model 29-2, a model 66-2, and my wife has a Ladysmith. All excellent revolvers. I also have a 1911 Sc, which I carry. It to is a fine example of Smith and Wesson workmanship. I am always looking for a nice model 10 or 15.
I would love to go take the factory tour and whet my desire for another fine handgun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

WAM your so right on that.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Sorry to buck the trend but I never thought much of S&W before they sold out to Clinton, and even though the company has changed hands several times since then I've seen nothing to change my mind.

Perhaps they are getting better but to me they are still the one who sold out to the gun grabbers, It'll take alot to shake that image in my head. Sorry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

I have always been a Smith & Wesson fan, and carried a Model 36 Chief Special for many years. I have switched over to the Colt Detective Special for concealed carry in recent years, because of that extra round and more generous grips. I also don't care for the styling changes in the newer revolvers and the visible locking feature.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Not much for handguns but did really like the S&W Mdl 629 44 mag I carried for bear protection on fishing trips. The fit and finish was much better than the big Ruger back in the 80's. The last year or so up there I switched to a small but very powerful rifle the Remington Mdl 660 in 350 Remington Magnum.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

Oops that was when the wife and yours truly lived in Fairbanks, Alaska.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

99

That Colt Detective Special is a sweet little piece. The newer S&W Bodyguards are rated for +P ammo whereas the old 36's were not.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

There are many good and some great firearms manufacturers worldwide. If one only selected a single maker for his pistols and revolvers S & W has to be at the top of the list everything considered.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 3 years 28 weeks ago

I own a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol and I can hit clay pigeons at 50 yards. Stationary target of course but off hand. It holds 15 rounds and has tritium sights and is green, the State Troopers carried them here when I bought it. It has fired every time I have pulled the trigger and I have fired it at least 5,000 times. For the price I couldn't ask for anything more. http://library.thinkquest.org/08aug/01776/images/hitler460.jpg

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 3 years 28 weeks ago

Don't hit the link on the other post this is the gun.... http://www.gunshopfinder.com/smithandwesson/modelsw40g.jpg

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jacq0088 wrote 3 years 29 weeks ago

100k signatures

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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