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Smith and Wesson Model 1913

The S&W .35 Caliber Automatic

Also known as the Model 1913, was produced from 1913 until 1922. Approximately 8,350 were built. It featured smooth wooden grip panels, a fully grooved slide with crossbolt lock stud, and an ambidextrous safety that was operated with the middle finger of the shooting hand.

The early 20th century saw the introduction of the first practical semiauto pistols, and the popularity of Colt’s Model 1903 and Savage’s Model 1907 pocket pistols caused rising consternation at the offices of Smith & Wesson. So in 1910 S&W purchased the rights to a blowback-operated pistol designed by Charles Philibert Clement. It was chambered for the 7.65mm Browning (.32 ACP) and used a fixed barrel and a lightweight slide. The slide contained the breechblock, which engaged a recoil spring located in a channel above the barrel. A very heavy recoil spring was required, which made it difficult to retract to chamber a round.

The first change made to Clement’s pistol was the inclusion of a grip safety on the frame’s frontstrap that was depressed by the middle finger of the shooting hand. Another safety consisted of a rowel on the backstrap that was rotated up to put the pistol on “Safe.”

The problem with the heavy recoil spring that made it difficult to retract the slide to chamber the first round was solved with a slide crossbolt lock on the left side of the slide. When the slide was grasped with the thumb and trigger finger, the crossbolt was pushed from left to right, disengaging the slide from the recoil spring and allowing the slide to be pulled back and pushed forward to chamber a round. When released, the spring-loaded crossbolt snapped back and engaged the recoil spring.

S&W developed a proprietary cartridge, the .35 Smith & Wesson, for this new pistol. It used a straight-walled, semirimmed case that was 17mm long and loaded with 76- to 80-grain FMJ and softpoint bullets with velocities in the vicinity of 825 fps. The bullet was actually 7.65mm in size, but the “.35″ designation was decided upon to prevent customer confusion. It quickly became known that the more readily available–and cheaper–.32 ACP cartridge would function perfectly in the S&W “.35 Caliber Pistol.”

The pistol was released on the market in May 1913 as the Smith & Wesson .35 Caliber Automatic, although it is often referred to by collectors as the Model 1913.

First Type — the original version as described above. The grip safety was operated by pressing it to the rear.
Second Type — the grip safety was redesigned so that it had to be pushed to the left and rearward.
Third Type — the grip safety was changed back to the original style of operation.
Fourth Type — the magazine catch was redesigned.
Fifth Type — used a heavier recoil spring and wider slide crossbolt lock.
Sixth Type — the shape of the recoil spring channel was changed, and the sides of the slide were extended so they overlapped the sides of the frame.
Seventh Type — the S&W stamp on the frame flat behind the grip was discontinued.
Eighth Type — the caliber markings were moved from the left side of the barrel to the right, and the left was marked “Smith & Wesson.”

Model: .35 Caliber Automatic (1913)
Type: Blowback-operated autoloader
Caliber: .35 S&W
Magazine Capacity: Seven rounds
Barrel: 3.5 in.; hinged barrel/frame assembly
Overall Length: 6.5 in.
Weight, empty: 22 oz.
Sights: Round blade front; groove in barrel assembly rear
Grips: Smooth walnut with S&W medallions
More information on Smith and Wesson guns
Smith and Wesson Model 1913 Reviews