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Smith & Wesson Ladysmith
Type Revolver or pistol
Place of origin  USA
Service history
In service 1900s–1986
Used by FBI
Production history
Manufacturer Smith & Wesson
Variants Model 631LS
Model 36LS
Model 60LS
Model 65LS
Model 642LS
Model 3913LS
Barrel length 2 in (51 mm) to 3.5 in (89 mm)

Cartridge .22 Long Rifle
.32 H&R Magnum
.38 Special
.357 Magnum
9mm Parabellum
Action Double Action Revolver
Semi-auto Pistol
Feed system 5-round cylinder (.38 revolver)
6-round cylinder (.32 revolver)
8-round magazine (9mm pistol)

The S&W Ladysmith and LadySmith are a series of handguns manufactured by Smith & Wesson starting early in the 20th century. Early models, branded Ladysmith, were .22 caliber. Starting in the 1980s, under the slightly modified LadySmith moniker, S&W manufactured several short-barreled revolvers and semi-automatic pistols in .32 H&R Magnum (S&W Model 631LS), .38 Special (S&W Models 36LS and 642LS), .357 Magnum (S&W Model 60LS and S&W Model 65LS) and 9mm Parabellum (S&W Model 3913LS).

History[edit | edit source]

Smith & Wesson has produced firearms over the years in several standard frame sizes. M-frame "refers to the small early Ladysmith frame".[1] Later LadySmith small revolvers were made on the somewhat larger J-frame, the standard S&W small-frame revolver.

The tiny M-frame .22" hand-ejector Ladysmith revolver was produced from 1902 through 1921, and later diminutive revolvers were termed LadySmith, capitalizing the "S".[2]

During the 1980s, prior to the 1986 FBI Miami shootout[citation needed], the Federal Bureau of Investigation adopted a revolver very similar to the Model 65 Ladysmith, but without the moniker.

Notable models[edit | edit source]

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

The LadySmith version of Smith's model 3913 is referred to as the 3913LS. It has a stainless steel slide with an aluminum alloy frame. The 3913LS had a different look to the slide and frame, that appeared to some to be "racier". It is chambered for 9mm only. It has a 3.5 inch barrel and the magazine holds eight rounds.[4] It is one of their third generation semi-automatic pistols that S&W refers to as a "traditional double action". This refers to a mode of operation wherein the first pull of the trigger is longer and heavier, and causes the hammer to rise from its resting position and then fall to strike the firing pin and fire the cartridge in the chamber. After the pistol fires that first time, the pistol is in what is called "single action", wherein the hammer stays cocked and subsequent trigger pulls are much shorter and lighter. The safety/decock lever on the side of the slide can be lowered which will (a) safely drop the cocked hammer, and (b) prevent the pistol from firing by disconnecting the trigger and by rotating a block between the hammer and firing pin. It is the firing pin block that makes dropping the hammer with the decocker safe, albeit somewhat unnerving. The original 3913 has been popular with law enforcement officers that need to carry their primary sidearm concealed.[citation needed] The Lady Smith is very flat because it has a single-stack magazine and only a single thumb safety on the left side compared to the two-sided ambidextrous safety on the 3913NL.

As of 2013, the only models still in production are the 60LS (currently chambered in .357 Magnum, which is different from the original "Chief's Special LadySmith" variant with the same model number) and the 642LS (chambered in .38 Special +P).

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

A Ladysmith is carried by Amelia Peabody in the novels of Elizabeth Peters.[citation needed]

A 9mm LadySmith is carried by the female lead character in Laurell K. Hamilton's bestselling Meredith Gentry novels.

A Lady Smith & Wesson is carried by Miss Parker in the television series The Pretender.

A LadySmith is a gun used by female character Andrea in the AMC TV series The Walking Dead.

A Ladysmith is carried in an opening scene by Will Smith's character "J" in the original Men In Black, prior to his absorption into the agency of that name.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms Dean K. Boorman, 2002, p. 44
  2. The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms, Dean K. Boorman, 2002, pp. 45–46
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hartink, A.E. (2003). The Complete Encyclopedia of Pistols and Revolvers. Edison, New Jersey: Chartwell Books. pp. 225–230. ISBN 978-0-7858-1871-7. 
  4. The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms, Dean K. Boorman, 2002, p. 87

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