County Museum Researches World War II Lend-Lease Revolver

County Museum Researches World War II Lend-Lease Revolver

A representative Smith & Wesson K 200. More than half a million were made for British armed forces during World War II.

SWEETWATER COUNTY — A World War II Smith & Wesson revolver supplied to the British through the Lend-Lease program, which provided aid to the Allies from 1941 through 1945, was researched this week through the Sweetwater County Historical Museum’s Vintage Firearms Research Program.

Museum staff identified the handgun as a Smith & Wesson .38/200 British Service Revolver, (also known as the Model K 200.)

Around the turn of the 20th century, Smith & Wesson began producing the extremely popular “Military & Police” revolver in .38 Special, the original version of which was officially designated the “.38 Military & Police 1st Model.” There were many iterations of the Military & Police over the years, the museum staff explained. In 1958, Smith & Wesson adopted its model number system and the Military & Police became the Model 10.

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The K 200 was very similar to Smith & Wesson’s “Victory Model,” which was basically a military version of the Military & Police with a parkerized, or sandblast “Black Magic” finish. Just over 568,000 K 200s were made between 1940 and 1945.

“The primary difference between the Victory Model and the K 200 was the cartridge employed. K 200s were chambered for the British .38/200 round, known in the U.S. as the .38 Smith & Wesson, while Victory Models fired the .38 Special,” museum staff said. “The two are not interchangeable; the .38/200, used by the British from the early 1920s through the mid-1960s, is shorter and wider than the .38 Special.”

People with a vintage firearm who would like to learn more about them are encouraged to contact the museum at 307-872-6435, or via email at sweetwatercountymuseum@outlook.com.

There is no charge for the museum’s firearms research service.