Smith & Wesson serial numbers reveal the product's year of manufacture and can also reveal the rarity of the product, if applicable. The most accurate method of determining information from a Smith & Wesson serial number is to look up the full number in The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson.
The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson is available directly through Smith & Wesson. It lists all the serial numbers used on Smith & Wesson products and the corresponding manufacturing year. Many of the serial numbers include both letters and numbers, but models manufactured prior to World War II contain only numbers.
Smith and Wesson is one of the leading manufacturers of handguns. The company has been an industry leader since its founding in 1852, when Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed a partnership to create the company. Horace learned the trade by working at the National Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Daniel learned by working as an apprentice for his brother, Edwin Wesson. The company originally faced financial struggles, but persevered and built what is now a long-standing, highly reputable company. The Smith & Wesson company has supplied the U.S. Calvary, many police agencies, and military forces throughout the world.