Did you know that the revolver you know today as the Model 10 was the first M&P®? Introduced in 1899, this revolver has not only withstood the test of time, but also paved the way for all M&P’s to follow in its path.
Building off of the M&P’s immediate success, D.B. Wesson was determined to create an even more powerful .38 cartridge than ever seen before. Thus, the .38 S&W Special cartridge was born. The combined innovation of the M&P’s hand extractor system with the more powerful .38 S&W Special led to a full lineup of Smith and Wesson M&P revolvers by 1936.
In 1942 the M&P joined the fight. The .38 M&P revolver was updated and shipped to the British military to join the allied forces during WWII, supplying over 800,000 revolvers. This line of revolvers sported the serial numbers prefix V, better known today as the Victory models.
In the 1950’s Smith & Wesson worked to develop their first auto-loading 9mm pistol. Called the Model 39, this pistol was the first American designed double action semi-automatic pistol marketed in the U.S. While it did not sport the M&P moniker, the Illinois State Police adopted it in 1968 making it the first ever Double Action auto-loading pistol ever used by any state law enforcement agency in the United States.
However, the strength of the original Smith & Wesson M&P design held strong. By 1960 it was estimated that 85% of the world’s law enforcement officers carried a .38 M&P revolver.
It wasn’t until 2005 when the polymer frame pistol line that we know as today’s modern M&P came to be. Within its first year over 100 police departments were carrying the new line of M&P pistols.
Since then the M&P line has expanded to encompass everything from the smallest M&P bodyguard, to the tried and true Shield, all the way through the M&P 15 modern sporting rifle.