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Enduring Designs: Concealing The Smith & Wesson

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On Your 6 Designs knows that the field of firearms manufacturing is always changing. Every few years, a new player enters the field with the promise of a revolutionary new design, using a high-end proprietary cartridge. Despite the challenges of breaking into a highly-competitive market, there are some names that endure and rise above the competition. Smith & Wesson has proven itself to be an American icon and a global phenomenon for its unique and lasting designs. For more than 160 years, the Massachusetts based company has continuously offered firearms that have made their way into the holsters of soldiers, law enforcement, and civilians alike.

While private citizens have carried firearms on their persons since the founding of the United States, it has only been in the last several decades that firearm manufacturers have seriously offered pistols tailored to this need. However, unlike other manufacturers that have only recently started producing conceal carry options, Smith & Wesson is unique in that it has been designing pistols and revolvers that have met the needs of concealed carries for decades, and in some cases, for more than a century.

With more than $773 million in sales in 2017, Smith & Wesson is one of the major leaders in the firearms community. Fittingly, our custom Kydex holsters for these firearms are some of our most popular products here at On Your 6 Designs, so we thought it appropriate to cover what makes Smith & Wesson such an enduring brand.

An Eye For Design From The Beginning

The middle of the 19th-century saw a proliferation of firearms development. The antiquated muskets of the Revolution were giving way to rifles, and the ball and powder of the past were being outpaced by self-contained cartridges. It was during this fevered period of innovation that Horace Smith and Daniel Baird Wesson partnered in 1852 to create a new line of firearms that used a self-contained cartridge. The result was the Model 1, first made in 1857. The tiny revolver was chambered in the diminutive .22 short, but despite its minor caliber, it made a major impact on the world. The Model 1 was the first practical cartridge revolver, and when it swept onto the battlefields of the Civil War, it signaled the end of the percussion firearm age.

Not long after the guns of the Civil War fell silent, the US Government recognized the need for a practical and large caliber service revolver for the military. The Model 3 found favor with soldiers patrolling the frontiers and fighting in the brutal Indian Wars. The revolvers design proved to be so popular that soon civilians were demanding their own copies of the rugged revolver. By 1880, Smith & Wesson was able to offer the world a self-cocking, or double action, revolver in three calibers.

After perfecting these double action revolvers, the manufacturer took the design one step further created the world’s first concealed hammer revolver. The .38 hammerless revolver was a natural fit for private citizens who needed a firearm that was reliable, and easy to tuck inside of a concealed inside-the-waistband holster or a jacket pocket. The new, shrouded hammer design ensured a snag-free draw, meaning that the revolver could be brought into action quickly.

Some Of The First Conceal Carry Champions

Despite the success of the Model 3 and the hammerless, Smith & Wesson wasn’t content to rest on its laurels. Just shy of the turn-of-the-20th-century, the Massachusetts-based company released their most successful design, the .38 Military & Police, or Model 10. An antique by today’s standards, in 1899 there was nothing in the world like it. Its frame was made from just two pieces, and it had a swing-arm, hand-ejected cylinder that could carry six rounds of the impressive .38 caliber rounds.

The Model 10 was easy to handle, accurate to shoot, and easy to maintain. Naturally, the military saw the potential of the firearm, and almost immediately ordered 3,000 revolvers. They served in the Philippine Insurrection at the turn of the century, as well as in the trenches of the First World War.

By the time the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the handgun had earned a reputation as the premier service revolver. To meet the needs of the Allied powers in WWII, Smith & Wesson completely devoted its manufacturing capabilities to the war effort. By war’s end, more than 800,000 Model 10 service revolvers were made for Allied troops, and were labeled The “Victory” model. These handy revolvers graced the holsters of British tank crews in North Africa, of volunteer fighter pilots over China, and of dogged GIs crossing the Rhine in Germany.

After the war, the Model 10, with new shortened barrels and spurless hammers, were an ideal concealed carry piece for detectives, police, and citizens alike. The .38 snub-nosed revolvers of Smith & Wesson would become an icon of firearm enthusiasts and concealed carriers everywhere. With the introduction of the .357 Magnum cartridge in the 1930s, private citizens had one of the perfect conceal carry options; a revolver with a strong frame that packed a powerful punch. The .357 Magnum would rocket to fame in the 1970s, with the proliferation of cop-dramas and films on TV and in cinema. Famously Clint Eastwood carried a Smith & Wesson revolver in Dirty Harry, launching an interest in the company’s line of large-bore revolvers, like Harry Callahan’s Model 29, .44 Magnum.

Pushing The Envelope

With nearly a century-and-a-half of experience behind them, and enjoying its status as a household name, Smith & Wesson could have entered the 21st century slowly. But with the dawning of yet another century, Smith & Wesson knew it had to continue to innovate to maintain its position as a top-tier firearms manufacturer. In 2005, the company released the venerable M&P series.

Departing from its famous revolvers, the M&P line is a series of polymer-framed pistols that included all of the latest developments in the service pistol field, as well as features that were exclusive to Smith & Wesson. In keeping with the heritage of the Military & Police line of handguns, the new pistol was quickly adopted by 100 police departments across the country. Today, it’s not uncommon to see officers across the country carrying an M&P on their hip.

This new pistol has been enormously popular with shooters from all walks of life. Since its release more than a decade ago, the M&P line has been tailored to meet the needs of any number of shooters, with pistols in full-size, compact, and sub-compact models in nearly every caliber. From the competition ready C.O.R.E model to the effortlessly slim Shield, the M&P line has reignited interested in the Smith & Wesson brand and made it the ideal choice for those looking for an all American made concealed carry handgun.

In particular, two Smith & Wesson pistols have garnered attention as some of the finest concealed carry options on the market. The M&P Shield, and the Bodyguard. These pistols are incredibly slim, making them practically disappear on the body when worn with an inside-the-waistband holster. While their single stack magazines mean that they might run out of ammo faster than a compact handgun option, the pistol’s lightweight design ensures that you can carry additional magazines without thought.

Concealed Carry Holsters From On Your 6 Designs

Smith & Wesson has retained its status as a creative force behind firearms development throughout its career. From its inception, they have offered handguns that are well-suited to conceal carry, and have only improved their concealable designs over the years. Offering classic concealed carry pieces like the Model 1, the .38 hammerless, and now, the M&P Shield, a firearm from Smith & Wesson is often the go-to choice for those who are new to the conceal carry ethos or seasoned professionals. At On Your 6 Designs, we channeled this spirit of innovation when we first designed our holsters and selected the materials to make them, and that same spirit guides our work every time we make one of our custom Kydex holsters.

The Kydex holsters from On Your 6 Designs are modern classics to pair with your firearms from legendary manufacturers like Smith & Wesson.

Cutting-Edge New Materials

The designs of their revolvers and pistols have always made Smith & Wesson an attractive option for military, police, and civilian shooters. The company continually offers new materials and new design features that make their firearms more durable and more reliable. At On Your 6 Designs, we only use materials that are as rugged as your firearm. That’s why we use Kydex, an acrylic-polyvinyl chloride composite, specially composed for thermoforming fabrication. This material is easy to shape into a form that perfectly fits and retains your holster, but once formed, is nearly impervious to the rigors of everyday use.

Utterly Reliable

Like the famous N-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers, our Kydex holsters are incredibly strong and utterly reliable. Rapid changes in temperature, undue pressure and weight, and even friction don’t phase our Kydex holsters. Bumping into barriers, crashing through constrictions, no matter what you throw at our holsters, they’ll stand up to the abuse. Part of establishing a sense of reliability is making a holster that keeps your firearm near at hand, and ready for action. When you need a holster that retains your firearm, keeping it close to you at all times, you’ll appreciate our design and fit. Even with a fully loaded magazine in place, you’ll never feel your pistol shift in or slip out of your holster from On Your 6 Designs. You’ll find that your M&P handgun fits snuggly in your Kydex holster, while not so tight that drawing your pistol is cumbersome or slow.

A Holster For Every Style

With revolvers ranging the gamut from the slim M&P Shield, to the monstrous Model S&W 500, Smith & Wesson has a handgun that meets the needs of all shooters and concealed carriers. Similarly, On Your 6 Designs has a Kydex holster for your preferred concealed carry style. We design all of our gear with flexibility in mind. We provide concealed carry firearm owners both inside-the-waistband, and outside-the-waistband holsters for all M&P models, as well as other Smith & Wesson pistols like the SDVE and Bodyguard. Each holster comes equipped with modular clips that can be quickly moved to adjust the cant and position of the holster itself. This means that no matter where or how you carry your firearm, you can be assured that it will sit snugly in place and at the angle that is best for you to draw from.

A Warranty That Can’t Be Matched

The reliability and forward-thinking designs of its firearms have earned Smith & Wesson its reputation as a top-tier manufacturer. Their warranty, however, has codified that status, and ensured its status as a favorite amongst shooters. Smith & Wesson will repair any firearm without charge for the lifetime of the original owner, making your M&P a lifelong conceal carry companion. We think that’s pretty impressive, that’s why On Your 6 Designs offers our own lifetime warranty. Should anything fail or break on your custom Kydex holster, be it the body, the clips, or the eyelets, we’ll take care of it right away.

In life-or-death situations, where you cannot risk faulty equipment, you need to know that your firearm and your holster will not fail you. As firearm owners who conceal carry every day, the team at On Your 6 Designs understand those needs. That’s why we’ve designed a series of top-quality products that will hold up against whatever you throw at it, and why we guarantee our work. When you can’t afford to fail, neither can your gear, and that’s why we will not fail our customers.

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