The Smith & Wesson Time MachineThe original K-22 Outdoorsman, known to collectors as the 1st Model, was introduced in 1931 and produced thru '40. The idea behind this exceptional firearm was to create a companion gun for "K" frame .38 and .32 revolvers that were popular with competitors, outdoorsmen and police officers of the time. In the K-22 you had a versatile .22 caliber handgun but built on the heavier .38 frame and with the familiar feel of that gun. Shooters that already owned one of the larger caliber K frames found in this revolver a capable small game hunting handgun as well as a target piece that allowed for more practice because it fired the inexpensive .22 LR. So popular was this gun that with the exception of the war years it would remain in continuous production from 1931 until 1989. The K-22 would go thru many design revisions as well as name changes, eventually it would become the Model 17. The name might have changed over the years but the gun's basic concept would remain a staple of the Smith & Wesson catalog for decades. In 1931 this revolver was available with 6-inch barrel, checked walnut grips and blue finish only. Suggested retail was 37.25. Accounting for inflation the revolver would cost 517.44 in today's dollars, which is still a bargain considering the hand fitting and attention to detail the gun's maker employed at the time.
Excerpts from Smith & Wesson 75th Anniversary Catalog and 1931 price list.
Additional information from Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson (3rd Edition) by Supica and Nahas.