The aptly named Smith & Wesson 1950 .45 Target Model was chambered in .45 ACP (with a small number produced in .45 Colt) and with its 6-½ inch barrel, Patridge front and adjustable back sights it was well suited to the task. But it seemed shooters preferred a heavier barrel gun for target or competition use. S&W would give them what they wanted with the Model 1955 (later Model 25), which was basically the same design but with a heavy contour barrel. Although the 1950 .45 Target would stay in production (as the Model 26) until 1961 sales were never spectacular with only 2768 reportedly made in the eleven year run.
I purchased this Model 1950 "Pre 26" in early 2000. Having left the factory in 1955 it had just turned 45 years old and by that time this fine old revolver had been modified just as you see it. Reportedly it had belonged to a competition shooter in Florida and the gun's alterations would seem to support that. The modifications included action work, oversized grips and the removing of the standard back sight and replacing it with an optical one. This sight is an illuminated (no batteries needed) cross hair type produced by Thompson Center and together with the action work makes this gun exceptionally accurate. This revolver is more than capable of cutting one-hole groups all day long. The double action trigger pull is lighter than stock but it was really intended to be fired single action and that has been brought down to a very light 2 ¼ pounds. With the crisp trigger, heavy frame, hand filling grips and long barrel it is a true pleasure to shoot.
I didn't own this very long the first time before stupidly selling it to my brother, a decision I regretted for quite a while. After several years of my relentless pestering he eventually sold it back and now it has become part of my "permanent" collection. I don't normally name my guns but if I did I think this would be something like "The Smith & Wesson Model 1950 Buck Rogers Commemorative Edition." It just looks like it belongs in one of those Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon serials, or maybe if they brought back Firefly to TV. If they did that I would gladly loan them this revolver for the duration, free of charge...
Information from the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson (3rd Edition) by Jim Supica & Richard Nahas