Smith and Wesson Serial Number Lookup: 7 Pre-Model Number Versions

The serial number offers information about the firearm’s manufacturing, such as when and where it was manufactured. This post will consider the Smith and Wesson serial number lookup, and serial number location and help you understand the Smith-Wesson prefixes.

Check it out!

Smith and Wesson Serial Number Lookup

Smith and Wesson Serial Number Lookup

Smith & Wesson offers a variety of handguns, each with its distinct appearance and set of features.

The SN is found in front of the trigger guard, and other serial numbers are situated on the top of the frame, behind the pistol grip.

Serial-Numbe- for-S&W

However different models have serial numbers located in different places:

  • Revolvers – Some revolvers also have the serial number located on the inside of the frame, the bottom of the butt of the frame, or in the yoke area. 
  • Pistols – The serial number is located on the side of the frame. 
  • Sigma series – The serial number is located on the frame under the front of the handgun. 
  • SW99 – The serial number is located on the frame at the rear of the pistol.

The Serial contains letter prefixes and numbers which are significant in outlining the manufacturing date. We have reviewed the numbers by the year of issue.

How to Identify/Date an S&W Serial Number

In most cases, a Smith & Wesson revolver’s serial number is engraved on the trigger guard, the crank, or the cylinder of the pistol.

You can contact Smith & Wesson’s customer care department if you need help locating the serial number for your pistol:

  • Visit Smith Wesson’s “Support” page on their website. There’s a “Serial Number Lookup” button here on the website.
  • Follow this link to a new website where you may register your firearm by entering its serial.

Are S&W Serial Numbers Worth It?

S&W utilizes the date of shipping instead of the date of manufacture to establish the age of a weapon.

The Catalog contains a complete list of the following:

  • Serial numbers organized by the kind of weapon,
  • The name of the maker,
  • The serial number year of allocation.

S&W Serial Number Prefixes

S&W started adding simple one-letter prefixes to the names of numerous of its revolver models during world war 2. The trend was initiated in April of 1942 when they were short on numbers for the pre-war.

Check out the prefixes they utilized.


Prefix V

Smith Wesson used the V (victory) prefix from April 1942. A million of the 38 caliber revolvers were made during the 1942-1945 period.

Here are some of the serial numbers that utilized the V prefix:


V1 – V314,031


V314032 – V702759

Late 1943 – 1945

V702760 – V999998

Prefix SV

The inside of the lock works, denoted by an ‘S,’ was altered in 1945. Later Victory models were given the ‘SV’ designation.

After WWII, military and police revolvers used a simple ‘S’ prefix until the Victory numbers reached 999,999 in 1948.

According to business policy, serial numbers at S&W were restricted to six digits.


SV1 – SV440,031


SV440032 – SV702759


SV702760 – SV999998

Prefix C

The ‘C’ was designated for this function in the — 38 Military & Police series in March 1948.

The “C” was suitable for the K-frame rifles with fixed sights.

For those revolvers, the ‘C’ prefix lasted until 1967, when C999999 was finally attained. The ‘D’ prefix replaced it in 1968.

Here are some of the serial numbers that utilized the C prefix:

1948 – 1956

C1 – C314,031

1957 – 1962

C402,924 – C474,148

1961 – 1967

C474,149 – C999,999

Prefix D

The “D” prefix was a serial number that had duplicated the numbers used before. The prefix was utilized from 1968 to 1983.

1968 – 1970

D1 – D330000

1971 – Early 1975

D330,001 – D750000

Late 1975 – Early 1976

D750,001 – D999999

1977 – 1980

2D00001 – 7D10000

1981 – 1983

8D10,001 – 21D0883

Prefix J

The j prefix began in 1969 and was used until 1983. Here are the designations of the rifles with the J prefix:

1969 – 1970

J1 – J99999

1971 – 1972

1J1 – 999J99

1973 – 1977

J100000 – J610000

1977 – 1980

J610001 – J760000


J760001 – J915400


J915401 – 1J18600


1J18601 – 1JXXXX

Prefix N

In 1969, the ‘S’ prefixes were replaced by ‘N’ prefixes, beginning with N1.

Here are the Pre-War N frame serial numbers. The Pre-war N serial numbers ran from 1908 until 1942, when they ceased production.

1908 – 1918

1 – 16199

1920 – 1929

16200 – 29999

1930 – 1939

30000 – 57199

1940 – 1942

57199 – 62349

The Post-war S series N frame later replaced the N frame serial numbers and was used until early 1970. Check them out.

1946 – early 1956

S62489 – S149999

Late 1956 – early 1966

S150000 – S261999

Late 1966 – early 1970

S262000 – S333454

Examples of reading Smith and Wesson numbers

Most serial numbers were shown as numbers produced in a particular year.

An N frame pistol with the prefix “N,” such as a Model 27 or Model 29, might be listed as:

  • N100000 – N199999 covering the year 1973,
  • N200000 – N299999 covering the years 1974 to 1977,
  • N300000 covering the years 1975 and 1976.

Firearms made before World War II have a number that was used to narrow down the production dates. 


Standard Catalog of S&W, 4th Edition

The Smith Wesson Standard Catalog, Fourth Edition, is the definitive guide to identifying your firearm.

The Fourth Edition of the Smith & Wesson Standard Catalog is the ultimate reference to identifying your weapon.

The document provides the following details.

  • Five hundred twenty-eight pages of pure text. 
  • The Smith & Wesson 14 new revolver types were introduced since the previous edition was published.
  • Approximate serial number dates.
  • Tables of manufacture dates
  • Dozens of variants of the M&P pistol.
  • Hundreds of full-color, detailed photographs
  • Smith & Wesson firearm values and collector data

Reading Through Shipping Date

The ship date is different from the manufacturing date. Shipment dates can be found in Smith & Wesson’s Standard Catalog, Third Edition, or the S&W Historical Foundation, Letter of Authentication.

To estimate the shipping date, two things must be known:


The model numbers are very crucial when determining the ship date. However, it is important to note that:

  1. S&W revolvers did not have model numbers before 1957.
  2. Model numbers were originally imprinted on S&W handguns in September 1957, when the management decided to give each line of revolvers a unique identity.
  3. Model numbers are often seen on the yoke. Many models did not get their own set of numbers until about 1958.

Serial number

Letter prefixes used on the serial numbers are a key tool when determining the shipment dates. Different Letters symbolize different periods. Note the following:

  1. The serial is situated on the front strap of the grip of the—32 Regulation Police revolver.
  2. A letter prefix did not precede the serial number on S&W revolvers before World War II. Some of them began doing it in 1942. The letters must be included when submitting the serial number for your S&W weapon.
  3. The ship date on the S&W letters is a more accurate marker of the Gun’s introduction to the market.
  4. If you contact Smith & Wesson, they will offer you the shipment date for a particular gun for free on some of their newer models.

Where Can One Go To Look Up Serial Numbers

The serial number is often on the Gun’s trigger guard or the yoke area. This will help identify the firearm’s manufacturer, model, and caliber.

This data may be found by: 

  • Getting in touch with the Smith Wesson firearms maker.
  • Using an online resource database.
  • Utilizing the standard catalog 4th edition.


Is there a website to look up a gun’s serial number?

No, There is no website to look up the Gun’s serial number due to the extensive and complicated nature of Smith & Wesson’s company history.

However, you can use our guide or the Smith & Wesson Forum for learning more about Smith & Wesson weapons.

Where are Smith and Wesson’s serial numbers located?

Smith & Wesson serial number is located on the bottom of the front of the grip or under the crane. However, it is important to note that different models have different serial number locations as specified above.

Can I run my Gun’s serial number?

No, you can’t run your gun’s serial number. Only law enforcement agencies are allowed to request a gun serial number check or search the lost and stolen gun database.

Can you tell the age of a gun by the serial number?

Yes, A rifle’s serial number may reveal the gun’s age by describing the production window and the precise year it was manufactured.
After identifying the model, you may use the numbers after the dash to look up the year the firearm was produced on the manufacturer’s website.

Are gun serial numbers unique?

Yes, Firearms manufactured after 1968 must have unique serial numbers, but only within each manufacturer. It is permissible for weapons manufactured before 1968 to have duplicated the serial number since the practice was not forbidden by law before 1968.

How much is a Smith & Wesson Model 1 worth?

The average price for a brand new SMITH WESSON pistol is $833.80, while a used one is $661.29. The average new price is $833.80, and the average used price is $661.29 during the last 12 months.


Decoding your Smith Wesson pistol serial number will help you identify the date of manufacture for your weapon and how rare it is. The standard catalog and the Smith Wesson online database will help you achieve that. Luckily you now understand the different terms in your serial numbers.

Do you have a smith Wesson Rifle? What is the serial number? Please share it with us in the comments section.

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Tyler Purol is a professional Bowhunter. He has professional training in hunting. For many years he hunts regularly.