M1917 revolver
Country of origin

United States


Smith & Wesson

Year(s) designed

Before 1898

Production began


Production ended


Weapon type



.45 ACP


Double action

Overall length
  • Colt: 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilograms)
  • Smith & Wesson: 2.25 pounds (1.02 kilograms)
Barrel length

10.8 inches (27 centimetres)


5.5 inches (14 centimetres)

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

6-round cylinder

Muzzle velocity

760 feet per second (230 metres per second)

The M1917 revolver is an American revolver.


The M1917 revolver was created by both Colt and Smith & Wesson to supplement the M1911 pistol during World War I, but after World War I, was mostly relegated to secondary troop usage, and was popular with civilians and police forces; by then, Colt already stopped production of their M1917 revolver, while Smith & Wesson kept theirs in production until they replaced it with the Model 1950 Target. In the 1920s, when the weapons were being distributed to civilians via weapons dealers, civilians loathed using half-moon clips for the loading of the M1917 revolvers despite their ease of use, as damaged clips can cushion firing pin strikes and cause ignition problems; the Peters Company came up with the .45 Auto Rim to solve this issue. By the 1950s and 60s, the M1917 revolver was available through various mail order companies for bargain prices. Over 300,000 M1917 revolvers were made, with approximately 150,000 per manufacturer. The revolvers were in service until 1975, after which they were retired.

Design Details

The revolver was made by two manufacturers; Colt's M1917 was based on their popular New Service revolver, while Smith & Wesson's M1917 was based on their Triple Lock revolver. As such, both variants of the revolver have their own slight differences.


Colt M1917

An improvement of their New Service revolver, the Colt M1917 looks very similar to the New Service M1909 it is based on, with the exception of having its cylinder bored out to take the more powerful .45 ACP cartridge.

Smith & Wesson M1917

A development of their Triple Lock .44 Hand Ejector model. The Smith & Wesson M1917 can be distinguished from the Colt model by an additional shoulder machined into the frame to permit rimless .45 ACP cartridges to headspace onto the case mouth; due to this, the Smith & Wesson version can be used without half-moon clips, but the empty cases have to be poked out manually from the cylinder since the extractor star is unable to engage onto rimless cases due to the lack of a rim. Smith & Wesson M1917s were later used by the Brazilian military; these can be differentiated through altered rear sights and are usually fitted with commercially-styled checkered grips, although some pistols use the original grips as fitted by Smith & Wesson.