Photo Of The Day: Smith & Wesson Model 15-2

During a recent Women’s Only Handgun Selection Seminar, I allowed the students to shoot my S&W Model 15-2. I decided to shoot it after the class, as I don’t often get the chance since I usually shoot and teach with semi auto pistols. It was a walk down memory lane so to speak, and also good to see that I could still run a wheel gun pretty well.

My introduction to the Model 15 was in 1977 upon entering the USAF Security Police. As it was the policy to issue a different weapon at each duty assignment, I had eight different Model 15’s over the years.  I was again issued a Model 15 when I joined my current department in 1988, carrying it until 1989 when we converted to semi auto pistols.

My fiance bought this one as a Christmas gift after I talked about having one as my first duty weapon. (She’s A Keeper).

Mine has the narrow grooved trigger and hammer spur. As I recall my Air Force issues had the wide target trigger and hammer spur. They had seen a lot of ammunition and some hard usage, but they always shot and were accurate, despite the appearance.

I installed a Wolff spring kit and polished the internals, as well as adding the Ahrends Cocobolo Retro Combat Stocks. I wish my duty guns had those modifications back in the day. It has some holster wear, but other than the spring kit and stocks, it’s original and in great shape.

I would compare the S&W Model 15 to the Glock 19 of today. Both fit the niche of a very effective fighting handgun without unnecessary weight or complication, and will get the job done as long as the user does his or her part. There was something about being armed with a revolver named “Combat Masterpiece”.




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About Bob Henckel

Bob Henckel is a retired Police Officer and currently serves with the Department of the Air Force. He has 40 years combined military and law enforcement experience. Bob has experience in Patrol, Training, Emergency Service Team Member and was the Senior Firearms Instructor and Armorer in his previous department. Bob also has over 25 years experience as a Firearms Instructor. He holds numerous Instructor Certifications in Pistol, Carbine and Shotgun. He is also a Certified Instructor in Concealed Carry, Force On Force, Active Shooter, NRA Advanced Pistol Instructor, ASP Baton and OC Spray.

13 thoughts on “Photo Of The Day: Smith & Wesson Model 15-2

  1. The most classic service weapon without a doubt. At 25 yards, better than 2 inches out of the box.

    • I’am a retired AF Security Policeman. I carried the Model 15 for ten years and the M-9 for ten more. I loved the model 15 but had no trust in the 130 grain PGU round.

      • I am really a 1911 guy, but I have to say that my most accurate handgun is a Model 15. The Smith was a legacy from my father, and I had never fired it because of its stiff action. My gunsmith completely rebuilt the action, and I took it to the range with 100 rounds of ammo. The first 50 rounds were 130 grain, and the results were so-so, (I’m not a great shot). But the second box of 50 were 158 grain, and the Model 15 ate them up. I once read where Smith regulated their revolver’s sights with 158 grain ammo, and I believe it. Now my challenge is to raise my skill level to the scary accuracy of this revolver.

  2. I have a Model 15. A couple weeks ago a retired dispatcher asked me about a “38” for self defense. I took her to the range and presented the Model 15 and my 442. She was immediately drawn to the 442 and thought that is what she wanted-until she shot them both! She is looking for a 15 on the used market!

  3. Thanks for reviving a bad memory of my most hated gun. When I was hired as a police officer and sent to the academy, I went to my old agency from a police equipment distributer where I worked. I came with a SIG P-220 order. I was a known “gun guy”. In order to keep that in check I was issued a Model 15 that I was required to carry in the academy and was not allowed to use my own gun. The “training staff” picked a “special” one for me. A complete piece of junk. The entire right half of the rear sight was gone, the hammer was a little bent, and it had some trigger issues. I sucked it up and made the best of it. I ended up taking top shooter in the Combat Shoot by a wide margin. When it came time to shoot for the Top Gun award for the academy (which included being given a revolver as a trophy), I was winning the shoot. Then during a reload, the entire cylinder came out in a pile in my hand. The screw that goes through the side-plate and holds the cylinder in was stripped and just fell out (it had apparently been held in with some kind of adhesive..arggh). I put the cylinder back together, found the screw on the ground and shoved it back in to finish the course and ended up still finishing in second place. The winner used a full house customized 6″ 686 to win………I am still angry. The first thing I did when I got to my agency after academy graduation is to turn that piece of crap 4″ Model 15 in and qualified with my personally owned 4″ Model 25-5 “Hebrew Hammer” in .45 Colt.

    • Darryl
      Sorry about reviving a bad memory…. But you and the gun still did well. Proves it’s not the gun but the man behind it…… Trust me some of my issue guns may have been cousins to the one you had…..

  4. Very cool pic. The Smith K-Frame draws me like a mosquito to the flame.

  5. This article reminds me that I am an idiot for selling off both of the old department model 67s I had in the safe.

  6. Ha! When in ’77 did you go to Lackland, Bob? I went 12 June: 3701/621! Was 17 &wanted to be K9 handler; dad would only sign if I went Electronics. So I worked on spy planes @ Beale. Qual’d expert w M15 every year, but got harsh verbal counseling when I questioned why we were issued M15s w 130 ball for ORIs when we would be deploying places where smelly, stoned indigents who hated America were packing AKs. I remember “SHTFU”, being used a lot during that counseling… Didn’t get to be the cops til ’92& got a 2-in. M15 several years back as a memento of my AF days. Think I may pack it tomorrow! W better ammo though.

    • Dan
      15 Aug 3702 FLT 187. Funny the things you remember. At least when I deployed I had more firepower. The 130gr. PGU rounds left a little to be desired, but at least they were +P. Learned a lot from the CATM guys that I still use teaching today. I need to order an Alessi Holster for my Model 15 and carry her sometimes. And yes it will be with better ammo, and speedloaders.

  7. Clearing barrels still had instructions for Model 15’s in 2008, even though none had been seen in nearly fifteen years. One of our CATM TSgts had shot some of the last ones before being pulled from the armories in the mid 90s from what he said.

    Odds are though, there’s still a few hiding out in armory shelves somewhere, we had some pretty odd stuff in ours (random M79s, etc) at times. The oddest day was coming in to arm up and finding a complete M61 Vulcan gun system secured in front of a couple M16 racks…..apparently they needed someplace to secure it after pulling it from an F-16. Armorers had an interesting day that time…

  8. Went through Lackland as a security troop in ’84 and went to Nellis AFB in 85. i was suppose to go to the security side of the house but all my security clearance paperwork got screwed up so I was put on the gate guard unit until it all got sorted out. I qualified with the M-15 for the first time on a desert range and loved it ever since…

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