Failed Good Intentions: S&W’s Straight Line Target

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Introduced in 1925 as a major change to the target pistol market, the Straight Line Target used an automatic-style straight grip instead of the traditional revolver frame. S&W had been a market leader in this sort of single shot competition .22 pistol, but was under pressure from the popular new Colt Camp Perry model and wanted to try something fundamentally new. Unfortunately, S&W misjudged their customers’ willingness to accept a significantly different design, and the new Straight Line Target didn’t actually give any particular radical advantage. Most shooters, used to the revolver type grip, found that they shot as well or better with the old S&W Olympic Models than with the new pistol. Just 1,870 Straight Line Targets were made, and it took until 1936 to sell them all. This made it the least popular .22 target pistol S&W had ever made, much to S&W’s dismay.

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