The Smith & Wesson M-13 Aircrewman
M-13 Aircrewman revolvers were given serial numbers within the range of other production K frame revolvers such as the Model 12 Airweight. Some of these commercial models, with serial numbers in the correct range, where given fake markings to make them appear similar to an Aircrewman. Unscrupulously reproducing the stampings on the aluminum frame is pretty easy. The barrel markings are more difficult to forge. M-13 Aircrewman barrels were marked on the right side with "AIRCREWMAN" over the ".38 Special CTG". The caliber marking is in smaller type than commercial models. Serial numbers range from C247,000 to C405,363, but serial numbers of genuine demilled examples are best kept secret lest a felonious faker usurp the numerals for his "representative example" and then seek to have result lettered by Roy Jinks. Suffice to say, Aircrewmen with an AF prefix change hands in the $5000 range.
The M-13 Aircrewman and holster pictured here are genuine, the real deal. Alas, they are not mine. Most of us will never be so lucky as to find this revolver gathering dust on a pawnbroker's shelf. Marilyn Monroe is more likely to knock on our door and lavish us with a lifetime supply of ammunition and free gun cleaning services.
I was, however, fortunate enough to receive a M-13 Aircrewman. Mine, is regrettably the result of John Kennedy's administration trying to protect our fly boys. It was crushed to insure it would never be fired. Then it was sold off as scrap.
The "Property of U.S. Air Force" markings on the backstrap and the "Revolver, Lightweight-M13" markings on the top strap are still intact, as is the inspector's mark. The C prefixed serial number falls within the correct range. Because it is a crushed example, it is almost certainly the real article. It is inconceivable that a faker would fake a crushed frame. I will guard the serial number to prevent it from being used fraudulently. I was offered this chunk of aluminum by a friend who spotted it at a gun show. I happily accepted it, and placed it into my collection of revolvers, right beside a crushed Victory Model.
If you believe you have an Aircrewman in your possession, one of your best recourses is to post photos of the revolver on the S&W Forum for evaluation. Then consult the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson for more information. Finally, get the revolver lettered. If you are buying even then confirm and consult as much as possible.
As I was photographing my M-13 along with an ejection handle I had brought home from my military service as a souvenir, I noticed the "Smith & Wesson Lifetime Service Policy" emblazoned on the blue counter mat. I wonder.........