For some, thinking of the 1950s might conjure up images of famous musicians like Johnny Cash or Elvis Presley. For others, it might be the sleek and classy cars of the period. School textbooks often reflect on the large-scale introduction of television or of the Sputnik launch and ensuing Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Often overlooked are the excellent firearms that were designed during the ’50s which left us with some of the most popular and enduring guns to this day.
With factories still humming after World War II and the Cold War brewing in earnest, the 1950s constituted somewhat of a golden age in firearms design. While the battlefield introduced the world to new firearm designs in the early 20th Century, it was during the ‘50s that many guns were developed or innovated.
The resulting firearms, many of which thrive today, were groundbreaking at the time and earned their place in the history of gun design and manufacturing.
We compiled the following list of our favorite firearms born in the 1950s, and then sourced original photos from issues of Guns & Ammo dating all the way back to 1958. If you don’t find one of your favorite ’50s guns on this list, we encourage you to leave a comment below.
- Although this revolver wouldn’t gain widespread fame until the 1970s when actor Clint Eastwood brandished it in his role as “Dirty Harry” Callahan in the Dirty Harry series of films, Smith & Wesson actually began producing the Model 29 in 1955. When production first started, the Model 29 was one of the most — if not the most powerful handgun on the market.
Built to fire the .44 Magnum round Elmer Keith was helping to develop around the same time, the Model 29 was Smith & Wesson’s first revolver chambered for .44 Magnum. Despite being temporarily discontinued in the late ‘90s, the Model 29 is still popular, and a number of variants are present.