Smith & Wesson Model 1940 Light Rifle: A cautionary tale
By Chris Eger
Smith & Wesson Model 1940 Light Rifle in 9×19mm Parabellum. S&W designed this carbine for Great Britain in preparation for World War II.
Smith & Wesson Light rifle in field carry position.
When you think about Smith and Wesson firearms made in 1940, what leaps to mind is the pre Model 10 .38 caliber Military & Police revolvers. What you may not know though is that the Smith half of this duo was also making in that very year a light rifle for an overseas ally in (what was then) a very un-American caliber. What follows is the cautionary tale of the Smith and Wesson Light Rifle.
And it does not have a happy ending.
Why the abomination
In 1939, with Europe in a crisis and Japan making noises in the Pacific, Smith and Wesson was busy designing a light rifle to cash in on the crisis. Up until that time, Smith was a handguns-only company, specializing in revolvers. The company had missed more than a few lucrative contracts during the First World War, only picking up a handful sales of its large frame revolvers by default, and they wanted to have a good product ready for the next big one.
Smith 1940 light rifle diagram.