Gun Review: Iver Johnson Safety Automatic Revolver in 32 S&W
By Terril James Herbert
Iver Johnson Automatic Safety revolver with smokeless .32 SW rounds and 32 black powder bullets. (Photo: Terril Herbert)
What is innovative yet archaic and popular yet infamous? In the world of handguns, perhaps no firearm better illustrates this little riddle quite like the Iver Johnson Safety Automatic revolver.
My affinity for pocket pistols, both new and old, lead me to this gun. The topic is quite popular today given that, since the 1990s, the passage of concealed carry legislation and the production of small pistols to suit this need has simply exploded. As we leave the 20th century firmly in the dust, I want to look back to see what people were carrying at the dawn of the century we just left behind.
At the turn of the 20th century, openly carrying a pistol was practically impossible unless of course you were a member of law enforcement and there were no permitting systems in place. Despite that, carrying a small handgun in a concealed manner was a normal, but unspoken occurrence. Perhaps the most prolific and successful pocket pistol of the age was the top-break revolver.
In the early 1890s, small .32 and .38 caliber handguns were starting to show up on the market.