Dan Wesson Firearms
|Subsidiary of CZ-USA|
|Industry||Defense Products & Services|
|Founder||Daniel B. Wesson|
|Headquarters||Norwich, New York, United States|
|Products||Firearms and law enforcement goods|
Dan Wesson Firearms (DW), part of CZ-USA, is a manufacturer of handguns in the United States. The corporate headquarters is in Kansas City, Kansas, and the customer service and manufacturing plant is located in Norwich, New York. Dan Wesson Firearms is known for its revolver expertise and for some types of ammunition it has introduced over the years.
Biographic fragments on Dan B. Wesson
Daniel B. Wesson II (1916–1978) was the great-grandson of one of the founders of Smith & Wesson, where he worked from 1938 until 1963. He earned his degree in Material Science and Metallurgy and controlled the quality of his production strictly.
The company was founded in 1968 by Dan B. Wesson. Karl R. Lewis invented the main features of Dan Wesson Revolvers. The company has seen lots of struggles and various changes in ownership throughout its history.
After the purchase of Smith & Wesson by the Bangor-Punta manufacturing concern, Daniel B. Wesson set out to open his own manufacturing operation in order to produce high quality, American made revolvers for service as well as competition use. Wesson was aware of Karl Lewis's modular designs which had been proposed during Lewis's tenure with Browning, and then further refined during a period spent with High Standard. Having purchased a former school building in Monson, Massachusetts, Wesson signed a production agreement with Lewis, and began setting up the necessary machining and manufacturing equipment. Urging Lewis to prepare prototypes for display at major gun shows, Wesson began tirelessly promoting the company, while working to build a sales network as well as a positive perception of the fledgling company.
The first interchangeable barrel pistol produced was the W12, or the Dan Wesson Model 12 which was chambered in .357 Magnum. The barrels and shrouds for this model were interchangeable and used an exposed nut on the muzzle end to secure the barrel and shroud. The shrouds on these early models had an elongated flange which helped to center the barrel and properly secure it. Later, this design was refined into the Model 15 which still used the flanged barrel assemblies, but which had the nut recessed inside the flange in order to give the pistol a more conventionally finished look. Further refinements to the model 15 resulted in the Model 15-2 which is the most well known as well as the best selling Dan Wesson model. The 15-2 used a roll pin inserted into the frame as a centering dowel combined with a precisely drilled hole in the shroud assembly to facilitate proper shroud centering and alignment, thus eliminating the flanged barrel shrouds. The 15-2 also introduced more barrel offerings, including lengths of 2.5, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 15 inches, venting, ribbed shrouds, shrouds with full underlugs, and plain solid shrouds. The pistols could be ordered as "Pistol Pacs" with 3 (initially) and later 4 (or more) barrels shipped inside a fiberglass briefcase with barrel changing tool and clearance gauges; however, many pistols were sold with only one barrel- though owners could choose to purchase other barrels later.
The success of the .357 models coincided with significant interest from hunters and silhouette shooters, and the Dan Wesson company worked to expand model offerings to .44 Magnum/Special, .32 H&R, .41 Magnum, .45 Long Colt, and later the Supermag cartridges and the 7460 model in .45 ACP/.460 Rowland/.45 Winchester Magnum.
Despite the success of the various models and their strong "cult like" following, the company experienced significant upheaval and ownership changes. In addition to the ownership and incorporation changes, the original Monson facility and production equipment became further outdated and dilapidated, and quality began to suffer in some cases. The corporation was initially moved to Palmer Massachusetts, but upon yet another bankruptcy, Bob Serva purchased the corporation and its assets, and moved the group to Norwich NY. During the stay in Palmer, the company became known as Dan Wesson Firearms, whereas previously it had been Dan Wesson Arms.
Instead of continuing to focus on the production of high quality revolvers, Serva chose to focus on producing high quality 1911 "clones". Serva would gradually reintroduce the production of some revolvers, focusing on the Supermag revolvers and some stainless revolvers, such as the Model 715. Despite producing high quality 1911s and revolvers at competitive prices, the company faced further financial hardships and the CZ Group's American branch purchased Wesson Firearms in 2005, and continued the production and development of the 1911 clones while further reducing the production of the revolvers to two offerings- a 445 Supermag revolver called the Alaskan Special (itself similar to the 7460) and the 715 series stainless revolver in .357 Magnum. Despite the fact that CZ does not specialize or focus on revolvers, they have chosen to support the older model pistols with a variety of shroud and barrel offerings, replacement parts, and repair and refurbishment services.
|Timetable||Company name||Production place||State||CEO||Owner||Notes|
|1948–1968||D.B. Wesson Inc.||Monson||Massachusetts||D.B. Wesson||D.B. Wesson||tools&dies|
|1968–1971||Dan Wesson Arms Inc.||Monson||Massachusetts||D.B. Wesson||D.B. Wesson||much development|
|1971–1983||Dan Wesson Arms Inc.||Monson||Massachusetts||Seth and Carol Wesson||Wesson family|
|1983–1995||Wesson Firearms Co.||Palmer||Massachusetts||Wesson||Wesson|
|1996–2005||Wesson Firearms||Norwich||New York||Bob Serva||New York International Corp.||new plant|
|2005–present||Wesson Firearms||Norwich||New York||Alice Poluchová||CZ-USA|
History on products
The main focus of Dan Wesson has always been on revolvers. In four decades history there has been development and production for:
DW Patents concerning Revolver:
- U.S. Patent 5,225,615 -- Compensated barrel shroud 1993-07-06 Talbot; Arventos; Wesson Firearms Co., Inc. (Palmer, MA)
- U.S. Patent 5,305,678 -- Compensated barrel shroud 1993-04-26 Talbot; Arventos; Wesson, Seth; Wesson Firearms Co., Inc. (Palmer, MA)
- U.S. Patent 4,833,809 -- Firearm hammer construction 1989-05-30 Domian; MacWilliams; Dan Wesson Arms, Inc. (US)
- U.S. Patent 4,807,380 -- Firearm (Revolver locked breech mechanism) 1989-02-28 Domian, Robert E. (US) Dan Wesson Arms, Inc. (US)
- U.S. Patent 4,833,810 -- Firearm (Revolver interchangeable barrel)1989-05-30 Domian, Robert E. (US) Dan Wesson Arms, Inc. (US)
- U.S. Patent 4,058,050 -- Gun leveling device 1977-11-15 Brouthers, Paul E. Dan Wesson Arms, Inc.
- U.S. Patent 4,015,354 -- Gun sight 1977-04-05 Brouthers, Paul E. Dan Wesson Arms, Inc.
Lewis Patents for Revolver
- U.S. Patent 3,633,302 -- Cylinder Mechanism for Revolver-type Firearms 1972-06-11 Lewis, Karl R. (US)
- U.S. Patent 3,683,535 -- Handgun Grip Construction 1972-08-15 Lewis, Karl R. (US) Lewis, Karl R. (US)
- U.S. Patent 3,648,374 -- Adjustable Firearm Sight 1969-08-15 Lewis, Karl R. (US)Lewis, Karl R. (US)
- U.S. Patent 3,367,053 -- Firearm construction 1968-02-06 Lewis, Karl R. (US)Lewis, Karl R. (US)
- U.S. Patent 3,303,594 -- Firearm barrel, shroud, frame, and cylinder construction 1967-02-14 Lewis, Karl R. (US)
- U.S. Patent 3,237,336 -- Cylinder ratchet mechanism for revolver type firearms 1966-03-01 Lewis, Karl R. (US) Browning Industries, Inc.
- U.S. Patent 3,157,958 -- Hammer safety for fire arms 1964-11-24 Lewis, Karl R. (US) Browning Industries, Inc.
- U.S. Patent 3,701,213 -- Revolver Firing Mechanism...(SA/DA)1972-10-31 Lewis, Karl R. (US) Colt Industrial Operating Corp. (US)
- U.S. Patent 3,163,951 -- Firearm firing mechanism 1965-01-05 Lewis, Karl R. (US)
- U.S. Patent 2,927,390 -- Single and double action revolver firing mechanism 1960-03-08 Lewis, Karl R. (US)