Homemade ‘Smith And Methson’ Firearm Unlikely To Catch On With Wyoming Crooks

A makeshift firearm seized by cops and has become the laughingstock of the Internet was probably more dangerous to its user than anybody else, says a Wyoming gunsmith and former law enforcement officer.

Mark Heinz

December 02, 20224 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The likelihood is vanishingly small that any Wyoming crime victim would find themselves staring down the twin barrels of a “Smith & Methson,” says a Wyoming a gunsmith and former law enforcement officer.

“It looks like it’s probably a hand grenade waiting to happen,” Brian Dimoff, owner of Gold Spur Outfitters LLC in Laramie, told Cowboy State Daily. 

He was referencing photos of a sketchy homemade firearm seized by police and dubbed a “Smith & Methson” model, which has become somewhat of an Internet laughingstock and social media meme among firearms enthusiasts.

The weapon’s design reflects some ingenuity, Dimoff said, but crooks in Wyoming and elsewhere have far easier ways of getting firearms than trying to build their own.

Sketchy Weapon’s History

Photos have been circulating online depicting a weapon that could perhaps best be described as a poorly conceived steampunk nightmare. 

The gun is real. 

It was seized earlier this year from a suspected meth dealer in Iowa, according to reports from the Meskwaki Nation Police Department. The suspect had a prior felony conviction and was therefore prohibited from owning firearms. 

That didn’t stop him from building his own from scratch, according to reports, and officers in Iowa dubbed it the “Smith & Methson.” 

That’s a play on Smith & Wesson, a firearms manufacturer probably best known for its revolvers, the most iconic of which could be the Model 29 .44 magnum. That was the weapon of choice for Clint Eastwood’s surly, cynical and quick-on-the trigger character in the “Dirty Harry” movie series. 

Photo Courtesy Meskwaki Nation (Iowa) Police Department

Not User-Friendly

But firing the “Smith & Methson” probably wouldn’t have made its shooter’s day, Dimoff said. 

“What he created would have been a gas jet pointing back toward himself,” he said. 

That’s because the breech is completely open. There’s no fully enclosed firing chamber as there would be in a properly constructed firearm, he said. And without that, the explosive force of the pressure and gasses meant to propel projectiles down a firearm’s barrel could just as easily launch backward and outward, instead of forward.

The weapon appears to chamber 410 bore shotgun shells. That the smallest commercial shotgun ammunition, but it can still pack a wallop. 

And in some firearms, the 410 bore is interchangeable with .45 Colt cartridges – such as in the “Judge” revolver made by Taurus. 

However, the metal in the “Smith & Methson” looks too flimsy to handle a 410 bore discharge, much less the far higher pressures of a .45 Colt round, Dimoff said.

“The cops did him a favor when they took that from him,” he said. “He would have ended up seriously injuring or even killing himself with it.”

Makeshift Weapons Rare

Dimoff said that judging from his experience in law enforcement, as well as continuing to interact with officers, homemade weapons aren’t particularly popular with the criminal set. It’s just too easy to get the real deal on the black market.

“What’s far more common to see is firearms with the serial numbers filed off,” he said. “And those were usually obtained through theft.”

More frequently, makeshift guns are used to scam police departments in larger metro areas that have gun buyback programs, he said. 

With a few materials from a hardware store and some creativity, “guys can go make a dozen makeshift single-barrel 12-gauge shotguns and then go to the police station to get paid for them through gun buyback,” Dimoff said. “It just goes to show how stupid those buyback programs are.”

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter