How Can I Tell When My Handgun Was Made?

••• Two guns isolated on the white background image by Elnur from Fotolia.com

All gun collectors like to know the history and unique details of their weapons. One specific detail of interest is the production date of the handgun. In the wide handgun market, numerous models of handguns are produced every year. This makes dating the actual production year a bit tricky. Several sources are available to aid in dating your handgun to its production year. As all manufacturers vary in their production and dating protocol, the handgun dating process and sources will correspondingly vary.

Unload the weapon completely. Inspect the handgun to ensure no ammunition is present.

Locate the manufacturer's logo or name on the handgun. This could be a symbol pressed into the grip, written on the barrel, or near the trigger guard. The manufacturer name is a key in dating the gun.

Identify the serial number on your handgun. This is typically stamped underneath the barrel or near the trigger guard. Identify any other markings, symbols or numbers stamped on the handgun.

Call a local dealer who sells the manufacturer's products or call the manufacturer directly. You can also check a manufacturer's website if available.

Give the manufacturer the specific information on your handgun. They will cross reference the info and give you your handgun date. If using the website, most manufacturer websites give detailed production information based on the serial number. Enter your serial number and wait for the results.


  • Never attempt maintenance on a loaded firearm.
  • Never point a handgun at anything you do not intend to shoot.


  • If the handgun manufacturer is no longer in business, cross reference your handgun model with an updated gun dating or value index used by most collectors. These are sometimes available at gun or gunsmith shops. A few guides to check are: Blue Book of Gun Values, or The Official Gun Digest Book of Guns and Prices.
  • You may also want to consider talking with other collectors or gun enthusiasts on gun collector's forums.


Photo Credits

  • Two guns isolated on the white background image by Elnur from Fotolia.com