An Influential Smith & Wesson Icon

Remembering Dwayne Charron

During the day-to-day grind...

…of content production for our magazines and websites, I like to keep an eye on the daily press releases we receive to stay on top of the happenings in the industry. Recently, we received news from SAAMI Director of Technical Affairs Randy Brimson about the passing of Dwayne Charron.

Charron, who passed away January 16 (just four months short of his 94th birthday), was the former director of research and development at Smith & Wesson. His life was dedicated to Smith & Wesson; they hired him at 16 years of age to push the food cart through the plant. As he progressed up the ranks through the years, he made his way all the way up to the director of research and development.

Dwayne Charron is shown here on the job at Smith & Wesson in 1948. His influence at Smith over the years would lead to some of the company’s most iconic designs.

Why do I mention this? Because it’s hard to understate the influence Charron’s work had on all of our lives here in the firearms community. According to Brimson, Charron was instrumental in the design of such famous Smith & Wesson designs as the Model 41 rimfire, the Model 76 submachine gun, the Model 59 9mm and the Model 52 .38 Spl. wadcutter pistol.

The first handgun I ever fired was my father’s Model 41 pistol when I was eight years old. I fell in love with the pistol, and with shooting in general thanks to that gun (and my father’s efforts to take me out to shoot). I would soon have Smith & Wesson pistols of my own, from the Model 19 to the Model 5906 (a descendant of the Model 59 Charron helped develop) to a Model 642 to several M&P variants. In fact, I was a little surprised how many Smiths I actually have once I started counting.

So, farewell to Dwayne Charron with our condolences to his family, and our thanks to him for all he did for the firearms community. While he may have officially retired from S&W in 2010, his influence carries on today in the firearms the company produces as well as many of the ones in our personal collections we all treasure.

Mike’s current carry gun is a customized M&P M2.0 Compact tricked out with Apex Tactical products. Read about it at