That's not a Model 12, which technically didn't exist until 1957 when S&W started numbering instead of simply naming different models. Nor can it be a pre-Model 12, which was known as the .38 Military and Police Airweight - they didn't exist until 1952 and never carried a "V" serial number. The serial number and lanyard ring pretty definitively identify the gun as a so-called "Victory" model .38 Military and Police, part of the series of guns that led to today's Model 10. These guns were made from 1942 to 1945 in the serial number range of V1 to V769000, with the "V" denoting Victory in WWII.
One marking that you may want to look for would be an "S" stamped somewhere on the butt. That would indicate the gun was one of those sent back to S&W to be fitted with a hammer block designed to prevent accidental discharge - this is the same design used in S&W revolvers to this day. Non "S" guns also have a hammer safety but it's not as positive a design as the newer modification. You may also find "U.S. Property" stamped on the topstrap, along with "GHD," the initials of US Army inspector at the time, Guy H. Drewry.
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Last edited by FlyFish; May 1, 2012 at 05:04 PM.