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Guns & Ammo Network


Harrington & Richardson’s Model 929 Sidekick

by Paul Scarlata   |  January 3rd, 2011 34

The cylinder on H&R’s 929 held nine rounds of .22 LR ammo. A “safety rim” around its rear circumference protected the shooter and bystanders in case of head separations of the rimfire cartridges. Pushing on the ejector rod extracted all nine spent cases simultaneously.

In 1874 Gilbert Harrington and William Richardson established a company to produce firearms in Worcester, Massachusetts. The post-Civil War era saw skyrocketing demand for firearms, and the gun makers located in the Connecticut River valley rushed to meet it. The westward migration had created an insatiable demand for arms by homesteaders, cowboys, and merchants who were attempting to civilize a wild, lawless land. And even in the “civilized” eastern United States, many citizens went about their daily labors carrying arms as protection against muggers and footpads. This resulted in a large demand for small, concealable handguns–a market that H&R hoped to capture a share of.

H&R’s first revolvers were called the Model 1½ through Model 4½ and were chambered for the .22, .32, and .38 rimfire cartridges. These handguns were extremely simple designs, so much so that to eject spent rounds you had to remove the cylinder center pin and punch them out one at a time. But they were rugged and of better quality than many similar revolvers on the market, earning H&R a good reputation.

In 1884 the American Double Action was added to the line and was chambered for the .32 S&W (six-shot cylinder), .38 S&W, and .44 Webley centerfire cartridges. Additional models of the American Double Action were the Safety Hammerless Double Action (a spurless hammer design) and the H&R Bulldog (rimfire cartridges only). The Young American Double Action came in two frame sizes for .22 and .32 cartridges.

The Safety Hammerless proved to be very popular and was offered in .22 Short (seven shots), .32 rimfire, and .32 S&W (both five shots) with barrels of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 inches. All had round-butt grip frames with hard rubber grips.

While H&R began producing hinged-frame revolvers in 1885, the company continued to promote its solid-frame guns on twin merits of simplicity and inexpensiveness. They were extremely popular with trappers, farmers, woodsmen, and younger shooters.

Between 1905 and 1907, H&R introduced five new solid-frame designs, including the Model 4 in .32 and .38 S&W, the Model 1905 in .32 S&W Long, and the Model 1906 in .22 LR. All of these came with a choice of 2½-, 4½-, and 6-inch octagonal barrels and full-sized grips.

The solid-frame Victor in .22 LR, .32, and .38 S&W was introduced in 1913, and while its unfluted cylinder; 2½-, 4½-, and 6-inch barrels; and small grip made it an ungainly looking handgun, it was quite popular and remained in production until 1942. The Trapper–a nine-shot .22 with 6-inch octagonal barrel–was introduced in 1924. H&R revolvers remained steady sellers during the interwar years because their inexpensive prices made them attractive to Depression-era customers.

When the U.S. became involved in World War II, the government purchased 3,000 .22- and .32-caliber H&R revolvers for training purposes and for issue to couriers, undercover operatives, and the OSS. The London Metro Police bought 23,000 .32-caliber Auto Eject revolvers.

The Sidekick Joins The Line
After the war, handgun production resumed, and 1956 saw the introduction of the Model 929 Sidekick, the first H&R solid-frame revolver to use a swing-out cylinder.

Early 929s locked the cylinder in place by the use of a spring-loaded ball detent in the front of the frame that mated to a notch in the cylinder crane and helped to hold the cylinder crane in the frame.

The cylinder was opened by pulling the ejector rod forward out of a recess in the frame.

Beginning in 1958 the “Two Point” locking system was introduced. Pulling the ejector rod forward released it from a recess on the front of the frame, and pulling the cylinder center pin at the same time allowed the cylinder to be swung out. The cylinder crane was held in place by a simple screw, allowing the cylinder to be removed from the frame very easily for cleaning.

The Model 929 Sidekick was available with a 2½-, 4-, or 6-inch barrel. The short-barreled gun came with round butt and plastic grips, while the latter pair had full-sized grips and adjustable rear sights.

The 929 was produced from machined steel, and the 2½-inch gun weighed a hefty 23.5 ounces. The nine-round cylinder had a “safety rim” around its rear circumference to protect the shooter or bystanders in case of head separations of the rimfire cartridges.

According to Bill Goforth’s soon-to-be-released book on H&R revolvers, collectors recognize Early and Second Models of the 929. There are four variations of the Early Model with various combinations of square or round grip frame; grip material; round, tapered, or flat-sided barrels; barrel lengths of 2½, 4, 6, and 10 (very rare) inches; and adjustable rear sights on the 4-, 6-, and 10-inch guns.

With the introduction of the Second Model 929 in 1974, H&R began using transfer bar ignition on many of its revolvers. This placed a trigger-activated steel bar between the face of the hammer and the rear of a spring-loaded firing pin in the frame. The bar does not move into place until a complete trigger stroke pulls it all the way to the rear. At rest the hammer face rests directly against the frame, making no contact with the firing pin and thus reducing the possibility of an accidental discharge.

A companion to the 929 was the Model 930, which was dimensionally and mechanically identical but came with a chrome finish. Manufacture ended in 1986, although the brand was briefly reintroduced in 1996 by New England Firearms with a larger frame, heavier barrel, wooden grips, and fixed sights. Production ceased in 2000.

Shooting A Sidekick
A friend lent me a Model 929 to evaluate. It was a solid-feeling little wheelgun that, according to its serial number, was manufactured in 1983. Thus, it is a Second Model. Unfortunately, it had what I would describe as a “squeeze and grunt” trigger pull.

At 10 yards, the 2.5-inch-barreled Model 929 produced fair accuracy with Federal hypervelocity .22 LR ammo, but it was not accurate enough for small-game hunting.

When I made my way to the gun club to see what the little H&R could do, I tested it by firing two cylinders full of each of three brands of .22 LR ammunition over a sandbag rest at a moderate 10 yards. While all of the groups were well centered, they all tended to print low. But considering the plebeian tasks such a revolver would most likely be called upon to perform, I believe this type of accuracy is more than adequate.

I then set up a D-1 target and ran the 929 through a few offhand drills at, considering the revolver’s intended purpose in life and the heavy trigger pull, a practical distance of 5 yards. While the trigger slowed down my rate of fire, I was pleased to see that most of the bullets I sent downrange impacted in the center of the target and produced a fairly compact group.

While this particular Model 929 lacked the accuracy necessary for hunting small game, it would have proven capable of serving as a close-range, self-defense gun (I know, .22 rimfires aren’t the best choices for defensive guns) and a plinker. And, as I have said before, plinking is the primary role of any .22 rimfire.

  • John

    Does anyone know where I can order a rear sight for my H&R .22 revolver, model 929?

    • al thompson

      if you find out let me know I can't find one either . found front but not rear

    • Sandra Crosby

      H&R 22LR models do not have a rear sight. I bought a Model 930 new and it has never had one. It shoots fine by using the provided targeting method.

  • Matt

    I have a 929 and the serial number begins with " AN " like to know what it is

  • Nathanael

    My brother has a 22 long rifle Harrington and Richardson swing out cylinder revolver but when he was cleaning it he forgot how to close the cylinder I don't know what model it is but it looks like the 929 but it has this thing on the left side of the revolver that looks like that one thing on the left side of the S&W model 29 revolver that is behind the cylinder also the barrel length is 4 inch barrel.

    • Crystal

      If it's a 929, it just slips back into the frame with a slight push. If it's not locking into position, the spring in the center of the cylinder is probably broken and jamming the works up. If you are seeing a part on the left side of the frame like for a cylinder release on the S&W Model 29, then you don't have a model 929 as it doesn't have one of those. I bought mine like 30 years ago brand new and have seen many around and none of them have had anything on the side of the frame. It's a very plain firearm without any amenities on it.

  • Nicole

    My huband came across a revolver it has a octagon shaped barrel and the only markings on it are; Victor 2 1/2
    Know anything about it????

  • Tony

    I do not believe the model 929 had a rear sight post. I also own a model 929 without a rear sight post.

    • Kelli

      Not sure what you mean by a sight post, but the 929 did have a blade rear sight. It had 2 tiny set screws on either side of the sight that you had to adjust for windage and to hold the sight in. Was a poor design and I lost mine. Finding one is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Guess I'll have to fabricate one from memory.

      • Kelli

        There's a pic of what looks to be a 929 above. Mine is like 30 years old so perhaps the newer models do not have that rear sight.

        • KEN


  • gary reynolds

    i want to buy a h&r 22 sidekick,with 6" barrol.please let me know were to get one.thanks

    • Ronald

      how much?

    • Preston

      I have one with a 5.25 in barrel .All this time I thought it was a 6 but if you measure from the tip of the cylinder it is 6in.

  • Joe

    I have a Model 929 in pristine condition. shoots well, and if you want parts, go to Numrich gun parts.
    They have quite a few parts.

  • jasonn310

    I was just given a frame to a H & R Model 929 22 cal. does any were I can order everything in a package deal?

  • Jason Gooden

    where can i find a hammer and spring for a H&R model 929 22 cal sidekick?

  • KEN


  • Walter R

    I have a H&R 929, Sn AJ 63200. Anyone know the year of manufacture? Also, the nylon tip on the hammer spring assembly has broken off. Do they still make spare parts like this spring assembly? The nylon tip broke off in 3 pieces. I found 2 of the pieces inside the grip. Believe it or not, I cleaned them up and super glued them together and the gun still fires. But I don't for how long. I'd rather get a replacement part. I was told that the part was also made with all metal, no plastic. Can anyone offer any suggestions?

  • Rick

    I just bought a H&R 929 4" barrel .22 revolver with the SN. AM30024. I would like to know when it was manufactured? Where can I get an extra cylinder and a manual?

  • Volunteer

    I also have an H&R 929, SN# AJ72680. The AJ's were made in 1972. I just bought it at a gun shop, took it apart, and the nylon mainspring guide in mine was already broken in two. I Super Glued mine, too, and it seems to be pretty solid for now, but I am having one helluva time getting the spring and guide back in the handle. Any suggestions? Bob's Gun Shop ( sells the nylon/plastic guides, but also list them in steel. The steel guides are sold out.

  • Craig

    I just got through working on mine. I think I order the rear blade from Midway but its been five years ago maybe longer. It fit the grove but was to wide for the grove I file it down to fit. The outside look like rabbit ears it it was so wide so I grind the outside down a good bit then used a file to complete. It's not like new but it works for plinking.

  • Carley

    I have a model 929 SN# T22214 I would like to know when it was built. It has white/black marble grips.

  • ME

    Has anyone heard of a model 929 with a 3 3/8″ barrel?

  • Beasley

    Where is serial # on the 929?

    • MR_22

      I just saw one of these in my local Cabellas and put it on layaway today. The serial number on this one (and it looks just like the above one) was at the base of the butt on the bottom.

  • Alisa

    I have a model 929 Side Kick… sn# starts with the letter “U” wondering how old it is?

  • jeremy

    I would just love to know where to get a good belly band holster for it. As a present to someone that has one

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