It was seen in the Beverly Hills Cop film series.
The Smith & Wesson K-38 Combat Masterpiece Revolver Model 15 is a derivative of the classic 1899 K-frame (medium frame) Military and Police .38 S&W Special (aka .38 Special) six-shot double action revolver. The M&P underwent steady evolution throughout the 20th century and S&W spun off several variations as separate models in the post World War II years. One of these was the K-38 Target Masterpiece, which began production in 1947. The Target Masterpiece included a number of new and/or special features, including a six-inch barrel with a narrow rib to provide a level sight plane, a Patridge front sight, a micrometer click rear sight, S&W’s .375” short-throw hammer, a trigger adjustment for overtravel, and improved grips. Noting the accuracy of the Target Masterpiece, a number of police departments and the FBI soon requested the same revolver with a four inch barrel and a Baughman Quick Draw front sight. The result was the K-38 Combat Masterpiece. The major distinction between the K-38 Target Masterpiece and the K-38 Combat Masterpiece is the barrel length and the front sight.
In 1957 the K-38 Combat Masterpiece was renamed the Model 15 when all Smith & Wesson revolvers were given numerical model numbers. (The Military & Police and the Target Masterpiece were renamed the Model 10 and Model 14 respectively.) The model number is stamped on the frame behind the cylinder yoke, so it is visible (only) when the cylinder is open. A number of production and engineering changes have been made throughout the years, some of which are noted by a dash number suffixed to the Model number (15-1, -2, -3).
Over the years the Model 15 has been produced with several barrel lengths, with 4" (standard) and 2" (1964–1988) being the most common. In 1972 S&W released a stainless steel version as the Model 67. In 1997 the hammer and internal lockworks were modified from an on-the-hammer firing pin / internal hammer block to a floating firing pin / MIM flat hammer / transfer bar safety design.
The Model 15 was a popular sidearm for law enforcement and was the standard issue sidearm of the U.S. Air Force Police from 1962 until 1992 when it was replaced by the Beretta M9 pistol.
Production of the Model 15 was discontinued in 1999 when Smith & Wesson was purchased and reorganized, although a couple limited run “Heritage Series” models were released in 2001 and 2002. In 2011 Smith & Wesson re-introduced the Model 15 (15-10) under their Classics Revolvers line, newly machined, with a shrouded redesigned barrel, and a built-in trigger lock (located just above the cylinder release thumbpiece on the left side).
Originally known as the K-38 Combat Masterpiece, it was renamed the Model 15 in 1957 when all Smith & Wesson revolvers were given numerical model numbers. It is a shorter barrel version of the Smith & Wesson Model 14 Target Masterpiece and essentially an adjustable-sight version of the seminal Smith & Wesson Model 10 ("Military and Police") revolver with target shooting features such as a heavier, more visually pleasing barrel. The main production run of the Model 15 was from 1949 through 1999. It was discontinued for approximately a decade until 2011, when a re-tooled version was re-released under S&W's Classics Revolvers line.