This High Standard model S-101 Supermatic was shipped from the factory in early March of 1956. The S-101 Supermatic is a self-loading, recoil operated, semi-automatic pistol that is chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. The pistol has a blued finish and weighs in at 43 ounces. This internal hammer fired pistol incorporates a Patridge type sighting system which includes a front sight that is mounted on a ramp and a rear sight that is adjustable for both windage and elevation. It is fed by a single column 10 round detachable box magazine. On the pistol's butt there is a European style heel magazine release. This pistol has an easily removable 6 3/4 inch heavy round barrel that incorporates a muzzle brake or stabilizer with one slot milled on either side of the front sight as seen in the pictures below. The pistol has a slide hold open feature to inform the operator that the last round has been fired and to facilitate reloading when a fresh magazine has been installed. The grip panels are a checkered hard plastic and sport the High Standard logo on the bottom rear of the grip. The right grip panel has a molded thumb rest for right hand shooters. The trigger along with both the front and back straps are ribbed.
The High Standard S-101 series were some what of a transitional pistol design. The S-101 was manufactured between 1954 and 1957. In 1956, the S-101 with the 6 3/4 inch barrel had a retail price tag of $78.00 and was catalog number 9119. These pistols were the first from the company to use the push button takedown system while keeping the dovetailed slot from the earlier series guns where the barrel slid on the frame. Then in 1958 the 102 series kept the new push button takedown system but made it larger for ease of use. The 102 series also did away with the dovetail assembly and replaced it with a stud that fit in a recess on the frame.
A brief history of the High Standard company.
The High Standard manufacturing company was founded in 1926 by Carl Swebilius and Gustav Beck as a supplier of deep hole drills and specialty machines tools. Later, they purchased the Hartford Arms and Equipment Company in 1932 and started production of pistols chambered in .22 caliber. Development continued and large numbers of .22 caliber pistols were sold to the U.S. Government during WWII which were used to train servicemen and women. During the war, the company also produced thousands of .50 caliber machine guns and machine gun parts for the U.S. military.
As the company grew, its product line included such items as derringers, .22 caliber revolvers and rifles, and both sporting and police shotguns. The company also manufactured the J.C. Higgins line for the Sears, Roebuck, Company. The original High Standard plant was located in New Haven, CT. from 1932 until 1952 when they moved to a larger facility at Hamden, CT. The company also had a second Hamden, CT. plant that was in operation from 1940 through 1949.
In 1968, the company was sold to the Leisure Group Inc., but the timing of this purchase could not have been worse for the new owners. The Gun Control Act of 1968 caused nearly 60% of High Standard's customers which were the retailers to drastically curtail firearms sales. This dramatic loss of business forced High Standard to downsize and by 1975, the Hamden plant and the company museum were sold.
The company relocated to a more modern and leased facility at East Hartford in 1976. The company president, Clem Confessore and a group of investors bought High Standard from the Leisure Group in 1978. During this time the company was still having some trouble and borrowing started to increase but sales did not. By the early 1980's, sales had slowed to the point that the company began to wind down operations in East Hartford.
In December of 1984, the company assets were auctioned off. Gordon Elliott, who had been the National Parts Distributor for High Standard since the middle 1970's purchased the .22 Target pistols, the Crusader line which included calibers such as .357 and .44 magnum along with .45 Long Colt and the High Standard name and trademarks. A few years later in the spring of 1993, the High Standard Manufacturing Company, Inc. out of Houston, Texas purchased the Company assets and trademarks as well as the .22 Target Pistols. These assets were then transferred from Connecticut to Houston, Texas in July 1993. Soon after the transfer, production started in Houston, TX with the first pistols being shipped out beginning in March of 1994.
Today the company is still located in Houston, Texas but continues its Connecticut roots with their National Parts Distributor, G.W. Elliott Inc., which is located in East Hartford; CT. as well as with Bob Shea who works in their custom gun shop located in North Haven, CT.
Did you know that in 1960, the Gold Medal in the Olympic Rapid Fire competition was won by Colonel William McMillan who used a High Standard pistol for this event? This is the only Gold Medal won using an American made firearm in this event. The High Standard company of today is continuing on with this tradition and their "Choice of the Champions" firearm products are among the best and finest produced today.