Back in the beginning when I arrived in SEA, I saw the need for a weapon up country that actually worked as advertised. The .45 ACPs could do this but, as with all semi-autos, they became a casualty of red clay. It got into everything including the gas tanks on the aircraft and was the reason for more than one unscheduled engine shutdown.
On the other side of the fence, no one checked to see what you carried and whether it had approved ball ammunition. I had a choice of a .38 M&P, a FN Hi-Power or a S&W Mod 39 in 9mm. I asked a sibling to send me this one with 500 rounds of 158-grain jacketed hollowpoints. It was purchased at an unknown San Francisco gun shop (back when such a thing existed) in early July 1970. I brought it home with me in 1972 under my fatigue shirt in its shoulder holster. Like all AirAm gunslingers, we notched the butt when a memorable event occurred.
Cost in 1970? $89.95 NIB with BankAmericard. Shoulder holster free with the purchase of 500 rounds of ammo. Footlocker value in 2012? Priceless.
Back in 1993 when you could take guns to school legally, my daughter took this for her high school history “show and tell”. I delivered it to the front office and they took it up to the classroom and gave it to her. She brought it home with her that afternoon in her backpack. The times they are a changing.