There are some good guns that are no longer manufactured that deserve your attention should you find a reasonably priced unit at a gun show, swap meet or even in your favorite gun dealer’s display case. The High Standard Sentinel MK 1 is such a gun.
The High Standard Sentinel MK 1 .22 revolver is one of my favorite handguns for plinking or just carrying along when traveling light through the woods. My particular gun had a four inch barrel, adjustable sights and walnut grips, not bad for an inexpensive revolver. The shrouded ejector rod added to the weight of the barrel, giving the gun a standout look and good pointability. Fully loaded, the Sentinel held 9 rounds of .22 long rifle ammo and, being a revolver, could chamber and fire the .22 short and .22 long cartridges as well. The gun was equipped with a double action trigger, meaning a single long pull of the trigger would fire the gun, or the hammer could be cocked by hand, allowing a shorter trigger pull. Double action was for quick draw practice, while single action was for more accurate work. With a couple of 50 round boxes of ammo in a shirt pocket, an orange soda, a bologna sandwich or two and the Sentinel, a young man was well equipped for a Saturday morning of plinking.
Not that the Sentinel MK 1 wasn’t up to some accurate shooting, because it was a good performing revolver with most of the .22 ammo I fed it, usually Remington Thunderbolts or perhaps Winchester Wildcats, the cheaper brands sold at Kmart and Walmart in those days. Still my favorite use for the Sentinel was killing uppity tin cans. Almost all target shooting is fun to me, but sometimes a paper target is much too formal. On occasion, I like to just plink, enjoying the feel of the trigger and the sudden fall of the hammer, producing the mini roar and recoil of the .22 long rifle cartridge. The Sentinal was one of my favorite guns for that. I still enjoy watching cans jump from the impact of a well placed .22 slug.
I don’t usually recommend .22 revolvers for self defense, especially if there are more powerful guns available to the person in question, but the Sentinel is light and handy, especially the 2 or 3 inch barreled models, and so is a natural for concealed carry. The Sentinel can be carried in a purse, ankle holster or fanny pack, and remain almost unnoticed, even with a hundred rounds of .22 long rifle ammo along for the ride. Try that with your favorite .357 magnum revolver.
The Sentinel has no thumb latch, unlike Smith & Wesson or Ruger revolvers of the day. Instead, a pull of the ejector rod to the front allowed the cylinder to open, then a quick push to the rear ejected all the empty brass or unfired cartridges. Not that I was prone to leave the field with any ammo left unfired. Shooting the Sentinel was too much fun for that.
Now that another manufacturer has taken up the mantle of the High Standard name, it is my hope that the Sentinel MK 1 may someday return in both a blue and a stainless steel version. I can dream, can’t I? Until that time, if you find one of these little beauties at a good price, buy it, you won’t be sorry.