The Smith & Wesson Model 19, originally called the "Combat Magnum," was the brainchild of a man named Bill Jordan. He requested that Smith & Wesson create a revolver for the "hot" .357 Magnum round specifically geared towards law-enforcement usage. The revolver should be based on the current medium-frame (K-frame) platform, have a heavy barrel, adjustable sights, and many other niceties that would make the sidearm a nice-shooting piece. Eventually, a semi-target hammer and other refined parts were included in the final design, later re-designated the Model 19. The Model 66, very similar to the Model 19 except made from stainless steel, joined the line-up later.
I've wanted a "classic" revolver for a while now. I just happened to luck in to this one. A local police officer posted to a local mailing list about some firearms he had for sale, and a friend of mine forwarded his post to me. I contacted him in order to see about setting up a time to examine the revolver. We met on 2006-mar-13, the revolver was in good shape and was exactly as he described. A deal was struck, and the gun was mine for $250.
The pistol was originally an Illinois Department of Corrections officer's sidearm. It came with a set of wood grips that look like they were designed for the revolver, but it is not known if the wood grips are the original grips. The rest is as-delivered: black ramp front sight, adjustable rear sight, 4" heavy barrel, .357 Magnum, blued, combat trigger and combat hammer. With the pistol I obtained a set of early Pachmayr rubber pistol grips, which are much more comfortable (although have a lot less "character") than the wood grips. I believe the pistol spent most of its life in a holster and wasn't shot much at all. It has some obvious wear to the bluing, but otherwise looks to be reasonably unmolested.
The revolver is a Model 19-3, according to the marking on the frame behind the cylinder arm. That places the revolver's production date somewhere between the beginning of 1967 and the end of 1977. The revolver has the serrated trigger, but apparently later on the Model 19 became available with a smooth trigger. The serrated trigger came on the "combat" models, while the smooth trigger came on the "target" models.
Here's a pic of the revolver with the original wood grips.
Here's how it looks now, with the Pachmayr grips.
I'm looking forward to taking the Model 19 out to the range to see how it does. I'll probably run .38 Specials through her most of the time, but I may get a wild hair and decide to run heavier, slower .357 Magnum rounds through her every now and then. If my state ever grows a backbone and allows its citizens to carry concealed weapons instead of only the individuals (like Chicago aldermen, etc.) that think their lives are worth more than average citizens' lives, I'd give serious thought to carrying this revolver.
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Page modified 20080910 15:50.
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