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Smith & Wesson Model 19 .357 Magnum: A Classic Self Defense Gun

Smith & Wesson Model 19

Smith & Wesson is arguably one of the most well-known revolver manufacturers in American history. It’s no wonder why. The Springfield, Massachusetts-based firm has been in the firearm manufacturing business for nearly 170 years — a testament to their long and storied heritage. Although the company does build pistols and rifles, it’s their revolvers that are particularly noteworthy.

Smith & Wesson’s classics line are revolvers “enhanced with modern internal components, but mimic the look and feel of classic models,” for an updated — and still quite powerful — revolver. One of these is the Model 19.

Smith & Wesson’s Model 19 has a classic look: full-sized Walnut grips, a polished blued finish, as well as a classic thumbpiece. The revolver is chambered in .357 Magnum, a powerful magnum cartridge, though it can also chamber .38 Special cartridges, a cartridge with the same bullet diameter, though of lesser power.

For weekend plinkers, the chamber flexibility the Model 19 offers is a great choice, as the .38 Special produces significantly less recoil than its larger .357 Magnum counterpart. Like most classic revolvers, the Model 19’s cylinder can accommodate 6 cartridges. The also comes standard with a red ramp front sight as well as a black blade adjustable rear sight.

The Model 19’s development history is fascinating. Smith & Wesson introduced the revolver of the famous American lawman Bill Jordan, a Marine and avid outdoorsman who worked closely with the company to develop the revolver. From the outset, the Model 19 was to be the idea revolver for a law enforcement officer, and to that end, Smith & Wesson experimented with a variety of frame and cylinder materials, as well as barrel lengths. 

According to Smith & Wesson’s website, the Model 19 is currently available in just a single variant with a 4.25” barrel, and while the barrel is made of stainless steel, both the frame as well as the cylinder are made of blued carbon steel, necessitating close amount of attention and cleaning in order to prevent long-term corrosion.

The Model 19 combines classic, clean revolver lines with the powerful .357 Magnum cartridge, and although it is backed by Smith & Wesson’s lifetime warranty, the Model 19 is modestly priced at $863.00 on the Smith & Wesson website.

Smith & Wesson has done a good job at resurrecting a classic revolver at an attractive price point. For those looking to have one of the world’s best-made revolvers as well as a piece of history at a price that will not break the bank — look no further.

Caleb Larson is a Defense Writer based in Europe. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European defense issues, and German politics and culture.

Written By

Caleb Larson, a defense journalist based in Europe and holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. He lives in Berlin and writes on U.S. and Russian foreign and defense policy, German politics and culture.



  1. Bill

    May 17, 2021 at 7:57 am

    Too bad they don’t make the 2.5 inch version. I carried one for 19 years with the USSS. First thing though, junk the wooden grips and get some pachmeyers, if the still make them.

  2. Big Jake

    May 17, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Bill Jordan wasn’t just a lawman (that’s a Wikipedia line). He was a member of the Green Machine, the U.S. Border Patrol, and played a huge role in making them the greatest pistol shooters of any civilian agency out there. This remained true for decades after he retired.


  3. Randall Bohannon

    May 17, 2021 at 10:01 am

    Several things need to added to this article regarding the S&W Mdl. 19 . First there is the tremendous differences between Mdl 19 and Mdl. 19- 5,7 or whatever engineering changes are made up to now. Current models have the ‘Hillary Hole’ a stupid lock, sharp edges abound in various areas where you will put your fingers. No longer pinned barrels, recessed chambers,magnificent polishing and bluing of the guns up until the 80’s. New ones are not the old ones.

  4. Rick

    May 17, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Talk about a puff piece, about as shallow as you can get. Where to start? Bill Jordon is best known for being a Marine and outdoorsman – not as a legendary Border Patrol officer, demonstrator shooter, and expert on gunfighting and surviving gunfights.

    How about the pithy line about how handguns not made of stainless steel need close attention and detailed cleaning if they hope to survive rather than fall into corrosive ruin. Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of cops who carried revolvers for decades, long before stainless steel was an option, with the usual lack of attention cops of that era gave to firearms care and maintenance.

    It’s almost like an article written by a European who really doesn’t know a hell of a lot about firearms. But then, it got me to click and comment, helping to monetize his scribbling – so I guess the article is a success from a business perspective.

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