Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum. The Legendary Police Revolvers, and the Chief Special.
The famous Smith & Wesson
original .357 Magnum Revolver was developed primarily for use by law
enforcement personnel. The first registered Magnum was
presented to the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover. In 1935,
at the height of the Great Depression, Smith & Wesson began
production of the .357, even though they feared they would have a
lackluster response to the pistol's introduction, because of the high
production cost which had to be passed on to buyers. The Magnum was much more expensive than other pistols of its day. The economic restraint of the Depression didn't help. For these reasons, their original plans called for a limited production run.
To their surprise, demand for the .357
Magnum Revolver far exceeded
their expectations--so much that they stopped engraving individual
serial numbers on the pistols and issuing certificates of
authenticity. They had to do away with the original plans for
a limited production run. Because of the lack of identifying
marks, to this day, there is confusion identifying all the
different models they produced. The .357 Magnum was later
designated the Model 27, based on its predecessor, the .38 caliber
N-Frame. But you'd have to be a real specialist in order to
identify some of the models that are still in circulation.
Like most arms producers, Smith & Wesson produced such a wide
range of models and variations and in different calibers, that it can
be a challenge just keeping track of them.
The advent of the
automobile had given criminals a new weapon, and accounted for
the runaway popularity of the Magnum. When
confronted by police,bank robbers, gangsters and other
miscreants could simply hide behind their car doors
and blast away. Police officers liked the .357 for
its raw stopping power, and its ability to penetrate car doors and
bullet-proof vests, and still stop or kill the unlucky target who was
unfortunate enough to find himself looking into the business end of the
Magnum. This made the gun a favorite for battling heavily armed
gangsters. No doubt it was the favorite of a few criminals too.
Certainly it was
a lot easier to conceal in a pocket than the Thompson
Sub-Machine Gun--another gangster favorite--whichcouldn't be hidden in
anything smaller than a violin case, and packed no less punch than the
Thompson. The Magnum was produced in 2, 4, 6 and 8-inch
barrel lengths, and several others in-between. Each model provided
levels of accuracy, weight, or concealability, depending on the
preference of the user.
There is no question that the classic eight-inch barrel, large-caliber Magnum revolver is a formidable and intimidating weapon--almost like a hand-held cannon. But the 2-inch barrel version was nothing to sneeze at. It still packed a punch, and was easier to conceal. Production of the .357 Magnum (Model 27) continued until 1994. It was reintroduced in 2008 due to popular demand by enthusiasts. You just can't keep a good gun down.
The .357 Magnum cartridge is basically an elongated version of the .38
caliber. This makes for a lot more powder, which translates into more
punch, velocity and range. It is probably the most powerful cartridge ever made for a handgun, or among the top few. How could Dick Tracy be wrong?
While the .357 Magnum revolver made for a great police firearm, most
law enforcement officers now use the more modern automatics. From my own personal observations, I see a lot of Glocks among police officers. Even though the revolver is mostly old school, having given way to sleek, even robotic-looking automatics, there is still a large cadre of revolver aficionados out there. The Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum lives on.
Nation Of Manufacture: USA
Military Service Dates : 1935-1994 (Reintroduced 2008) Used by Police Forces
Variations: Model 27, N-Frame, J-frame, K-Frame, many others
Ammunition: .357 Center-Fire
Wars: Used by Police Forces
Recent Prices at Auction for Originals: US $500-$3,000
Interested in an authentic replica .357
2",4", 6" or 8" barrel?
We also have Blank-Firing replica .357 Magnum.
We also have a Licensed licensed Smith and Wesson Blank-Firing .357 Magnum Chief Special revolver .
We have also added some new blank-firing replicas of the