Smith & Wesson must have known they had a winner when the first J-frame revolver was built on Oct. 24, 1950. I wonder if they had any idea just how popular these light, compact revolvers would become.
Sixty years later the J-frame Smiths are selling better then ever. These compact revolvers are tremendously popular with private citizens empowered by recent state-legislated “shall issue” carry permits. And although most law enforcement officers now carry autopistols as their primary duty arm, tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of J-frames still serve in a backup role.
The J-frames draw their share of criticism. Critics say they are too small, too short-barreled, too feeble, too hard to shoot, have too much recoil and are too slow to reload. But they do have one big advantage. They are too handy to get left at home.
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