The Model 19

In 1955, Chief Border Patrol Inspector Bill Jordan convinced S&W to come out with an easier to carry .357 Magnum and the result was the Combat Magnum now known as the Model 19. S&W started with their Military & Police .38 Special, specially heat-treated the frame, added a .357 Magnum cylinder and a bull barrel with an enclosed ejector rod. The result was what Bill called “a peace-officers dream.” Carrying a .357 Magnum all day became much easier with the K-Framed version weighing a half pound less than the original .357 Magnum. I have hiked many miles in the hills carrying a much appreciated Combat Magnum.

In the heyday of Bullseye shooting Colt had the target shooter’s first choice in revolvers with the Officers Model Match .38 Special. In 1954 this same basic revolver became the .357 Magnum, and then one year later, the Python emerged. To come up with the beautiful Python, Colt added a heavy underlugged barrel with a ventilated rib to the .357 Magnum, hand honed the action, and finished it in what was then known as Colt Royal Blue. Those original Pythons had 6" barrels and when a 4" version was introduced I lusted over that sixgun as I have never done before or since. When I finally did get one I was very disappointed as I could not shoot it very well; it just didn’t balance right for me. Adding an 8" barrel changed everything, and it’s now one of my favorite, and most accurate sixguns.