Smith and Wesson

This category contains 10 posts

It’s BA-ACK! (Almost)

There are a number of items that have come and gone during my adult life as a ‘gunnie’.  The Snik holster, and The Randall (Mirror-Image) Left-Handed 1911 are two examples.

A third would be the Auto-Mag.  An early effort to put revolver-powered cartridges into a semiautomatic frame.  With a larger capacity, of course.  🙂

As with it’s revolver counterparts (the S&W Model 29 and Colt Anaconda) it’s designed primarily for hunting.  But you know some fools (and larger folks) will carry them concealed.

Because they can!

The Firearm Blog had this, recently (in part):


If you’re even passingly familiar with Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of Dirty Harry then you’re also familiar with his trademark .44 Magnum (the – at the time – so-called most powerful handgun in the world). And if you’re familiar with “Sudden Impact”, the fourth movie in the Dirty Harry series, maybe you also know about the Auto Mag. Or perhaps you know about the Auto Mag because it’s a badass pistol we’ve been promised another chance at more than once since its movie heyday. So where do things stand as of now?

First, a little company-related background. The original Auto Mag went out of production more than three decades ago. Manufacturing costs apparently outweighed sales profits which eventually led to the pistol’s initial demise which led to a revival as a collector’s item complete with higher price tag. Many attempts were made to keep the gun on the market but in 1982, it all came to a grinding halt. Then, last year, a private investor decided to get involved. They purchased the rights, plans, and even leftover components before setting to work bringing back the Auto Mag. Now, as we edge into the fall of 2016, it looks as though progress has indeed been made.

As of August 2016, Auto Mag is an officially registered trademark. The company is offering the lucky devils who already own Auto Mags their refurbishing services and caliber conversion kits will be offered soon as well. What calibers? We don’t know yet, but you can be sure we’ll let you know when we do. As for future Auto Mag owners, your day will come once the prototype is complete. Firearm manufacturing has come a long way since 1982 in more than a few ways, meaning the new company has to take everything into consideration from metallurgy to machining.

One good move Auto Mag has made is the choice to bring Laura Burgess Marketing (LBM) in to handle the media and marketing side. Marketing matters far more than many people realize – more than even some companies even seem to comprehend – and LBM is a solid choice. LBM will undoubtedly do their part to spread awareness of the pistol’s impending resurrection and will also keep us in the loop regarding future developments.

I don’t expect to see this pistol hit production-ready status until year’s end, but it’s worth the wait. I, for one, am looking forward to trying my hand at the Auto Mag. Who’s with me?

You can keep an eye on the Auto Mag by visiting this link:

Some years back, Jeff Cooper was asked what would be the purpose of making such a firearm.  His answer?  To sell, of course!

Not A Gunsmith

And cannot afford one!


I AM a learner, albeit a slow one.  After shooting a friend’s Smith & Wesson J-Frame Monday last ( 🙂 ), I’m considering improving the trigger pull on mine.

You see, I generally prefer STOCK guns.  When I had my Browning High Power, I purposely DID NOT REMOVE the magazine safety, as it was the way the gun was manufactured.  (Yes, I know it improves trigger pull, yadda yadda…)

I’ve been carrying my S&W model 442 – electroless nickel for going on 22 years.  With the stock trigger (15 pounds?).  Because that’s the way it came.  And I shoot ‘okay’ with her.

HOWEVER, my friend’s revolver had a trigger-job done on his.  And the result was amazing.  I inquired if he ever had a problem with lack-of-ignition.  He replied in the negative.

As stated before, I cannot afford an over-priced dilettante the services of a gunsmith.

Off to the Brownell’s website!

They have all manner of replacement spring kits for S&W J-Frames – including a Wilson version with one (7 1/2 pound?) mainspring and three choices of trigger return spring weight!

For under $10 !!!

And, while I’m not the most mechanically-adept (insert laughter here, Dave!) I do know how to remove the side plate and remove/replace springs.

My questions are – is this a good deal?  Beneficial to the gun’s function?  Are there other choices out there of similar cost that are better?

I figure minimally, I get to detail clean and lube the revolver and possibly improve function.

Inquiring minds want to know.


Better shape than mine…

This just in – I gave in and ordered the Wilson kit yesterday!  😛


Smith & Wesson and Brownell’s gave me nothing!  Go Away FTC!

Is Your Caliber Going The Way Of The Buggy Whip?

or even 5.75 mm Velo Dog?

a velo-dog revolver

a velo-dog revolver

When I came of (gun) age, the premier cartridge in my circle was .357 Magnum.  This was because it was what most law enforcement folks carried – revolvers. (early 1970’s)

Of course, .38 Special was utilized for practice, because it was easier on the gun AND the shooter.  And less expensive to shoot.

Semiautomatic pistols were just making their way into law enforcement, with 9 mm Smith & Wesson double actions leading the charge.  Single action autos, like the venerable Colt 1911 in .45 ACP, were thought to be at best finicky and unreliable.

Besides, cops carried revolvers and bad guys carried semis.  This is what was view as TRUTH.

But with the advancements in metallurgy and polymers, different ammunition and projectors were soon to be seen.  Most notably Glock and Beretta, in 9 mm.  And after the infamous FBI Miami shootout, the development of the 10 mm, which was later truncated into the .40 S&W.

Carried in DAO and striker-fired weapons, because it was believed genpop recruits (including some small Asians and women) couldn’t safely handle 10 mm or single-action autos!

Even though the military had been teaching single-action autos in .45 ACP for over 70 years!

Recent developments have shown that .45 is not as efficient as once touted.  And even federal law enforcement has reverted back to 9 mm over the .40.

And I have it on good authority that even (some) Gunsite instructors decided to shoot 9 mm instead of .45 ACP, and use Isosceles over Weaver stance!  Col. Cooper must be spinning in his grave.

Time marches on.  As does technology.

Do you carry the ‘latest’ ammo in the ‘most advanced’ machine?

Or are you an old-school guy like me?  🙂

Well, I guess I’ll be moseyin’ down to my buggy, whip and 1911 in hand.

Velo Dog just isn’t big enough for me.

Reinventing The Wheel

Or wheelgun stocks…

Now, there are those who might suggest that a new-fangled revolver stock* is akin to a better buggy whip.  No one uses revolvers, anymore!

Except, many do.

stocksMany have complained for years that the traditional trumpet-shaped revolver stock may be esthetically pleasing, but poor in design execution. After all, as recoil makes the muzzle rise, the revolver rotates up toward the more narrow part of the design.

Hardly designed for gripping the revolver well.

I like both revolvers and semiautomatics.  And I’m a big believer in having choices – the whole marketplace of goods, services and ideas.

SO, if you carry a J-Frame Smith revolver, you might look at this stock* design…

GEAR REVIEW: Ergo Grip for the J-Frame

Into the Fray Episode 92: Ergo Grip for the J-Frame – I don’t believe a gun should “punish” you when you’re shooting it. Sometimes, you have to make adjustments.

| DECEMBER 14, 2015

Looking for a comfortable grip for your small-framed revolver? Ergo Grip might just be the answer. This is a totally new and radical design when it comes to a grip for a revolver, but it is easy to install, inexpensive, and oh-so-comfortable to shoot.

On Target

Replace the grip with just one screw and start shooting in minutes. If you don’t like the standard grip on a small revolver, try this one by Ergo.

*stocks (with apologies to Kevin and Ergo for their use of the word grips) – the wooden, rubber, ivory, plastic, stag (or other material) furniture affixed to the firearm – in this case, a revolver’s grip frame. One grips the grip frame via the stocks.  (per Jeff Cooper)  This is a bugaboo with me, akin to people who say clip when they mean magazine!

FTC:  neither ERGO nor Smith & Wesson gave me anything!

Martial Cultism

What is Martial Cultism?

It is the belief that your particular skill, machine, tool or system is better, even if evidence exists to the contrary.

We see snippets of this constantly in gun magazines, self-defense magazines and on-line bulletin boards.

  • .45 versus 9mm (or .38, .357 or .40)
  • semiautomatic versus revolver
  • taekwondo versus shotokan (or gung fu, muy tai, or the myriad other fighting styles)
  • shotgun versus rifle
  • Colt versus Smith & Wesson

ad infinitum, ad nauseum

KEADS posted a snippet of this on Facebook the other day.  Seems a student was lauding his Kimber to the exclusion of all others (?)  I asked if this was pre or post MIM parts?  ;-P

Reminiscent of the pre-64 Winchester Rifle discussions of my youth.

Or a high school discussion I had with a learned friend regarding European Medieval Swords versus Japanese Swords.  Or as he put it, The Cult of The Japanese Sword.

Recently both the U.S. Military and the FBI have endorsed converting to 9mm hollow points (from .40 S&W and .45 ACP), as the newer 9mm showed better stopping power. then the wider, heavier ammunition.

It appears as though a new cult has formed.

Frankly, I’d like to see the data.  If it’s inanimate, like gelatin, I’m not certain of their conclusion.

Colt We Hardly Knew Ye

coltNo, that’s not true.  We did!  We did know ye!

“Gun maker Colt Defense LLC plans to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by Monday (yesterday), according to people familiar with the matter, amid business and accounting troubles. The company has secured financing to continue operating while in bankruptcy and expects to remain in business after the restructuring, the people said.” The combination of years of indifference toward the civilian market combined and the gut-punch that was losing most of its military AR business have finally caught up to Colt . . .(WSJ)

A company with a long tradition, filing it’s second bankruptcy in a little over 20 years.

Back-in-the-day, when the standards battling for market share were largely Colt and Smith & Wesson, I always thought of Smith as the Chevy or Ford, and Colt as the Cadillac or Lincoln.  A little nicer finish, perhaps, but way overpriced.  Always wanted a Dick Special and a Python.  Could never afford them.  (I am fortunate to have a National Match upper for my 1911!)

And, what the WSJ says is true!  Colt kept vying for the military market, and ignoring it’s civilian base.  And the military market went elsewhere.

A Python and Detective Special in my future?  Probably not.

“Do you feel LUCKY?”

“Well, do ya, punk?”

Most firearms and film aficionados will recognize the quote snippet above.  For the uninitiated, it’s Clint Eastwood as Inspector ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan.  Spoken while pointing his 6″ Smith & Wesson model 29 .44 magnum at a wounded bank robbery suspect’s head.  One of his more (in)famous tag lines.

The Smith & Wesson was developed in the 1950s as a hunting handgun.  Knowledgeable gun folks understood it was too heavy and bulky to carry for self-protection.  And the full-house rounds was well, stout, when shooting.

But, like many folks who came-of-age in the 60’s and 70’s, the iconic Dirty Harry gun had large appeal.  Just like the Walther PPK of James Bond fame – only MUCH larger!

And, there was a small window in my life where I had the funds to acquire one.  I was ‘smart’ enough to have the 4″ barrel.  And stainless.  It was concealable – or more so than the 6″.  But still big and heavy.

It was the first gun I carried after the State issued me a permit for doing so.  At the mall, just because.  Kind of a field test.  No one saw anything.

But, as with carrying any full-size or service sidearm, it was heavy.  And somewhat difficult to conceal – even for a big guy like me.  Soon, I evolved into carrying a full sized 1911, or a electroless-nickeled S&W 442 for ‘light days’.  And the .44 was returned to the safe.

I did take her shooting a few times to show off.  Mostly with new students.  Very accurate, coupled with much blast and flash. And recoil.

And this is my point.  I found out a while back that many Gunsite-taught folks have changed over to 9mm, instead of the ubiquitous .45 ACP, because they are less painful to shoot!

Could age and infirmity be driving our choices over stopping power?  It certain did over my 629 Smith.  So you gotta ask yourself one question:

Do you feel lucky?

Smith & Wesson 2213 – My Daughter’s Pistol

When Molly was about age six, I took her aside and explained the facts of life.
Not those facts, the fact that her father owned, shot and carried firearms, and had done so for many years.
And, contrary to what she had seen on movies and television, lots of regular folks, just like us, owned guns and enjoyed them.  And when she got old enough, I would see she had one of her own.
We also discussed safety, and had a special phrase, should bad things start to happen, she was to find cover and/or hit-the-deck and cover her ears.
As she got older, she went shooting with me, and with my shooting buddies.  We went to gun shows, gun stores, and hung out with gun people.
It’s not surprising she became interested in guns.  On a couple of shooting range outings, as she wasn’t shooting just yet, she dutifully put on her eyes and ears, and policed brass for the shooters behind the firing line.
They all thanked her and wanted her to return.  Who could have guessed?
Finally came the time I thought she was old enough (age 9).  We borrowed a friend’s Ruger 10/22 and went to the Ben Avery outdoor range.  But, it was way too windy.
So, we drove back into town to the Shooter’s World range.
After we were inside and all set up, we determined that my friend’s man-sized stock was just way too big for her.  He was over 6 feet and 300 pounds, and had replaced the standard stock with something larger.
No shooting that day.
When she turned 10, we went to Phoenix Shooter Supply.  She liked the S&W 2213, all blue.  I liked the stainless, for maintenance reasons, and, it came with a case made for it.  I think she wanted the blue, because it was the same color as Dad’s 1911.
But, Dad won this one.  And we went back to Shooter’s World.
I’d love to be able to say she put them all through a dime-sized hole @ 25 yards, but no.  She was still a new shooter, and had not had the epiphany of focusing on the front sight, yet.  She still watched the target.
But, we had fun, the gun worked flawlessly, and she was anxious to take her pistol out again.
By the time she turned 12, she had graduated to shooting 9mm, .45 ACP, .30 Russian short, and 5.56 mm.
And her skills were improving, slowly.
If you’re a regular reader, you know what happened next.
The 2213 resided in the safe, when it was stolen.
Thankfully, the memories were not.

The Smith & Wesson 625, Model of 1989 5" Revolver

I always kind-of liked the .45 ACP revolvers.  I don’t know if it was because they were revolvers in my favorite semiautomatic pistol caliber, or because of their history, or both.
After the U.S. Military adopted the .45 ACP semiautomatic pistol of John Moses Browning (PBUH) in 1911, production was fairly slow, what with no war, and all.
Suddenly, WWI broke out, and while production increased, it just couldn’t keep up.  And the War Department had plenty of ammunition in .45 ACP, but not enough guns to use it in.
Some enterprising individual decided to incorporate moon clips to hold the rimless cartridges in place, and then they could be used in revolvers.  Some were bored out to take the cartridge, some manufactured from scratch, because production was quicker than building a whole new 1911 pistol.
Clips holding two and three cartridges were utilized.  Later, full moon clips were developed for the civilian market.  A surprising side-effect of the full moon clips was one could reload these revolvers somewhat rapidly (with practice).
I used to know skilled IPSC competitor who could change moon clips in his 1917 revolver, shot-to-shot, as rapidly as most average shooters could change magazines in a semiautomatic pistol.
When Smith & Wesson came out with the ‘Model of 1989’, I had to have one.  Five inch barrel, full under barrel lug, stainless.  What was not to like? 
The problem?  I was no longer competing.  And, while I did have a custom holster maker build me a concealment holster for N Frame Smiths, this N Frame with the full under lug was just too much gun to conceal easily, especially in Phoenix in the Summer.

So, she became another safe queen.  And like the others, is now long gone.

Another Student’s Adventure…

Then, from work, was another shooting student I’ll call Traci.  Traci was a tall, modelesque young woman, who unfortunately had gained serious weight after her teen modeling years.  Now in early 30’s, she was looking to better protect herself.  And, she was referred to me by another work shooting student.
Like me, she lived in an older, ‘not-so-nice’ part of town, just off a main thoroughfare.  Her neighborhood was just a block away from a bar.  And her rented house faced an alley, not an actual street.  A recipe for problems, if I ever saw one.  She had been looking to move.
I trained her in the basics, introducing her first to .38, then to the 9mm, then the .357 and .45.  Most of my students historically, took to the .45.  I suspect this was because it was what I carried, had an affinity for, and leaned toward in the instruction about calibers, stopping power, and Col. Cooper’s teachings.
We’d also done a little unarmed training.
Then, she told me she saw ‘the gun of her dreams’ in a pawn shop, and that was what she was going to buy and carry.  A Smith & Wesson Combat Magnum .357, blue, 2 1/2 barrel!
She’d shot my Model 65, but I’d never dreamed she was leaning toward a revolver.  A .357 revolver snubbie, at that!
Like some students, she liked the blast and flash.  Literally!
She acquired the revolver, and we shot it a few times for familiarization.  She named it her “Little Buddy”.
Some months later, she told me the story of an encounter she had experienced.
She left her house one night, walking in to the dark alley.  Dressed to the nines, evening gown, tiny purse (containing ‘Little Buddy’ and not much else) and stiletto heels.

Just as she got into the alley, a male assailant grabbed her from behind.
We keep hearing we revert to our training in times of stress.
She screamed, stepped backward, placing all her somewhat significant weight with her stiletto heel on the man’s instep.  He released his bear hug, yelled, and fell backward.  She stepped forward, spun around, and cleared her Smith from the purse.  She was now in full-Weaver stance presentation.  I’m certain, even in the blackness, she appeared quite formidable.  The assailant scrambled off, limping hurriedly away.
I asked if she called the PD.  She said no, as she didn’t have much of a description of the bad guy (except the limp) as it was quite dark.  And, she’d not been carrying legally, anyway – no permit, yet.
She did move shortly after.
Always have a gun.  Or at least, a stiletto.

h/t ‘Traci’

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…