Have you heard of J-frame, Chief’s Special, or the Model 36?All those refer to the classic S&W Model 36 Chief’s Special revolver.Some argue that, back in the 50s, Smith and Wesson was distracted with the demand for service guns for police and military units and so neglected keeping up with Colt in the concealed carry handgun market.
So Smith beefed up their I frame and came up with a revolver, only slightly larger, that could handle the harder-hitting .38 round to finally gave Colt meaningful competition in the CCW arena.
The gun was unveiled at the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 1950 and the name, “Chief’s Special,” stuck.
In 1957, Smith and Wesson’s new J-frame wheel gun was renamed the Model 36, but I’ll just stick with calling it the Chief’s Special for this review.
The world of concealed handguns has not been the same since The Chief’s Special, and its many descendants and copies continue to be sold and carried today.
The Chief’s Special is a conventional double action revolver with an exposed hammer that allows for both single action (cocking the hammer and pulling the trigger) and double action (pulling the trigger without cocking the hammer).
Its also features S&W’s conventional swing-out cylinder that holds five .38 Special rounds.Finishes and grips have varied over the years, but the traditional model featuers walnut grips and a blued finish.New production models run about 0 but a good vintage model can be had for as little as 0.Shooting As a concealed carry gun, the Chief’s Special was designed to save lives.Its small frame and approximate 20 ounce weight is easy to tote around.The walnut grips make for a snag-free draw and fire.