Founded in 1856, Smith & Wesson is one of the best-known gun manufacturers in the United States. The company is based in Springfield, MA, and they take pride in having something for everyone. Smith & Wesson is known for its craftsmanship regardless of whether someone is looking at their pistols, revolvers, rifles, or even one of their many accessories.
All of Smith & Wesson’s revolvers are based on the company’s Hand Ejector line, which started in 1896. The first revolver that Smith & Wesson created was the .32 Hand Ejector but was soon followed by the .38 Special Hand Ejector. Both were marketed as sidearms for law enforcement as police departments were a driving force of the handgun market at the time. The ammunition of the .32 Hand Ejector was soon found to be underpowered for law enforcement needs.
The popularity of the .38 Special led to a demand for short-nosed revolvers, and Smith & Wesson were more than happy to comply. Unfortunately for the company, the I-frame models they were using were unable to handle the same ammunition used by the .38 Special as their cylinder was not long enough. Even though the .32 Hand Ejector’s ammunition is known as .32 Long, it is the shorter ammunition.
In 1950, Smith & Wesson created a new frame, the J-frame. This frame was very similar to the I-frame, but the J-frame had a longer cylinder, and it was able to handle the .38 Special ammunition. In 1961, the I-frame was discontinued, and any future short-nosed revolvers were produced using the J-frame.
The details of snub nose revolvers have evolved since they were initially brought to the market. For instance, the trigger is now smooth, where it was originally serrated. Both the rear notch and front ramp of the sights are more narrow, but some have said this is not as efficient when the guns are being used at close range. The original checkered walnut grips are gone, many grip styles having replaced them, and there are also aftermarket options.
Smith & Wesson snub nose revolvers have come a long way since their debuts. Originally made with law enforcement in mind, the guns are now popular with many people, and each gun owner can customize the guns to their own desires.