You have to admit, the Model 19 Combat Magnum was about as perfect as it came in a carry revolver. They were also easy on the eyes.
Designed with input from an early legend in the gun community, the Smith & Wesson M19 has been a hit with wheel gun aficionados for generations.
To get the appeal of the Model 19, understand that S&W first debuted their medium-framed swing-out cylinder revolvers, known today as K-frames, back in the late 1890s with the Hand Ejector and Military & Police models. Then came the larger N-frame hog legs in 1907 with the advent of the Triple Lock or New Century. While the “Ks” typically ran in .32 to .38 calibers, the “Ns” were offered in beefier chamberings like .44 Special and .44 Russian. Fast forward to the 1930s and when the dream team of Elmer Keith, Phillip Sharpe, and D. B. Wesson joined forces to create the .357 Magnum cartridge, they developed an N-frame model to run it, the Model 27.
And so, it remained for decades until S&W heard from a WWII and Korean War-veteran Marine officer and U.S. Border Patrol supervisor, William “Bill” Jordan, about the what would make the perfect “combat” duty revolver.
In short, Jordan advocated a K-frame-sized double-action chambered .357. While today these seems as logical as peanut butter and jelly, it was revolutionary at the time and, after some R&D and trial and error, the K-framed Combat Magnum was created in 1955
Outfitted with a shrouded barrel with an enclosed ejector rod and an adjustable rear sight, the Combat Magnum that hit S&Ws catalog in the mid-1950s was built on a 4-screw frame with a square butt. The frame sported a larger yoke and a fluted cylinder that had been counterbored. Unlike the Model 27 which was offered in numerous barrel lengths, the original Combat Magnum only came in a 4-inch format as standard.
While a nickel finish was offered, most were in Smith’s bright blue finish of the time.
In regular production until 1999, the guns were later made with both square and round butts and in 2.5-, 4-, and 6-inch barrel formats across eight generations.