Shooting illustrated | Why was the Smith & Wesson Model 19 revolver so popular with law enforcement?
Recently the completion of the article on the seven best law enforcement revolvers got me in a nostalgic mood. Of all the Sixguns I mentioned in the article, the Smith & Wesson Model 19 was my lifelong favorite.
I was using a borrowed Colt DA revolver when I first donned a Texas peace officer’s badge. I did notice, however, that most of our officers were using Smith & Wessons and the best shots in the department were wearing the Smith & Wesson Model 19. I was also a huge fan of Bill Jordans – we later became friends and hunting enthusiasts – and he was the one who encouraged S&W to make the gun in the first place. You can bet that once I saved enough money I would pack a 4-inch Model 19 as my main weapon.
What I liked about this particular Smith & Wesson was that it was pretty accurate and had a pretty smooth action right out of the box. After my gunsmith finished polishing the innards, it soon had an even smoother effect. The gun also fit in my hand. The best test, however, was the fact that I simply shot extremely well compared to a number of other DA revolvers I have available.
When I was promoted to detective, I also had a 2 1/2-inch Model 19 for an off-duty gun. In civilian clothes, this version became my primary packing pistol. I was also a little surprised to find out that the 2 1/2 “cannon would stay within a couple of points of the 4” cannon in terms of score during our 50 yard qualification course. I liked the round butt and the shorter barrel, but the acid test was that I just shot well.
Since retiring from law enforcement, I’ve found my automatic pistols stay on the shelf and I tend to wear the 2 1/2 inch Model 19 most of the time. I keep it loaded with either the Federal Hydra-Shok + P charge or the Speer Personal Protection-Short Barrel charge. And in my pocket I also have a couple of shotgun shells for those close encounters with rattlesnakes.
If you said that I’m excited about Model 19, that would be a correct statement. I have a 4 “gun, two of the 2 1/2” versions, and a 3 “Model 66. In addition to having been by my side on some exciting law enforcement adventures, I’ve used the guns, to kill wild pigs, coyotes, innumerable rattlesnakes and a bobcat or two. It is hard to give up a loyal companion, and I have no intention of doing so.