Wednesday, May 19, 2010
It's time again for the Smith of the Week and this time I've got a triple-header, the Smith & Wesson Models 36, 38 and .40, all .38 Special snubbies and all three are "No Dash" models meaning they are the first series of manufacture before engineering changes led to 36-1 et c.
First up is the S&W 36(No Dash) known as the Chief's Special, presumably because police chiefs liked it. It's an all-blue-steel square-butt J-frame with an exposed hammer, making it a double-action/single-action 5-shot revolver.
It's later progeny are the S&W 37 Airweight, same snubby with a blue alloy frame, and the 637 Airweight, same with a stainless-finish alloy frame.
Then we have the S&W 38(No Dash) Airweight Bodyguard, a blue-alloy-frame snubby with a shrouded hammer, the little nub of a spur sticking up above the shroud allows you to cock it for single-action but protects the spur from snagging when you need a fast draw. So far as I can determine, there was no all-steel version of the Bodyguard, it began as a blue-alloy Airweight. The later stainless-alloy version is the S&W 638.
Then last you have the S&W 40(No Dash) which is called the Centennial Model, which means it musta come out 100 years from something, I have no idea from what in S&W history. It has a fully enclosed hammer and is double-action-only. It's all steel with a grip safety. The alloy version S&W 42 Airweight kept the grip safety, but the stainless-alloy version, the S&W 642, eliminated the grip safety. Don't ask me why 'cause I don't know.
So there's your quick tour of the three hammer styles of S&W snubby revolvers, Chief's Special with the fully exposed hammer, Bodyguard with shrouded hammer and Centennial with fully enclosed hammer.