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Talk:Smith & Wesson Model 36 / 38

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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Other variants of the Model 36 / 38 / 49


Gold plated Smith & Wesson Model 36 revolvers with pearl grips and erroneous sound suppressors as seen in Austin Powers in Goldmember - .38 Special.
Smith & Wesson Model 36 (nickel) - .38 Special. This revolver was used by Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in the film Die Hard with a Vengeance.
World IMFDB Exclusive: Screen used Smith & Wesson Model 36 - .38 Special revolver. This non-firing replica weapon is verified as screen used by actor Dominic Chianese in The Sopranos. This gun was used as a stand-in for the virtually identical live firing Rossi Model 68 during part of the sequence where Uncle Junior has a fit of dementia and shoots his nephew Tony Soprano in the stomach in the episode Members Only (6.01). (IMFDB thanks The Golden Closet for providing the documentation on this gun; contact them via their website for more detailed images and purchasing information on this item).
Screen Used Nickel Smith & Wesson Model 38 with Pearl Grips - .38 Special. This is the hero gun used by Lori Petty in Route 666.


Smith & Wesson Model 36 with a 3-inch barrel - .38 Special. This is not a common variant of this revolver.
Smith & Wesson Model 36 revolver with square butt - .38 Special.
Smith & Wesson Model 36 with Pachmayr grips - .38 Special.
Smith & Wesson Model 36-10
Smith & Wesson Model 36-10
An early version of Smith & Wesson "Chief's Special" (later called the Model 36 under S&W's model number system) with round front sight and early 'diamond' grips, using the same barrel as the Smith & Wesson "Terrier" (later called the Model 32). Photo from Smith & Wesson Forums.Com.
Smith & Wesson Pre-Model 36 "Chief's Special" - .38 Special. Note additional frame screw between hammer and cylinder and 'diamond' grips.
Smith & Wesson Model 38 "Bodyguard" - .38 special.
Smith & Wesson Model 49, FBI Issued. Photo courtesy of the N.R.A.
Smith & Wesson Model 36 C - .38 Special.
Nickel plated Smith & Wesson Model 36 with bobbed hammer - .38 Special
Smith & Wesson Model 36 in gold finish - .38 Special
Smith & Wesson Model 36 with pearl grips - .38 Special
Smith & Wesson Model 36 with nickel finish and 3" barrel - .38 Special


Nickel vs. Stainless

There seems to be some confusion in this article, since two of the images of nickel-plated variants are actually stainless variants. Aside from the significant difference in the appearance of the finishes, you can look at the trigger and hammer, both of which are of a stainless appearance on older Smith stainless handguns.

Model 36 vs. CDS

How does this weapon match up against the Colt Detective Special? The most obvious difference is the Detective Special's 6 shot capacity as opposed to the 36's 5, but are their other advantages the Colt has or does the S&W have benefits that outweigh the Detective Special's capacity advantage? -Anonymous

- I'm a bit Smith & Wesson biased myself. Still, objectively speaking, I myself (I had to choose between the two) would have chosen the 36 over the earlier DS because of Smith's ejector-rod socket (I never like fully-exposed ejector rods myself, they look goofy and are a very wee bit of a snag and damage hazard). However, later DS's have shrouds, so that problem is solved. Other than that, I'd have to say that the 5-shot J-frame Smith is probably slightly smaller (and therefore easier to conceal) than the 6-shot DS. Performance-wise, I'd say they'd have to be about even, but I'm not sure. As for the capacity difference, well, I don't think it means that much - As I alluded to somewhere else, if whatever the problem is can't be solved with five shots, I doubt the sixth will help that much. StanTheMan 02:29, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
The CDS is slightly larger, wouldn't that help control recoil better? Anytime I fire a .38 special only snub-nose I feel like each shot breaks my hand. -Anonymous
- Maybe you're just weak. :b Seriously, that might be a consideration. But again, I don't know - I've never fired a snub-nose myself (in fact, I've only ever personally shot one revolver thus far). StanTheMan 03:00, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
The problem is so many of the .38 snub-noses are built ultra-light for convenient carry which means the gun itself absorbs virtually no recoil. I find it far more enjoyable to shoot standard pressure .38 loads out of .357 snub-nose revolvers. And as for me being a pussy, possibly a contributing factor, however, uncomfortable recoil is a very common complaint with snub-nose revolvers. -Anonymous

S&W J frame vs. Colt Detective Special. (Personal experience)

I carry a S&W Model 49 Bodyguard (all steel version of the Model 38 Bodyguard) as my off-duty gun. I've been qualified to carry it for about eight years now. However in 2006 I also qualified with my Colt Detective Special as an experiment. I found the larger sights of the Detective Special to be much nicer when firing at the seven yard line. Especially when making head shots. Also the Colt is a little larger and heavier and even with the 38 Special that extra bulk helps with controlling the recoil which in turns aids in rapid and more accurate follow-up shots. Also the DS has bigger grips which also helps with control.

I have carried the DS in an ankle holster in the past and it isn't too bad. However the larger cylinder of the Colt begins to make itself known after a few hours. It tends to dig in at the ankle. But the more compact S&W Model 49 can be carried for many many hours and isn't that uncomfortable. I think the Colt DS is more suitable for belt carry and shoulder holsters.

Basically both designs are good revolvers and they have their strengths and weaknesses. You have to examine your personal parameters and then make a choice. Incidentally the closest revolver on the market (being currently made) to the old Colt DS would have to be the Ruger SP101 with the 2.25" barrel. I had one of those for a few years and found it real similar to the Colt when carrying it. I even carried it in the same ankle holster that I carried the DS in. But the SP101 is only a five shot. So once again you have to make a choice.

I've retired the Colt to bedside nightstand duty. It's 36 years old now (it's 3rd generation with the redesigned grip and barrel and ejector rod shroud) and there aren't many Colt certified gunsmiths out there anymore. The DS has the older action which is real nice but a real bear to repair and does have the reputation of going out of time if one works it too hard. But it's still a very functional and reliable revolver. I like Colt revolvers even though I'm a self-described S&W nut. Hope this helped. --Jcordell 16:01, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

- That it did, at least for me. Quite informative. StanTheMan 17:00, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Model 38 & 49

Can anyone give me a good explanation of the difference between the Model 38 and Model 49? My understanding is that externally they are identical (except for one being stamped "Model 38" and one being "Model 49") and that the main difference is that one from steel and the other is made from something else? Is the correct??

38 is the Airweight version, and 49 is the steel one. They are identical in shape, and they pre-date having "Airweight" stamped on the frame, but you can sometimes tell them apart. On the 38, it is only the frame that is made of aluminium alloy whilst the barrel and cylinder are still made of steel. This means that generally there is a slight colour difference depending on the lighting, with the frame generally looking blacker than the barrel and cylinder. --commando552 16:38, 8 February 2012 (CST)
Gotcha! Thanks for the explanation. --Zackmann08 16:59, 8 February 2012 (CST)

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