Smith & Wesson introduced its Model 19 Combat Magnum in November of 1955. It quickly became the queen of S&W’s revolver line.
The Model 19 was a work of art with sleek lines and featured either a deep luster blue or a brilliant nickel finish. The walnut stocks were hand fitted and the internal parts were polished and fitted by real gun smiths. Options included a 2.5-, 4- or 6-inch barrel, a wide target trigger and hammer, a red ramp front sight, and a white outline rear sight blade.
According to legendary Border Patrol officer, Bill Jordan, it was the perfect gunfighter’s revolver. However, as time progressed, the demand for revolvers was replaced by the craving for polymer wonder nines. Much to my disappointment, in 1999, Smith & Wesson discontinued the Model 19.
Model 19 Revival
At the 2018 NRA Annual Meetings, Smith & Wesson reintroduced the Model 19 in two models: the Classic and the Carry Comp.
The Model 19 Classic features a 4-inch” barrel and retro Magna stocks. It also has a bright blue finish and will appeal to those wanting a retro revolver.
Meanwhile, the Model 19 Carry Comp is a Performance Center model designed as the ideal personal defense fighting revolver.
Model 19 Carry Comp Features
The Performance Center Model 19 Carry Comp is based on an updated K-frame design. At the heart of the Carry Comp is a 3-inch barrel that features a single chamber PowerPort. The actual barrel of the Carry Comp is 2.5 inches with the integral comp adding an additional half-inch.
The new Model 19 features a number of improvements over the original guns; one of which is a ball/detent locking system for the cylinder crane to strengthen the lockup.
The Carry Comp retains traditional Smith sights with a fully adjustable rear sight and a pinned front sight that features a tritium insert. Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center tuned the trigger and installed an over-travel stop.
In addition, the Performance Center rounded the profile of the hammer to reduce the profile for concealed carry.
The double action is smooth with no grit while the single action breaks cleanly at 5 pounds. The stocks are a composite wood material that are similar to boot stock. I noted the actual frame is a round butt shape that allows for more compact stocks.
On the Range
Being an old wheelgunner, I immediately took to the little Carry Comp.
On first examination, I found that the factory stocks were not well-fitted to the frame. They also didn’t fit my hand well. A quick call to the great folks of Crimson Trace solved the problem. I replaced the factory stocks with a set of CTC LG-306 Lasergrips. I have used CTC stocks for more than 20 years and have a great appreciation for them.
As I found, the rear sight blade is significantly shorter and the notch shallower than on a vintage 19; this made indexing the front sight a little more difficult.
On the range the Model 19 Carry Comp handled even the heaviest Magnum loads reasonably well.
I shot both the Speer Gold Dot 125 gr. GDHP and the Federal 158 gr. Hydra Shok Magnum loads. The Gold Dot averaged 1,264 fps while the Hydra Shok averaged 1,144 fps. These are stout loads, but manageable.
I shot the Carry Comp next to an older 3-inch S&W Model 65 in an attempt to judge the effectiveness of the compensator. Subjectively, I would estimate that the Carry Comp has about 30 percent less muzzle flip than the Model 65. The Speer .38 Special +P 125 gr. Gold Dot was much more controllable and pleasant to shoot.
All of the loads produced sub-2-inch groups at 25 yards, as long as I did my job.
For more information, please visit Smith-Wesson.com.
S&W Performance Center Model 19 Carry Comp Specifications
- Caliber: 357 Magnum; .38 Special
- Capacity: 6
- Barrel Length: 3 inches
- Overall Length: 8 inches
- Front Sight: Tritium Night Sight
- Rear Sight: Black Blade Adjustable
- Action: Single/Double Action
- Grip: Custom Wood and Synthetic Included
- Weight: 34.1 ounces
- Cylinder Material: Carbon Steel
- Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
- Frame Material: Carbon Steel
- Finish: Glassbead Black
- MSRP: $1,092