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Smith and Wesson 36

(1 customer review)


Condition: Used, Minor Wear
Caliber: .38 Special


Smith & Wesson Model 36 J318731, 38 Special, 3″ pinned tapered barrel with an excellent bore. This lovely little mid 1970’s made revolver retains about 99% original nickel plate showing a light turn ring. The service trigger and hammer retain bold case-hardened colors with light operational wear. The checkered walnut factory Magna grips with silver S&W medallions are numbered to the gun and rate excellent. This gun features a nickel plate Baughman ramp front sight, fixed rear sight and still times and locks up correctly. The nickel makes it more resistant to humid environments, the 3″ barrel adds more sight radius, the J-frame Chiefs Special and the whole package is great for concealed carry or to fill a niche in your collection. There is no box or papers.



Product Features

Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers have had your back since 1950.  These small revolvers were designed to fire full power rounds and are as simple and easy to use as they are reliable.  Available in various calibers and with three diverse hammer designs, it is no surprise that the Smith & Wesson J-Frame has become the most popular, small-frame, defense revolver on the market.


SKU: 150184

Model : Model 36 Classics

Caliber: 38 S&W SPECIAL +P

Capacity: 5

Length: 7

Front Sight Integral

Rear Sight Fixed

Action: Single/Double Action

Grip: Wood

Cylinder Material: Carbon Steel

Barrel Material: Carbon Steel

Frame Material: Carbon Steel

Frame: Finish Blue

Barrel Length: 1.875″ (4.8 cm)

Weight: 19.5 oz.

The Smith & Wesson Model 36 (also known as the Chief’s Special) is a revolver chambered for .38 Special.


This small revolver, designed primarily for plain-clothes-men and off-duty police officers, made its public debut at The International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in 1950.  At the conference, the Smith & Wesson sales force asked the police chiefs to vote on a name for the new revolver.  The most commonly suggested name was .38 Chief’s Special®.  Designed with the needs of law enforcement officials in mind, the Chief’s Special proved to be a popular revolver for personal protection due to its size and weight. When Smith & Wesson adopted model numbers in 1957, the Chiefs Special became the Model 36.


The Model 36 was designed in the era just after World War II, when Smith & Wesson stopped producing war materials and resumed normal production. For the Model 36, they sought to design a revolver that could fire the more powerful (compared to the .38 Long Colt or the .38 S&W) .38 Special round in a small, concealable package. Since the older I-frame was not able to handle this load, a new frame was designed, which became the J-frame.

The new design was introduced at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) convention in 1950, and was favorably received. A vote was held to name the new revolver, and the name “Chiefs Special” won.[1][2] A 3-inch (76 mm) barreled version design went into production immediately, due to high demand. It was available in either a blued or nickel-plated finish.[3] It was produced as the “Chiefs Special” until 1957, when it then became the Model 36. The “Chiefs Special” continued to be manufactured as a separate variant.

In 1951, Smith & Wesson introduced the Airweight Model 37, which was basically the Model 36 design with an aluminum frame and cylinder. The aluminum cylinders proved to be problematic and were abandoned in favor of a steel cylinder.[3]

In 1989, Smith & Wesson introduced the LadySmith variant of the Model 36. This was available with 2 in (51 mm) or 3 in (76 mm) barrel and blued finish. This model also featured special grips designed specifically for women, and had “LADYSMITH” engraved on the frame.[4]

Approximately 615 Model 36-6 Target variations were produced. This variant had a 3-inch full lug barrel with adjustable sights and a blued glass finish.

In 2002, Smith & Wesson reintroduced the Model 36 with gold features (hammer, thumbpiece, extractor, and trigger), calling it the “Model 36 Gold”. The gold color was actually titanium nitride.

In 2005, Smith & Wesson produced the “Texas Hold ‘Em” variant. This was produced with a blued finish, imitation ivory grips, and 24k gold plate engraving.

Many Model 37 variants with a lanyard ring attached were made for Japan. Part of this contract was cancelled, resulting in many of these being sold to a wholesaler, who then re-sold them for civilian use. These entered the civilian market in 2001. In 2006, the Model 37 was dropped from Smith & Wesson’s catalog.

In 1958, Spanish manufacturer Astra developed a high quality revolver line based on this weapon, under the name of Astra Cadix, Astra 250 and Astra NC6.

Design and feature

Designed to be small and compact, the Model 36 has been produced with 2-inch (1.875 inch actual length) or 3-inch barrels with fixed sights. A version with an adjustable rear sight, the Model 50 Chief’s Special Target, was also produced in limited numbers with both 2-inch and 3-inch barrels.

Like nearly all other “J-frame” Smith & Wesson revolvers, it has a 5-round capacity in a swing-out cylinder, and features an exposed hammer. It features a nickel-plated or blued finish and either wood or rubber grips..

The S&W Model 36 was introduced in 1950 at the annual Association of Chiefs of Police Convention. It was a .38 Special caliber, small, well-built and a hit with those at the convention. Smith and Wesson asked the convention members to name the revolver, and they voted to name it the Chief’s Special. It has a barrel length of 1.875 inches and is a double-action revolver with wood grips. It weighs 19.5 ounces. A 3-inch barrel version of the Chief’s Special was also produced by Smith and Wesson.

In 1957, serial numbers were added to the bottom of the grip. Serial number 337 was shipped to J. Edgar Hoover with his name engraved on it.

For many years, the Model 36 Chief’s Special was the standard weapon of detectives and plainclothes officers. Most police agencies in the 1950s through the early 1970s issued the Chief’s Special to department administrators, including the New York City Police Department.

The Model 36 Chief’s Special is popular among those civilians who legally carry concealed weapons.

Smith and Wesson refers to the frame size of the Model 36 as the J frame. Smith and Wesson J frame revolvers are the most popular small-frame revolvers for defense on the market.

The S&W Model 36 revolver is one of the handguns recommended for students in Texas to consider when purchasing a handgun. It carries five rounds in the cylinder, is small enough and light enough to carry comfortably, and has a 7-pound trigger pull, which makes it unlikely that someone will fire it accidentally.

1 review for Smith and Wesson 36

  1. Roddy

    I tell my shooting buddies about my new gun and they finna purchase some beautiful weapons on here. The best

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