SOLD FOR: $5200
Make: Smith & Wesson
Model: 36, The .38 Chiefs Special
Serial Number: J1
Year of Manufacture: 1969, shipped 1970.
Caliber: .38 Special
Action Type: 5-Shot, Double Action / Single Action, Swing-Out Cylinder Hand Ejector Revolver.
Barrel Length: 2”, Pinned
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a serrated ramp integral to the barrel. The rear sight is a square notch in the top strap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut Magna stocks with S&W medallions mounted on a square butt grip frame. The grips are serialized to the frame and the right panel is marked “1”. There are light handling marks. The checkering is sharp. The grips rate in Excellent condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion. In my opinion, this bore is a 10 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 97% of its metal finish. There are a few little light marks through the finish, most noticeable on the cylinder and on the sideplate at the rear corner of the cylinder window. The cylinder has a light turn line. The screw heads are lightly used. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in Excellent condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder lockup has very light movement. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Included is a Smith & Wesson letter, serial matching box, cleaning rod, bristle brush, and paperwork including the manual.
Our Assessment: This small revolver, designed primarily for plainclothesmen 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 is built on the J-Frame which started at serial number 1 in 1950. The J-Frame itself is perfect in that it is small enough to easily conceal but big enough to accommodate .38 Special and .357 Magnum cartridges whereas smaller frames were relegated to using shorter calibers like .38 S&W. This makes for a great carry revolver or backup gun, a good defensive round paired with the time-tested S&W action gives the user peace of mind. The models were so popular and sold like hotcakes (they still do) and millions have been made and sold. With the immense popularity of the J-Frame models, a new serial number scheme needed to be introduced. In 1969 the new scheme was introduced and it was a J-Prefix, this gun being the first, serial number J1. The first J-Frame J-Prefix gun, only fitting that it be what started the whole affair, the Chief’s Special. A gun this nice is already a great addition to any collection and the Chiefs Special is a must-have, but the serial number sets it over the top! Please see our photos and good luck!
Some are hot, some are not, but thankfully most can be shot!