Smith & Wesson

History of the S&W Model 29

The Smith & Wesson Model 29 is a six-shot, double action revolver chambered for the .44 Magnum cartridge. It was offered with 3, 4, 5, 6, 6.5, 8.375 and 10.375 inch barrels as standard models. Other barrel lengths were available by special order from S&W’s Custom Shop. The 5″ barreled variant had a full length underlug. An underlug is a shroud which covers the ejector rod. Presumably, the underlug assisted with minimizing muzzle rise from this powerful round.

Model 29 with a full underlug, the shroud covering the ejector rod which makes the gun look like it has two barrels.

At the time of its introduction, the Model 29 was the most powerful production handgun, although it was later overtaken by handguns chambered for the even larger .454 Casull and .50 Action Express.

The gun’s claim to fame occurred in 1971’s Dirty Harry, starring Clint Eastwood, and his famous line “I know what you’re thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you have to ask yourself one question. Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?

Do ya feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?

The popularity of the movie caused Model 29 sales to soar. Hollywood magic did their part to give the gun an aura of absolute invincibility and power. However, expert handgunners found the revolver to be tough to handle with full-house magnum ammo. Soon, many “barely used” models went up for sale.

Many of these used guns ended up in the hands of big game hunters, and it was this popularity with hunters that made the gun shine once again, with the bagging of white-tailed deer, polar bears, feral pigs and elephants.

Archive photo from the National Firearms Museum’s Dirty Harry display.

The Model 29 will chamber and fire both the .44 Special and .44 Russian cartridges, as the .44 Magnum was developed from the .44 Special and the .44 Special was developed from the .44 Russian. The Magnum case is slightly longer to prevent magnum rounds from being chambered and fired in handguns chambered for the .44 Special.

As for the actual Model 29 used by Clint Eastwood, it had had a 6.5″ barrel, and was used in both Dirty Harry (’71) and Magnum Force (’73). It became part of the 2002 exhibit “Real Guns of Reel Heroes” at the National Firearms Museum.

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S&W M&P Shield EZ9

The best gun on the market for new shooters or shooters with dexterity issues is the S&W M&P Shield EZ9 or simply the “EZ9”.

As the name implies, this gun is the easiest gun on the market to operate, and comes in two models; the Base Model and the “Performance Series” model.

Base Model

  1. It is chambered in 9mm, the most popular caliber in the world.
  2. The slide is the easiest to rack, with the slide spring being only about 1.5 pounds of resistance.
  3. Because the slide is the easiest to rack, it can also be racked with one hand.
  4. The backstrap contains a squeezable safety, the gun can only be fired if the shooter completely grips the gun. If the shooter does not completely wrap their shooting hand around the grip and squeeze the grip, the gun cannot fire.
  5. The slide takedown is the easiest on the market, whereby the shooter merely has to move the slide takedown downward 90 degrees, and the slide slips right off the frame.
  6. The magazine capacity is 8 rounds, perfectly adequate for new shooters to allow comfortable concealed carry.
  7. There is a tactile round indicator on the top of the breach, to inform the shooter if there is a live round in the chamber or of the chamber is empty.
  8. The magazine release is reversible, to make the slide release ambidextrous.
  9. The gun’s width is narrow, making it comfortable to carry all day.

This base model EZ9 has two options:

  1. An ambidextrous thumb safety. But in my opinion, the optional ambidextrous thumb safety is overkill. The gun already contains the aforementioned backstrap safety. Therefore, in a defensive situation in which the user may need to draw, aim and fire quickly, the need to turn off the optional thumb safety may hinder quickly drawing, aiming and firing.
  2. An under gun, rail mounting Crimson Trace red laser.
  3. Truglo Tritium Night Sight

Then we get into optional models, aka the “Performance Series”

Performance Series Model

  1. A ported barrel is standard on all Performance Series models. A ported barrel is a barrel with holes drilled into the top of side, near the muzzle. These models direct exhaust gasses through these holes, thereby reducing recoil.
  2. A flat, competition trigger, compared to a curved trigger of the base model.
  3. Optic sights, with both the front and rear sighting being green optics.

The Performance Series models has two available options:

  1. Color accents. The color choices are black, silver or gold. The barrel, trigger, breach and backstrap are the parts affected by the color accents.
  2. The aforementioned ambidextrous thumb safety.

This gun is available for purchase on this site. Click here for more information or to purchase.

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