Building upon six decades of refinement of the Chief’s Special design, the M637CT provides LE officers with a cutting-edge lightweight J-frame for off-duty and back-up carry. The five-shot .38 Special features a 2.5” barrel and Lasergrips for pinpoint performance.

In the fall of 1950 Smith & Wesson introduced the J-frame revolver in .38 Special specifically as a handgun for plainclothes police and off-duty use; it was known as the Chief’s Special and later given the numerical designation of Model 36. Over the ensuing decades, the J-frame series of double-action revolvers has been one of S&W’s most successful lines, and building a collection of J-frames would be a daunting task for anyone with the untold number of variations and versions produced since the design was put on the drawing board.

The 2.5” barrel on the M637CT (above) allows for a full-length ejector rod which aids in cartridge case extraction, compared to this older M442 version of the J-frame (below).

A tally taken on the S&W website indicates that there are no less than 48 variations of the J-frame listed in calibers such as .38 Special +P, .357 Mag, .327 Mag, .22 Mag, and .22 LR. Cartridge capacity goes from 8 rounds in the .22 LR down to 5 rounds in .357 Mag, and there are 5 different barrel lengths available, starting at 1.87 inches and maxing out at 3.0 inches. Finishes include polished blue, matte blue, nickel-plated and stainless steel; plus frames are made of carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum alloy, and Scandium alloy, along with steel or Titanium alloy cylinders.

There are three frame types; exposed hammer, shrouded hammer and concealed hammer versions. Other options available are fixed or adjustable sights, HIVIZ front sights, night sights, and some models can be had with Crimson Trace Lasergrips. Grip styles also abound and go from the old-fashioned wood “sliver grips” on the Classic models, to more practical hand-filling wood grips and various synthetic rubber grip designs. For 2010 alone I counted 18 new J-frame variations, which include the new Pro Series, M&P Series, and even machine-engraved models, as well as the Model 637CT.

There are so many models and versions that it is almost confusing; the Model 637CT revolvers actually come in two “flavors,” one has a 1.88-inch barrel under SKU #163052 and then there is the latest Model 637CT that has a 2.5-inch barrel, SKU #162525.

Gun Details
A plethora of carry rigs are available for the S&W J-frames, such as (clockwise from the top) Uncle Mike’s ylon ankle holster, the Don Hume Agent 9 belt slide and the Bianchi Black Widow belt slide.

The 2.5-inch barreled 637CT is based off what is called the Airweight Chief’s Special—in fact it has “Airweight” laser etched on the right side of the frame above the trigger. This moniker was given to the aluminum alloy-framed revolvers and the Model 37 was the original version introduced about two years after the Model 36 in an effort to reduce weight for added ease of carry. The 6 ahead of the 37 means this is a stainless steel model or in this case the barrel and cylinder are stainless, while the alloy frame is a matte silver color to match the other components. It has the exposed hammer, like the original Model 36/37, and the CT indicates that it is fitted with Crimson Trace Lasergrips. Also like the Model 36/37, it is chambered for the .38 Special cartridge and has a 5-round capacity. It will handle +P rated high-pressure ammunition

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Building upon six decades of refinement of the Chief’s Special design, the M637CT provides…