Mr Revolverguy, who blogs at Day at the Range, sent in this photo….

is a very rare combination of a Smith and Wesson Performance Center 940 356 TSW revolver and now defunct 356TSW ammunition. The TSW was Ì for Team Smith & Wesson designed in the 1990’s by S&W for IPSC competition. The 356 TSW is a 9×21.5 round which almost duplicating the ballistics of the 357 Magnum, 140gr round at 100 yards. S&W would later change the name to coincide with the branding of pistols they were manufacturing “Tactical Smith & Wesson” It is of my opinion marketing seriously lacked and was the main cause of failure. This round was not marketed where it had it’s greatest potential.

I will be reviewing this pairing on my blog soon after some time on the range with it comparing the 356TSW J-Frame, against a 9mm J-Frame and 38 Special J-Frame.

It was rumored that the .356 TSW was banned from competition, but I have never seen hard proof of this.


  • spraynpray

    Why not just make a revolver chambered in 38 super or 38 super comp?


      This was designed as an auto round when everyone was in a speed race with 38/355 caliber bullets. At some point they were seeing 38 Super failures as people were pushing the 38/355 as fast as possible for major. Eventually the powers that be decided enough was enough. Must be .40 to shoot major.

      • FWIW: A minimum caliber for Major PF was never established for Open Division. They did establish minimum bullet weights and for a time banned the use of Major PF 9x19mm. The latter is what drove the popularity of the 9x21mm IMI, .356 TSW, and other 9mm JLE (Just Long Enough) in Open Division until the availability of widebody M1911 frames finally toppled the insurgent CZ75 clones.

  • Giolli Joker

    The front sight is like that because of a porting vent in front of it?

    • That was what S&W called the Power Port. It was a small expansion chamber muzzle brake. Besides a number of Performance Center models, there were also standard production Model 629 and Model 686 Power Port variants.

      • Giolli Joker

        Yep, now that you mention it, I remember having seen them, thanks.

  • Tom

    So was this some sort of attempt at making rimless .357?

    • No, it was an attempt to make a 9x19mm-sized cartridge that gave .357 Magnum performance.

      • Tom

        A noble goal indeed.

      • Ted Unlis

        Which is exactly what you get in the 357 Sig, and since it actually achieves ballistic performance propelling a 9mm (.355) 125gr projectile at over 1400 fps, one could argue that 9mm Magnum more accurately describes the round marketed as the 357 Sig.

        • However, the .356 TSW would always hold a magazine capacity advantage over the .357 SIG. This was particularly significant when it started as a competition cartridge. In a full-size 3rd Generation S&W pistol, a standard-length 9x19mm/.356 TSW magazine could hold four more rounds than its equivalent in .40 S&W (or .357 SIG).

          • Ted Unlis

            True. The D.O.A. story of the .356 TSW cartridge is unfortunate, coulda woulda shoulda, we’ll never know. But we do know the ballistics of the 357 Sig puts it near the top of the most effective list, even if you have to settle for only 15 instead of 17 rounds in a full size magazine.

  • Alex Nicolin

    Makes a rimless .357 Magnum
    Chambers it in a revolver
    Logic not found.

    • Anonymoose

      They envisioned it primarily for automatics. They also made 10mm/.40 revolvers, just cuz.

  • It wasn’t so much that .356 TSW was banned from USPSA competition. The USPSA Board of Directors simply changed the rules for Limited Division just as the .356 TSW cartridge was about to become eligible for scoring at Major Power Factor. The previous Limited Division rules demanded that Major PF ammunition be available from a minimum of three manufacturers for a cartridge to be eligible for Major PF scoring, otherwise it would be scored at Minor PF. As written, this had prevented the .38 Super and 9x19mm from becoming eligible Limited Major PF cartridges because no company would load these hotter than SAAMI maximum pressure. However, the .356 TSW was already spec’ed for the higher pressure levels necessary. The revised rules added a minimum caliber clause (0.400″) for Limited Major PF.

    The timing of the rule change was terrible as S&W and its distributors had just begun promoting the Model 3566 semi-auto pistol and the .356 TSW cartridge as an eligible Limited Major PF combination. By all rights, the .356 TSW should have killed the .357 SIG in childbirth. Since it could use 9x19mm magazines, the .356 TSW would have offered a much higher ammunition capacity in many models over the fatter .357 SIG, which required .40 S&W type magazines.

    Besides the “Pocket Rocket” Model 940 and the Model 3566 Limited, there was a really nice Open Division Model 3566 variant built in conjunction with Briley. (Briley’s head pistolsmith Claudio Salassa and the S&W Performance Center’s head pistolsmith Paul Liebenberg had worked together back when they lived in South Africa.) However, no one in the US really wanted to compete using anything other than a M1911 variant once the widebody frames became available. S&W also briefly offered a couple of Model 6906-sized pistols in .356 TSW known as the Model 3566 Compact.

    The most prolific .356 TSW pistol may have been the commercial export model named the Super 9. It was basically an economy model of the Model 3566 Limited, eliminating the fancy stepped slide contours, two-tone finish, and magwell funnel. The Super 9’s 5″ barrel had a standard 3rd Gen. muzzle profile instead of being machined straight for the spherical bushing of the Model 3566. In addition, the Super 9’s long slide had a standard Novak rear sight dovetail with an aftermarket LPA adjustable sight instead of the Model 3566’s BoMar sight. The version I encountered had three barrels: 9x19mm, 9x21mm IMI, and .356 TSW. One interesting thing I found was that the sear for the single-action Super 9 was originally meant for the double-action only models. I want to say that it used a standard hammer as well. The Model 3566 Limited, as with the other S&W single-action autos of its day, used what looked like a cropped version of the Model 52-2 hammer.

    • Cymond

      Deep, knowledgeable comments like this are a big part of what makes TFB great.

    • Here is what USPSA President Andy Hollar wrote in the May/June 1994 issue of “Front Sight” magazine:

      “The .356 TS&W pistol produced by the Smith & Wesson Performance Center has been on the market for more than a year and many more than the 1000 units have been sold. Ammunition manufacturers producing the ammunition or planning to produce it include Federal, Cor-Bon, and CP Bullets. Only Federal ammunition is “generally available” at this writing. The pistol may be used in Limited, but only at minor power. The good news is that the sample Federal ammunition easily made major (178.5 power factor at 4200 ft elevation) and as soon as two more commercial manufacturers come on line, the pistol will be completely legal at major power factor.”

      At the USPSA BOD meeting of July 9, 1994, Jeff Nelson moved that
      .356 TSW ammunition be approved and be considered legal in Major and Minor PF for Limited Division. Following discussion, the motion failed with three in favor and five opposed. The .40 caliber threshold for Limited Major PF was formalized no later than the February 20, 1995 BOD meeting.

    • Here are some of the factory flyers for the Model 3566 from 1993.

      • sam

        Good explanation. Too bad about this or some other longer, warmer, non-bottle-necked 9mm not catching on.

    • Michael

      Excellent rules breakdown. Reminds me of motorcycle racing.

    • Blake

      Thanks for explaining that.

  • Henry

    I have a Manurhin convertible. For IPSC, I used a 149 FMJ in a 357 case. It would fly at over 1600 fps ?, if I remember and not about to go and check the chrono data. But it was good unoff to break the steel plates at several matches. The lands of the revolver were at 355 while the grooves at 358. It had a 9mm cylinder with spring clips and a 357 cylinder. My 10 inch Silhouette would produce 5 shot 1 inch groups at 100M.

  • Anonymoose

    Well heck, if I could get an M&P chambered for that I would be one happy camper.
    And 140gr at .357 Mag velocities is a lot better than .357SIG (designed to duplicated 125gr loads and nearly as good if you get heavier), and not bottlenecked too…

  • john huscio

    looks awesome…..on a related note, 6 shot ruger sp101 in .327 fedmag out very soon

    • Blake

      327 fed mag is a great little cartridge. I wish there was a lever-action carbine chambered in it. Probably won’t see it from Remlin (& with their QC I wouldn’t buy one anyway) but maybe one day Henry will adapt the Big Boy to it…

      see also