Thanks for joining us on another TFB Wheelgun Wednesday, where we look at all things relating to revolvers. This week, we’ll take a look at Smith & Wesson’s Model 19 Carry Comp, which, as the catchy name implies, is built for carrying, and it has a compensation port that is designed to bleed off gases upward to keep the muzzle down and the sights on target. I wasn’t sure what to think about this model when it was first released, but a number of wheelgunny readers seemed to take a shine to it, so I was glad Smith & Wesson was able to loan me one to review for you.
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S&W 19 CARRY COMP REVIEW: INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & SPECS
Like I hinted at above, I wasn’t sure what to think about the aesthetics of the Model 19 Carry Comp, but once I had it in my hands, it really started to grow on me. Compared to my Model 36, that extra, plus one capacity in the cylinder, and the thick barrel make it look and feel pretty beefy, but not in a way that would ruin its concealability. I tested the version with the 2.5-inch barrel, but there’s also a 3 inch barreled version on S&W’s website.
The 19 Carry Comp comes with two grips supplied in the box, a nice set of BBQ-gun-worthy wood grips with a cherry finish, and a rubber skinned synthetic grip, both of which felt great in my hands, but provide very different overall looks for the wheelgun. The matte black finish on the 19 Carry Comp really makes the wood grips pop, while the synthetic grips give the Model 19 a stealthier look. More on how they handle recoil in a bit.
In terms of weight, the Model 19 Carry Comp is 2.06 pounds with either of the two supplied grips. I didn’t have a good IWB holster that would fit a K-Frame revolver, so I tucked the Carry Comp into the waist of my jeans and was able to conceal it just fine under a t-shirt, even with the longer synthetic grip installed.
I liked that the Model 19’s Carry Comp configuration still afforded a full-length ejector rod. One thing I didn’t expect was that the cylinder lockup nub was integrated into the frame, and therefore locks directly into the yoke, rather than in the traditional spot at the end ejector rod.
The inclusion of the night sight on the front sight blade is a perfect touch. It’s easy to pick up in low light and confirms that this model was built for carrying. The rear sight is a simple square notch that’s adjustable.
S&W 19 CARRY COMP: range time
When I first saw the Carry Comp configuration of the S&W Model 19, as well as on the Model 586, several questions came to mind. How well does the gas port work, and how will .357 Magnum loads feel? I started out with the wooden grips that were already installed on the Model 19, using .38 Special. After I had blasted the first six rounds as quickly as I could, I smiled at how little recoil there was. Not that .38 Special is a hotbed of power, but I could tell the port was doing something, and the wooden grip was comfortable during recoil. The wooden grip with .357 Magnum loads wasn’t feeling so good though, as the top of the grip was catching my thumb knuckle. Swapping the grips over to the synthetic version cured that when shooting the rest of the .357 Magnum. Even though the synthetic grips don’t look as classy, they’re quite pleasant to shoot with.
The ported barrel worked well, and I should mention that the port isn’t just a hole cut into the top of the barrel, but is actually a complete 360-degree interruption of the rifling in the bore, and perhaps works as a gas trap that vents upwards. Having seen the amount of blast from the .357’s, I can see why the compensator was ahead of the front sight, so as not to obscure it. The following photo shows the blast chamber for the most part.
As with most double-action/single-action revolvers, I stuck with DA for 95 percent of my trigger time. The trigger is fantastic, smooth, and consistent. The SA trigger pull is light and crisp, but double action would be used in a defensive situation.
S&W 19 CARRY COMP: FINAL THOUGHTS
Smith & Wesson’s 19 Carry Comp revolver is a well-thought-out concept that incorporates great features like the compensator, front night sight, and two grips, all on a six shooter frame. This wheelgun had me pondering whether I should go back to carrying a revolver again, namely this one! However, my modest gun budget just wasn’t set up for the cost right now, which brings me to the part where I have to break the news that the S&W 19 Carry Comp is listed on Smith & Wesson’s website is $1168 ($1172 for the 3 inch version). If your budget has more wiggle room and you’re looking for a sturdy .357 Magnum or .38 Special platform, I can definitely recommend the S&W 19 Carry Comp.
- The compensator works to keep sights on target.
- Front night sight.
- Comes with a nice looking grip, and a practical rubberized grip.
- One extra round compared to J Frame-sized revolvers.
- Easily concealable.
- Steep price for concealed carry.
- Wood grip may bite when using .357 Magnum loads.
If you’ve already been using the S&W 19 (or 586) Carry Comp, let us know how your experience has been. If you’ve been curious about the Carry Comp configuration, what are your thoughts now?
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