At the 2005 S.H.O.T. Show in Las Vegas, the folks at Smith & Wesson unveiled a variety of new handguns. The ones that drew my immediate attention were a new pair of seven-shot revolvers: the Model 619 and Model 620.
Smith & Wesson is a name which has been synonymous with double action revolvers for well over a century. They are known all over the world for producing some of the finest examples of the double action revolver ever made. In 1935 S&W introduced the world to the .357 magnum cartridge, chambering it in their large frame that would be later known as the N frame. Twenty years later, S&W chambered the powerful .357 magnum in their medium-sized K frame, which became an instant hit with the shooting public, and peace officers in particular. In the early 1970s, S&W endeared itself to shooters with the introduction of stainless steel K-framed .357 magnum sixguns; the fixed-sighted Model 65 and the adjustable-sighted Model 66. These two revolvers proved to be a pair of the most popular duty sidearms ever with uniformed law enforcement officers. They were accurate, dependable, and handy, but prone to loosen up a bit with heavy use. In 1980, S&W introduced a very slightly beefed up medium frame size, calling it the L frame. These new sixguns had a little more steel in critical areas, and wore heavy full-underlugged barrels.