The S&W 39-2, one of my all time favorites.
Sleek, lightweight, easily concealed, and a
quality self-loader in its time. I've had a few,
but the one that stands out most of all was
the factory nickel one, with light walnut grips
that I bought NIB. The gun was so pretty, I
never even shot it; before I let a friend beat
me out of it! Now there is one I wish I had
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
representative S&W Model 39-2 9mm pistol. The pivoting-claw extractor is the identifying characteristic of this pistol (right side). This late model pistol shows a phosphated finish with wooden grips. Early Model 39 pistols had blued steel slides, dark blue-black anodized
aluminum frames, and wooden grips with the S&W logo (a silver button inlaid in the grip).
The conspicuous hammer drop safety is shown at the rear of the slide (left view). The sights on this pistol were adjustable for windage only.
The Smith and Wesson Model 39 was the first U.S. designed double action (DA) semi-automatic pistol marketed in the United States. The German Walther P-38 DA pistol impressed American ordnance personnel during World War 2. The Army Ordnance Corps issued a proposal for an American equivalent to the P-38. In 1949, Smith and Wesson began development of the Model 39 DA semi-auto in caliber 9x19mm Luger. Smith and Wesson began selling the Model 39 commercially in 1955. This is considered a first generation pistol. Since the Model 39 came out, S&W has continuously developed the design into its third generation pistols now on the market.
The Model 39 uses a conventional slide, barrel bushing, slide arrangement as opposed to the exposed barrel arrangement of the P-38. Model 39 locking is done by a modification of the Browning P35 (High Power) cam-locked breech. First generation Model 39 slides used either a long, spring steel extractor or a spring-loaded, pivoting claw extractor. Long extractors tended to be fragile and were replaced by the pivoting type. However, the long extractor would extract ANY kind of 9mm Luger round (domestic or foreign) and the pivoting type was picky.
The Model 39 employs a decocking safety that disconnects the trigger and hammer similar to the P-38. The Model 39 uses a single-stack magazine like the P-38 (actually, S&W copied the German magazine and added a magazine catch cutout.) The Model 39 (like the P-38) carries 8 rounds in its magazine, plus 1 in the chamber, for a maximum of 9. The overall length of the Model 39 is 7.6 inches, the barrel is 4 inches long, and its weight is 1.72 pounds. Light weight is a characteristic of the Model 39 due to its aluminum frame and a steel slide/barrel.
The Model 39 was used by Naval Special Warfare units during the Viet Nam War. The Model 39 was issued to officers-in-charge (OICs) of MST-2 detachments as their sidearm. SEAL Teams used either the Model 39 without modification or a modified version, the Mk 22 Mod 0, was called the "hush puppy." The modified pistol had a silencer with a slide lock. Its purpose was to eliminate sentry dogs or guards without alarming the main target.
In service, the Model 39 was adequate but not reliable when exposed to mud and dirt. It was never in the same league as the M1911-series .45 or Browning P35 9mm. The Model 39 is obsolete in Naval Special Warfare units.
__________________ U.S. Army
237th Combat Engineers
A classic indeed.
I'd like to get a hold of one of the .38 special firing semi auto Smiths. :right:
There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!
I used to have one. Black Aluminum frame and chrome slide,hammer and trigger. It was nice but would jam everytime with Blazer Aluminum case ammo. I kept it for about 9 years and then sold it. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate it a 7.1.
In 1968, I managed to talk my Dad into letting me have a pistol at 16, and after a long search during the period when the Model 39 was very hard to get (along with Model 60's and 2.5" Model 19's..the cops snatched them all up), I got a Model 39 for the ripe sum of $100 and $4 tax. I shot many groundhogs with the gun, and managed to become a decent pistol shot from the hip over the next two years, mostly because the gun pointed so well. It always seemed to be more accurate than I was, and I gave it up seven years later when I was working as cop, and wanted a .45 for off duty. It was the older model, not 39-2, and only required a little ramp polishing to feed everything available (which, at that time, was Super Vel, and handloads from Speer 125gr. softpoints...not much of a choice, like today). Of course it shot suplus FMJ rounds. I never got back into the Model 39 until recently, when I saw a pair of ivory grips come up on ebay, and had to buy a Model 39 to fit them. Of course, it was the nickle plated 39-2. It is a fabulous looking gun, and still feels right in the hand. I now carry concealed as a civilian in Ohio, and have lots of guns to carry, but the 39 will be for dress occasions. The distinctive shaped grip, and broader ivory will always get looks, and the 9mm has been elevated in performance since the good old days. It still shoots as good as I do, without modifications. Try dressing up a Glock or Sig, etc, with ivory.....they will still never be as graceful as the Model 39 in nickle!
Here is my wife's. It was her grandfathers. Wish I could find another one with a reasonable price tag. for some reason even though it is bigger than my Taurus 140 it snugs up better and prints less. Can't figure it out.
My friend has an early 39 and its a great gun and looks like almost new. And to Jerry the 38 special smith is the mod 52 it took me 20 years to find a good one local and almost had to have the house refinaced to pay for it.(really it was a little over a grand)
Does anyone kno where I can find a set of nice (possibly pearl) grips for the S & W 39-2? I am desperately looking...also, are there any rubber grips that go along with the regular grips? Looking for something that goes around from the grip to the trigger? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Pachmayr made wraparound "presentation" grips for the Model 39-2 which added a little width and grip, especially for larger hands. Smooth wood grips from CDNN were available for about $15 however I don't know if they will get more.
The 39-2 was my first pistol I purchased in 1973 for a whopping $125 plus $6.50 in tax. After losing it in a 2004 burglary I ended up locating a replacement in excellent shape. Within two weeks another surfaced that was almost NIB. Last year I bought a 3rd and I'm waiting to buy a 4th now.
These pistols fit my average sized hand very well and are reliably feed just about anything I have tried. They continue to work when filthy from firing several hundred rounds. The size and weight is well balanced for the 9mm round. I also find the women I've taught to shoot seem to prefer the grip shape of the 39-2 over most other autos.
The 39-2 was not designed to be a target gun, so you should not expect match accuracy from them. But they certainly are sufficiently accurate out to 25 yards to make consistent hits. I'm quite confident in my ability to hit things with the 39-2.
Carrying a Model 39 is a simple affair and worry free, since the safety lever blocks the firing pin. The biggest issue for those of us with "love handles" is that a body shield or thumb-break holster is needed to keep those sharp hammer serrations from digging in to your sides. The slim grip is much easier to conceal than the double-stacked M59 and similar pistols. A Galco Miami Classic Shoulder holster makes it a joy to carry, especially under a suit jacket at a wedding or an evening out to the theatre.
Let others pay high prices for a fat double-stack 9mm poly pistol and carry them in holsters made from petroleum sludge. I'll take an all metal 39-2 riding in leather any day and not feel undergunned.
Hi, I'm very new to handguns, since I'm from Australia and they frown on them down there, but now since living here I've started collecting them...Today I just bought this S&W 392 dont know anything about it other than what I've read on here, my first question would be... is this a S&W39 series that they have called a 392? and the other question would be how much are these worth? I cant find any info on them...Thanks
Alright...I am new to this forum, and new to the exact details of the S&W 39-2(thanks for the history lesson NRAJOE, it was fascinating) but not new to firearms in general. I am in the Navy and I train people on the use of firearms, including disassembly, on an almost daily basis. And yes, sadly, I live in California, which is notorious for it's below average firearms laws, and where I have a higher chance of winning the lottery than getting a CCW license. None the less, I will not be moved or deterred in my enjoying this gun. However, it is not working currently and I would like to fix it. I have a good idea of what is wrong, but I need to see a parts break down before I can be 100% sure. So then, does anybody know where I can find an illustrated parts break down manual, or if they even still sell parts for this firearm?