November 23, 2021
In 1952, Smith & Wesson introduced the Centennial, so named to commemorate the company’s 100th anniversary. This auspicious addition to the J-Frame line came two years after the Chiefs Special, which got the ball rolling for the company’s enormously successful line of five-shot, small-frame, snubnose revolvers. And a couple of ticks later, the steel-framed Bodyguard was introduced in 1955.
In 1957 S&W dispensed with those wonderfully evocative model names and went to numbering. Subsequently, the Centennial became the Model 40, the Chiefs Special became the Model 36, and the Bodyguard morphed into the Model 49. (The aluminum-framed Bodyguard that was introduced...