Top 7 Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic Problems And How To Fix

Last Update:

I’m here to talk about something a lot of you have been curious about: the Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic. I got the chance to take this bad boy out for some real-world testing and let me tell ya, it’s quite the experience. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great firearm, but like any piece of machinery, it’s got some issues.

We’re talking cylinder lock problems, grip issues, cylinder jamming—you name it. Even the rear sight gave me some grief! But don’t fret, because I’ve also found solid solutions for each Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic Problems.

The goal here is to help you get the most out of your Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic by troubleshooting the common issues. 

Stick with me, and by the end of this article, you’ll know how to tackle these problems head-on. So, let’s dive right in!

Overview of Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic & their Solutions

Cylinder Lock ProblemSend the gun to Smith & Wesson for cylinder lock replacement.
Grip IssueReplace the factory grip with an ergonomic aftermarket grip.
Cylinder Jamming ProblemReplace the damaged ratchet wheel after disassembling the side plate.
Problem with the Rear SightSend the gun back to Smith & Wesson for rear sight adjustment or replacement.
Lead Spitting IssueReplace the damaged cylinder star for safety and performance.
Sight Moving IssueRegularly inspect and tighten the sights, replace if faulty.
Forcing Cone and FrameStick to using 38 S&W Special ammo to avoid frame damage.

Top 7 S&W Model 19 Classic Problems and Solutions

1. Cylinder Lock Problem

So, let’s start with the cylinder lock issue. If you’re out on the range or, heaven forbid, in a critical situation, the last thing you want is for your cylinder lock to act up. 

What happened to me was that the cylinder lock got stuck in the unlocked position. Yep, just wouldn’t budge. This is because the cylinder was misaligned with the lock. 

Trust me, it’s as annoying as it sounds. When this happens, you can’t draw the hammer backward, and that’s no small hiccup. 

You’re basically left with a gun that’s unreliable when you need it the most.


Okay, now for the solution. I get it; you’re probably thinking, “Just tell me how to fix this thing.” Well, to be honest, it’s not a quick DIY solution. 

I had to send my revolver back to Smith and Wesson for repairs. They replaced the entire cylinder lock formation for me. I know it’s a hassle to part with your firearm for a while, but it’s better than running into problems later. 

Once they did the replacement, the problem vanished. It worked like a charm after that. So, my advice? If you run into this, send it in and let the pros handle it.

2. Grip Issue

Ah, the grip issue. This one’s a common problem; you don’t have to be an expert to notice it. The first time I held the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic in my hands, something felt off. 

It wasn’t slipping out of my hand or anything, but the grip just didn’t sit well. A grip is like a handshake; it should feel natural comfortable. Instead, this felt awkward and strained my hand after a while. 

Trust me, a bad grip can throw off your whole shooting experience. I couldn’t ignore it because an uncomfortable grip affects accuracy and safety.


So, what’s the fix? I tried adjusting my hand position initially, but that was a short-term band-aid. Finally, I decided to swap out the factory grip. 

I looked for an aftermarket grip that’s a little more ergonomic, and it was a game changer. Suddenly, the gun felt like an extension of my arm. 

I understand that grip comfort can be a personal thing, but if the factory grip isn’t doing it for you, I’d highly recommend upgrading to an aftermarket grip. Easy swap, big difference.

3. Cylinder Jamming Problem

Alright, let’s talk about another headache: cylinder jamming. Picture this—you’re at the range, getting some good shots in, and then, out of nowhere, the cylinder jams up. It’s a bummer, I know. 

The first time this happened to me, I was perplexed. The cylinder simply wouldn’t turn, and I quickly learned that trying to cock the gun only makes it worse. 

Found out it happens when the cylinder’s ratchet wheel gets damaged. When you’ve got a jammed cylinder, you feel locked out of your own gun. 

You want to shoot, but you can’t, and that’s frustrating as all get out.


Okay, deep breaths. Here’s how to get past this. I had to take off the side plate to get to the root of the problem. 

First, I disconnected the grips and then unscrewed the side plate. After a few taps on the grip’s side, I was able to remove the hammer block and main spring. Hold on to the cylinder hand as you pull it back. 

Next, I removed the rebound slide, spring, and the safety mechanism. With that out of the way, I replaced the damaged ratchet wheel with a new one. 

It sounds complicated, but take it step-by-step, and you’ll have your revolver back in action.

4. Problem with the Rear Sight

Here’s another one for you—rear sight issues. The rear sight on the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic is adjustable, which is great, but there’s a catch. 

Sometimes, when you’re trying to make those crucial adjustments, the blade just doesn’t cooperate. I’ve had times when the blade seemed to angle during the adjustment but just wouldn’t budge after a point. 

It’s not just inconvenient; it’s a big deal because we all know how important sights are for accuracy. 

If you can’t trust your sights, you’re basically literally shooting in the dark. This kind of problem makes you second-guess every shot you take.


So, what to do when you find yourself in this pickle? I had to bite the bullet and send the gun back for repair. 

I know it’s not the solution you might’ve wanted, but it’s what works. You might be tempted to mess with it yourself, but you risk making it worse. 

So, back it goes to Smith & Wesson. Once they took care of the rear sight, the issue was history, and I got back to shooting with confidence. Trust the pros on this one; it’s worth the wait.

5. Lead Spitting Issue

Here’s a pesky one: spitting lead. Yup, it’s as annoying as it sounds. You’re there, lined up for a great shot, and then you feel little bits of lead on your face or hands. 

The first time it happened, I was like, “What in the world?” It’s not only uncomfortable, but it’s also downright concerning for safety reasons. You might even notice a buildup of lead around the barrel. 

After a bit of snooping, it turns out a faulty cylinder star is usually the culprit behind this. 

When you’re dealing with something as serious as a firearm, little glitches like these can’t be taken lightly.


Okay, here’s the lowdown on fixing this mess. First, I disassembled and opened up the cylinder. I carefully inspected the cylinder star for any signs of damage. Spotting some, I knew it was time for a replacement. 

You might be tempted to skip this step, but don’t. Replacing a damaged cylinder star isn’t just optional; it’s essential for both your shooting experience and safety. 

After swapping out the faulty star, the problem was gone. So, if you notice this issue, inspect and replace that cylinder star. Trust me, you don’t want to risk it.

6. Sight Moving Issue

Ah, the moving sights. What a curveball that was. One minute, you’re hitting the target dead-on, and the next, you’re off. 

The issue? The sights decided to go for a little walk. I couldn’t believe it the first time it happened. Here I am, focusing on my target, squeezing the trigger just so, and then the shots are off. 

I double-checked, and sure enough, the sights had moved. It’s not something you’d expect from a Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic, but there it was. 

And let’s be honest, it can really throw you off your game.


So, what’s the plan of action here? Well, inspect those sights. Give ’em a good once-over more often than you think you’d need to. In my case, after noticing the problem, I started inspecting the sights before each shooting session. 

And what do you know? Sometimes, they needed a little tightening or adjusting. You might have to replace the sights altogether if they are genuinely faulty. 

After I tightened mine, the problem stopped. So, if you notice your sights are acting like they’ve got a mind of their own, regular inspection and tightening should do the trick.

7. Issues with the Forcing Cone and Frame

Talk about a wake-up call. You see, the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic claims to support both 357 Magnum and 38 S&W Special ammo. 

So, naturally, I went ahead and used 357 Magnum rounds. Big mistake. After some time on the range, the frame cracked. I wasn’t the only one; a quick search showed that this is a common issue with this firearm. 

It turns out the build quality of the frame, and the forcing cone struggle to withstand the force of shooting 357 Magnum ammo. Some folks also mentioned cracking when using lightweight 125-grain Magnum ammo. Now, that’s something to keep in mind.


Okay, so what’s the workaround here? Honestly, avoid shooting 357 Magnum with this gun. Stick to 38 S&W Special ammo. 

That’s what I did, and no more frame cracking. For those who’ve already experienced this issue, the only way forward is to send the gun back to Smith & Wesson for repairs or a replacement. 

It’s not the most convenient solution, but hey, better safe than sorry, right? So, consider this a heads-up if you’re thinking about using 357 Magnum rounds with your Model 19 Classic.

Final Verdict

Alright, let’s wrap this up, shall we? The Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic is no slouch. It’s got a lot going for it, from its classic design to its versatility in ammo choices. 

But like any piece of machinery, especially something as complex as a firearm, it’s got its challenges. From cylinder locks refusing to cooperate to grip issues, you’re likely to face a few bumps along the road. 

The good news? Most of these issues are fixable. Whether it’s sending your gun back to Smith & Wesson for more complicated issues or swapping out the grips for a more comfortable experience, you’ve got options. 

So, if you’re ready to take the plunge and get yourself this classic piece, just be aware of what you’re signing up for. With some diligence and attention to detail, you can make this gun work smoothly and safely.


Is the Model 19 a good revolver?

Yes, the Model 19 handles well in both single and double-action and is versatile in ammo choices.

Is Smith and Wesson good quality?

For the price, the quality of Smith & Wesson revolvers is hard to beat compared to other brands.

Is the Smith and Wesson Model 19 still in production?

Yes, the Smith & Wesson Model 19 is back in production after nearly two decades.

One Request?

I worked hard on this post to help the shooters community. it would help me a lot if you consider sharing it on social media network

BecauseSharing Is Caring..

Because Sharing Is Caring..

Photo of author


I'm Micheal, an avid shooter and hunting enthusiast from Texas. I'm a recreational shooter who loves to spend time at the range and enjoy learning about new firearms and gears. I love to write about guns and share my passion for shooting with others.

Leave a Comment