Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 19 Carry Comp – Review

Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 19 Carry Comp
Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 19 Carry Comp

GRAND RAPIDS, MI USA -( In my last article, I took a look at the beautiful Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic. The Model 19 isn’t just a gun for those who love nostalgia, as the gun you can see here is a Model 19, but one that has a plethora of modern features. Today we will be taking a look at the new Model 19 Performance Center Carry Comp, which is anything but an old-school wheelgun.

As we talked about in the last article, the Model 19 is something that harkens all the way back to the golden era of modern American culture. Unlike any other country in the world, America has a romantic relationship with the revolver that often supersedes technology and fashionable trends. A revolver, in almost any form, has significantly more personality than any automatic, perhaps with the exception of the 1911.

In addition to having more personality, the revolver also speaks to the type of person that carries it. The person carrying a revolver is often seen as an individual not just of means, but of excellent taste. Because of the significant increase in power and corresponding reduction in capacity, marksmanship is a must and practice is absolutely necessary. Although that can be said of most guns, it is of particular importance in a revolver, as you really only get whatever is in the cylinder.

This modernized and compacted version of the Model 19 is loaded with features that make it a perfect all-around gun for carry and field use. The finish is a durable, matte black with just a hint of sheen. Many people prefer a stainless gun for carry, but I have always liked the low profile of a dark, non-reflective finish.

This modernized and compacted version of the Model 19 is loaded with features that make it a perfect all-around gun for carry and field use.
This modernized and compacted version of the Model 19 is loaded with features that make it a perfect all-around gun for carry and field use.

The gun ships with two sets of grips. This is a great thing, as you don’t have to go looking for a new set if you don’t like the feel of the hardwood panels attached to the gun upon arrival at your local FFL. The rubber grips included in the box are very comfortable and offer just a bit more grip than the wood ones. I very much prefer the cushioning offered by the rubber, even though the .357 Magnum isn’t really a wrist-wrencher. In a self-defense situation or an excursion in the woods, the rubber grips are easier to hold onto in the wet and cold.

Unlike many other compact .357 Magnum revolvers, this one is extremely mild to fire and hardly comes off target. The gun features a trademarked PowerPort vented barrel that does a remarkable job at mitigating muzzle jump. The buyer should know that ammunition that is not flash-suppressed can create a jet of flame that shoots straight up and cause the shooter to lose the front sight post for a brief millisecond. This is not a deal-breaker at all, just a consideration to make as far as ammunition selection. It should also be noted that the front sight has a tritium insert, which is an excellent addition for a carry gun.

The gun features a trademarked PowerPort vented barrel that does a remarkable job at mitigating muzzle jump.
The gun features a trademarked PowerPort vented barrel that does a remarkable job at mitigating muzzle jump.

Speaking of firing the gun, I tested this compact powerhouse with the same ammunition I used in the Model 19 Classic to see how it performed. The 19 Classic can be thought of a solid baseline for the performance of the .357 Magnum cartridge. I again tested the loads for accuracy at 25 yards from a stable rest. Groups are the average of three, five-shot groups at that distance. Velocity results are the average of five shots taken over my Oehler 35P chronograph while five feet from the muzzle.

  • Hornady 125gr XTP———————————————————-1201fps, 3”
  • Hornady 135gr Critical Duty FTX——————————————-1210fps, 1.9”
  • Hornady 158gr XTP———————————————————–1098fps, 3.3”
  • Black Hills 125gr JHP———————————————————-1295fps, 2.25”
  • Black Hills 158gr JHP———————————————————-1098fps, 3.5”
  • HSM 158gr JSP——————————————————————1103fps, 2”
  • SIG SAUER 125gr FMJ———————————————————1222fps, 2.75”

The shortened sight radius and corresponding shorter barrel resulted in slightly reduced velocities compared to the 4.25” 19 Classic. Most groups were a bit larger overall than those produced by its longer-barreled sibling, but the performance from a carry-size gun was still phenomenal when taken as a whole.

Firing the gun was quite fun, although the porting again provided a bit of a challenge when practicing defensive drills. Point shooting was fully possible, as were fast follow-up shots. The thing to be aware of is that that same jet of hot gas that can cause flash with certain ammo can also shower your face and chin with microscopic, fast-moving particles. This is not something that is unique to this gun because virtually all revolvers have flashing around the cylinder face where the bullet leaves the cylinder and enters the barrel. It takes a little bit of practice to get used to, but the PowerPort is a great concept and really makes this gun comfortable and fast to shoot.

The thing to be aware of is that that same jet of hot gas that can cause flash with certain ammo can also shower your face and chin with microscopic, fast-moving particles.
The thing to be aware of is that that same jet of hot gas that can cause flash with certain ammo can also shower your face and chin with microscopic, fast-moving particles.

The ammo I used to test this gun was powerful, but none of it was bad. Usually, a 34oz, 3” barreled .357 Magnum can be a bit hard to handle, but this gun was a total joy to use. The learning curve with a revolver can be steeper than with a semiautomatic, usually due to how difficult it can be to deal with under recoil, which usually means that reduced power ammo is used. The porting, weight, and balance of this gun make it possible to practice with full-power .357 Mag ammo without any discomfort.

In the world of carry revolvers, there is often nothing but compromise. There seems to be an unlimited number of trade-offs associated with toting a wheelgun in 2018, especially when modern automatics are both reliable and lightweight. If you decide to go with a revolver for carrying, the Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 19 Carry Comp is a prime choice that evenly balances power with performance.

For more information on the Model 19 Classic, go to Ammunition used in this article can be seen at,,, and

About Josh WaynerJosh Wayner


Josh Wayner has been writing in the gun industry for five years. He is an active competition shooter with 14 medals from Camp Perry. In addition to firearms-related work, Josh enjoys working with animals and researching conservation projects in his home state of Michigan.

  • 14 thoughts on “Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 19 Carry Comp – Review

    1. Apparently you do not support the First Amendment. It seems my three e-mails have been deleted. You are unable to allow free discourse on your site. I would like them returned. The Founding Fathers would be proud. Do you view yourselves as patriots.? I guess you pick. And choose which of the Amendments that you will honor. Long live the Republic!

    2. Never been a fan of ported barrels on revolvers or auto pistols which will be used for defensive purposes since as previously said the flash goes straight up in front of your eyes. It’s very dramatic, but dangerous when your counting on your night vision. Even with weapons mounted flashlights your still going to have those patchy floaters in front of your eyes. After some thought this revolver would be even better unported with XS Systems Big Dot Express Tritium sights.

    3. Practice makes perfect as they say but in a gun fight of real world situations those practices are a must because things go south fast and this is Not beating the clock at the ( Range) . I carry the Glock 41 in 45 caliber and I have carried revolvers If one has to shoot over two rounds 8n the parking lot or at that ATM machine you has been blessed by God to tell your side to the Police

    4. PS, forgot to mention: Do not like mussle blast on even a non ported brl. In dark it is teMporarily blinding although at survival range it lights up forward toesrds target.
      These muzxel blast ports just on top sends a fan wave of blinding light upward concealing target and IMO the blinding effect of those upper gas relases last longer.
      Is a 357 blast brighter than your normal red flashes?

    5. I like good revolvers with not just good enough rounds in them; and the 357 is way better than just good enough.
      For many years the power and ballistic equivelency has been chased by every major producers of semi autos and their ammo makers, and all but the 10mm and sig semi failed.
      Most 357 mag are easier to fire comfortably and greater user control han are the 10mm and 44 or45 wether in revolver or semi.
      At 25 feet is what I consider threat zone and any shorter distance a deadly zone, possibly my own, and a 357 is a capable round , manstopper, at those distances.
      6 rounds is a hell of a lot of rounds to expend upon one perp and enoug for 2 or three perps, if in practiced hands.
      A quality 125 grain bullet is capable of busting through many type one, two and most three level vest at 25 and under ranges, and those type vest are readily available to serious bad guys.
      That said I pack a 16 round 9 or 40 and practice double tap on each target, now that would equal 8 or at least 4 double double taps because of inadequecy of 9 or 4o for that matter, but I do not plan on being in a war zone facing multiple baddies at any time in future.
      I prefer 4, 41/2 inch barreld revolvers, but own various snubby style, extra oomph = evtra knockdown and the little tiny amount of accuracy at survival mode distance is mostly bs.
      If one practices reloads by speed loader, it can be fast;; thing is at survival range if you have not put down a baddie by 6 rounds, then your ass grass.

      1. Iam one of those multi -round guys of the semi-auto world . However , I loved your real life talk about defense . I have been in many conversations about this but my attuide is if by chance you have shot over two rounds in a fight you were lucky to tell the Police your side . If you needed to shoot three rounds you were blessed by God to tell your side to the Police This situation is about that single criminal that may confront you but yes more rounds are needed if there are two or more Demons . Yes I can talk guns all day so I will stop here

      2. Have to agree…357 is a great caliber. Even the 38 special is “good enough.” Best thing about a wheel gun? They go bang, almost without fail!

    6. There are those that think the wheel gun for personal defense is obsolete. I still carry one a majority of the time. I have a 66 Smith that I was presented over 30 years ago and love it. It was with a Model 66 that one of the longest recorded police shots was fired as documented by Maas Ayoob, a little over 170 yards and prevented a felon from taking a hostage. The felon lived but was instantly incapacitated and later said he thought he was hit by a truck. It was a Remington 158 grain hollow point. This new gun interests me, would like to see it in a 66.

    7. I have a 19-7 from 1989 can’t beat it accurate dependable ! heavy that’s why it’s accurate can not believe the new ones are just as good .been my experience 20years of shooting the guns being made today are GARBAGE!

    8. One comment regarding the “power port” and similar porting, in a night shooting situation, the first shot will destroy your night vision from the muzzle flash. If you’ve ever taken a night shooting course you’ll realize, from the first shot fired, what a disadvantage this puts you at while illuminating your position to all others more than normal.

      1. The thing about muzzle flash is it never stays out of your field of vision. That same round that shoots flame straight up, also shoots it straight out … basically directly inline with the gun’s sights. If the powder is not flash suppressed, it’s going to present a vision dazzling effect whether it goes up or forward. As long as the dazzling is going to happen no matter what, why not have reduced muzzle rise as a bonus? And, since low flash ammunition is readily available (or at least no harder to get than the non low flash stuff), I believe I’d just buy the low flash and be done with it. No need to allow ammunition choice to dictate a gun’s potential usefulness.

    9. I found your velocities amusing. My loads for my G19 are traveling at 1330 fps six feet from the muzzle. These are 125gr JHPs. I have shot over two thousand of these rounds through that gun, along with thousands of less powerful rounds and, from a barricade, I can place the bullets within a three inch circle at 25 yds. Firing off hand I keep 90% of the rounds within the head of a B-27 target. And remember, that gun holds 16 rounds. If we step up to my G32, then we are talking a 125 gr JHP at 1450fps with the same accuracy. The K frame 357s are nice but I’ll stick with my compact Glocks.

      1. He is using weak rounds. The point of a 357 is heavy and fast, but he is using light and slow. You can otherwise use 38 hardcast wadcutters with better ballistic perdormance than any up 9mm unless you handloqd semiwadcutters.

        I prefer to carry a 44 mag or 357 from 4″ unlike 9mm which are shown to require several hits and users shown to spray and pray, these loads actually work. I’ll take a 38 wadcutter over 9mm +p+ any day.

        1. I’ve been a gun owner for over 50 years. I own plenty of revolvers and autoloaders…not only are the revolvers more powerful they also always always go “Bang” plus they are brainless to bring into action, well balanced, accurate, simple to use,no jams,ftf etc…if you need to reload with another mag(unless you are in warlike conditions)you probably missed a lot and may be full of bullet holes. 6 shots from a medium to high power revolver will stop an attacker. Practice practice practice….pretty simple.

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