Introduced at the 2008 SHOT Show, the Night Guard line of revolvers is a collection of high-end self-defense revolvers. The Smith & Wesson Night Guard revolvers are chambered in a wide range of calibers, from .38 Special to .44 Magnum.
The Night Guard series of handguns were “specifically built for self-defense,” said Tom Taylor, the president of Smith and Wesson at the time of the introduction.
Built from scandium alloy, Smith & Wesson used K, L and N frames – all larger than the J-frames normally seen in the Airweight line. The larger frames, along with the additional features listed below, indicate these guns are built for combat – not just carry. The guns are relatively lightweight, yet heavy duty.
All of the Night Guard revolvers come with an XS Sights 24/7 night sight that has a tritium insert. The fixed rear sights are Extreme Duty U-notch sights from Cylinder & Slide. The front sights are pinned should you wish to change them for something different.
The hammers are exposed on all of the Night Guard revolvers. While an exposed hammer does create the potential for snagging during a draw, it does give the shooter the option for a precision, single-action shot.
Barrel lengths were either 2.5″ or 2.75″ depending on the model. The barrels and cylinders are made of stainless steel. All metal parts are finished in matte black on all of these revolvers.
Pachmayr grips were standard on some of the guns and S&W branded synthetic grips were standard on others.
S&W Night Guard Line
|310||10mm/.40 S&W||6 rounds|
|325||.45 ACP||6 rounds|
|327||.357 Magnum/.38 Special||8 rounds|
|329||.44 Magnum/.44 Special||6 rounds|
|357||.41 Magnum||6 rounds|
|386||.357 Magnum/.38 Special||7 rounds|
|396||.44 Special||5 rounds|
The S&W model 310 was chambered for the heavy hitting 10mm cartridge, but would also shoot milder .40 S&W rounds. This specific gun had a 2.75″ barrel and had an overall length of 7.625″. Unloaded, it weighed 28 ounces.
It is not known how many of these revolvers were made, but this specific model was not part of the initial introduction at the 2008 SHOT Show. It is likely its production numbers are less than other models in the Night Guard line. S&W SKU: 163426
Chambered in .45 ACP, the model 325 also had a 2.75″ barrel. It shared the same overall length (7.625″) and unloaded weight (28 ounces) as the model 310. S&W SKU: 163421
The model 327 was chambered in .357 Magnum and also shot the .38 Special cartridge. The barrel was slightly shorter than the above models at 2.5″. Weight was also slightly less: 27.6 ounces. The cylinder was the same size as the 310 and 325, but with the narrower .357 cartridge, it held eight rounds instead of six. S&W SKU: 163422
The model 319 was the ultimate in Night Guard power: .44 Magnum. It had a 2.5″ barrel and an unloaded weight of 29.3 ounces. The gun’s overall length was 7.75″ long. S&W SKU: 163420
Few modern revolvers are chambered for the .41 Magnum, but the model 357 was one of those rare guns. This gun also had a 2.5″ barrel and generally shared the same dimensions as the model 329. However, the gun was heavier (29.7 ounces) because of the smaller bore.
Like the model 325, this gun was not part of the original Night Guard introduction. Combined with the relatively niche cartridge, I would expect production numbers to be low on this gun as well. The internal stock keeping unit number (SKU) was higher than all of the other Night Guard revolvers, suggesting that this was the last model in the line developed. S&W SKU: 163428
Unlike the model 327 that was built on the heavier L-frame, the 386 was a .357 Magnum revolver built on the K-frame. Consequently, the gun was lighter 24.5 ounces) and holds seven cartridges instead of eight. The barrel length was 2.5″ and the overall length was 7.625″ S&W SKU: 163424
Also built on the medium K-frame, the model 396 was chambered in .44 Special. Due to the size of the cartridge vs. the size of the cylinder, capacity was limited to five rounds only. This gun was the lightest of the line at 24.2 ounces. S&W SKU: 163423
When they were first introduced, the Night Guard revolvers carried an MSRP of $980 – $1044 depending on the model. By the time the line was discontinued, the guns carried an MSRP of nearly $1200 each. The exact date each gun was discontinued is not currently known. However, the guns were definitely not in the 2013 catalog.
While the guns were clearly good self-defense handguns, it appears the demand just wasn’t there for the high dollar revolvers. Keep in mind that at the same time these were on the market, Smith & Wesson was also selling high capacity pistols for less than half the cost of the Night Guard models.
Smith & Wesson has produced a lot of quality firearms throughout the years. However, I think Smith and Wesson will always be known for making some of the finest revolvers in the market. These Night Guard revolvers are some of the nicest self-defense revolvers probably ever made by the company.