Jerry Miculek on the S&W Model 327 Revolver: “If You Could Only Have One…”

When Jerry Miculek says that if you could only have one revolver, and it’s the only one you can ever have, but you have to carry it often and a lot…well, many of us would be interested in what came next. Wait no longer. Jerry says that, in his opinion, it would be a Smith & Wesson Model 327 with a five-inch barrel. Why the Model 327? Well, Jerry explains in the video linked below. Or you can read this to get the rundown, but you’re gonna want to watch the video anyhow. I’ll explain in a few.

First, what exactly is a Model 327?

It’s an N-Frame revolver available in different barrel lengths chambered in .357 Magnum. The 327 has a titanium cylinder and a titanium barrel shroud over a rifled stainless-steel liner, making it very light and very durable. It has an eight-round capacity, giving it more sting than your average six-shooter. The higher capacity is made possible by the thinner walls between the charge holes, which also takes away from the gun’s weight.

If you can only have one revolver that you have to carry often, Jerry Miculek recommends the Smith & Wesson Model 327.
If you can only have one revolver that you have to carry often, Jerry Miculek recommends the Smith & Wesson Model 327.

Jerry used two of the guns on the table to shoot the American Handgunner Competition several years ago. He chose the Model 327 because of the light weight, which allowed him to clear the holster and get on target quicker than a heavier all-steel gun. But lighter guns have more recoil, so the competition guns have quad-ported barrels to help control it. Jerry admits that’s a downside of the gun. The light front end means there’s no follow-through from the gun itself, as there is with heavier barreled guns. He likens that effect to the bow stabilizers that archery competitors use to keep their bows on target longer.

With such a light gun, Jerry says, you have to be “extremely perfect on the trigger” or you’ll move the gun before the shot goes off. Trigger control is always important, but the weight, or lack of weight, of the Model 327 requires even more precision. As Jerry notes, “They were very good when they were good, and when you weren’t good, it was like somebody else was pulling the trigger.”

Jerry Miculek with Model 28 and Model 327
(L) The steel frame Model 28 has thicker walls between the charge holes, making the cylinder heavier. (R) The Model 327 has thinner titanium walls, making it lighter and adding capacity.

So, how light is the Model 327?

Jerry’s five-inch barreled gun came in at 1 pound, 12.9 ounces. By way of comparison, his four-inch barreled Model 28 weighed almost a full pound more at 1 pound, 12.5 ounces. Maybe a pound doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you carry a gun on a regular basis, you know that it really is. Jerry’s Model 327 only weighs four ounces more than my polymer frame compact carry gun. For a steel frame revolver with a five-inch barrel, that’s ridiculously light. And it carries eight rounds of .357 Magnum (or .38 Special).

Jerry Miculek with two Smith & Wesson Model 327 revolvers
Jerry used these two Model 327s to win the American Handgunner Competition.

Anyway, the American Handgunner competition had about seven different divisions and Jerry competed in the Open Revolver Division. At the end of the week, the champions from each division went head-to-head to crown a Grand Champion. Unsurprisingly, Jerry won the whole thing using those two Model 327s.

ported barrel
Jerry’s competition guns have ported barrels to help reduce recoil.

If Jerry is using these guns in competitions, they must be fast.

Indeed they are, but why? We already mentioned the speed from the holster, but the titanium cylinder is so much lighter than its steel counterpart that it eases the trigger pull considerably. It requires less force to put the cylinder in motion and there is less wear on the action when it stops, giving it great durability. The thinner walls between the charge holes help with that, though I guess it could be argued that the two extra rounds add some of that weight back. But who wouldn’t trade the weight of two rounds for a 33.3 percent increase in capacity?

Jerry Miculek compares a Model 327 and Model 28
The five-inch barreled Model 327 weighs almost a full pound less than the all-steel four-inch barreled Model 28.

Speaking of capacity, the Model 327 accepts full moon clips, and the cylinder features a rim that ejects the clip along with the empties. So, it’s fast all the way around, assuming you’re fast enough to use it like that. Practice, man, practice.

moon clips
The Model 327 accepts full moon clips, assuming you’re fast enough to use them effectively.

This is where Jerry opines that the five-inch barreled Model 327 is the revolver you should carry if you could only have one. He used his to demonstrate a bunch of “impossible shots” back in the day. Imagine Jerry Miculek doing “impossible shots.” Doesn’t really require much suspension of disbelief.

Jerry Miculek shooting the Smith & Wesson Model 327 revolver
Ringing steel, Miculek style.

Now we get to the part that you want to watch in the video if you don’t watch anything else. Jerry takes the Model 327 out to the range for a little demo on just how fast this thing is. In his hands, at least.

First, he fires six rounds against a timer on a single steel target. Then he attempts to shoot three side-by-side steel targets, two rounds each, at the same speed. There is about a yard between the centers of the three targets. Basically a 2-2-2 drill, Jerry Miculek style. The first six rounds, on the single target, average a .17 second split. When he repeats the drill, with two rounds on each target, the splits are .17, .18, .16, .18, and .17. As Jerry says, “Get some!”

Finally, we get to watch Jerry attempt to shoot six small steel targets at 15 feet holding the Model 327 upside down, using his pinky finger on the trigger. I’ll let you watch the video to see how it turns out.

Jerry Miculek shooting upside down.
Now he’s just showing off.

So, do you want a Smith & Wesson Model 327? Sweet gun, but you better put the work in. But isn’t that how it always is?

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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