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To do so, we have to go back a few years to the beginning of the Magnum era.On April 8, 1935, Smith & Wesson ushered in the Magnum era of handgunning with a new revolver.This medium magnum came as a result of the continuing evolution of the K-frame M&P models introduced in 1899.The L-frames, engineered to handle the stresses of the .357 Mag., deserve to be understood by today's handgunners, so I'll tell their story here.The police officer views his handgun as a tool of his trade. Believe me, there is nothing easy about carrying the original large-frame .357 Mag.The author’s favorite L-frame barrel length is 5 inches because it offers a good compromise between performance, sight radius and handling.

Peace officers at local, state and federal levels were part of that demand.

Colt was fading fast in a market it once dominated, Ruger had made only modest inroads, and more often than not, the cop on the beat carried a Smith & Wesson.

The best of that breed was—and still is—Smith & Wesson's superb series of L-frame revolvers.

When the war was over and America entered a new era of affluence, all those GIs who learned their shooting skills from Uncle Sam came home.

Many wanted to enjoy the shooting sports, including handgunning.

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