New for 2014, Smith & Wesson is expanding on their line-up of Performance Center revolvers with the Jerry Miculek Model 929, an eight-shot, long-barreled, compensated competition revolver. It’s pretty much the opposite of the Model 940.
Although this is a premium handgun, some might hold out that this means Smith & Wesson is thinking about bringing back the 9mm revolver in more utilitarian configurations. While historically the 9mm has been a weak seller, the growing popularity of 9mm handguns and near-complete lack of 9mm revolvers is creating a new market for guns like the 929.
The 929 doesn’t have a lot in common with 9mm revolvers of the past, and that may be something Smith & Wesson is trying to capitalize on. The world of 9mm revolvers has largely been standard service-sized handguns that have been re-chambered for the rimless cartridge.
Details are still scarce when it comes to the 929 as Smith & Wesson hasn’t put up a product page for it yet. However, it fits the profile of other N-frame revolvers like the .44 Magnum 629. The barrel looks like it’s 6.5 inches long, which means unless the frame is made of something other than stainless steel, it will weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 45-50 ounces.
Suffice it to say, recoil isn’t likely to be an issue. Smith & Wesson has stated that the revolver has a titanium cylinder and a standard Performance Center trigger, with a 10-pound double-action and 3.5-four-pound single-action trigger pull.
While this particular configuration may have many 9mm revolver fans scratching their heads, the Model 929 looks purpose-built for competition shooting including the USPSA, ICORE and the Bianchi Cup. It may simply be that champion shooter Jerry Miculek asked Smith & Wesson to make him a revolver and the company is abiding.
Even with the lightest loads, with the long barrel taking advantage of every grain of powder, the 929 will not have problems making minimum power factors for competitive shooting.
Outside of revolver competitions this gun has somewhat limited marketability. It very well might stick around, if not become the de-facto revolver for certain shooting sports and it will probably be sought out by collectors and target-shooters as well, but it isn’t the 9mm revolver that the bulk of 9mm revolver fans are looking for. Too big, too expensive, not practical.
The fact that this gun does not have a dedicated 9mm frame might mean that Smith & Wesson doesn’t intend to bring back the 9mm revolver on a larger scale.
While there will always be people who want 9mm revolvers in service-sized and snub-nosed packages — 9mm offers a lot more power over standard .38 Special loads in a considerably shorter cartridge and doesn’t have the sting, flash and bang of full-house or even reduced-power .357 Magnums — in truth 9mm revolvers have never seen a lot of success in the U.S.
That being said, the market for 9mm handguns is bigger than ever as modern 9mm performance is on-par with hotter calibers and the associated savings of the relatively low-cost cartridge really adds up. This is just as true for revolvers as it is semi-automatic pistols and for many, the Model 929 could give hope to the idea that this revolver manufacture is looking to experiment with 9mm once again.