Introduced in early 1954, the big double-action duty revolver was based on Smith's popular N-framed Model 27 but with a "working" finish designed to be more practical than attractive with a dull matte blue finish being standard.
The six-shooter had a counter-bored cylinder and options for either a 4- or 6-inch pinned barrel with a ramped front blade sight and adjustable rear.
The Model 28 was for a time so associated with LE that it was even known as a literal "Tackleberry Gun" to fans of Police Academy movies, although it was also carried on-screen by tough-guy cops portrayed by everyone from Chuck Norris and Charlie Bronson to Mel Gibson.
The guns proved popular not only with law enforcement-- special models were made for the Texas Department of Public Safety as well as the Florida and Washington State Highway Patrol-- but also with hunters who picked up the guns as a dependable sidearm for use in bear country, bowling pin match shooters and many looking for a rock-solid home defense tool.
Debuted originally just as the "Highway Patrolman" model, by 1957 the revolver was officially the Model 28 and was updated across three generations by 1982 before production ended on this now-classic wheel gun in 1986. By then, "wonder nine" double-stack semi-autos were fast replacing comparatively massive (a 6-inch Model 28 weighs 46-ounces ready to holster) target-frame revolver.
Still, this "poor man's Model 27" is a sleeper that may not have the flash of its older brother, but still delivers, and it is a model that is increasingly popping up on the radar with collectors.