Smith & Wesson Model 351 PD 160228 22 WMR

The M351 offers light weight, 7-shot capacity, and a bright Hi-Viz fiber-optic front sight that we really liked. Accuracy was good for the length. The smooth grip allowed easy pants-pocket carry.

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Gun Tests Grade: A

$766

In our opinion, the Smith & Wesson Model 351 PD is highest on this 22 WMR revolver food chain. It offers good sights, light weight, a nice grip, and good accuracy. Of course, it also carries a heavy price tag.

The 351 PD is built on S&W’s J-frame, and it uses an aluminum-alloy frame and cylinder. The barrel is stainless steel and has an aluminum shroud. The barrel is also inset into the cylinder window. Because the frame is made for the longer 357 Magnum cartridge, S&W reduced the length of the 22 Mag cylinder and made up the difference with the barrel inside the cylinder window. This is a design style S&W uses frequently. The benefit is a lighter gun and no long jump for the bullet from the case to the forcing cone. The muzzle is also deeply crowned.

Action TypeRevolver, double and single action
Overall Length6.2 in.
Overall Height4.75 in.
Maximum Width1.3 in.
Weight Unloaded11.2 oz.
Weight Loaded15.4 oz.
Barrel1.87 in. long, 1:9 RH twist rate, 6 grooves,
matte-black stainless steel w/aluminum sleeve
CylinderMatte-black aluminum
Cylinder Gap0.008 in.
Capacity7
FrameMatte-black aluminum
Frame Front Strap Height1.8 in.
Frame Back Strap Height3.1 in.
GripSmooth laminated wood w/finger grooves
Grip Thickness Maximum1.2 in.
Grip Circumference Maximum4.62 in.
Front SightHi-Viz fiber-optic orange tube, pinned
Rear SightFixed U-notch topstrap groove
Sight Radius3.0 in.
Trigger Pull Weight Double Action12+ lbs.
Trigger Pull Weight Single Action4.2 lbs.
Trigger Span Double Action2.9 in.
Trigger Span Single Action2.3 in.
SafetyHammer block
WarrantyNone written
Telephone(800) 331-0852
WebsiteSmith-Wesson.com
Made InUSA
The chambers on the S&W are countersunk so the base of the cartridges are flush with the rear of the cylinder.

The seven-shot cylinder locks in the front via a detent pin in the underbarrel lug and the front of the ejector rod. The pin in the ejector locks the cylinder to the rear of the frame. The cylinder had no wiggle and was tight. S&W fluted the cylinder with long cuts and also fluted the backstrap, outside trigger guard, the barrel shroud, and underlug. S&W did a lot to shave the weight off this revolver, which weighs 15.4 ounces loaded. We appreciated the light weight of the 351 PD.

Elsewhere, there is a lanyard loop at the butt of the backstrap. The fit and finish were excellent. The metal wears a matte-black finish and is contrasted by a matte-gray trigger and hammer. This a smart-looking revolver.

In hand the S&W felt small and lithe. We could easily and comfortably curl our small finger under the butt.

The reddish grip is smooth laminated wood with a finger groove and palm swell. You can easily wrap your small finger under the butt. Because there is nearly no recoil with the 22 Magnum cartridge, there really is no need for a toothy texture. We also found the 351 PD slid in and out of our pocket with ease due to the slick grip.

The trigger is wide and smooth and no doubt helps make the 12-pound-plus double-action pull feel less. The single-action pull weight is a very crisp 4.2 pounds. The spur is relatively small compared to the other revolvers and sported coarse checkering. This is a good combination for better concealability and secure cocking.

The triggers were wide and smooth, which helps make the 12-pound-plus double action pull weight seem less.

The front sight is a Hi-Viz orange fiber-optic tube pinned in place. The rear sight is a U notch milled out of the topstrap. The very rear portion is further milled to reduce glare. In our opinion, these sights were very user friendly. The matte-black rear sight is adjustable, and the base of the sight is serrated to reduce glare.

During accuracy testing, our best five-shot group with the 351 PD measured 1.71 inches firing Speer Gold Dots. We also discovered the 351 PD had the lowest muzzle velocities and muzzle energies of the pistols tested. This can be a result of a wide cylinder/forcing cone gap, which was high at 0.008 inches, but we did not experience any splash. Average accuracy across all ammo choices ranged from 2.79 inches to 3.98 inches at 25 yards, which is okay.

In speed shooting, the S&W offered good control, and the larger front sight allowed for faster target acquisition. In hand, the S&W felt lithe but with a grip that made it easy to shoot. The S&W did not fully eject cases.

Our Team Said: The 351 PD checked a lot of boxes for us: lightweight, smooth trigger, big bold sights, easy pocket concealability. This is the 22 WMR we would pick, but it is nearly twice the cost of the Taurus. If you want a premium pocket 22 Magnum revolver, this is your gun.

22 Magnum Range Data

To collect accuracy data, we fired five-shot groups from a bench using a rest at 25 yards. We recorded velocities using a ProChrono digital chronograph set 15 feet from the muzzle.
22 Magnum Range Data
Winchester Super X
40-grain FMJ
Ruger
LCRx
Taurus
Model 942
S&W
Model 351 PD
Average Velocity1025 fps966 fps961 fps
Muzzle Energy93 ft.-lbs.83 ft.-lbs.82 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group1.99 in.3.41 in.3.62 in.
Average Group2.54 in.4.03 in.3.98 in.
Speer Gold Dot
40-grain GDHP-SB
Ruger
LCRx
Taurus
Model 942
S&W
Model 351 PD
Average Velocity1118 fps1039 fps963 fps
Muzzle Energy111 ft.-lbs.96 ft.-lbs.82 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group1.10 in.3.25 in.1.71 in.
Average Group2.18 in.3.71 in.2.79 in.
Hornady Critical Defense
45-grain FTX
Ruger
LCRx
Taurus
Model 942
S&W
Model 351 PD
Average Velocity1047 fps1021 fps935 fps
Muzzle Energy110 ft.-lbs.104 ft.-lbs.87 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group3.00 in.3.89 in.2.59 in.
Average Group3.17 in.4.71 in.2.79 in.

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