About the Handgun:
Also known as the Bodyguard Stainless, the Model 649 is a stainless steel version of the Model 49 revolver. While the Model 49 was chambered for the .38 Special cartridge, the Model 649 is capable of firing the more powerful .357 Magnum round. Like the Model 49 this gun features a partially shrouded DA/SA hammer.
About the Manufacturer:
This company began in 1852 when Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson entered a gunmaking partnership in Norwich Connecticut. In 1857 they produced the first metallic cartridge breech-loading revolver. Their first double-action revolver was produced in 1880. In 1964 the company passed from Wesson family control, and subsequently several conglomerates took control of it. From 1987 to 2001 Tomkins PLC, a British company, owned Smith & Wesson. In March 2000 Smith & Wesson signed an agreement with the Clinton Administration in order to avoid lawsuits. This agreement was not at all liked by the gun owning public and boycotts and floods of used S&W firearms in the market nearly ruined the company. On May 11, 2001, Saf-T-Hammer Corporation acquired Smith & Wesson Corp. from Tomkins PLC for a fraction of what Tomkins originally paid. The new company, Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation, publicly renounced the Clinton agreement which was received positively by the firearms community.
About the Cartridge:
Smith & Wesson introduced this cartridge for its heavy-frame revolver. Ammunition was developed by Winchester in cooperation with Smith & Wesson. Using a lengthened and strengthened version of the .38 Special case, the .357 Magnum was rapidly accepted by hunters and law enforcement. At the time of its introduction, it was claimed to easily pierce the body panels of automobiles and crack engine blocks. While it has less power than the .44 Magnum, it compares favorably to the 10mm Norma and .45 ACP, but with better armor penetration. Today factories offer over fifty different loadings in this caliber.