Smith and Wesson 351C Problems: Top 6 Issues Exposed!

The Smith and Wesson 351C is a fascinating revolver that has garnered much attention for its lightweight design and reliability.

However, as with any piece of machinery, having tested this firearm extensively in the field, I’ve encountered several challenges that can affect its performance.

Some of Smith and Wesson 351C problems are low velocity, misfires, light primer strikes, accuracy issues, cylinder complications, and even grip discomfort.

Let’s delve into some of the users’ problems and explore potential solutions.

6 Problems With Their Quick Solution
Low Velocity IssueSwitch to lighter bullets to increase velocity.
Misfires IssueReplace the firing pin or try different ammunition.
Light Primer StrikesInspect, clean, and lubricate the firing pin area.
Accuracy IssuesContact the company for defects and practice dry firing.
Jammed CylinderClean around the extractor and apply proper lubricant.
Uncomfortable GripExperiment with grip adjustments like extensions for comfort.
Smith and Wesson 351C Problems
Smith and Wesson 351C Problems

Smith and Wesson 351C Problems With Their Practical Solution:

1. Low Velocity Issue:

One of the notable problems is its tendency to exhibit low velocity when firing. This issue becomes apparent, especially during rapid shots or when using lighter bullets.

The revolver’s small barrel and design can contribute to this reduction in speed, affecting the firearm’s overall effectiveness in both sports shooting and potentially in critical situations.

The Smith and Wesson 351C’s high-velocity nature is compromised by this flaw.

This design flaw becomes more pronounced in off-road or adventurous settings where quick, precise shots are essential.


Now, what’s the fix? One effective workaround is to switch to lighter bullets. These bullets achieve faster speeds due to reduced wind resistance, making a noticeable difference in performance.

This balancing act between bullet weight and speed can improve the revolver’s effectiveness.

Experimenting with different cartridge loads helps find the best bet for optimal performance, turning the low-velocity issue into a manageable aspect of using the Smith and Wesson 351C.

2. Misfires Issue:

Next on the list is the issue of misfires. These unexpected occurrences highlight the importance of thorough testing and understanding the revolver’s trigger mechanism.

The firing pin being weaker than expected can contribute to these misfires, especially when using varying ammo types.

This factor poses risks in new shooting scenarios, potentially leading to dangerous situations. Misfires demand careful consideration of its firing pin and ammunition compatibility.


Solving the misfire dilemma starts with a thorough check of the firing pin.

In some cases, simply replacing the firing pin can work wonders and is a straightforward fix that doesn’t require a PhD in Gun Mechanics. Although this might seem expensive, it is an insurance policy for your revolver’s reliability.

Another practical approach involves swapping the ammunition. Various tests with different ammo types can reveal that certain brands or weights perform better with the Smith and Wesson 351C.

This has resolved the issue for many users, as specific ammo might interact better with the revolver’s mechanics.

3. Light Primer Strikes:

This classic issue often manifests as pesky misfires, which I’ve encountered during field tests and shooting sessions.

Light primer strikes are annoying and can severely impact the revolver’s reliability. When faced with this issue, snooping into the root causes is essential.

It can stem from various factors such as gun mechanical failures, buildup in the firing pin area, or even a gap in the bolt face where the cartridge seats.


How did I resolve it?

  • Begins with thoroughly inspecting the firing pin and its surroundings.
  • Cleaning and lubricating the firing pin area are essential to prevent buildup and ensure smooth operation. However, be cautious with the amount of lube used to avoid attracting more dirt.
  • Consulting a professional such as a local gunsmith is a safe bet for more complex issues. Their expertise can provide routine maintenance tips or diagnose and fix more reliable solutions, easing concerns about reliable firearm operation.

These measures enhance the revolver’s reliability and provide peace of mind during shooting sessions.

4. Accuracy Issue:

The accuracy is a critical consideration for any sharpshooter. Factors such as trigger pulls, and the consistency of rounds fired play crucial roles.

Sometimes, pinpoint accuracy can be more challenging than expected, which may seem counterintuitive given the revolver’s reputation.

Understanding the manufacturing standards and potential defects that could affect accuracy is essential. Issues like a heavier trigger pull or slight variations in manufacturing can impact the revolver’s performance.


To tackle accuracy problems, one must consider potential manufacturing defects. Reaching out to the company helps identify if any specific defect needs to be fixed.

Once the revolver is returned or serviced, it’s essential to test it by firing several rounds to ensure the accuracy has improved.

Another critical factor is dealing with the heavy trigger pull that many users find uncomfortable. To overcome this, I practiced dry firing regularly to build finger strength.

This practice routine significantly enhanced my comfort and precision with the trigger.

5. Cylinder Issue:

The cylinder often faces jammed situations, particularly during extensive use in the field. Shooters frequently report the cylinder getting stuck or failing to revolve properly after firing several rounds.

This issue can be attributed to unburned powder and dirt buildup, which can clog the extractor and other parts of the cylinder mechanism.

Any gap or misalignment within the cylinder can also exacerbate these problems, making the revolver unreliable in critical moments.

These multi-faceted issues demand careful attention and consistent maintenance to ensure the firearm operates smoothly.


Alright, let’s fix it.

  • One of the first steps is to consult the instruction manual to ensure proper adjustment procedures are followed. Reading the manual thoroughly provides valuable insights into the correct spot to clean and adjust.
  • Using a brush to thoroughly clean around the extractor area and applying the proper lubricant can significantly improve cylinder functionality.

Based on personal experience and professional instruction, following these business practices ensures the cylinder functions optimally, enhancing the revolver’s overall performance and longevity.

Read More: Smith and Wesson 43C Problems

6. Grip Issue:

The Smith and Wesson 351C design presents a small and sometimes odd grip that may only comfortably fit some hand sizes.

For newbies and seasoned shooters alike, mastering this uphill battle can be like trying to write with a pencil that doesn’t feel right.

While beneficial for carry, this weight reduction approach can become a headache when fighting to shoot accurately, especially when overlooking such details in firearm selection.


When fixing the grip quality, investing time in understanding how it fits your hands is essential.

Dry firing the revolver multiple times, even up to a few thousand, can provide insights into where adjustments are needed.

A helpful tip is to assess if the grip feels comfortable and if the existing setup can be adjusted to better suit your needs. Sometimes, a straightforward approach like a grip extension can intimidate less and provide a practical solution.

Remember, practice with the hand extension to ensure it enhances comfort and control.

My Final Conclusion:

Navigating the Smith and Wesson 351C, a unique and compact revolver, presents its charms and challenges.

From low velocity and misfires to light primer strikes and grip issues, it’s a mixed bag of performance hiccups that emerge during field testing.

However, every issue has simple, practical solutions, whether swapping bullets, cleaning and adjusting parts, or dedicating time to practicing with elbow grease.

Despite these quirks, the Smith and Wesson 351C remains a reliable companion for those who appreciate its design and functionality in various shooting scenarios.

My Friends Feedback:

Exploring the Smith and Wesson 351C, it’s evident that this pocket gun has its share of challenges.

From rimfire issues to reliability concerns with specific ammo, the feedback from fellow shooters sheds light on various aspects.

Discussing the trigger pull, some have had luck with changing the rebound and hammer springs to enhance control and reduce the trigger pull gauge.

Others opted for upgrades like those from Apex Tactical, highlighting their customer service and the noticeable difference in smoothness and double-action satisfaction.

However, reports of heavy work and expense are involved, with reliability sometimes suffering, especially with rimfire ammo ignition.

Testing with various cartridges and rounds reveals insights into firing pin and hammer nose issues, where energy transfer and inertia during travel impact performance.

YouTube videos and resources on Airlite models provide examples of the influence of deviation and bore axis on accuracy.

Moreover, discussions on cleaning, maintenance, and the use of smooth and floating firing pins underscore the importance of proper care to avoid jams and cylinder issues.

Each experience contributes to understanding the Smith and Wesson 351C’s nuances for optimal performance, from choosing the correct ammunition to adjusting trigger settings.

Smith and Wesson 351C Problems
Smith and Wesson 351C Problems

Common Question Asked About Smith and Wesson 351C Problems:

What are the dimensions of a Smith & Wesson 351c?

Designed for discreet carry in a pocket or purse, the 351c is lightweight at only 11 ounces and compact, measuring 6.25 inches in length and 3.75 inches in height. This makes it incredibly convenient for everyday carry. It features a matte black finish and is equipped with rubber grips adorned with the molded S&W logo.

How much does a Smith and Wesson 351 weigh?

The $766 revolver operates in both double and single action modes, boasting a compact design with an overall height of 4.75 inches and a maximum width of 1.3 inches. When unloaded, it weighs 11.2 ounces, increasing to 15.4 ounces when fully loaded.

What does S&W stand for ammo?

The .40 S&W (10.2×22mm) is a rimless pistol cartridge created through collaboration between American firearms manufacturers Smith & Wesson and Winchester in 1990.

Is it OK to dry fire a Smith and Wesson revolver?

Yes, with the exception of .22 caliber models such as the 22A, 22S, 422, 2206, 2214, 2213, and 41.

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