Top 7 Smith And Wesson 351PD Problems To Watch For

The Smith and Wesson 351PD stands out as a time-tested option renowned for its lightweight design and solid construction. However, like any firearm, it has issues that warrant a closer look.

A vital aspect of any firearm is its accuracy in range and handling in various conditions.

While the 351PD has been tested extensively for these qualities, some users have reported discomfort during extended use, particularly related to sweat affecting grip.

This article provides insights and solutions to help you enjoy your 351PD.

Problems & Solutions at a Glance

7 ProblemsWith Their Quick Solution
Accuracy ProblemClean and adjust sights for improved accuracy.
Misfiring IssueRegularly clean your firearm to prevent misfiring issues.
Rust ProblemRegular cleaning and occasional polishing prevent firearm rust.
 Problem with the TriggerConsider upgrading with new spring kits for improvement.
Damages from the AmmoChoose suitable ammo to avoid revolver damage and repairs.
 Grip ProblemConsider upgrading to Hogue grips for better handling.
 Cylinder IssueEjector star replacement resolves cylinder issue effectively.
Smith and Wesson 351PD Problems

Smith and Wesson 351PD Problems With Their Practical Solution:

1. Accuracy Problem:

One of the frustrating issues that shooters may notice is the tendency for shots to veer off center, either left or right, despite maintaining proper aim and technique.

This problem isn’t necessarily due to bad shooting skills or environmental factors like wind; instead, it can stem from uncommon discrepancies in the sights or bullet trajectory.


One common issue with the Smith and Wesson 351PD is its accuracy. The standard setup includes a Hi-Viz fiber-optic front sight with a pinned orange tube and a fixed U-notch rear sight on the top strap.

Ensuring your sights are clean is not rocket science; a dirty sight can easily throw off your aim. Regular maintenance and cleaning will keep the sights clear and your shots accurate.

If you’re still struggling with alignment, consider adjusting the sights, as fine-tuning and readjusting the fiber-optic tube can improve accuracy.

2. Misfiring Issue:

A sudden misfiring can occur when you set your finger on the trigger and pull, expecting a gratifying bang, but are met with unsettling silence instead.

This letdown can happen during a practice session and is often mistaken for a fluke. However, repeated occurrences indicate a deeper problem.

The primary cause of misfiring is often a light primer strike. This can be aggravated by gunk and grime accumulating around the cylinder and extractor star.


One effective way to fix misfires is by ensuring regular and thorough cleaning of your firearm. Pay special attention to the extractor star, as buildup can cause significant problems.

Before heading to the range, it’s essential to have a pre-game ritual of cleaning to ensure your revolver is in top condition.

In my experience, adopting this habit has significantly reduced the number of misfires. During each cleaning session, ensure thorough and remove any extra debris that might have accumulated.

A clean firearm is more reliable, and you will notice a marked difference in performance. This tried, accurate method is not just a guess but a proven way to maintain your Smith and Wesson 351PD’s functionality.

3. Rust Problem:

Diving into the nitty-gritty of the Smith and Wesson 351PD, many users have noted rust issues.

Despite being a pricier model, it is sensitive to the most minor elements of wear and tear. Even the most minor scratch can lead to rusting, which I unfortunately learned the hard way during field tests.

Using the wrong type of brush or exposing it to rough conditions can easily mark the surface, making it more prone to rust. This is especially true for areas around the hammer and trigger, which are frequently handled.

Maintaining and storing the gun properly is ideal to avoid these problems, significantly if you’ve invested considerable money into it.


Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial to combat rust and maintain the sleek look of your Smith and Wesson 351PD.

Develop a game plan for cleanliness by cleaning your gun after every use and regularly polishing it to prevent rust from collecting. Focus on areas prone to dust and case scratches, such as the hammer and trigger.

By focusing on regular cleaning and occasional polishing, you can keep your firearm in top shape and prevent unsightly rust from forming. Use elbow grease and polishing compounds recommended by friends to maintain your firearm’s sleek appearance.

4. Problem with the Trigger:

During my testing, the double-action trigger felt sluggish and not as smooth out of the box as expected. It lacks the simple, smooth trigger pull many look for in a revolver.

While some might opt for a trigger job to improve this, it’s essential to trust the firearm’s out-of-the-box performance. The vibe around a dragging trigger can throw off your aim and diminish shooting enjoyment.

Despite this trigger issue, the Smith and Wesson 351PD remains a solid choice for those who appreciate its lightweight design and overall reliability.


The Smith and Wesson 351PD trigger can feel sluggish or uncomfortable for some shooters. From personal experience, upgrading with new spring kits can significantly improve.

These kits are designed to deliver a smoother and more comfortable trigger pull, transforming the shooting experience.

Regular maintenance also works wonders. Sometimes, a simple readjustment or minor tweak to the springs can result in a smooth trigger pull akin to silk. If you’re experiencing trigger issues, exploring these upgrades could be the solution you’re looking for.

5. Damages from the Ammo:

The ammunition used can significantly impact the performance of the Smith and Wesson 351PD. 22 Magnum rounds, while generally effective, can create barrel and cylinder damage over time due to their higher muzzle blast.

This can result in jarring experiences and worst-case scenarios where the firearm’s accuracy and longevity are compromised.

Shooting with a spoiler or messy rounds exacerbates these barrel and cylinder issues, necessitating careful maintenance and cleaning.


Using 22 magnum rounds in the Smith and Wesson 351PD requires careful consideration. The truth is that while the rounds are suited for the gun, they can cause damage to the barrel and cylinder with prolonged use.

This can necessitate fixes such as barrel replacement or cylinder repairs, which can be a hassle and lead to company involvement in replacement parts.

From personal experience, I’ve learned a valuable lesson about choosing the right ammo for this revolver. Setting aside time to learn about the potential damages various rounds can cause is essential.

Ensuring your revolver is well-maintained and using ammo appropriate for its design can prevent unnecessary setbacks and costly repairs in the long run.

6. Grip Problem:

One of the essential aspects of shooting with the Smith and Wesson 351PD is finding a comfortable and accurate grip. A poor grip can affect your aim and make rapid-fire shooting distracting.

Ensuring the revolver feels right in your hand is critical to maintaining accuracy and minimizing frustration during shooting sessions.

Personal preference plays a role in how comfortable and practical your grip is when holding the revolver. Nobodyyourself can mine the proper grip that allows for accurate and stable shooting.


One effective solution for fixing grip issues is exploring aftermarket options like Hogue grips. These alternatives offer better ergonomics and a precise fit, which can significantly improve your aim and shooting experience.

Switching to aftermarket grips is straightforward and can often be done, depending on your mechanical comfort level.

The process is worth the effort for those facing grip issues, providing a trustworthy alternative to the original grips. Investing in improved grips is worth making if you value enhanced ergonomics and shooting accuracy.

Read more about Top 4 Smith and Wesson R8 Problems And How To Correct Them.

7. Cylinder Issue:

One frustrating issue I’ve faced is the cylinder occasionally skipping rounds during shooting sequences. This hiccup can disrupt your rhythm and affect your accuracy.

Upon closer inspection, I realized the ejector star sometimes messes with the fire sequence, causing it to skip a round.

It’s like when your car randomly decides to accelerate without you pressing the gas, definitely a mood killer on the range.


Upon realizing this issue, I researched to find the best route for fixing it.

  • Often, the culprit lies with the ejector star, a component prone to wear and tear. Replacing this part can be doable for those familiar with DIY gun maintenance. I ordered a new ejector star, popped it in, and the cylinder was smooth sailing again.
  • Sending the revolver back to Smith and Wesson is a solid choice for those not comfortable with tinkering themselves.

Their handy technicians can swiftly diagnose and fix the issue, ensuring your firearm is sorted and ready for action without further delay. This approach guarantees a solid resolution to what could otherwise be a frustrating problem.

My Final Conclusion:

The Smith & Wesson 351PD is a firearm with both good and bad aspects, typical for a reputable brand. Despite being a crucial tool, it has some things that could be improved.

Accuracy and misfiring are notable issues, often due to improper ammo or insufficient maintenance. Regular cleaning and high-quality ammunition can mitigate these issues.

Rust on the cylinder and other parts is another problem. Using protective oils and regular cleaning can help prevent this. The trigger can feel stiff, affecting the shooting experience. A professional gunsmith can often make adjustments for a smoother trigger pull.

The grip may show damage with extended use, but replacing it with a durable option can improve comfort and control.

While not perfect, the 351PD can become a reliable and accurate firearm with proper attention and a few tweaks. Regular maintenance and addressing its drawbacks ensure a safer and more enjoyable shooting experience.

My Friends Feedback:

I was optimistic when I purchased my Smith & Wesson 351PD in February. I tested it in April due to a broken ankle. I meticulously maintain my firearms, logging each range trip. Initially, the gun seemed trouble-free, firing CCI Maxi Mags and Hornady Critical Defense ammo without issue.

However, during one session, the cylinder struggled to eject spent cases, even though I had it lubed with Breakfree CLP. Using a dowel and hammer to push out the cartridges proved difficult.

With less hand strength, my wife also needed help with the ejector rod. This was unexpected, given the gun’s flawless reputation and recent build dates. A call to S&W assured me they would handle the problem, but it was puzzling.

The rim-fire design’s charge holes are notorious for extraction issues, a problem that has existed for 50 years. Some recommend polishing the chambers with a chamber reamer to create a slight taper and correct the issue.

A friend experienced similar issues. His 22 Magnum had a long wait list at online gun shops. Upon arrival, he found a slight crack and a misaligned pinning on the barrel shroud.

Despite using a brass hammer and punch, the shroud wasn’t flush. He documented this with pictures and contacted the FFL, noting the HIGH-VIZ front sight was off-center.

Despite these issues, the Smith & Wesson 351PD is famous for personal defense due to its compact size and .22 Magnum caliber. It’s a reliable pocket gun and tacklebox companion but requires careful cleaning to avoid flash buildup.

Some users install a Wolff spring kit to improve trigger pull, as the 351PD can suffer from light strikes, unlike centerfire J frame models. A .38 or Tomcat .32 is better for recoil-sensitive shooters.

Smith and Wesson 351PD Problems

Common Questions Asked About Smith and Wesson 351PD Problems:

How much does the 351 PD weigh?

Weighing only 10.8 ounces, the 351 PD boasts an aluminum cylinder, frame, and barrel shroud. It features cherry-colored wood grips with finger grooves for a comfortable fit.

Is a Smith and Wesson 351PD a J-frame?

The Smith & Wesson 351PD features the classic J-frame design that has been a staple of the brand for over 70 years.

How many rounds can you put through a revolver?

Revolver cylinders usually hold six cartridges, which is why revolvers are often called “six-shooters.” However, some small-frame concealable revolvers, like the Smith & Wesson Model 638, have a 5-shot cylinder due to their smaller size and limited space.

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