Top 6 Smith and Wesson 39-2 Problems and How to Solve Them

If you understand your Smith and Wesson 39–2 well, it’s a reliable companion for you:

If you don’t, it can cause trouble, or worse, it can be unsafe for you and the ones around you!

As a gun lover, I explored a few Smith and Wesson 39-2 problems recently. To say the least, these problems are frustrating.

Navigating them demands a blend of practical experience and technical know-how.

Some people choose a deep dive into the inner workings of the firearm. Others bet on experienced gunsmiths to offer simple yet effective solutions.

However, I’ve looked into each problem and found that each problem has a different but simple solution.

But one thing for sure:

Cookie-cutter solutions don’t work.

You need to work on each problem at a time. And you also need to spend some time with your gun to learn more about it so you can use it properly.

Find more of my insights about this gun by reading this article.

Let’s dive in!

Issues & Fixes at a Glance

ProblemsSimple & Quick Solutions
Takedown IssuePolish out the obstruction.
Problem with the ExtractorSmooth out any rough edges or imperfections.
Magazine IssueSwitch to a reliable alternative magazine like ProMag
Decocker ProblemReplace the old sear release lever.
Trigger Hammer ProblemInspect and adjust the drawbar or lever positions.
Problem with the PrecisionTry different ammunition loads and maintain the barrel properly.
Smith and Wesson 39-2 Problems

Smith and Wesson 39–2 Problems With Their Practical Solutions

1. Takedown Issue:

First, I came to know about the Smith and Wesson 39-2 takedown process. It can be rather awkward and bulky.

Users often find it challenging to reject the slide and align the pin with the corresponding slot while attempting to clean the firearm.

Sometimes, the pin gets stuck, inhibiting further movement and rendering the gun useless until the issue is resolved.

This annoying glitch can occur at the most inconvenient times. It leaves users frustrated with the takedown process.


After a thorough inquiry, I explore a tiny burr that was stopping the smooth operation of the mechanism.

Armed with a polishing tool, delicately smoothed out the obstruction. It rendered the process much more straightforward.

This simple yet effective polish worked like a charm. It eliminated the pesky issue and allowed for hassle-free takedowns from then on.

2. Problem With the Extractor:

Despite efforts to keep the firearm clean and well-maintained, users report instances where the extractor fails to properly retract spent casings.

It leads to awkward moments on the range or in self-defense scenarios.

This annoying glitch can disrupt the flow of shooting sessions and requires close attention to align the slide manually or perform a takedown to address any stuck casings.

While some attribute this issue to normal wear and tear, others suspect a deeper problem with the slot where the extractor sits.

It necessitates further inspection and potential movement adjustment


Often, the culprit behind extraction issues is a tiny burr or imperfection that’s stopping the slide from moving smoothly.

Fortunately, the solution is relatively straightforward:

With a polishing tool, carefully smooth out any rough edges or imperfections on the extractor.

This technical task might seem daunting at first, but you can polish away that pesky burr and get your 39–2 working like a charm again.

3. Magazine Issue:

Let’s talk about the magazine issue:

This critical component occasionally exhibits behavior that can disrupt the shooting experience (as it happens in Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380).

Malfunctions such as failure to feed or difficulty in ejecting spent casings can be traced back to magazine abnormalities.

Sometimes, aftermarket ProMag options, fail to budge properly within the magazine well.

It causes stage panic during critical moments on the range.

As a result, the slide might remain locked back when it should interact with the next round. It leads to an inappropriate pause in the shooting.


When the original magazine doesn’t fit as seamlessly as expected, users may find themselves struggling to smoothly operate their firearm.

However, a simple switch to a reliable alternative like ProMag can work wonders.

It resolves stubborn feeding problems and makes a noticeable difference in the overall function of the pistol.

4. Decocker Problem:

Among the various safety features, the decocker stands out as both a comfort and a concern.

It is designed to ensure that the firearm can be safely decked even with a full or empty mag. It’s meant to work properly each time. It provides peace of mind to users.

However, in practice, it doesn’t always come to life as expected.

Instead, it requires multiple resets before engaging.

This inconsistency can be frustrating and damages the gun’s ability to enhance safety.


I’ve read a lot about this from fellow enthusiasts.

And it became evident that the problem often lies in the old sear release lever. This may no longer be compatible with the pistol’s mechanism.

The solution:

Opt for a new, compatible lever can often bring the decocker back in line.

It restores the pistol’s functionality and reliability.

5. Trigger Hammer Problem:

Let’s talk about a frustrating problem. It revolves around its trigger and hammer mechanism.

Whether in double-action or single-action mode, the syncing between the hammer and the trigger can sometimes go wrong. It leads to malfunctions during firing.

This can be particularly frustrating for those who expect smooth and reliable performance from their firearm.

When this problem occurs, it affects not only the function of the slide but also the overall operation of the inner workings of the gun.


The solution requires careful inspection and adjustment.

Often, the solution lies in the repositioning of the drawbar or ensuring that levers are in the right places.

This necessitates full disassembly of the firearm. It is daunting at first but becomes more manageable with practice.

During cleaning and reassembly, attention to detail is key.

It ensures that all components are in their correct positions.

Sometimes, a little elbow grease can make all the difference in getting the firearm working smoothly again.

6. Problem with the Precision:

Precision problem is one of the annoying problems of this gun.

Despite being known for its accuracy, the shots are all over the place at 25 yards, rather than forming a tight group.

Even with 124-grain rounds and careful sight adjustments, the shots consistently land off target. Sometimes as much as 5 inches away from the bullseye.

This scatter pattern is far from normal for this firearm. This leaves me perplexed about the root cause of the issue.


Start by ensuring your ammo selection aligns with the firearm’s capabilities.

It considers factors like powder charge and projectile weight.

Experiment with different loads to find the optimal balance between powder pack and projectile, aiming to eliminate inconsistencies in barrel performance.

Sometimes, the root cause may be a little worn barrel. It requires professional inspection or replacement.

By deeply optimizing these variables, shooters can often unlock the secret sauce for improved accuracy and consistency.

Read More: Smith and Wesson EZ 9mm Problems with Their Effective Solutions

My Final Conclusion:

When it comes to the Smith and Wesson 39-2 Problems, it stands as a solid firearm with manageable issues. While it generally operates flawlessly, occasional takedown snags or de-cocker dilemmas may arise. But these are often exceptions rather than the rule.

Fortunately, most problems have straightforward solutions, whether it’s smoothing out a burr for easier takedown or swapping out components like the sear release lever. This pistol can deliver the shooting precision required for various shooting needs with some tweaking and careful consideration of ammo choice

Despite its quirks, the Smith and Wesson 39–2 proves to be a reliable, safe, and accurate tool for anyone ready to invest time and effort into understanding its complexities.

It may not be without its challenges, but with the right approach, it can certainly meet most shooting needs with ease.

My Friends Feedback:

My friend, inherited from his father-in-law’s estate, the Smith & Wesson model 39-2 seemed like a dinosaur from another era. Its operation is unfamiliar yet fascinating. However, initial outings revealed concerning quirks. The cocked hammer dropped unexpectedly even with the safety disengaged.

Curiosity led to experiments, manually cycling the slide with the safety engaged, only to witness the hammer fall forward. A sign that something was wrong. Despite efforts to engage the de-cocker, the pistol remained essentially dead until the safety was toggled.

Such experiences shed light on the complexities of early S&W semi-autos and the nuances of Jeff Cooper’s 1st gen decockers.

Yet, among the frustrations lay a touch of memories and admiration for the S&W 39-2. A semi-auto that spanned from 1954 to 1982, it presented a rare opportunity to own a piece of history. Though I initially regretted parting with it, memories flooded back of how it fitted nicely in the hand Its lightweight build and accuracy made it a joy to shoot.

Even with its irregularities, like the occasional DOA first shot, subsequent rounds, especially with Hornady 124XTP-HP’s, proved beautiful and reliable. Its ergonomic design triggers improvements over time. Especially in the high-capacity Model 41, spoke to S&W’s commitment to refinement.

Reflecting on its journey, from a modest $125 purchase in 1972 to a nearly new replacement, the S&W 39-2 holds a special place in my friends’ collection. Yet, its future took a turn when it was stolen in a robbery, leaving behind memories of its chromed frame that would scratch easily but endured through countless rounds.

Despite its quirks, it remained a versatile companion. It feeds nearly everything from Remington & W-W 115gr to modified rounds aiming to avoid the decocking issue.

Through it all, the S&W 39-2 represented the spirit of a vanished era and the enduring allure of classic firearms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What year was a Smith and Wesson Model 39 2 made?

It is produced from 1954 to 1983, the firearm weighs 28 ounces (1.71 pounds or 0.780 kilograms) and measures 7.55 inches (192 millimeters) in length.

How many rounds does a Smith & Wesson Model 39 hold?

Smith & Wesson upgraded the Model 39 by widening the grip and introducing one of the earliest double-stack magazines on an American handgun, significantly increasing its capacity to 14 rounds.

What is Smith and Wesson best known for?

Smith & Wesson is renowned as one of the most iconic firearms brands globally. Established in 1852 by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson in Norwich, Connecticut, the company initially focused on producing lever-action Volcanic repeating handguns, which fired caseless self-consuming bullets.

What is the rarest Smith and Wesson gun?

The Smith & Wesson Model 320, is a revolving rifle manufactured in the late 19th century. It is considered rare because of its limited production.

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