Smith & Wesson Model 52 - .38 Special Auto!?


TGT Addict
May 29, 2017
Austin, TX
Got to shoot a rather unique gun today, a Smith & Wesson Model 52. I've never seen a semi-auto gun chambered in .38 Special until today. I didn't even know it existed, but a customer brought one in today and let me shoot it.

The trigger is half the pull weight of my STI or less. I'd say it has a 1.5 - 2.0 lbs. trigger with a clean break and a short overtravel. Quite possibly the lightest trigger I've felt on a semi-auto, and approaching some of the revolvers I've shot before.

Accuracy is very good. The gun is built around what appears to be a Browning Hi-Power frame or design platform. The round itself isn't inherently accurate, but was still about as good as a match-grade 1911. I had no trouble hitting the POA.

This model had a 52-2 model number and was a nice polished blue finish.


Active Member
Mar 2, 2008
It was built on a S&W Model 39 frame. It shoots 38 special wad cutters only. Out of the box it would out shoot most of the NM 1911s on the line.

38 Special not inherently accurate, dude what have you been smoking?

BTW the going price of a nice condition 52 is about $1500.


Dec 28, 2008
Hill Country
The M52 was designed to compete in the centerfire phase of the National Match Course. It will shoot 2" or less groups with good .38 WC ammo all day at 50 yards (10 shot groups from a Ransom rest). Mine has Bo-Mar sights and a superb trigger. It is one of those specialized guns that really have no use anymore; most 3 gun (bullseye) shooters now use their .45 in the centerfire phase. But it's still a great gun and will teach the shooter follow's very unforgiving at the 50 yard line. This was S&W at its' best.


Active Member
Mar 2, 2008
If you have a S&W 52 posted in the classifieds send me a link to the listing. I know a guy who wants one real bad and I didn't find it in a search.

Peter M. Eick

Mar 9, 2008
I have also been interested in a 52 but not today. I used to shoot one in bullseye back in mid to late 70's. Exceptionally accurate but I switched to a 1911 format 38 special and had better luck. Eventually I switched to PPC and went the Python route.

Exceptional guns and a lot of fun to shoot. When I was deciding to buy a target semi-auto I considered the 52 and went with the 210 series. Now that I have scratched that itch, the 52 is coming back as the primary next gun.

Take care and enjoy the fine gun.
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