How to Disassemble a J-Frame

How to Disassemble a J-Frame

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A Smith & Wesson J-Frame is a line of compact revolvers intended for personal defense. They are available in a variety of models capable of firing .22, .38 and .357 size cartridges. Because of their small size, J-Frame revolvers fire only 5 to 8 rounds. A J-frame is not meant to be field stripped so it does not have a take-down mechanism as other firearms do. Disassembling a Smith & Wesson J-Frame requires several gunsmith tools, and is not recommended by the manufacturer.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

  • Gunsmith tweezers

  • Small rubber mallet

Step 1

Press down on the cylinder release lever on the left side of the revolver to open the cylinder and make sure the firearm is not loaded. Unscrew the pistol grip from the frame. The screw is located on the bottom of the grip.

Step 2

Loosen the side plate screw just above the trigger. Unscrew it just two or three revolutions, then grab the screw with tweezers and remove it carefully so the spring loaded tip of the screw does not fall out. Unscrew the two remaining side plate screws, one located behind the trigger and other above the pistol grip.

Step 3

Turn the revolver onto the left side and unscrew the cylinder release lever so it can be removed. Hold the frame of the revolver in one hand while gently hitting the grip frame with a rubber mallet to loosen the side plate. Continue tapping the grip frame with increasingly more powerful blows until the side plate comes free. Be careful not to mar the finish of the revolver. Remove the side plate.

Step 4

Squeeze the trigger slowly so the hammer inside the revolver pulls back. The main spring, inside the grip frame, will compress so you can pull it out of the grip frame with your fingers. With the trigger still squeezed, grab the hammer with the tweezers and continue turning it until it clears the frame. Lift out the hammer from inside the gun.

Step 5

Insert the tweezers into the channel behind the cylinder and pull back on the cylinder bolt. Pull out the cylinder bolt, but do not let the spring-loaded plunger on the end of the cylinder bolt shoot off and get lost. The inside of the revolver is now ready to service.


  • Disassembling a Smith & Wesson J-Frame is not recommended by the manufacturer and may void the warranty.
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