The Smith & Wesson Model 27 is the original .357 Magnum revolver and was first produced in 1935, and many versions of it are still in production today with distinctive high-gloss finishes. The Model 27 was built on Smith & Wesson's carbon steel, large N-frame, and was available at various times with 31⁄2", 4", 5", 6" or 83⁄8" barrel lengths and had adjustable sights.
It was seen in Beverly Hills Cop II.
When first introduced by Smith & Wesson in 1935 it was known as the Registered Magnum. The model was essentially a custom order revolver. Barrel lengths could be had in quarter-inch increments from 3.5" to 8.75" in length. In addition to the different lengths of barrels available there were different grips, front sights, triggers, hammers, and finishes available. Each Registered Magnum came with a certificate of authenticity.
Even though it was introduced in the middle of the Great Depression and was extremely expensive, Smith & Wesson found itself backlogged with orders for the four years that it produced the Registered Magnum. The Kansas City Police Department issued the Registered Magnum to its officers, and many other law enforcement officers across the United States carried the Registered Magnum. In 1939 Smith & Wesson stopped producing the Registered Magnum. It was replaced with the .357 Magnum. The .357 Magnum was available with barrel lengths of 3.5", 5", 6.5" and 8.75". It has been reported that these were the most popular barrel lengths for the Registered Magnum. Essentially the .357 Magnum was still the Registered Magnum, but standardized for ease of production and economy. The Smith & Wesson Model 28 "Highway Patrolman" was introduced as a lower cost version of the Model 27 in 1954, stripped of some of the features of the Model 27, such as polishing.
It was noted for its durability and reliability. The 31⁄2" barrel length was extremely popular with FBI agents from the 1940s through the 1960s. Skeeter Skelton considered the Model 27 with a 5" barrel as the best all around handgun. General George Patton carried an ivory handled Registered Magnum with a 31⁄2 inch barrel (along with his ivory handled Colt Peacemaker); Patton called the Model 27 his "killing gun."