The Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolver began initially as an I-Frame for the .32 Hand Ejector model. As a compromise, and to put more firepower in a smaller handgun after the .38 Hand Ejector was introduced (now known as the K-Frame), Smith & Wesson took their I-Frame and lengthened it slightly in order to accommodate the longer .38 Special cartridge and bored the cylinder with five chambers rather than 6 due to the larger diameter of the .38 Special cartridge. The result of these modifications was the Smith & Wesson J-Frame, arguably the most popular and best selling concealed carry revolver design in history.
Recently Smith & Wesson returned the J-Frame to its roots by introducing the Model 632, a six shot small frame revolver. The 632 is chambered for the not-very-old .327 Federal Magnum. Since the .327’s case length is almost identical to the .38 Special’s (1.20″ vs. 1.155″) Smith & Wesson did not have to adjust the frame size of the 632, simply bore the cylinder with six chambers.
All in all, I think the 632 is a viable carry option. The .327 Federal Magnum gets a bad wrap for being a .32 caliber (read as “small bullet” in modern gun speak). But it’s ballistics are nothing to sneeze at.
For now there are three revolvers chambered for the .327 Federal Magnum: