$450 is a bit high, but not out of line for a nice minty-looking S&W model 19 nowadays. I know folks who have paid more for new-ish examples, and I recently bought a rather beat-up 4-inch one that was made in 1966 (finish is worn and even has some rust spots, but mechanically the gun is very tight and smooth) for a good bit less than that, so I'd say the price is on the high side of fair. Whether $450 is high for that gun depends on its exact condition and the market forces in your part of the country. If stuff like this is in demand, the price will be higher.
Originally Posted by bpasek
The wider hammer and trigger on this type of handgun were designed for target-style single-action (thumb-cocked) shooting. The wider/longer hammer spur is easy to reach for thumb-cocking, and the deep checkering pattern provides a sure grip so your thumb doesn't slip off when pulling it back. The wide trigger spreads out the force from your trigger finger over a larger area, which makes the trigger pull weight "feel" lighter. However, most folks who want to shoot a revolver for defensive use in double-action mode (just pulling/squeezing the trigger to make the hammer move to the rear and then fall - no pulling the hammer back with the thumb) prefer a thinner trigger, as it is easier to manage through the long DA squeeze without accidentally pulling the gun to the left or right. This generally isn't a problem with the short, light weight, and very crisp single-action (thumb-cocked) trigger pull; once cocked, only light pressure on the trigger is needed to make it fire.
The S&W model 19 has been very popular for decades, as its light weight and compact size makes it easy to carry or use, and yet the cartridge is powerful enough for most needs. Many guns are powerful but too large/heavy, or small and light but use a weak cartridge; the .357 magnum model 19 is a good compromise between power, portability and shootability. The grip size also fits, or can be made to fit (with replacement grip panels), many people with hand sizes from small to large. As a .357 Magnum caliber weapon, it can also safely use the shorter and less powerful .38 Special ammunition for practice, informal target shooting, or introducing new shooters to the shooting sports in a more friendly way by using low-powered gentle-kicking ammo.
In short, it is a great choice for a first handgun. I would ask the dealer if he would warranty the gun for safe use; that is, if it doesn't function properly and safely, he would refund your money or give you the entire amount back in trade-in for a store credit against the purchase of a replacement weapon. Don't expect an accuracy guarantee, as there are simply too many things (like poor-quality ammo or similarly bad shooters ) than can cause accuracy problems. Just ask if he will guarantee that it will work correctly, or provide a refund/trade-in (or free trip to the gunsmith or factory for repair) if it doesn't.
My new-to-me 4-inch model 19 is the one at the bottom of the photo below. Ugly as it is, it's a nice shooter in SA mode. Personally, I'm not too fond of the wide trigger on it, but I can get that replaced if I really want to. Most revolver parts aren't no-fitting, drop-in replacements like automatic pistol parts, but it can be done by a gunsmith. You can see the smaller/shorter hammer spurs on the two middle guns in the photo, for comparison. It's hard to tell by the side view of the photo, but ALL the other guns have thinner triggers than the M19, some by a little, some by a lot. Top to bottom (all of these are S&W K-frame revolvers): Model 66 .357 magnum (stainless steel), 6-inch barrel; model 617 10-shot .22 (also SS), heavy/under-lugged 4-inch barrel; model 15 .38 Special 4-inch, and model 19 .357 4-inch.
"Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
(RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)