Why My Concealed Carry Gun is a .357

The Smith & Wesson 640 M&P.

The Smith & Wesson .357 340 M&P. Everything you need in a concealed carry handgun? Read on…

Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=340pd

The Ultimate CCH Package?

As long as men have carried weapons and as long as men will carry weapons, the argument will continue: Which is the best weapon to carry? I can imagine hairy men wearing animal skins arguing around the campfire which kind of sharpened stick or rock worked best. Some day in the future, strange beings with large heads and eyes will still continue to argue.

The Noisy Cricket. I fI could carry this one, I would.

The Noisy Cricket. If I could carry this one, I would.

In the movie, Men in Black, I saw my personal choice in futuristic weapons. Will Smith’s character was issued a tiny little pistol that generated recoil that pushed him across the room, but delivered a devastating blow that would have taken out a tank. OK, I really don’t relish that kind of recoil, but I really do value a small, powerful handgun.

Today, no matter what is written, someone will come up with a way to debunk it. If it’s controversial, there will be endless threads typed out by experts who proclaim a superior knowledge of the subject and declare the writer to be a crack-pot. I will declare myself a crack-pot in advance, so don’t waste your keystrokes on me. I’m not a Navy Seal, retired Special Forces, Agent Orange Countersniper…. I’m just a guy who’s spent his life shooting.

In the process of building a book on the subject of concealed carry handguns, I did exhaustive research. I admit I have prejudices that were established in my psyche a long time ago, and therefore what I write here is my opinion and you can agree or not. Still, what I learned changed my perceptions about a lot of things. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Most encounters where civilians defend themselves involved a low round count.
  • Most encounters that involved a high round count did so because the gun held a lot of rounds and was fired until it was empty.
  • Civilians who use a firearm in a defensive situation often have little or no training.
  • In the overwhelming majority of successful civilian firearms defense situations, no shots are fired.
  • The distance of recorded defensive encounters averaged less than three yards.
  • Longer range events generally involved shots fired from within the home of the defender and many of these involved rifles and shotguns.
  • 70% of defensive encounters happened in low light situations.
  • More powerful rounds tend to be more effective at stopping an assailant, but not more effective at killing him.
  • I confimred by questionnaire and asking individuals something that appears obvious: those who carry small guns are much more likely to carry them all the time.
  • The features that make a handgun suitable for law enforcement and police don’t automatically make that handgun suitable for civilian defensive carry. A “typical” defensive scenario is drastically different from the range of experiences faced by law enforcement and military who are authorized to press into the fight.
The author shooting the answer to his question: a compact, easily concealed .357 Smith & Wesson.

The author shooting the answer to his question: a compact, easily concealed .357 Smith & Wesson.

Why revolvers rule

Remember that the vast majority of concealed carry permit users have experienced little or no formal training. While it’s possible for a revolver to malfunction, the rate of malfunctions from semi-auto firearms is much more prevalent.

With a semi-auto, the firearm relies on the energy of the previous round to cock it and prepare it for another shot. A malfunction means the operator must manually clear the gun and prepare it for the next shot, an operation that requires two hands, unless you are highly trained. It also involves the instant recognition of the situation and a fast tap/rack sequence to get the gun running again. Even police officers who qualify annually and train regularly often stare at their guns when they malfunction. An efficient tap/rack isn’t likely to be accomplished in a reasonable time by a scared-out-of-his-wits average Joe, and the law in most states requires the civilian to be in fear of his life, great bodily harm or sexual assault in order to legally use deadly force.

On the other hand, a revolver gets all the energy to prepare for the next shot from the operator. A dud round only requires you to pull the trigger again. There’s no required training for a second trigger pull. It’s almost certain to happen with no delay, and a scared-out-if-his-wits civilian can accomplish this without training. It’s as instinctive as any firearms operation could be.

Revolvers typically have a heavy trigger pull. There’s almost no way to accidentally discharge a double action revolver. It could be argued that a long, heavy trigger pull impedes accuracy, but remember that most encounters with handguns are at very short range. There’s also no issue with having to disengage a safety, cock a hammer, or chamber a round under stress. The revolver is drawn and the trigger is pulled. After the shot is fired, there’s no need to put the gun back on safe. It returns to the original state after each shot. Also, a limp-wristed shooter or poor grip won’t cause a malfunction with a revolver and this is common with lightweight semi-autos.

Having taught civilians to shoot since 1980, I’ve learned that even a dunderhead can understand how to operate a double action revolver. It is as simple to operate as any multi-shot firearms system.

S&W CTG: The new LG-350 Crimson Trace grip with a wider rear profile and two-Surface design does a lot to tame the beast.

S&W CTG: The new LG-350 Crimson Trace grip with a wider rear profile and two-Surface design does a lot to tame the beast.

Enter the S&W 340 .357 Magnum

My choice for the absolute best concealed carry handgun is the Smith and Wesson 340 PD .357 Magnum with a Crimson Trace laser grip.

It’s the lightest .38 or .357 revolver made. Light weight is a premium consideration in whether people carry a gun every day and a .22 short in your hand is more effective than a double stack .45 on your dresser at home. There are those who’d argue that recoil of the .357 is beyond the ability of most untrained civilians and this is certainly a valid point, but there’s no law that requires loading .357 rounds into the 340. It shoots just fine with +P defensive .38s or even reduced recoil loads like Winchester Train and Defend defensive rounds.

No one in his or her right mind will argue that the addition of the Crimson Trace laser grip doesn’t enhance performance in low light, and remember that 70% of defensive firearms uses occurred in reduced light. I chose Crimson Trace because they’ve just brought out the perfect grip laser for the 340, their new LG-350G. It’s a green laser grip especially designed for J frame S&W in .357. It’s obvious that an 11.4 ounce .357 Magnum is going to generate considerable recoil, more than most will be comfortable with. Crimson Trace designed the LG-350 grip with a wider rear profile and two-surface design that reduces the snap of a lightweight and powerful carry gun. The broader front and rear panels are made of a softer material with a harder center section to house the batteries, laser and adjusting screws. The result is a much more comfortable recoil experience that’s manageable with .357 magnum loads and much more comfortable with lighter .38 loads.

Recoil: The Airlite PD with defensive loads isn’t for the faint of heart, but you carry a defensive gun more than you shoot it. At least it doesn’t kick me into a pile of trash cans, like Will Smith’s Noisy Cricket.

Recoil: The Airlite PD with defensive loads isn’t for the faint of heart, but you carry a defensive gun more than you shoot it. At least it doesn’t kick me into a pile of trash cans, like Will Smith’s Noisy Cricket.

There is some increase in size, but most will find it a reasonable trade-off. I compared the weight of the LG-350 and it only adds about .750 ounce over the stock grips. It brought my test gun to a total weight of just a fudge over 12 ounces, still a remarkable weight for a powerful five shot carry gun. Fully loaded with 125 grain .357s, the 340 PD weighs in at 14.5 ounces. This is five ounces less than the lightest single stack .40 and .45 semi-autos weigh empty and without a laser.

I’ve heard a lot of skepticism about laser sights and my position is that a laser sight isn’t a substitute for the sights on the gun any more than headlights are a substitute for a steering wheel on a car. Properly set, the shooter can’t even see the laser when shooting in broad daylight because the laser should be aligned to a spot just below the front sight and not visible with a proper slight picture. Almost all training should be done with the iron sights; the laser is to be used when light conditions don’t allow a proper sight picture.

I’ve tested many low light sight systems and I find them to be of limited use. Tritium sights can be seen in total darkness, but you can’t see your target in total darkness. With low background light, the standard three white dots work better for my eyes than Tritium. The green beam of the LG-350 is strongly visible in both darkness and broad daylight, but I believe in training with iron sights and the Hi-vis front and rectangular notch rear sights on the 340-PD are more than adequate for a carry gun.

S&W 340 4Although the vast majority of defensive encounters occur at less than three yards, I wanted to see just how accurate the .340 PD could be at longer ranges. I have in the past fired a five shot, three inch group with my S&W 637 at 25 yards using a Crimson Trace LG 105 grip in low light and ragged hole five-shot groups at seven yards are easy in deliberate fire from standing.

Shooting the 340 PD isn’t an exercise for the faint of heart, but it is possible to manage fast follow up shots provided you grip the gun as you should. The larger LG-350 profile and stickier grip surface on the front and rear panels enhances follow up shots over the stock rubber grips supplied on the gun. From my carry position, I can get off an A zone shot at five yards in about 2 seconds. This is a slow draw for competition, but competition holsters are a lot different from concealed carry conditions. I can empty the gun in the A Zone on a USPSA target in about six seconds. Again, poor times for a competitive shooter, but faster than I can do the same drill with my Springfield Armory XDs .45. Neither gun invites a lot of successive tries.

There are those who argue the .357 in a two inch barrel is all blast and no more effective than a .38 +P. It’s true that the difference is only a hundred feet per second or so, but that’s a more than 10% difference and, as mentioned before, you can load any .38 into the cylinder of the 340PD. It’s still the lightest thing you can find. Referring to the observations I gathered from researching the book, more power stops better.

Five Rounds: Lots of horsepower, not a lot of capacity. The average number of rounds fired in a defensive engagement is under three and that average is driven up by the number of individuals who shoot to slide lock or an empty chamber.

Five Rounds: Lots of horsepower, not a lot of capacity. The average number of rounds fired in a defensive engagement is under three and that average is driven up by the number of individuals who shoot to slide lock or an empty chamber.

Carrying the S&W

The best concealed carry choice in the world is of no benefit unless you have it with you and I carry every day. Last year, I carried 354 days. I was in Italy four days and New York the rest. I appendix carry in a modified Sticky Holster sewn to a Sticky Phone Taco. My previous daily carry gun was the S&W 340 M&P–a similar gun, but with a steel cylinder as opposed to the titanium cylinder of the PD. The difference in weight is just two ounces, yet it’s a noticeable instantly and really noticeable by the end of a busy day. I’ve carried a heavier gun before, and after carrying a lighter gun, a 20 ounce gun feels like a boat anchor on your beltline.

I’m not naïve enough to think for a moment that after reading this article everyone will rush out to purchase a 340PD and place their order for an LG-350 laser. In fact, the S&W website shows the 340 PD out of current production. Of course, the 340 M&P is still in current production and available, and there are those who’d argue it’s a better gun with two more ounces of recoil eating weight. Many will scoff at my choice, and just like those hairy guys around the fire eons ago, I’ll scoff at their choice. Still I’m perfectly happy to have a little Noisy Cricket tucked under my belt.

Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=340pd

{ 72 comments… add one }
  • Joseph R December 23, 2016, 11:30 am

    One good reason to have a laser on your CCW is the ability to practice in your bedroom. Point without using the sights. Then activate the laser. You will get better at point and shoot without spending a dime or very much time. No, it does not take the place of actual live fire. But it does improve your muscle memory. (Uh, speaking of muscle memory, unload it first.)
    Secondly, I am given to understand that the second round into a live body squares, not doubles, the damage done to the body. That concept, plus the idea that it is better to hit an assailant with a .22 than miss them with a .460, militates toward a less “powerful” round that allows for efficient followup.
    In making all these decisions, remember the bad guy may be on PCP or other drugs that allow him to stab, shoot or beat you, all with wounds that WILL kill him in minutes. A fatal shot is not enough to protect yourself. Accuracy sufficient for a head shot or a heavy enough bullet to lift him off his feet will overcome his “advantage”.

  • blake April 25, 2016, 4:01 am

    I absolutely love my colt cobra 2″ nickle 38 2nd gen 1973. Beauty and a beast.

  • Knight2 April 23, 2016, 1:58 am

    I have read all the comments and all give something to think about. Back in the late 90’s I bought a Colt Magnum Carry that was ported by Colt. I carried that .357 for sixteen years, 27/7, it was always on if not near me. It served me well and I never had to shoot it in any situation, but several times it has deterred people intend on doing harm to walk away. Now, the world is a different place then in the past. Mass shootings, terrorism and more crazy people then ever and it’s only going to get worst. So I retired the Colt Magnum Carry and she is now a safe queen. Now I legally carry a Glock G30 (45ACP) with two extra magazines. I’ll tell you why….the Glock G30 next to the Colt Magnum Carry is just about the same size. The Glock is a little wider, but I went from six rounds to eleven. I love 1911’s but lets be real…The 1911 is what you show your friends and the Glock is what you carry for EDC. Just my two cents.

  • graham April 20, 2016, 7:30 pm

    Quite happy with my Coonan Compact thank you very much!

  • Robert Smith April 14, 2016, 11:37 am

    A good alternative to the 340 is the cheaper and more available Ruger LCR 357. It’s a bit heavier, around 20 oz. The LCR 38 is 4 oz. lighter and can be used with .38+P, almost as good. One thing the author did not mention is that 38/357 rounds can be hand-loaded with cast lead bullets up to 200 grains. A short-barreled gun can be more effective with heavy bullets at slower speeds where bullet energy is not so dependent on barrel length.

    • James Peterson December 24, 2016, 8:57 am

      The lcr 357 is 17.2 oz, not 20 oz. it has a much better out of the box trigger Than the S&w.

  • David April 12, 2016, 4:26 pm

    The best part of your article was your presentation of facts relating to the use of defensive fire. Regardless of whether I reach the same conclusions as you, I do appreciate that you went to the trouble to present them so I might rack and stack them to fit my own preferences, and thus arrive at what the best solution is for me and my family.
    Thanks for laying out your case that way.

    • John Lloyd Scharf September 15, 2017, 1:05 am

      Those “highlights” with the point marks were very good and should be part of the process of making the decision most useful for you.

      Self defense shooting has significant differences from shots at 25 yards. I am not going to need to chase a fleeing felon who is a threat to others, now. Three yards, three shots, three seconds is all the history I intend. I am not going to chase some wounded felon 152 feet to “protect” anyone.

  • Western Star April 11, 2016, 8:49 pm

    My job takes me into parts of the city that most people stay out of. When the news reports a shooting, I know exactly what corner it is and have a mental picture of it having seen it on a daily basis. That being said, the company I work for has a zero tolerance for weapons of any kind, so discretion is number one. I tried a lightweight snubbie I have, but as soon as it got warm out, it went back into the safe. Mandatory company uniforms make carry even harder, but a tuckable in the waistband holster with a flat single stack .40 cal auto works well. I’d prefer a full size 1911 45, but will live with this.
    Revolvers are just too bulky for what they offer, and reloading is ridiculously slow. If the author likes it, that is good. Just not for me or my situation.

  • Tom April 11, 2016, 8:30 pm

    Don’t usually involve myself in things such as this, but here goes. First my credentials: 70 years old, retired of course. 11Bravo, 4th ID, 66-67 RVN. 25+ years Max Security prison (Lieutenant). Ruger, Remington, S & W armorers schools. Certified NRA Instructor (basic pistol, personal protection, metallic & shot shell reloading). When I’ve been asked to recommend a firearm my reply has always been that a firearm is very much like a auto, a pickup, a girlfriend or wife. Everyone has their own opinion what’s just right for them. But select one that’s first and foremost reliable and that you can properly handle/shoot. MAKE time to practice and properly maintain it to insure its reliability. No matter what your selection, no matter how capable you may be. Always be aware of your surroundings avoid possible dangerous situations. Finally, should you find yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable. Use your head and your feet and get your butt out of there.

  • Tom April 11, 2016, 7:40 pm

    Since such encounters occur at very quickly at close range (as you also stated) just what purpose does the laser serve? Would not one be smarter to practice point shooting, and spend the money n practice ammo.

  • Retired Navy Spook April 11, 2016, 7:28 pm

    I carried an old S&W J frame, model 60 .38 from 1991 to 2014. I never had to fire it in self defense, but I also hated to practice with it because my wrist hurt for 3 days afterward. And not practicing is just an invitation to disaster if you’re ever confronted with a tactical situation. Sig brought out the P238, and while I was contemplating buying one, they brought out the P938, and it replaced my revolver. I still keep the model 60 in the safe, but I now have an 8 shot (7+1) 9mm vs. a 5-shot .38 that fits in my pocket that is a PLEASURE to practice with. I will generally go through 4-5 mags during a practice session, both timed target and draw and shoot at a silhouette starting at around 5″ and backing away to around 7-10 yards. I use cheap ball ammo for the target and the ammo that I actually carry in the gun (124 gr. XTP) for the tactical practice.

  • William April 11, 2016, 5:58 pm

    I’ve carried a factory special order 3” Colt Python since the 1950’s. Fired it twice in the late 1950’s and once in 1968 in defense successfully. I used to practice firing it weekly. Now I fire 50 or 100 rds a month. I always clean and very lightly lubricate it after firing. I only use high quality commercial ammo. I’ve never had a failure while using it. It was serviced once earlier this century
    after I noticed asymmetric lead building up at the forcing cone. The firing pin was replaced at that time too for preventive maintenance. Before carrying the Python I always carried a Colt Government model or a Colt Commander. I have not carried one since my suit coat sleeve jammed the action of a Commander while using it on duty.

  • Jon April 11, 2016, 5:16 pm

    I have taken many many classes from Randy Cain,Larry Mugget,Author terrani and Dave Pruitt and of all the classes the revolver class had more failures than I could count everybody had at least 4 failures in the 3 day 700-900 round class my 1911 ran 1200 in three days no cleaning or lube not one issue my glocks nothing my 29 mountain gun cleaned and lubber every night had 7 failures cylinder locking up light strikes so on before the class had never had an issue and I to though revolvers are the way to go they never jam or fail to fire that until I ran it in a class I was wrong and it changed my thought about revolvers after two cylinders of ammo all bets are off on the they always work take some classes I have taken 7 shooting and one force on force green guns used

    • Bill October 29, 2016, 8:17 pm

      Might want to take a grammar/punctuation class, my friend… I have no idea what you just said…

    • Mr. Hall October 17, 2017, 12:36 am

      I switched from autoloaders to a lcr 357 for concealed carry about 2 years ago. Every one I have has had countless malfunctions! None with any revolver I own. After about 6 months of practice every other weekend a can use 357 ammo fast and accurately. My only advise is to start off with .38+p and PRACTICE your trigger pull! I believe I am to unluckly to carry anything other than a revolver, just dont want to take any chances wondering if my semi is going to work when I need it to.

  • Helen Sabin April 11, 2016, 2:57 pm

    “…I don’t practice that often with the gun”….that is the first myth in this author’s thinking. The purpose of the gun is why you use it and carry it. If you do not like the gun or its recoil you won’t practice with it! SHAMEFUL THINKING!! By stating that this revolver in 357 magnum is NOT pleasant when shooting tells me he has never accounted for a perp shooting back at him – thus he is ignorant of what the body will do when under stress.

    The gun that will save your life is the one you WANT to carry and love to distraction.

    Further, this guy has NEVER been assaulted or he would NOT suggest this gun. If you cannot control the recoil from the gun, it will raise up in the air and to get it back on target will take about a second or two. In that time, if he misses, the perp can be on you (Tueller drill) or shoot you! This man doesn’t know of what he speaks and is dangerous to others! DON”T LISTEN TO THIS AUTHOR!!

    • KC April 12, 2016, 1:02 am

      Not to mention over penetration. A .357 round will pass through three bodies. Better be sure of your backdrop because you are financially liable for whatever or whoever that round hits beyond your intended target. That of course is assuming you hit the target…

      • John Lloyd Scharf September 15, 2017, 12:32 am

        A typical .357 with a four inch barrel will have 16 inches of penetration if no bone is hit. That is not through a chest sideways of one person. You’d better be certain of your back drop even with a .22 LR. You can kill at 300 yards with a .22 LR rifle. A .357 from a 16 inch barrel is going to penetrate body armor, but from a 1.85 inch barrel you will just get 12 inches with an average round. These are results of experiment on body armor and gel. It is not hyperbola about .357s passing through three bodies passed on by inbred bloggers trying to outdo each other in a Net version of Chinese Whispers or the Telephone game.

    • John Lloyd Scharf September 15, 2017, 12:22 am

      The .357 out performs the other calibers in Percentage of People Not Incapacitated
      40%-.32 Long, ACP
      35%-.25 ACP
      31%-.22 LR, Long, Short
      17%-.38 Special
      16%-.380 ACP
      14%-.45 ACP
      13%-9mm Lugar
      13%-.40 S&W
      13%-.44 Magnum
      12%-Shotgun(All, 90% 12 Gauge
      9%-.357(Magnum & Sig)
      9%-Rifle(centerfire)
      You can range shoot all day and never learn how to shoot at close quarters. The Tuller Drill is to teach you how vulnerable your proximity is. You pull at 7 yards and shoot at two yards. If I have recoil, the difference will be between the second and third button on their shirt, not three feet.

      Every “perp” I have faced bare handed and the distance was close enough I could put a barrel in their gut without my eyes leaving their face. You pretend you are railing up for a range shoot and I will take your weapon. I am not going aim my sidearm. I am going to point it from my chest or my hip. I will be so close they can smell my breath.

      If you want to punch holes in paper at 25 yards, you will beat me every time. If you pull on me at three yards, I am going to make you eat your weapon, if I do not break your hyoid bone. I do not love any weapon. They are noisy and inefficient killers, but, for me, they can be less lethal.

      What is dangerous for others is to make rules they cannot or will not live by. Guns are not my life, but I am willing to carry 16 oz to save mine. I’d rather have a .22 I never practice with than a 9 mm I practice every day with, but leave locked in a safe. I can take a life easier with three taps of a .22LR than you will with a .44 magnum.

  • LG April 11, 2016, 2:56 pm

    My two grains of Hogdon, I meant salt. I am not a Navy Seal, an SAS, a Special Forces or John Rambo. I did serve my time in a combat zone with no particular distinction except for a few gallons of sweat. I touched my first firearm, my father’s Thompson M1A1 when I was three (3) years old and I have a photograph to prove it. After being wounded in action and decorated my dad was assigned to guard German POWs. Ever since this time I was always around guns, all kind of pistols, mostly semi automatic, very few revolvers unfortunately. Lugers, P38s, MABs, 1911s, Hi-Powers, Herstal Belgium, German and Inglis even an Argentinian one , even junk Eibars aka Ruby I believe and later, CZ 52, 75, Browning BDA 45, Walther PPKS, Mauser C96 and finally when circumstances allowed finally revolvers Smith Model 19, Model 29, another S&W model number unrecalled 357 2+ inch barrel stainless (gone in a divorce) Ruger Super BlackHawk even a Webley 38. I shall not list the rifles and SMGs so as not to bore the noble assembly. So I know a little, just a little about handguns but have no desire to affirm any truth, just my opinion. Now, for conceal carry I have rested on two pistols, a Walther PPKS or, now no crying, denouncing or arguing, no preparing the tar, feather and the pole, the other a Charter Arms 38 2 inch barrel.
    My view is what is really the point to carry a 357 which is heavier and bulkier if you are going to shoot 38s ? Two in theory the PPKS holds 7 cartridges, but from my time back in the Zone, I do recall that you never fill a clip on magazine to full capacity. Our M2 carbines and SMG had a theoretical capacity of 30 and 32 rounds. I never loaded more than 28 and rotated magazines EVERY NIGHT. So then the PPKS, let’s say I’ll stick 5 or 6 in the magazine plus one in the chamber so then a 38 that will hold 5 or 6 cartridges would leave me with one or two less shots. Then a 380 fired from a 3.3 inch barrel will not or will equal a 38 +P in a two inch barrel no ?
    Now for the hanging mob, why a Charter and not one of those precious S&W babies. 1- Yes the S&W are the very best, they look good, they work marvelous they even smell good. 2- I do not like S&W BECAUSE they have constantly for too many years appeased the gun grabbers starting back then with Carter and Clinton efforts to disarm us. They continue to this day with their pathetic safety device on their wheel guns. 3- The Charter will go BOOM and drop the bogey just like a S&W will, not more not less. The CA also made a gun for LEFT handed poor devils like me, have you tried to operate, reload a revolver when you are left handed ? Forget the Rossi, Taurus, the Khyber Pass irons, them faux-reigners junk piles. So now you learned and esteemed pistoleros what should it be for ME, not for the whole of Humanity, the PPKS or the CA 38 ?
    I want say a volley of BIG thanks to the author of the article, to all the opinions expressed. Fire at will….

  • CHARLIE AYCOCK April 11, 2016, 1:58 pm

    There is nothing new about autos. They have been around since before WW1. I have had some good ones & some that would serve better as a fishing weight, ditto for revolvers. Actually, I don’t think there is a perfect carry gun. It is about choosing the best compromise for you. Mine is a COLT Trooper with a 4.5″ barrel. Guns are like boats, they are all a compromise. You have to give up something to get something. Jordan said the .357 mag. was the minimum handgun round that would reliably stop a man. I assume he wasn’t talking about snub nose revolvers. When viewing a demonstration of the latest rapid fire Naval guns near the end of WW II, the tech. rep. asked Admiral Bull Halsey something like, “now that’s firepower isn’t it?” Halsey said that ain’t firepower. Dumbfounded, the rep asked what is firepower? Halsey’s reply was “a direct hit”. Bullet placement is 90% of killing something but in a defensive situation, any hit is better than no hit.
    Anything mechanical can break. A well maintained, quality revolver has almost no chance of malfunction. A former employee told me once, “you know Mr. A, I’ve been shot 3 times”, my reply was, “knowing you, why am I not surprised?”
    One of the times he got shot was because his auto jammed. From then on he only carried a revolver. My wife had a 380 auto. I couldn’t even figure out how to fire the damn thing. Part of the problem was I am left handed & almost all jamomatics are made for right handers. (Lefty says,”we were all born right handed but some of us overcame the defect”). I traded it on a short barreled .38 wheel gun. When I took my carry license test, I must have impressed the instructor. He said, “you can really shoot that thing can’t you? I had only owned the Colt about a week! My wife used the Colt Trooper for her test. I don’t think she had ever shot a revolver before in her life. I showed her how to shoot it Saturday & let her shoot it a couple times & Sunday she shot a 94 on the test.
    Are there any good automatic carry guns? Well, of course there are, if you can handle them well & shoot them well. Wheel guns seem to work better for me. Since there is no perfect carry gun, I think I will carry my .357 when the risk factor is high & carrying a larger gun is not a problem. I am thinking of a quality double barrel derringer for low risk situations & where concealment is a problem. It would also be a good back-up. It will likely be in .357 also.
    Speaking of shooting, the best pistol shot I ever saw in my life was a retired law officer from Greenville Tenn.. He was in more shoot-outs than Marshal Dillon. He liked autos & he wasn’t good, he was fantastic. He called me CB. He once told me, “the way to learn how to shoot a handgun is not to shoot it a lot once in a while, but to shoot it at least once every day”.

    • Daniel Flowers April 11, 2016, 5:53 pm

      I carry a Glock on the job and around town but when I’m at home a 1st gen. Charter Undercover is in my pocket all the time. Got this storied little gun for $83 in 1981 and it’s still in excellent shape. It’s actually smaller than the Smith, all steel which makes it very well behaved and in my opinion a better design than Smith. My qualifiers? Carried guns for a living since 1977. Charter on.

  • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 1:39 pm

    Your article made a lot of sense to me. I guess I’ll stick with my .32 ACP though. I have enough difficulty with recoil already due to a botched carpal tunnel surgery and it’s small enough and light enough that it doesn’t inconvenience me at all. I can double tap with it and it has never failed to fire and feed the next round while I was practicing. I’ve been a fan of the Beretta Tomcat, model 3032 for a long time, the 32 acp even longer. My dad had a Walther PPK in 32 ACP that he got back in the early 60’s in trade for a model airplane engine. Sold it to a collector about 20 years ago because it had some SS markings on it. I don’t know. It was the first 32 I ever fired and after firing it, then a 9mm I was hooked on the 32. (I was 12) In the end, it’s each to his own, as a fellow commentor said on another article “works for me”.

    • Fred Maxwell April 13, 2016, 5:02 pm

      I have a safe full of 38’s and 380’s, , but never have left the house without my Keltec 32 100% reiable

  • Jim April 11, 2016, 1:03 pm

    Mostly in agreement but I prefer .38 Special +P out of a short tube revolver. Have carried a Smith 642 for years whenever it is too hot to holster and conceal my P7.

  • Doc April 11, 2016, 12:26 pm

    I carry a Ruger SP 101 with 2 speed loaders everyday. It’s a little bit heavier than the S&W but I pocket carry, so the weight is barely noticeable. I love the simplicity of a revolver and especially the reliability. In a situation where your life is in danger, simplicity and reliability rule.

  • mark April 11, 2016, 12:09 pm

    I’ve had my S&W 340PD in Scandium (that’s right-Scandium, no longer available from Russia or Sweden) as my carry weapon. It’s not by choice, but by necessity. You don’t want to be seen in this state with a bulge in or around your pants (causes more trouble than they’re worth). I have mine in a pocket holster, and I can wear in in a pair of shorts without it being noticed. An un-noticeable matter is it is NOT picked up by most metal detectors. Many places where they have them that I surprise enter don’t even pick it up! And besides, if I get hit by your 9mm, I can still function (depends on the shot) to return fire, without racking, a considerable point. No safety, just point and let ’em have the #1 round to deal with. Now, I have a .40, several 45’s, and a .50AE to choose from, and I go to the 340PD as my primary, and if I have a back-up, it’s my S&W M&P Match .45. Nuff said!

  • Andy April 11, 2016, 11:48 am

    I agree 100%. I carry a Taurus 650 stainless with 357 mag loads and CNC copper hollow point bullets to avoid over-penetration. It will stop any perp regardless of size or drugged state-of-mind.It is small and [relatively light] with a 2″ barrel. I practice ONLY at close range with full mag loads with FMJ bullets. I don’t see that five rounds is a limit but I carry extra ammo, just in case.

  • carter April 11, 2016, 11:46 am

    can you please suggest sources of data for the claim that most self defense use of firearms do not require firing it at all?
    this is something i have brought up in debates with people who say the “bad” guns do in civilian hands outweighs the good. unfortunately, i dont have a good data source to point to that backs this up.
    i have used a handgun once for self-defense. it was absolutely necessary and i am confident my life was in jeapordy. fortunately, i did not have to fire the gun after ot was drawn, and i escaped unharmed. my personal annecdote just isnt enough data for the argument, so thanks for any help you guys have with “no shoot” defensive action involving CCW.

    • Mark N. April 16, 2016, 2:54 am

      There are a number of studies, all hamstrung by the fact that most no shot fired DGUs are not reported to the police or make the news. Gery Keck estimates that there are 2.5 million DGUs each year, obviously only a small fraction of which involve shots fired. He is the high estimate. The low estimate of 55,000-80,000 a year is by Harvard School of Public Health researcher (and paid Bloomberg troll David Hemenway. (80,000 per year works out to about 220 per day.) In between is John Lott, author of “More Guns = Less Crime,” coming in at 1 to 1.5 million per year.

  • Ralph Bosen April 11, 2016, 11:35 am

    I’m one of those conceal carry gun owners this article is talking about. I’m 73 and use a pocket carry holster for my Ruger LCR 38 spc.. I’m too old and inexperienced to be concerned about ‘quick draw’ or ‘accurate fire’! I think, feel and hope that my ‘carry’ assets will be the difference in me, my loved ones and/or others living or dying in multiple of situations where it would be beneficial for someone to have been carrying. I’m guessing that most ‘carriers’ do so, with the mentality that ‘thugs’ don’t usually go up against bigger fellows, nor do they commence on a shooting spree on groups of people of which one or more is likely to be carrying. Subsequently, the more of us who are carrying, me thinks, the less likely the ‘thug’ will choose us to ‘do his thing’ on us.

    • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 1:56 pm

      I find this sort of attitude alarming to say the least. You are never to old to need to be able to draw quickly and safely and to accurately fire if the need arises for deadly force. Of course you should never try to draw more quickly than you can do safely. The need for accurate fire should be obvious as you don’t want to be hitting innocent bystanders. Might be better not to have drawn at all if you do that.

  • Brian Dollins April 11, 2016, 11:14 am

    And my EDC is a 3″ S&W 65. Loaded with .38 +P
    Only should hostilities break out across the central Ohio DMZ, will I consider one of my higher capacity firearms.

  • Joe Williams April 11, 2016, 11:11 am

    Most of the comments here are poppy cock. I agree with the writer. I have a whole safe full of semi’s, but when I get on my HD I always pull out the Ruger SP101 .357. All I have to do is pull it out and pull the trigger. No safety, no slide, no magazine, just bang. And that muzzle flash someone complained about before is a good thing. If I don’t hit ’em, they’ll be incapacitated by the smoke and concussion until I can regroup. Recoil? Hell, my 8 year old grandson doesn’t shy away from it. What a bunch of pantie waists. Another advantage to the revolver that wasn’t mentioned is that when it is loaded, you know it by looking at it immediately. How many guys/gals have a semi in their pocket/purse with a full mag and empty chamber that they will pull out and try to defend themselves with? Precious time is lost, if they can even recover. I’m not talking about the trained user here, I’m talking about the same folks the writer has designed the article for, so give ol’ Dick a break.

    • Phil G. April 11, 2016, 12:07 pm

      Keep that SP101 clean. The only failures I’ve ever experienced with a revolver were with that one and it’s been 3 out of 4 times. Light primer strikes and sticky cylinder. Ruger and Taurus = budget range guns.

      • McRuger April 11, 2016, 3:01 pm

        Sounds like a Glock snob. Hey Phil I own 7 Rugers and I will put them up against anything out there. Of course I actually shoot and clean my guns and i have never seen a Ruger failure. I cant speak for Taurus however that that is what i guy is shooting and he likes it why would I criticize.

    • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 1:59 pm

      Just because you disagree with someone there’s no reason to be insulting and every reason not to be. You CANNOT convince someone they’re wrong by insulting them. Only with logical arguments can a person be persuaded they might be wrong. I personally find that insults usually mean the person on the other side of the argument doesn’t have any or very many facts to back up their assertions.

    • Mark N. April 16, 2016, 3:10 am

      My Kahr 1) has no external safety, 2) is drop safe, 3) is always loaded with one in the chamber, 4) is .90″ wide and fits in my pocket, 5) weighs about 16 oz unloaded and 17.5 fully loaded with eight rounds of 124 gr. 9 mm HP ammo and 6) has been utterly reliable. All I’d ever have to do is pull it out and pull its DA trigger. And although with its little 3.5″ barrel it has a significant recoil impulse, it is much more controllable than .357 and has much less muzzle flash. so while you are “regrouping” after that big bad bang, I will be putting two more rounds on target.

      Now, I am not saying I have anything against revolvers, I own five, but all are large heavy and very simple machines that are not conducive to concealed carry. Three are .36, one is .38/.357, and one is .45 Colt. The only time I shot an Airweight, not only was it unpleasant, I couldn’t hit anything either. If I were to carry a revolver, I think I would try to find something in .32 Federal Magnum instead of .357.

      Personally, since most DGUs do not involve shots fired, I would think that the most intimidating handgun to pull out would be something like my .45 Colt Commander, with a barrel soooo big and so short the guy it is pointed at can see the gaping maw of the HP sitting in the chamber.

  • Darrell D McMillan April 11, 2016, 10:57 am

    While I often carry a .357 revolver as a backup, I prefer something with a higher round count for my primary carry. Typically I carry a Glock 29 (10mm), which holds 10+1 rounds and 2 Glock 20 mags, which hold 15 rounds each. My thinking has gotten away from lone shooter scenarios to the possibility of multiple assailants (like in a terrorist attack).

    There’s no refuting the stopping power of the .357 magnum though. Last time I checked it was the leader in 1 shot stop statistics. I like the Ruger SP101 because, at 25 ounces, it’s not ‘stupid light’ and actually enjoyable to practice with.

  • Bobo April 11, 2016, 10:40 am

    Since the mid 1970’s my carry gun is the colt detective special. Although I’ve purchased some auto loaders since then the reliability and carrying comfort of my old colt can’t be beat.

  • JAY April 11, 2016, 10:22 am

    Concealed carry choices need to be a decided upon by the individual, but in all honesty a 5 shot snubbie .357 Mag is probably the worst option out there. They’re small for a revolver but still a good bit larger than other options in 9mm, .40 and .45 (Kahr, Springfield XDS, S&W Shield) and if you have to reload, you’d better hope you’ve 1. got good cover because 2. it’s going to seem like an eternity to reload compared to a semi auto.

    I owned a S&W 340 and 360 .357 and the 340 to this day was the most uncomfortable shooting gun I’ve ever fired, it left my hand aching for 3 days and I’ve got a .500 Mag that will rock your teeth out and it doesn’t leave my hands aching.

    I might be in the minority here, but I’ve had my share of snub nosed S&W .38’s and .357’s and I’ve had two instances where they’ve locked up tighter than a bank vault. The cause? Unburnt power from factory rounds…so much that it locked up the action tight making the gun useless. Yes a semi auto can jam, but with proper grip and personally tested ammo, it’s not real likely to happen. Semi auto jams can be cleared pretty quick if they do occur but if a revolver messes up…it’s usually out of the game period.

    Everyone has their own preferences and that’s perfectly fine, but the worst thing you could do is assume that if you have to use your weapon that it’ll be just like some “average” you read about. I’m not saying one has to shoot until slide lock but you do shoot until the threat is over. That might be one shot, might be two…or it might take more than your 5 shot revolver allows you. What if it’s more than one attacker? What then? I think the XDS lineup is fantastic as they’ve got a smaller footprint than any snub nosed revolver, hold more ammo and reloads can happen very fast with the extra mags you carry on you.

    I think the 5 shot snubbies are fine if you’re walking around your property where there’s little chance of anything happening. But once you venture out into society, they become at best better than nothing and at worst a too little gun for just about any situation.

    • carter April 11, 2016, 11:43 am

      the most common cause of revolver failure is powder buildup/fouling. however, if carried clean, this will never happen in a defensive scenario. its something that happens when a gun has gotten very dirty.
      cheaper recolvers can fail due to broken interval mechanism components, but that should not be an issue with the 340.

    • Mark N. April 16, 2016, 3:19 am

      I noticed that quite distinctly just a week ago when I took out a Colt Clone SAA in .45 Colt for its first run since I bought it. I had two brands of ammo, one through Lucky Gunner and the other from Freedom Munitions. The Lucky Gunner stuff (I don’t remember the manufacturer right off, had a bald eagle and flag on it), backed out of the cylinder when fired just a smidge, and seemed to gunk up at the forcing cone. After just 18 shots the gun was jamming up, and I was pulling the cylinder, cleaning and relubing, and even then the problem returned after just 12 shots. I had no such problem with the Freedom stuff. Not only did it run without problem though a 50 round box, it seemed quite a bit hotter. The only thing that slowed me down was that the ammo was hot enough that I had to put the gun down periodically to let it cool.

  • Steve April 11, 2016, 9:41 am

    Great article with valuable info. I love a 1911, but it’s not a good go to gun in a hurry. Speaking for myself of course. When it hits the fan, to much can go wrong. Grip safeties turn me off, and I’ve contemplated pinning my own. I’m not recommending this, because it’s dangerous. But if I have seconds to get it out and on target? I don’t want a jam or stove pipe to be the reason I’m dead. The good quality wheel guns are reliable. I like to practice unloaded quick draw. And using the sights isn’t a thing I’m concerned with at a couple of yards distance. I just want to be first in shooting a lethal hit. I practice firing live rounds without the sights from, different distances. 357 is the best all around stopper imho. No shame in going smaller if you need to. Better to be proficient with a 380, than not be able to handle a 357 load.

    • Mark N. April 16, 2016, 4:00 am

      At bad breath range, there is no discernible difference between .357 and 9 mm. Both will likely completely penetrate the target, and both, if good quality HP ammo is used, will fully expand, leaving almost exactly the same sized holes. Out of a 2″ snubbie, that .357 will have a muzzle velocity of just over 900 fps, while out of a 3″ barrel it will have pretty much the same MV of a 9mm, around 1100-1250 fps, when using bullets of approximately equal weight (125/124 or 140/147).

      When it comes right down to it, at very close range, all calibers can cause potentially fatal wounds. So there are really only two factors in picking what is right for you: 1) is the gun reliable? and 2) can you shoot it well?

  • Jay April 11, 2016, 9:14 am

    I know a lot of comments are made about training with what you carry. Let me give everyone one trick to try that was taught to me by my Grandfather who was a marksman. If you think you’ve trained well and enough to be accurate with your firearm of choice, try this. Next time your at the range, try with empty gun please until you know what your doing! I teach this to my students. Close your eyes, pull your gun and point it down range at the target you were just shooting at! Where are you pointing? If you’ve trained enough your muscle memory will show it! You’ll be looking withing inches of were you should be! I can remember my Grandfather doing this even from his chair in the house with a dummy gun of course, even with his hand pointing his finger like a gun. When I was older and he was teaching me to shoot more accurate, he even had me blindfold him at the range on a bet from some SA who was knocking him saying he was a nut and no one can hit a blankty blank thing without looking, Well after putting 6, 357 rounds 9 inches apart at 15 yards, guess who walked away with 50 bucks! I’m lucky enough to now own that very 357 revolver after his passing, thanks Grand dad! I would’ve gladly paid the fifty just to see him do it had I known he could but he never was a show off!

  • John R. April 11, 2016, 8:42 am

    Choosing a carry gun is much akin to choosing a mate. So many options but only is right for you.
    I won’t argue your findings as I often carry a .357 S&W 627 Performance Center with a 2 and 5/8th inch barrel and an 8 round cylinder. I like the plus two very much. It’s not a light revolver but the weight takes up a lot of the recoil and makes follow up shots a breeze, and at 6’4″ the weight doesn’t bother me. As far as accuracy goes (controlled slow fire) it holds its own against its big brother, same make and model, with a 5′ compensated barrel.
    To loosely quote my favorite gun writer of the past, Elmer Keith, a short barreled revolver, in the right hands, can be just as accurate as any longer barreled revolver.

  • Big D April 11, 2016, 8:40 am

    .357 in a 4″-6″ barrel is a proven round. But I can handload a .38 Special hotter than any factory load that is coming out of a 2″ barrel. And 5 rds? You better be plenty good.
    Oh yes. My backup is a S&W 38 snub. But the M&P 40 Compact 10+1 is the first 3 rds launched.

    • Alan April 11, 2016, 9:50 am

      “Plenty good” for what, exactly?
      There is evidence that one MIGHT be in need of more than 5 rounds, in say, a terrorist attack.
      But outside of those VERY high odds, it isn’t really a logical driving factor for carrying 3 mags of 17 rounds each.
      In fact, a good prosecutor COULD turn that against you.
      Went looking for a fight, did you?

      • Big D April 11, 2016, 11:15 am

        “You better be plenty good.” refers to one’s shooting ability: Plenty good shot, Kemosabe; With only 5, they better count. My duty is a Glock 20 with 6 mags. Let’s see how the DA likes that.

  • Tony M April 11, 2016, 8:02 am

    I agree with you 100%. I prefer the Ruger SP 101 with a 3 inch barrel. It is very well built and the longer sight radius helps. With the proper holster it is very easy to conceal, even in the warmer climates. There is no arguing with the power of a .357 Mag. I come in contact with lots of people that ask what I would recommend for a defensive handgun. My standard answer is a revolver for anyone that is not “into” guns as compared to an enthusiast. Thank you for an excellent article.

  • Nigel Brown April 11, 2016, 7:30 am

    Mr Jones,
    Very well written article.
    I have arrived at the same conclusion as you after carrying concealed for the past ten years.
    I recently purchased a 360 PD and have never been happier carrying.
    I intend to add the laser grips soon and I am currently seeing the best (for me) holster.
    There are those who will disagree but I believe that the small, lightweight J frame is the best carry solution.
    Maybe after some people haul around a heavy jam prone auto loader for a year or so they may see the light.

  • Hugo Stiglitz April 11, 2016, 7:17 am

    I had my 340 PD ported and added an ergo delta grip. Still not fun to shoot but definitely better. There is something to be said for a gun you can walk around with in your pocket all day and not even know it’s there until you need it.

    • romney dickinson April 11, 2016, 11:11 am

      So the one truth here is a wide personal choice. I compromised first pistol. Glock 23, .40 cal. I know it is not a great choice for carry, but it has a decent barrel length, the 40 is plenty powerful and it does not have too much kick for me. How about if one is serious about carry, have two; one for backup. I would not want to use a .380 personally. Worst part of my choice is very personal; I do NOT care for Glock, period. Rather send 200 more for a H&K. Glock will NOT recognize the design problem in the stock barrel and to improve accuracy and safety you have to buy an after market barrel. Still the gun seems unsteady in my hand. NO RELOADS WITHOUT THE NEW BARREL. Glock has had several legal issues also. I would pick a H&K, Sig, S&W over a Glock every time. It is personal and that is my reasons. I am not a gun nut, but darn near lived in the woods/fields from 6 to 25 and hunted until 1995. Used to shoot pill bottles and clay birds with an old .22 pump. Hit a few clays from time to time. Sold my hunting weapons and in 2008 replaced them with tactical weapons. What ever one chooses, buy the best quality you can afford. When or if you shoot that carry gun it will be dangerous and fast and YOU want to be standing upright and unharmed. Pistol choice is much more important than long gun. Think I made the right choices.

      • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 2:12 pm

        I like the part about shooting at pill bottles. Now that I’m older I have a plethora of targets it seems. Back in the 1980’s I was shooting pin shoots with the only gun I had, my 7 1/2″ Redhawk. I did a lot better after I switched to practicing with spent 12 gauge shells. If you can hit two or three out of 5 of those at 25 feet you can certainly hit a bowling pin at 25 feet. And a bowling pin mimics the instant stop zone of a person quite nicely. Lots better than trying to find a volunteer to act as a target.

  • Scott April 11, 2016, 7:11 am

    Please show an image of the modified Sticky Holster sewn to a Sticky Phone Taco.

  • Mike Brown April 11, 2016, 6:13 am

    While there is no fault in you argument, I would point out that rarely (or at least to my knowledge) has the need for “quick draw” been necessary, having said that, my personal preference is .45, simply because u don’t get back up form a center mass/ head-shot hit from a 45, where as the same cannot be said for any of the weapons compared here (357, 9mm) . While I did compete younger days in quick draw, I don’t wear a .45 long colt or .44 mag strapped to my waist and tied down, and I have never seen or owned a “concealed” carry holster that allows even 1/3 the speed from an old west “quick draw” holster. Speed is not of the essence in self defense, lack of panic, practice, muscle memory and accuracy are paramount therefor, weight/speed of draw are basically irrelevant. IMHO. Mike

    • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 2:27 pm

      My first thought when reading your comment was “Oh please. Don’t be ridiculous.” Last time I checked, the .357 still has the best statistics for 1 shot stops, better than the .45, better than the .40, better than the 9mm. A 125 Gr JHP hitting you center of mass at 1450 fps is going to stop you. If you aren’t dead you soon will be. A 235 Round nose at 900 fps may hit something vital but it might miss too and with no expansion it makes a small wound channel. Arguing that those aren’t the bullets you use is irrelevant. I’m sure most people use store bought ammo. How many reloaders do you know? I think we’re pretty rare even amongst carryers. I have store bought ammo in my .32 acp, in my .357 and in my .44 mag, not to mention a couple of 12 gauges at various locations around my house. I make my own for sporting use but not for serious situations. Another way for keeping the DA from saying I’m using super high powered loads should I need to use one in self defense and the DA decides to step on me. It’s why I don’t keep the .44 as my normal house defense gun either. If it’s daytime you’re liable to be shot with a .22 as much as anything if you invade my house.

      • W.P. Zeller April 12, 2016, 6:12 pm

        It should be noted: very few .357 125gr. loads even approach 1300fps in a two inch gun. Most will barely make 1200fps.
        The factory numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, excepting Buffalo Bore.
        Then, there are the individual differences between guns- there are slow ones and fast ones, and you can’t tell until you chrono.
        But you can pretty much expect right around 1250fps from a two-inch with almost any 125.

        • Mark N. April 18, 2016, 1:50 am

          Most of those numbers are out of a 6″ test barrel. Out of a 2″ snubbie, the muzzle velocity drops to around 900 fps, according to Ballistics by the Inch, and the ME is somewhere in the 200-300 ft-lbs. By comparison, a 3″ .45 acp runs 300-almost 500 ft-lbs out of a 3″ barrel. Where a .357 shines is in longer barrel lengths; while 3″ will get you there, 4″ and up is where it gets over 1400 fps..

  • OMCHamlin April 11, 2016, 5:06 am

    I’m with you (most of the time) I carry a S&W M&P 340 (the 2oz. heavier one) loaded with 357 CorBon 110 JHPs. I may (may, mind you) look into those laser grips. If I have to “skin that smokewagon” I want power, truckloads of it, in as easy to carry compromise as possible, so I’ll have it with me when I need it.

  • Scott April 11, 2016, 4:52 am

    I have two of them and I love them, I hear people complaining about the cost and the recoil all the time. These lightweight revolvers are not for everyone. You can make a lot of excuses not to buy one, but don’t knock these great little light weight wheel guns.

  • Smoke Hill Farm April 11, 2016, 3:44 am

    The rabid semi-auto fans are going to come out of the woodwork now, baring their fangs and howling at the moon.
    I don’t carry a .357 because I WANT to — but because I want something that will shoot 100% of the times I pull the trigger (or at least 99.9999% anyhow), and if someone else in the household has to grab it in the middle of the night, it’s just point-and-pull-trigger, with no need to figure out safety levers, cocking a hammer or wondering if there is one already in the chute. At this point not everyone in the family has their own dedicated defense gun, nor has the many thousands of hours of practice and experience that I have.

    We’ll no doubt be hearing the same arguments 20 yrs from now, with no one changing their mind — but to assume that there are no compelling reasons for someone to carry a revolver is just plain silly, especially when we’re talking about relatively inexperienced shooters, and especially if they’re suddenly thrust into a panic mode.

    An excellent article.

    • Tom RKBA April 11, 2016, 7:55 am

      Hmmm…I am not a “rabid semi-auto fan” as you put it. I spent two years testing, training and shooting revolvers in an effort to switch over. I purchased around $8,000 is revolvers from the Ruger Alaskan to the much loved S&W Model 442. I carried all of them and attended three defensive classes using only wheelguns, two of which were dedicated to revolvers. I recently attended Chuck Haggard’s snubby class at Rangemaster 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee.

      The first thing I learned is that revolvers are not 100% reliable. They do fail and all that is happening is the problem set changes. Semis have their failures and revolvers have theirs. Haggard reminded me of this and pointed out people saying revolvers are “100% reliable” have never been on a police academy firing line. They had many malfunctions and were cleaning stars and chambers every forty rounds or so. Telling yourself and others this myth does a great disservice. People need to learn the reality and, most importantly, what to do to fix the problem when it occurs. Avoiding the problem sets one up for a critical failure at the wrong time.

      Smoke Hill Farm’s next comment on revolvers for inexperienced shooters is ridiculous. An inexperienced shooter is any person who does not regularly train–I see many people on the range who claim decades of “experience” but their targets scream “Newbie!” Operating a revolver in range conditions is difficult enough due to the trigger. Snubby revolvers make the situation worse when combined with the short sight radius, lack of training and higher recoil. All revolvers require quite a bit of training time and dedication to master. McGivern and Jordan stressed this repeatedly in their writings. Most people refuse to attend defensive firearms training and do not fire enough rounds every month to keep their skills sharp.

      The shooter must be able to get tight groups out to 25 yards (7-15 for snubbies, but that is just my opinion since my LCR is a backup gun) in double action. Rapid fire is another skill that is needed and is beyond many shooters (I see this at the range all the time). It is certainly beyond people who have “the revolver attitude”–people who say “Six for sure”, “Revolver shooters are more accurate” and “If it can’t be done with six, then you’re dead!” These people have stopped learning, believe the stories in their own minds, and are not acknowledging the reality of gun fights.

      • Jim April 11, 2016, 9:27 am

        Tom…Instead of putting such a negative spin on everything you say, as written in your two replies, why don’t you, instead, try using the positive approach? And, if you’re the expert you purport to be, how come you’re not writing the articles. Remember this is one man’s opinion, don’t try to put him down just because YOU don’t happen to agree. Also remember…if you ask 100 people’s opinion, you’ll likely get 100 different answers and opinions. QUIT TRYING TO BE MISTER RIGHT. You’re NOT! You sound like you have oktarectamydis! That’s a shitty outlook on life. I’m sure you’re not the consummate authority you seem to think you are. TRY THE POSITIVE APPROACH FOR A CHANGE!

  • Al April 9, 2016, 9:26 pm

    This is my favorite CC gun as a retired peace officer. From an Uncle Mike’s holster it comes out like a rabbit out of a hat.
    No magazine, safety, FTF or stovepipes. What it has is RELIABILITY. I found full house magnums not that bad. But I believe you’re better off with +P+ or + P SJHP’s. A snubby doesn’t really do justice to the .357 mag – a lot of flash and recoil with very little gain in velocity IMO. Plenty of power and accuracy up to seven yards. You don’t need a woodpecker for bad breath distance. A ‘Jack Ruby’ to the gut will ruin anybody’s day.

  • Tom RKBA April 9, 2016, 4:12 pm

    This article has too many assumptions and flaws that several articles would be required to refute them. You should have written “I carry a lightweight S&W J-Frame chambered in 357 Magnum because I want to.”

    • Chris Baker April 11, 2016, 2:31 pm

      But he gets paid by the word, right? Wouldn’t be much of an article to read and comment about if he said that.

  • Will Drider April 9, 2016, 2:22 pm

    I find no fault in your logic or opinion regarding a revolver but some of its strong points can also be negatives. The thickness at the cyclinder (1.3) is wider then a Glock 22, you give up barrel length in relation to overall length and velocity by barrel length and cyclinder gap. You also trade off capacity and a faster reload. These are personal choices, no problem.

    Where I do see a common fault is the issue of weight! Lets go BIG, say a 3 pound CC handgun. Unless your going out in yoga pants or elastic waist shorts, the anchoring down should not be a issue. Look at the weight now. What man or woman is incapable of carrying a whopping 3 pounds securely attached to their bodies? Doesn’t weight also reduce precieved recoil? Most woman carry handbags in the 10 lb range daily! Size/concealability is what matters.
    Buck up buttercup, lol.

    • John Lloyd Scharf September 15, 2017, 12:56 am

      My whole company was being disciplined. We had to hold our 1903 Springfield out in front of us. They did not weigh much on my shoulder doing the manual of arms, but it was hard hold straight out from the shoulder for 30 minutes.

      I do not recommend carrying a purse if you need to protect yourself. I don’t care if you carry a whole backpack to the range. It is not the same as keeping a piece of metal handy day after day. You cannot put it down, like a purse. You cannot walk away from it. Do you carry a three pound wallet?

      Weight reveals a firearm far more than size. Three pounds on ONE side is NOT concealable. I cannot stick it in my pocket of my vest jacket. I can tell what side you carry on if it weighs more than 16 oz. If a cop can do that, a felon can do it.

      If you perceive recoil WHILE you shoot, you are not focused on your aggressor. It is not during the fight you feel the pain in restraining an aggressor.

  • Richard April 9, 2016, 12:39 pm

    I have carried a 340pd since my return from deployment in 2006. I ordered it days after holding one in a gun store I worked in just blocks from where the San Bernardino shooting took place.

    I have said this exact thing to many people, and more often then not they agree. But with all the new little single stack 9mm and .380 guns coming on the market, people tend to think one more round is better than power and reliability. The price tag on the little space age J frame tends to scare people away as well. Every one loves mine till they ask how much it cost…..lol

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