What I Love & Hate About the Smith & Wesson Model 360

Smith & Wesson’s Model 360 (which has a retail price of $770) is a new old gun. It is new because it is a recent release with some updated features, but it is old because it is based on the decades-old, tried-and-true J-frame.

I will admit my biases up-front. I love these guns and always have. I think I always will. Depending on the day, I choose a J-frame over a slim nine, over a Glock 19 and over lots of other guns. I don’t always, but most of the time I do. They are not perfect, however. I wish every J-frame carried 10 rounds, not five. I wish they were equipped with lights and lasers that changed nothing about their external dimensions. That said, I have had the Model 360 with me for a few months now, and I carry it a lot. Here are the five things I love and hate about it. Enjoy!

1. Love: Trigger

J-frame triggers are very smooth but very heavy, relatively speaking. If you want to fire this gun, you’ve got to mean it, and that is what I love. If it ever comes to the time when I need to squeeze the trigger, I want it to be a very deliberate action that makes it happen. Granted, other guns with lesser trigger-pull weights require intent to fire them, but there is just something about this trigger squeeze that brings an added dose of intent.

The Model 360 is a single/double-action too, so I can cock the hammer back and enjoy a much lighter, shorter trigger squeeze if so desired. I do not ever advocate for that during real-world encounters, but I enjoy it during range times.

2. Love: Holster Selection

With so many holsters available, there are more options for customizing how you carry this gun on your person. You can find everything from outside-the-waistband leather belt slides with maximum coverage and thumb-snap retention to minimalist holsters which cover only the trigger and send a single loop over a gun belt to hold it all in place.

I have carried J-frames on my person in more places than any other gun: IWB from 1 to 11 o’clock, OWB from 2 to 5 o’clock, ankle, shoulder and numerous pockets. Beyond holsters, J-frames also have a seemingly unending number of accessories for stocks and grips, lights and lasers, sights and more.

3. Hate: Style

While I enjoy the classic look of a snub-nosed revolver, I was not too fond of this one. The flutes on the cylinder are gone, which is interesting, but I miss them. The stocks remind me of a banana past its prime. This is all aesthetics, mind you, and I understand that functionality takes precedence over the form.

The smooth cylinder does not serve any functional purpose that I can find (yet), but the stocks are excellent. They fit my hand perfectly, provide a place for a pinky finger, provide excellent purchase overall and tame a bit of the bite of the .357 Magnum when fired. Still, it is a good thing this gun stays concealed for about 99 percent of its life.

4. Hate: Front Sight

A snubby (or J-frame) is mostly a point-and-shoot weapon, but I still think there is a better front-sight option than the short, red ramp. Sure, it is better than a ramp with no color at all, but it is still difficult to see and use in any kind of combat shooting exercise. It is better to practice some kind of point-shooting technique and to get exceptionally well-acquainted with how the gun points and where your point of aim naturally falls during use.

Probably the reason the front sight is so awful is because the rear sight is a trench. Getting these two to line up for an aimed shot is not impossible, but it is difficult unless you invest in some significant training and practice.

5. Love: Dual-Caliber Capability

Today’s ammunition choices are excellent. We have access to .38 Special +P self-defense cartridges that are significant improvements over what was available 10 years ago. So, even with five rounds on board, no one should feel under-gunned while carrying .38s. Still, if you want to go big, you can. Firing .357 Magnum rounds, while uncomfortable and even painful at times, can be a load of fun at the range and very effective in a self-defense encounter.

Regardless of what caliber you carry, make sure you’re practiced up. Some people like to practice with .38s and carry .357s. That’s fine. I actually like to do the opposite: carry .38s and shoot .357s. I figure if I can be combat-effective with .357s, then surely I can do the same with .38s. Probably the better advice, though, is to practice with what you will actually be carrying and carry what you actually practice with. That means expending actual self-defense rounds at the range during practice, which is costly, but at least you will know how you and your gun will perform with that gun and that ammunition.

As for reloads: If I’m carrying .38s in the gun, I will bring along a speed strip or two of .357s. Having to reload a J-frame means the situation that I am in has significantly deteriorated, so why not load up with something stronger to help facilitate my escape?

Conclusion

Carry a Model 360 or a J-frame? If you do, there is a reason. Let us know those reasons, what you love and what you could do without. Even better, for the features we tend not to like about these guns, how do you mitigate against them, if at all?

Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.

***Shop for Smith & Wesson Revolvers on GunsAmerica***

About the author: Mark Kakkuri is a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • ejharb August 23, 2018, 12:11 pm

    Never a smith wheel with a hillary hole! Never!

  • LG July 21, 2018, 10:01 am

    Once upon a time, there were happy folks who owned revolvers WITHOUT a safety …..

  • Dale July 20, 2018, 4:16 pm

    Daily I carry a S&W 640-1 loaded with Remington Golden saber 125gr JHP .357 magnum. I carry the .357 because I wanted the stopping power. Although overpowered for the occational squirrel that I take its comforting when a black bear walks up to me. Reading reports of actual self defense shootings was my reason for choosing the 640. It does get heavy day after day and I have looked at lighter weight carry guns but, haven’t found one that I like and still be able to fire .357’s.

  • JOHN R. EUFRAZIO July 13, 2018, 7:32 pm

    MY 340 in S.S. PORTED A GREAT LITTLE GUN

  • Dennis A. Muirhead July 13, 2018, 6:34 pm

    I carried a S & W Model 340 PD, .375 cal, with titanium cyl., scandium frame, and SS barrel whenever I am hunting in the field, with bow or rifle. It is the most powerful and lightest gun available. I carry a lot but don’t shoot a lot. The revolver also has a laser built into the assembly. With many guns to choose from, this the lightest and most powerful to carry all day, day after day. At point blank range there is a lot of stopping ability with a hollow point .375 round. It has ruined a trophy antelope set of horns by putting the downed animal out with a close head shot.

  • Buffalochip July 13, 2018, 5:55 pm

    My favorite J-frame is a Centennial-style internal-hammer Performance Center M442 that S&W makes with a stainless steel cylinder and polished flutes to go along with its PC factory action job. It’s still pretty corrosion-resistant due to the black anodizing on the frame and the stainless cylinder — important for my hot and humid climate. And the Performance Center tuned action is FAR smoother and easier to shoot well than any of the non-PC standard production Centennial models. I find the standard non-tuned DAO Centennial action to be hard to hit with at distance, but the much smoother PC model takes the gun to a whole new level entirely. The gun is slightly heavier at 15 ounces versus the scandium framed models, but the extra 4 ounces of weight further dampens the recoil of the very hot .38 loads I carry in it, and further improves my ability to quickly and accurately place a follow-up shot.

    A really useful gun — and a fantastic bargain for the price, which I’ve seen as low as $399. Great as a backup, and competent as a primary carry gun if climate / mode of dress / other circumstances require that level of concealment for your primary gun. An easy carry in either a non-printing pocket holster or IWB holster, and its size totally takes away any excuse for not having a gun with you all the time — a very important consideration. I’m surprised that S&W doesn’t put more effort into marketing this very capable factory-tuned model.

  • Dan July 13, 2018, 3:18 pm

    Who makes the holster you show on your revolver? Where is it available?

  • Martingard July 13, 2018, 1:29 pm

    My Wife carries my 340SC loaded with .38 spec 90 grn Hornady and loves it. It’s never had a .357 in it and from what I hear we don’t want to have it kill on both ends. She’s deadly accurate with it, as it should be. She still complains about the recoil a little but she still loves it. I recently bought her S&W .22 mag to see if she likes it better but haven’t had a chance to really try it out. She qualified with it and has it on her CCW along with a couple of others. She’s a hell of a shot so whatever she carries she’ll be lethal.

  • DaveW July 13, 2018, 1:05 pm

    I carry, for a revolver, a Model 60 (no # no dash) .38 Spl because it is compact, has never malfunctioned. Additionally, the vast majority of shootings occur at close range (roughly 3-10 feet) and the .38Spl (or even a .380) is sufficient at that distance. Sure, a .357 makes a bigger wound channel, but that might be overkill. Now, if the perp is trying to make a break, with a snubbie, it doesn’t really matter that much. For the average shooter, including a lot of cops, the greater the distance the less chance of a hit.

  • David July 13, 2018, 9:40 am

    My favorite version is the M&P 360 scandium framed 3 inch barrel with trijicon front sight. Fantastic to carry and sufficient power to provide peace of mind. Too bad they discontinued them.
    Thank you for the article.

  • Chris July 13, 2018, 9:26 am

    M&P 340 for me, with DeSantis “Hip Grip”, which is more handfilling, helps with those 357 full house JHPs. Like my night sights better then that useless red ramp, DA only trigger is fine, especially if you actually know how to run a DA revolver. And best of all (by a looong shot!) NO “Lawyer Wart” lock to fail!!!

  • the hunter July 13, 2018, 9:14 am

    Nice Gun , a little on the small side but if your up close it’s enough . My choice is a 686 L 357 magnum it ‘s bigger full lug takes 7 Rounds of anything 38 and with a 3 inch barrel it has reach not a ton just don’t be the bad guy 25 yards away , it’s not a trench sight , the sights are awesome and the price is about the same .

  • Randy July 13, 2018, 7:59 am

    Great article. I was looking for that revolver locally and have not seen one. What is the brand of holster in your article ?

    Thanks
    Randy

  • Hendrik Haan July 13, 2018, 7:12 am

    I carry the J-frame hammerless. It has a laser grip. Two things I like: 1) Laser aim. I detest laser because in combat, I hate to give information away. But a snub nose means it’s close-in action. Therefore, no problem to “give information away” to your adversary. 2) The grip is oversize. Why do gun manufacturers make the grips sized to 6 year old kids? Purchased grips on Amazon for about $125, made by defenderseries.com
    You will need to practice with snap caps because the pistol is double action only. The DA will pull you off target if you don’t. I like that I can practice with .38 Special. It costs less and won’t hurt your hand as much. Leave it loaded with .357 if you carry it. Sight it in with .38 Special, it will have the same impact area as the .357.
    I have 6 hidden around in the store. My employees can defend themselves with the knowledge that they don’t need to remember about hammers and safeties.

  • Andy Buckmichael July 13, 2018, 6:53 am

    The weight is the best thing for me.

  • G-rat July 13, 2018, 6:48 am

    Love the venerable J frames. I often carry 2 because of the weight savings. Filled up with Hornady 110gr. +P, and 2 Safariland comp 2 speed loaders, I’ve never felt like I didn’t have enough firepower. I love my many J frames. There’s a reason S&W has been making them since 1950.

  • Tommygun851 July 13, 2018, 4:07 am

    I considered buying the 360 but I thought that you should stay with a double action only trigger so I went with the DAO 340 SC. First thing I did was to change all the springs to Wilson Combat race springs to lighten up the trigger and speed up the action. The pistol weighs just under 12 oz.! It is so light, it’s like your not carrying anything at all! I love it! I changed the front sight to fiber optic and during the day, it lights up like a Christmas tree! I put a Crimson Trace CTC grip lazer on it and besides having a lazer dot sight, the grip is a wrap around style with an air pocket right where you need it to absorb the recoil of a 357 mag! I also hand load my ammo (yes I know, maybe I shouldn’t) with 80 grain Barns X solid copper 380 bullets !! High velocity , no recoil! Same recoil as a 327 mag!
    I will keep and carry my 340 SC until the day I die!

  • Tom Lingenfield July 10, 2018, 9:03 pm

    I love my J frames. I have a 442, a 36-1 and a 60 Pro. I carry the 442 and the 60 Pro often.

    Mark’s comment about the red ramp front sight made me laugh as I have the S&W front night sight on my 60 Pro and it’s narrow .125” and the Trutium insert is only .050”. I would love to have the red front ramp sight over the J frame night sight. I guess it’s just perspective. I was thinking the red ramp would’ve the thing to have… 🙂

    I carry my revolvers mostly OWB at 2 – 5, depending on what I am wearing and what I am doing. I occasionally carry the 442 in an ankle holster but the holster I have is terrible and I am considering a couple of other options.

    I do like the grip of the 360, the color is weird but I like the shape. I was thinking I may try a grip like that on my 442.

    Thanks for the great article.

    Tom

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend