Search for the Perfect J-Frame Revolver

Thirty years and many guns later, it’s the S&W M340PD revolver!

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I was a dyed-in-the-wool gun guy when I left the military service and took up the peace officer’s trade. That was more years back than I care to remember, but still one of those pivotal moments in my life. As a gun guy, I was intent on having exactly the right equipment and in those days on that department, it was either a Colt or Smith & Wesson revolver. After some research, I chose to take the S&W route and I have never regretted the decision. My duty gun was a Model 19, the legendary Combat Magnum. This gun had a four-inch barrel for easy carrying, but I also had a couple of six-inch Model 14s for competition. Since I was a full-fledged cop with a six-pointed star to prove it, I also wanted an off-duty/backup revolver to go with my M19. After finding one and ponying up the big bucks to get it, I began to carry a 2.5-inch Model 19 as an off-duty gun. I quickly found out what a lot of other cops found out; the short M19 was a pretty heavy gun to carry in civilian clothes.

gun-talk2.gifThe experience taught me several things. First, the fact that heavy guns more often than not stay at home. But I also learned that choosing a gun with handling characteristics like my primary armament was a good idea. Finally, it became obvious that nobody ever went very far wrong choosing a Smith & Wesson revolver. With these facts in mind, thus began a search that lasted thirty years. I wanted a compact, easy to carry S&W revolver that was both light and powerful. The gun I wanted did not exist in the catalog when the search began, but something quite like it had once been made. Nevertheless, I began my snubby quest in a pretty conventional way. I bought one of the early stainless steel Model 60 revolvers. At that point in time, this was the only stainless steel firearm of any kind made in America. I carried the gun daily, long enough to realize that it was still a little on the heavy side and the exposed hammer caught on the edges of clothing, coats and the like. I cured that problem by having the hammer spur cut off. Thereafter, I used the Model 60 with general satisfaction. For a long time, this gun wore custom grips made by Dick Tracey, but I changed them when Craig Spegel made the pictured pair of his Boot Grips out of Oregon myrtle.

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  • This question is for Wiley–but anyone can tell me. I recently purchased 340PD and read in Wiley’s book (Concealed Carry) that he uses Uncle Mike’s pocket holster–but I am a “rookie” and don’t know for sure which model pocket holster I should be ordering–it appears to be cat #8744-3 for the 2″ 5 shot and 380 sig. What say you guys/gals?

    Thanks, Gordon Goldman