Anyone fire a S&W 340PD?


September 12, 2005, 11:26 AM
I'm looking for a purse gun for my wife and want a spurless or covered hammer "J Frame" that is chambered in .357 magnum/38sp. I found a great deal on a S&W 340PD and would like to know if anyone here has fired one.

My wife likes the look/feel since it's so light (17oz). I'm somewhat concerned that the lightness/felt recoil will scare her away from shooting and that maybe a mod 60 or variant would be better for her.

Any opinions, experience or thought are appreciated. She just recently agreed to accompany me to the local shop and is starting to understand the need for personal protection after seeing the aftermath of Katrina.

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September 12, 2005, 02:00 PM
The 340pd is a fantastic gun--for a man with strong hands, high pain tolerance, and ample experience shooting revolvers. The remarkable light weight that makes it so appealing to your wife would (unless she is a very, very unusual woman) stop her from shooting it after round one. It recoils brutally with .357, and even with a decent SD load in .38, it is Not Comfortable to shoot. First time I shot mine, it drew blood. Can it be mastered? Absolutely. Do you want to put your wife through that? No way. So, your concerns are well founded.

The only other choice within your parameters is the 640 (stainless hammerless j-frame, 2"). That would be a good purse gun, and probably quite tolerable for her to shoot. Depending on her purse and what she's willing to carry, two better choices might be the 640 in a 3" configuration--which is available only in .38--and a 60 (j-frame with hammer, also steel) in a 3". The extra inch of barrel would make either of these guns considerably more shootable, though I understand the desire for a handy gun and often find a 2" j-frame as my only gun to hand.

I wouldn't let the issue of .357 chambering (vs. .38 only) be a deal-breaker for you. If you have her shoot .38's and .357's from the same gun, I guarantee you she will not want to shoot the latter more than once. The .38 is a perfectly adequate round for personal defense in modern chamberings.

If she really demands light weight, look at a 642, which is the same size as the 340, but a little heavier (15oz) and chambered only for .38. Still, the 640 would be easier and more comfortable to shoot; hopefully you can give her a chance to find this out through live fire before she makes her decision.

September 12, 2005, 02:18 PM
I use a 340PD to fire off about 10 rounds before I shoot the 44. It makes the 44 feel like a real lightweight.

I took my oldest daughter out with her boyfriend to learn about pistols. I had a selection of rimfire and center fire, pistols and revolvers. I started them with 22 revolvers and worked up.

I had the 340 along to demonstrate the difference between firing 38 special in a GP100 and the 340, thinking an illustration of the difference in firearm mass would be useful.

To make a long story short, after they fired the 38's they wanted to try full power 357 loads. Foolishly I agreed. If brused my daughters hand and her boyfriend said he only wanted to fire "service type" guns after that.

If you are not an expierenced pistol shooter who is used to very sharp recoil, I would not recomend this gun. It does carry well however.

P. Plainsman
September 12, 2005, 02:36 PM
Agree with ChristopherG's recommendations to the jot.

It is hard to get new shooters to set aside their initial instinct that "small, light gun = beginner gun." But it is necessary, because this is NOT true. In particular, it frustrates me how often gun store guys advising new women shooters steer them to the alloy J-frames. For a purse gun, let alone a house gun, there is no reason to go with anything lighter than a 640, 60, or a Ruger SP101. Only if one is specifically looking for a fairly deep-concealment, on-body carry gun is an alloy snub like the 642 a good idea -- and even then it may be better to wait until the shooter has some experience. The 340PD and other Ti/Sc snubbies are even more extreme.

Finally, I note that the current Model 60s and 640s come with larger, contoured rubber "combat" grips that make for a much better hold than the 642's small, concealable boot grips. (The 340PD's "bantam" grips look closer to the small end of this spectrum. Not sure you can get all three non-trigger fingers on the grip -- that's the key criterion.)

When you add this grip difference to the weight difference, the 60's advantage in shootability becomes very great.

The 3" M60 loaded with good .38 +P rounds is the "purse gun," IMHO, with silver medals going to the 2" 640 and the Ruger SP101.

Since you want hammerless, I reckon the 640 is your baby. Might also look at the 2" DAO SP101 -- bobbed rather than shrouded hammer, but same basic idea.

September 12, 2005, 02:53 PM
340PD great Gun? YES, for beginner, NO.

Were I were in your shoes I'd get something with more heft like an Sp101 or a SW649. If you let her fire the 340 she'll no longer be interested in carrying a gun.

September 12, 2005, 03:38 PM
I agree with all the prior comments on the wife is not really that recoil sensitive, but even the 642 is a little harsh for her, I just picked up a 640 and she likes it WAY more, and she seems to be carrying it almost as is a pic that shows both guns, the 640 is just a bit longer(2.25 in. barrel compared to 2 in.) and the pachmeyer grip shown is still concealable but lets her get a much better grip.....tom

September 12, 2005, 03:54 PM
Thanks for all of the insight.

I find myself agreeing with all of your recommendations as this was my initial thought too, that was until the salesman handed my wife the 340PD. I tried to explain to her that the stainless steel's added weight would decrease the felt recoil, but the salesman was being a salesman and convinced her that she would eventually get tired of the weight and not carry at all.

I'll probably go ahead and get into a 640 or 649 to start her off with, after I let her spend some time behind my brother's H&R 22 revolver.

September 12, 2005, 04:05 PM
Great gun, unless she plans to shoot it.

September 12, 2005, 04:09 PM
That's what I was afraid of.

What do you all think of the following choices:

SW 640, 649, 642
Taurus 650 CIA, 850 CIA

September 12, 2005, 07:07 PM
I second the recommendation of the S&W 640. Though you may want to consider a 432PD. Lightweight (13.5OZ.), and chambered in .32 H&R Magnum. The .32 H&R Magnum delivers ft/lbs. of energy very close to standard pressure .38 Specials with noticeably less recoil. Also, the 432PD holds six rounds instead of the usual five in most S&W J-frames. However, .32 H&R Magnum cartridges are more expensive than .38 specials. I own both (640 & 432PD) and believe that you can't go wrong with either.


P. Plainsman
September 12, 2005, 07:25 PM
I'd get the 640, of the ones you mentioned. It's best for the mission you described -- purse gun for (we gather) a fairly new shooter. If she turns out to like .357s in the thing -- great. If she tops out at .38+P, no sweat.

If what's wanted is a pocket gun, the 642 has a lot going for it, but it's snappy. It's fair to say that the weight difference between the Airweight alloy-frame 642 (15 oz) and a steel-frame J like the 640 (24 oz) is significant, and can have an impact on carry. Not that the steel J is hard to fit in a pocket, but it will tend to sag, and thus to print more.

I'm much less convinced that the weight difference b/w the Airweight 642 and the Ti/Sc guns (12 oz) is worth the increase in recoil. A 642 is plenty light enough for a .38+P, and let's not even talk about launching .357 Mag from these lightweights.

The shooter herself should have the last word. But there are reasons to be very leery of the 340PD, as others have discussed above.

September 12, 2005, 08:56 PM
I've got a 360PD. I find it unpleasant to fire. Even with standard
.38 loads, the recoil, while not violent, has an odd, unpleasant feel to it. To me, it feels similar to shanking a baseball with
an aluminum bat. After a couple of cylinders full, my hand starts to
get a bit numb. I'm planning on getting a shooting glove so I can
practice more comfortably. However, it's a dream to carry, so its a keeper.

September 13, 2005, 12:58 AM
I'm looking for a purse gun for my wife and want a spurless or covered hammer "J Frame" that is chambered in .357 magnum/38sp. I found a great deal on a S&W 340PD and would like to know if anyone here has fired one.

My wife likes the look/feel since it's so light (17oz). I'm somewhat concerned that the lightness/felt recoil will scare her away from shooting and that maybe a mod 60 or variant would be better for her.

12 ounces. I bet she only shoots a mag load 1 time. These other guys have pretty much said it all.

September 13, 2005, 07:34 AM
I like the 637/642 +P .38's, with either those milder recoiling Speer 135gr GDJHP's or my choice, the 158gr LHPSWC's, for a concealment lite-weight revolver. While I am not recoil-shy, having owned and shot a .454 SRH, .45's, and .44 Magnums for years, two rounds through a friend's 340 cured me of ever shooting one of them again. I would never hand one to a newbie - especially a lady - to shoot. The 637/642 weighs 3 oz more - and can handle standard .38 Specials better, too. Additionally, it really gains in controllability with a slightly longer grip - even for dimunitive lady-hands.

I bought, unknowingly at the time, of course, what just may be the ideal +P .38 snubby a few years ago - the 2" Model 10. Yes - it weighs 7 oz more than the 640. But - it has a sixth round - and a K-frame. Even with service/boot grips, it feels better. You cannot beat the old 'M&P' in a snubby for shooting, either. The lockwork is classic K/L and N-frame - leaf hammer spring and coil trigger return - and somewhat easily altered. Mine, a -11 series, was a 'closeout' goodie actually made 1/03, according to S&W, and is +P rated. A call to S&W with your S/N will reveal whether your 10 is +P rated. They are around... check the used sections in gunstores and pawn shops.


PS I agree re the 432PD - great low recoiling PD - and six 100gr JHP .32 H&R Magnum rounds produce more muzzle KE than five +P 158gr LSWCHP so-called 'FBI load' rounds - and, 20% more holes, as well!

September 13, 2005, 08:25 AM
I routinely carry a 340Sc, which is the same basic gun as the 340PD. I added a set of the overmolded Crimson Trace laser grips (Model CT305) and they do much to moderate the recoil, while adding only about 1/4" to the length of the buttstock.

Even so, with full-power .357 Mag ammo, recoil remains unpleasant - right now, I load it with Winchester 145 grain Silvertips. "Plus-P" .38 Special ammo is no problem. The "midrange" or "low recoil" .357 ammo is a good compromise - Federal makes a 129 or 130 grain reduced recoil .357, Remington makes a "mid range" .357 load, and I believe that Speer announced a new 135 grain .357 optimized for snubbies which is a step up from their highly-regarded 135 grain +P .38 Special.

September 13, 2005, 11:22 AM
My 340 SC was almost ideal with .38 spcl loads but brutal with any standard pressure .357mag round.

Good idea to have your wife accompany you because she is the one who will carry and fire it. Ideally, let her rent and shoot a variety of guns at your local range, if available.

Make sure she is comfortable and confident with anything she handles/carries/fires. Personally, I would recommend any small J-frame .38 spcl for all-purpose self-defense.....prefer a Smith 640, 642, Ruger SP101, or Taurus mod 85.

Good for you that your wife is willing to carry a gun; my wife steadfastly refuses to!

September 14, 2005, 11:04 PM
I am 6' 0" tall, weigh 275lbs and I don't like shooting S&W titanium or scandium snubbies with .38spl+P, let alone .357mag.

I went with the Taurus 651 Total Ti in .357mag (17 oz). It is at my limit wth regard to recoil. The only lighter revo I would consider is a S&W642 in .38spl+P.

Shooting one of those S&W Ti/Sc snubbies is akin to catching a baseball without a mitt.

September 15, 2005, 08:53 AM
I find all the 340 hate amusing. While I wouldn't recommend it for a woman with small hands, any man should be able to deal with it's behavior. It takes practice but once you've mastered it, it's no harder to handle than a 2 year olds temper tantrum.
I love mine, carry it everywhere and it's loaded with magnums. I have no qualms about emptying it as fast as I can pull the trigger and reloading for another round of magnums. :evil: :neener:

P. Plainsman
September 15, 2005, 04:50 PM
Hate, shmate. It's a weapon with certain obvious disadvantages and we're simply pointing them out. You seem to think there's nothing to worry about here except one's subjective perceptions of recoil -- I'm not convinced that's right.

September 15, 2005, 06:30 PM
Replying to an earlier post, I have a Taurus 650 that I am quite fond of. Enough weight to moderate the full-power .357 loads. I also have a Taurus 651 in titanium and another in stainless. Also excellent revolvers.

September 16, 2005, 08:56 AM
It's not uncommon for me to fire 150 rounds of 158gr .38 special, 25 rounds of .38+P and 25 rounds of .357 in my weekly session at the range from Lady45's blue steel Taurus snub.

Having personally fired MillCreek's titanium Taurus with my hot Armscor .357 ammunition I'll admit it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
However, I wouldn't want to do my weekly 150/25/25 routine with it.
Could I do it. Certainly.
Would I enjoy it? Certainly not.

Ubėrlight guns are NOT for beginners.

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