April 16, 2007, 07:49 AM
Does anyone here consider the S&W 351PD 7-Shot .22 Magnum to be a serious personal defense revolver?

I'm age 73 with health problems that include hypersensitivity to weight and recoil. I recently sold a 342PD because the recoil became problematic while doing a lot of shooting with it.

I've been ambivalent about re-applying for a concealed carry permit after having let mine expire a year ago. I think I'll go to the Sheriff's office this morning ...

I'm getting a 327 with 5 inch barrel for the volume of practice I found I could not tolerate with the 342PD that I sold. I'm trading in a 327PD that I could not shoot as accurately as I was able to do with the the 342PD.

I'm reading through the 642 club thread, wondering whether to go with a .15 oz .38 for concealed carrry -- thinking the recoil will be tolerable so long as I do most of my target shooting with the large frame 327 5".

Or, maybe (?), the .22 Magnum 351PD???

Whatever J-Frame I may get will have CT lasergrips, and I'm wondering if the volume of target shooting with the 351PD that I should be able to do with the .22 Magnum (that I would not do with a .38 J-Frame) might result in good enough shot-placement accuracy with the .22 Magnum to compensate for the ballistic inferiority of the .22 Magnum compared to a .38 J-Frame.

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April 16, 2007, 09:25 AM
i think a .22 MAG. that you can confidently hit with is a better choice than a .38 you cant, you also might want to look into a 432PD .32HR MAG. which is basically a 642/442 with a 6 shot .32 cylinder, the 642 and 442 take alot of practice to become proficient with, also try some standard pressure .38's in a RUGER SP101 the extra weight and barrel length help out alot

April 16, 2007, 09:54 AM
Do some research on that 432PD. One guy at my shop says it's the A-ticket for recoil-sensitive folks. The 351PD is a really neat revo and i have been watching the shelves for one without any luck... But all things equal I think the .32HR Mag would be better.

I have also heard from one person that the .32HR Mag isn't much less recoil-wise than a standard pressure 38spl, so YMMV of course.

I don't think ANY of the Airweight or lighter J-frame 38's are acceptable for recoil shy folks. EVen with standard pressure ammo, my recoil-sensitive wife finds them harsh.

Another negative for the .22 might be the trigger; they are typically fairly heavy on the rimfire revolvers, to get reliable primer ignition. This could be tough as you age.

That said, if the .22 is what you can hit with, go with it. We all have to adjust as we age.

April 16, 2007, 10:27 AM
Another negative for the .22 might be the trigger; they are typically fairly heavy on the rimfire revolvers, to get reliable primer ignition. This could be tough as you age.

Thanks for that tip.

April 16, 2007, 10:36 AM
Do some research on that 432PD. One guy at my shop says it's the A-ticket for recoil-sensitive folks.

I cannot find a 432PD on the S&W web site.

April 16, 2007, 02:43 PM
It has been discontinued, but there are quite a few around at my local shops. You may have to look around a bit.

April 16, 2007, 06:15 PM
John - I'm sure you are aware by now that everything in life is a compromise. While I really like my s&w 642 .38spl as an CCW it too is a compromise to a larger calibur weapon, but it has the advantage of always being with me where a larger calibur will at sometime be left behind because of weight or size. While the .22 mag might not be the best choice (I would perfer a 12 gauge, but back to the compromise part) it will serve you well enought if you can hit with it. I don't know about the rest of you but I do not wish to be hit with one.

April 17, 2007, 06:03 AM
heres one but act fast they wont be around forever


April 17, 2007, 06:47 AM
heres one but act fast they wont be around forever


Thanks for the tip, G95.

However, I have just finished reading the entire 642 club thread; consequently, I have decided to get a .38 S&W Model 637 and put CT LG 405 recoil absorbing grips on it.

I have shot .22 Magnum bullets from a 4" barrel American Arms MiniMaster and .38 bullets from .38 342PD into trees and compared the penetration. The .38s penetrated twice as far as the .22 Magnums. The .38 performance is quite impressive; the .22 magnum performance is underwhelming.

I believer I can handle the 637 with recoil absorbing grips. I'll do a lot of dry-firing with it, and do most of my live-fire shooting with a 5 inch barrel N-Frame 327 -- which weighs only 29 oz: heavy enough for minimal recoil firing .38s; light enough to not overly stress my physical infirmities.

April 17, 2007, 08:09 AM
I would highly reccommend the RUger SP101 in .38.

However, Bill Jordan seemed to think highly of the snub nosed .22 WMR, and Bill saw the elephant once or twice.

This is not directed at you John, but in general, I cannot understand why those that are recoil sensitive always want to carry the lightest gun made. Carry an all steel gun with some a$$ to it and let it do the work of soaking up recoil.

April 17, 2007, 08:35 AM
Yes, I too recommend the SP 101, for those for whom weight is not a problem.

I used to own an SP 101. Great revolver. But I had to sell it when the weight became too much for me to carry without exacerbating my physical problems.

April 17, 2007, 08:59 AM
good luck with your new pistol john im going to have to check out those grips as well

April 30, 2007, 12:45 AM
By Massad Ayoob

Reprinted with permission from The Complete Book of Handguns 2003.

One of my mentors was a man named Bill Jordan. The old Border Patrol gunslinger was the fastest man with a double-action revolver that I ever saw in person. He was the man who conceptualized the Smith & Wesson .357 Combat Magnum the gun he called a “peace officer’s dream.” There was one other revolver that he never get did to see, though.

A devoted and accomplished hunter, Bill had been impressed with the power of the .22 WMR (Winchester Rimfire Magnum) even out of a short pistol barrel. He wrote in his classic text No Second Place Winner ($19.85 including postage from its current publisher Police Bookshelf, P.O. Box 122 , Dept CH, Concord , NH 03302 ; 800-624-9049) about why he recommended always carrying a backup gun.

Bill did that religiously in his uniformed days. In act, I can honestly say that Bill Jordon once blew me away with his backup revolver.

The year was 1974. Bill had been retired from the Border Patrol for some time, and was working for the NRA as sort of an ambassador at large. His speaking performances always included his famous quick-draw act. Bill was putting on the show in New Hampshire . Apart of the program involved having a cop come up and hold a cocked single-action revolver on him, with finger on trigger, while Bill promised to outdraw the drawn gun and “beat the drop” with his old long-action Smith & Wesson .38 Special Military & Police revolver. Both gun, of course with loaded only with primer blanks.

I had just won the NH State Championship in Police Combatshooting, and as the resident state champ, was elected to be the guy holding the gun on (gulp!) Bill Jordan. I put my finger on the trigger of the cocked Colt Single Action Army .45 and watched his hand. I was young and cocky and thought I was pretty good, and I knew there was not way this old sixty-something guy could take me.

BANG! I was dead. I was aware of a flicker of movement of his right hand and before I could react and pull the trigger, he had drawn and fired the shot that would have killed me had his gun been loaded with real bullets. “We’ll try again,” Bill told the audience with his kind, crinkly smile.

This time I was ready. When I saw his hand move, I fired. Unfortunately, it was a dead man’s shot. Bill had drawn and fired before my Colt’s hammer could fall through its long arc. You see, this was a man who was on film reacting to a start signal, drawing and firing his S&W (and hitting the target) in 24/100 ths of one second.

“I think this boy deserves one more chance,” Bill drawled to the delighted audience. “He almost made it that time.”

Okay, dammit, this time I’d really be ready. I had taken up the slack on the cocked Colt’s trigger. My eyes were on his right hand. When it moved I would…


“What?!? His hand didn’t move! His revolver is still in the holster! And…”

Ah, yes. “And…” And, in Bill’s left hand, was a freshly-fired Smith & Wesson Airweight Chiefs Special that he had drawn from his left hip pocket and aimed at my head before he rolled back its smooth trigger on the primer blank that would have blown my brains out had it been a live round.

I got to examine that gun later. It was the exact same two-inch Model 37 that appears in No Second Place Winner . Bill liked the sun-one-pound weight of the aluminum alloy Smith Airweight. Years later, when he was writing for Guns & Ammo , he was one of several staff writers polled on what the single ideal home defense gun would be. Alone among a field of writers who recommended .45s, Magnums, and long guns for the purpose, Bill articulated why he recommended the Smith & Wesson .38 Special Bodyguard Airweight. It was small and light enough to double as a carry gun if it had to, no matter what the weather (Bill lived most of his life in Louisiana and Texas , and appreciated concealed carry needs in hot and humid climates). It offered little leverage to a close-range assailant trying to take your gun. The Bodyguard, with its factory-shrouded hammer, was snag-free on the draw as it came from the box so you didn’t have to slice off the spur of the hammer as he had done on his personal Chiefs Airweight.

But, in the book, Bill made a telling point. He said he wished Smith & Wesson would make that same little super-light revolver in .22 Magnum caliber. It wouldn’t have the nasty kick if the hotter .38 loads in an Airweight and he was satisfied with the caliber effectiveness in flesh. When I asked him about the .22 Magnum, I believe the term he used to describe it’s power was “wicked.” This was a man who saw many bullets go through a lot of flesh. When Bill Jordan talked, believe me, I listened.

Smith & Wesson never did make exactly that gun. The Kit Gun was indeed produced in .22 Magnum, both chrome-moly blue steel and stainless. It was indeed made with two-inch barrels. However, finding a Smith & Wesson.22/32 Kit gun that has both the .22 Magnum chambering and the two-inch barrel will be a tough job indeed. Though it may have been chambered experimentally for the WMR cartridge at the factory, Smith & Wesson’s Airweight Kit Gun was made only in .22 Long Rifle to my knowledge, and never in the distinctly more powerful .22 Magnum that Jordan expressly said was what he wanted.

Smith & Wesson never made Bill Jordan’s “dream backup gun.” But Taurus just introduced it. And theirin lies a story.

April 30, 2007, 01:07 AM
I wonder what Mr. Jordan would think of the little .32 H&R mag J sized guns that S&W and Taurus recently sold for a span of a few years?

Bullet Bob
April 30, 2007, 03:08 PM
The trigger on my 351PD is a little better than the one on my 642, and that one's not too bad for a J-frame it's ownself.

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