J frame vs. K frame????


July 13, 2003, 09:39 PM
Can somebody post a few pictures of a k-frame and j-frame and point out/explain the differences.....and the pro's and cons?

I'll be getting my first revolver soon, and I've shot a few, but I don't really know the differences in them.

I'm looking at a Taurus model 83 right now. My brother has one and my wife and I both like it. The local gun shop has them on "Eternal Sale" for $299" Any thoughts?

Thanks a bunch.

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July 13, 2003, 10:44 PM
J-Frames are usually 5 shot .38 or .357. They are built on a small frame --perfect for concealed carry.

K-Frames are usually 6 shot .38 or .357. The K-Frames usually have slightly better actions and are built on a smallish medium frame. These also make fine carry guns and fit just about anyone's hands nicely with a very wide selection of grips available.

Neither gun will stand up to a whole lot of Magnum shooting but are both fine with .38 Specials.

I'll go find ya some pics in a second.

Taurus makes what are basically cheap S&W knock-offs usually of slightly worse quality (usually). I don't really care too much for them myself as I did get quite a lemon once but many people think they are "fine".

July 13, 2003, 10:47 PM
I'm not picture capable at this time, but the basic differnce is that (if were talking 38/357's) the J-Frame is a 5 shot small frame pistol and the K-frame is a 6 shot kinda light/medium frame gun.

For a concealment gun the J-frame usually works out best due to it being smaller and lighter weight. For a range or home defense gun K-frame has the advantages of one more shot, and lower recoil (due to greater weight)

July 13, 2003, 10:50 PM
Yeah, essentially this is a ''size-weight-strength'' deal. A lighter ''J'' will hold less, have less strength but ..... be more concealable.

I's all a trade off. ''Horses for courses''.

July 13, 2003, 10:50 PM




July 14, 2003, 08:10 AM

Since this will be a home defense gun, I think the k-frame 6 shot will be the answer.

Thanks for the info. and pictures.

July 14, 2003, 12:56 PM
Another advantage are the good used K frames that should be easy to find. There is certainly nothing wrong with buying new, but you may be able to buy a good used K frame, and training or ammo, for the cost of a new one. You may even be able to buy two good used Smith's for the cost of a new one. We still find "Police trade ins" in good mechanical shape with some holster wear for about half the cost of a new revolver.

Either way, you just can't go wrong.

July 14, 2003, 01:22 PM
Neither gun will stand up to a whole lot of Magnum shooting but are both fine with .38 Specials.

A K-frame will stand up to more magnum shooting than most folks would care to do as long as it's not all hot 110/125 jacketed bullets. (...and even then, they'll stand up to a lot more than most folks give them credit for. Besides, if the forcing cone cracks, you just re-barrel it, right?)

July 15, 2003, 03:36 AM
K-frames are nice guns because they're faster handling than N frames. However for a range/hunting gun that will fire alot of magnums, you'd want something larger than the K frame.

J-frame S&W's seem to have questionable durability with extended use of .357's, but Ruger J frame sized guns tend to stand up better. The Ruger SP101 is heavier weight though and the double action trigger is heavier.

July 15, 2003, 03:54 AM
Home defence? Used K frame with a 4" bbl. Older guns IMO had better quality, and smoother triggers.

Model 10 blue .38
Model 64 Steel .38

Model 19 blue .357 --You can't have one, one must have over 1000 posts on THR, and already own other guns. It's in the THR rules of conduct :D

July 15, 2003, 04:23 AM
How about the best way to get a comparison? Next time we go shooting (we do need to go again, maybe soon) I'll bring my Taurus 85CH and my S&W 65LS and 19, that way you can see and feel the difference first hand and shoot both as well. Barring that, if you don't want to wait, check out the Taurus 85 and S&W 36LS in the same case as the Taurus 83 (or check out the Taurus 605 and S&W 60 in the .357 case to compare to the 83) or you can rent a K-frame and a J-frame.

July 15, 2003, 04:41 AM
One difference between the J and K frames that has not been mentioned is that the K frame guns have leaf type mainsprings while the J frames use a coil mainspring. Of the 2, the leaf type yields the smoother trigger action. Of course this applies only to S&W weapons. ASAIK Taurus uses coil springs on all their revolvers.

The comments made as to the ability of J and K frames to stand up to sustained use of magnum loads is relative. I have a Model 66 circa 1965 that has digested thousands of factory magnum loads and still has no forcing cone cracks. In fairness, it does have significant flame cutting of the top strap and has been relagated to safe queen status. I still would not hesitate to stoke it with 125 JHPs.

Either J or K frame Smiths make great carry guns with the proper grips, and both are capable of accuracy better than that of the average shooter.


Lone Star
July 15, 2003, 07:39 AM

That's pretty good! You've had that Model 66 for the better part of a decade before S&W made any! Earliest ones were made circa 1972-74; I'd have to look it up. They didn't hit the civilian market frequently until 1974-75.

Could you maybe have a nickled M19...or have just forgotten how long you've had the gun?

Lone Star

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