Question about J Frame Grips (Advice Needed)

Question about J Frame Grips (Advice Needed)

This is a discussion on Question about J Frame Grips (Advice Needed) within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I own a Smith & Wesson 442 .38+P revolver that I absolutely adore and carry frequently IWB, in an ankle rig or inside the pocket ...

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Thread: Question about J Frame Grips (Advice Needed)

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    Question about J Frame Grips (Advice Needed)

    I own a Smith & Wesson 442 .38+P revolver that I absolutely adore and carry frequently IWB, in an ankle rig or inside the pocket depending on the situation. I have fired approximately 300 rounds through it and I can be very accurate with it from 10 - 20 yards with very tight groups and not so accurate from 30 feet onward which is understandable considering the poor sights, the very short barrel and sharp recoil. The only problem I have been having with my J Frame is that after every shooting session I am left with a severe pain in my palm and trigger finger. As soon as I purchased it I switched the factory grips to a Hogue Bantam grip to reduce felt recoil. Nonetheless, I am now questioning whether I should change the grip to another one since the pain is unbearable. The Bantam grip does not cover the metal frame in the back, so perhaps a grip that covers it would be better.

    Therefore, I need your advice with regards to a new J Frame Grip that could help me with this problem. Also, in comparison to the S&W 442 how is the recoil and accuracy on a small gun like the Ruger LCP or Kel-Tec P-3AT? I have been pondering on buying one since sometimes my J Frame is a tad bulky and prints a little wearing business attire, so I would love to have a small pistol for these occasions when carrying is difficult and I don't want to leave home without a carry piece.
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array tkruf's Avatar
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    Can't help you with the grip issue on the 442. I'm sure quite a few here could tho, as a lot of people have the 442 and 642 (I don't). However, as for the LCP or Kel-Tec P-3AT, ... I have the LCP and the recoil is nothing like a .38 snub nose. Much lighter. The LCP is so slim and light, it is very easy to carry in a pocket (but use a pocket holster, don't make the same mistake we've all read about where someone just stuck one down in their pocket with their keys or whatever else and found out the hard way).
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    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkruf View Post
    Can't help you with the grip issue on the 442. I'm sure quite a few here could tho, as a lot of people have the 442 and 642 (I don't). However, as for the LCP or Kel-Tec P-3AT, ... I have the LCP and the recoil is nothing like a .38 snub nose. Much lighter. The LCP is so slim and light, it is very easy to carry in a pocket (but use a pocket holster, don't make the same mistake we've all read about where someone just stuck one down in their pocket with their keys or whatever else and found out the hard way).
    Thanks! I really like how easy it is to conceal a Ruger LCP so I might just buy one soon. I would obviously carry it in a pocket holster as I do with my .38 snub nose.
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I bought a 442 because I couldn't hit accurately with an LCP. Additionally, the LCP was prone to malfunction.

    I'm never without the little j-frame; for me it's just as conceal-able as the LCP.

    It does have a sharp recoil. I couldn't fire the heavy +P loads from Buffalo Bore without discomfort, so I switched to their standard pressure, low flash stuff. It was better, but still very stout.

    I recently tried out some Federal 125 grain +P. That made the 442 a lot more enjoyable to shoot

    I've shot using the stock rubber grips & and with some Secret Service grips by Eagle. They're both the same, to me, in recoil. The Eagle grips look better, and I can get a better handle on 'em.

    In summary, I believe that the ammo selection is more important than the grips; regarding felt recoil. YMMV
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

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    I'm a great fan of using the Tyler T-Grip with the older style factory walnut grip panels that were once common on J-Frame revolvers. The revolver stays put for me while shooting it and this seems to contribute to increased comfort. I don't care for any sort of rubber grips.



    Took my Smith & Wesson Chief's Special to the range a few days ago and it seems a little more of a chore to shoot than my Smith & Wesson Model 642 which has the T-Grip and factory walnut grips. I had more dropped shots from the Chief's Special when rolling through shots rapid-fire while using the revolver double action. I don't care for the T-Grip's appearance at all but it makes the J-Frame more controllable without resorting to ugly, bulky, and clingy rubber grips.



    I can shoot J-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers with more practical accuracy than I can shoot my P3AT or my brother-in-law's LCP. I much prefer the J-Frame to any tiny .380.
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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    I switched out to old school wooden chief special grips. I'm able to get my hand higher up on the grip and it isn't as bulky as other grips. I've shoot +P in mine a lot with no issues, but I have very thick (euphamism for FAT) hands and wrists, so I may not be a good barometer for perceived recoil. My advice would be to make the bulk of your practice with standard pressure and carry +P. This will save wear and tear on your firearm as well as your hands. In a SD situation, you won't be firing 100 rounds, you'll likely be firing less than 5 and with adrenaline you won't notice the recoil.
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    VIP Member Array Hiram25's Avatar
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    BigDude beat me to it. Practice with plain .38 ammo, carry the +P for SD.
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    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    I only practice with Remington UMC 130 grain .38 special rounds and I carry Remington Golden Saber HPJ 125gr .38+P for SD. On Friday I shot 50 rounds of UMC and 25 rounds of my SD ammo which had slightly more recoil but with a lot of flash over the standard ammo. I guess no matter what grip I have, if I shoot 75-100 rounds with it I will be sore so perhaps that is not the problem. I will just suck it up and continue with the same grips.

    I have the Desantis Nemesis pocket holster but I feel that the grip prints too much in my business pants or khakis. What kind of pocket holster do you recommend for pocket carry that won't print too much???
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I agree with shooting .38s for practice and +P for carry, but would like to mention that the 125 grn +P stuff (Federal) that I've been shooting has noticeably less recoil than standard 158 grn 'practice' (Magtech) stuff.

    Not all +P ammo is created equal; check the specs on all your ammo and compare.

    ETA:

    regarding pocket holster, I use a Mika holster. It creates a noticeable bulge when wearing slacks, but not in the shape of a gun. Everyone's tolerance of printing, or definition thereof, is different. A bulge that I may not care about, may bother you.

    One thing that I don't like about the Mika holster is that it has no retention besides gravity. If I recline in my La-Z-Boy, which I like to do on Sunday afternoons , my pistol will fall out of my pants. So, precautions are in order
    Last edited by zacii; March 13th, 2011 at 06:32 PM. Reason: added pocket holster info
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

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    I use the Nemesis on occasion for pocket carry and have always felt comfortable with the level of concealment that it affords while wearing khakis.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

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    VIP Member Array Old School's Avatar
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    Cool

    I do not carry my J-frame 638 in a pocket so the Pachmayer grips work well for me and allow +p rounds to be fired with comfort.

    photo.jpg


    Diamondback .380 makes a very compact BUG for me.

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    Senior Member Array LoveLeather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    I switched out to old school wooden chief special grips. I'm able to get my hand higher up on the grip and it isn't as bulky as other grips. I've shoot +P in mine a lot with no issues, but I have very thick (euphamism for FAT) hands and wrists, so I may not be a good barometer for perceived recoil. My advice would be to make the bulk of your practice with standard pressure and carry +P. This will save wear and tear on your firearm as well as your hands. In a SD situation, you won't be firing 100 rounds, you'll likely be firing less than 5 and with adrenaline you won't notice the recoil.
    Are those square butt grips on a round butt frame???

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    Cushy shooting grips

    A set of (1.) Pachmayr Decelerator or(2.) Pachmayr Compac grips will soften the felt recoil quite a bit. They are better in that regard than either (3.) Hogue or (4.) Uncle Mikes. I have tried all 4 on my J-frames and listed them in order of my shooting satisfaction. Also I shoot mostly standard pressure 125 grain ammo or 148 grain wad cutters for practice and only a couple cylinders of +P.

    For ankle or pocket carry you can switch back to smaller grips.

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoveLeather View Post
    Are those square butt grips on a round butt frame???
    Yes. I've got a template to make a wooden piece to fill the gap at the bottom precisely and I'm going to glue and pin it to one of the grips and paint it black to look like a square butt frame. I haven't gotten around to it yet...the square butt grip gives me just enough extra room at the bottom to get my pinky on the grip and allows me hand to get higher (closer to the bore axis). I like it much better than any other grip I've tried...including a shorter round butt wooden grip. Once I get the little piece of wood in, it'll look bone stock.

    As for pocket holster, a buddy of mine does car paint and upholstery and he made me some "pocket liners" out of thin upholstery vinyl. It is thin, yet covers the gun shape and the trigger. The one below he made me for my PT709. I have another one for my snubbies. I've found I can fold the upper part inside on this one and it works well on my snubs too.
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    I have the standard Hogue grips that cover the backstrap of my 642. I've tried all of the other grips mentioned and always come back to the Hogues. If you are going to shoot long sessions with your 442, you definitely need to switch to mild .38 specials. The stouter recoil of the +P's will slowly cause you to develop a flinch and other bad shooting habits. A few cylinders of +P's is all you need per session.
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