If you're not familiar with this gun, it's a Smith & Wesson 5-shot "J" frame revolver with a 1 7/8" barrel and an exposed hammer chambered in .357 magnum. What makes it unique is the exotic alloy in the frame and the titanium cylinder. Fully loaded and ready to go, mine tipped the scales at 14.3 ounces.
Whether it's worth $800 for a gun like this is up to the individual. For me, if it's the gun that saves my life, it's priceless. In order for a gun to do that, it has to be carried and it has to be a caliber that's capable of getting the job done. Once again, for me, this gun fills the bill on both counts. It's easy to carry and conceal. It will ride comfortably all day in a belly band, a carry T-shirt, an ankle holster, a pocket holster, inside or outside the waistband...you name it. The gun that I left at home won't do me any good for self defense. I need something that I can carry every time that I leave the house. This little gun fills the bill perfectly.
So how does it shoot? It can be a handful. Smith and Wesson recommends that you start with the smallest caliber and lightest bullet that the gun is capable of shooting and work your way up. I loaded up with 38 special (+P) 129 grain Federal Hydra-Shoks. Not exactly a light load or a target round but I like to cut right to the chase. Recoil was decent and accuracy was pretty good at 21 feet which is about what I would consider the operating distance for a gun this small. I got the best results manually cocking the hammer. It only takes a little over four pounds to pull the trigger shooting that way. That's why I went with the exposed hammer. Pulling the trigger all the way through in double action takes around fifteen pounds and my accuracy was lousy. With a little practice, drawing and flicking back the hammer with your thumb is as easy as flicking off the safety on a 1911.
So after running through a half box of 38 special, I thought I'd give it a try with the PDX-1 .357 magnums. Holy macaroni!!! You've braced yourself for the increased recoil. What you don't expect is the concussion coming back in your face and the three fold increase in noise. I expected someone to come in and see who was shooting the howitzer on their range. After ten rounds with the magnums, I was done. Even with ear protection, my ears were ringing.
In summation, it's definitely not a range gun. It is however accurate, reliable, and easy to carry and conceal. As uncomfortable as it is to shoot with a full load of .357 magnums, it's comforting to know that it will cause the bad guy greater discomfort. If nothing else, he'll be hard of hearing the rest of his life.