What Archer said.
BTW I do own the Shield and a few J Frame guns. I feel more comfy with the J Frame in my pocket due to the ND thing. It takes a lot more effort to set off a round with a revolver, than it does with a semi auto. Just my take on it.
I'm going to suggest to you that you reconsider pocket carry at all....... There are some serious limitations on pocket carry. Accessing the firearm while seated is nearly impossible. It excludes that particular pocket from any other use while carrying. It limits you to small caliber autos or pocket revolvers and as you've already seen, printing is a serious concern. Instead of pocket carry I'd recommend strongly that you consider iwb carry in a tuckable holster or use one of the very comfortable "belly band" type holsters. I can carry a Glock26 in my waist band in a tuckable holster and I promise you that you cannot see ANY indication I'm carrying. The Glock is a double stack 9mm. If you went with one of the single stack 9's or 40's in a tuckable iwb holster it would be even easier to conceal. I do own a Smith 642 and Ruger LCR and pocket carry them occasionally, but my preferred method of carry is iwb.
I understand there are draw backs to pocket carry, but I work in the veterinary field and its not uncommon for me to have to lay in the floor to restrain a large dog, or for smaller ones to kick off my torso and a gun in that area would make a convenient place for them to kick off of a shift the gun. My shirt has also ridden up, and my pants have come down a little so its not unimaginable that Iwb or belly band carry could be revealed in those situations. I cannot however think of any way the gun could inadvertently come up out of my pocket, and other than that, the gun won't go anywhere my pocket wouldn't.
Pocket carry is the most convenient and comfortable way to carry for me. You don't have to worry about getting "made" unless your shoving a glock 26 in there.
I'll recommend it above all other methods. Having your hand on your firearm without anyone ever knowing is a huge advantage in most any situation.
I didn't know it was... got rid of mine, shame on me. :p
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I have found that even though I could carry a cm9 or even a 26 that where my j frame won out was the draw. The semis blend well because people carry square stuff like phones and wallets. I just found I could draw a j frame easier.
My LCR is lighter in weight than my PM9, and in my experience, much less finicky and much more reliable.
The footprint is larger, yet the rounded shape prints less in my dress pants pockets. I need to use a pocket holster with an anti-print panel to hide the outline of pocket autos - but such is not the case with a revolver, unless you are wearing really tight clothing.
I have the opposite experience, the 642 I used to own would hang up on the draw a lot more than my pistols, especially in a SmartCarry - and was more bulky in the pocket, I felt no advantage to it over the pistols that I shot better with less effort.
I prefer a small auto to a j-frame mainly because I shoot autos better an I get a coupkle extra rounds. That said the Shield is a nice gun but for pocket carry i would go Kahr PM9. The shield is slightly larger than other small autos. Although for waist carry i believe the Sheild is an excellent option.
I never found the pocket pistols as reliable and more finicky about the ammo.
The J Frames can get as light as 13 ounces and some are able to use .357 mag if its of interest. I figure that offsets somewhat the 5 rounds vs the 7 in pistols.
I like the option of using a jframe as a BUG as well if I want too. Obviously you can carry a small pistol as a BUG but I have found over the years that I like revolvers for that task due to the near 100% reliability. There is the understated advantage of revolvers as well. No racking, slide releases etc. hand it to someone else and tell them to pull the trigger.
The common thing about both types are not target shooting guns. They can get painful. The Shield is nice even in .40 to shoot and is a pretty accurate little gun as well.
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I have an S&W 642 and a Kahr MK9. The pistols have fallen into the roles where they work best for me- the Jframe goes into the pocket or on the ankle, and the MK9 rides on the belt. I find that I do not like semi autos in my pocket- I think the draw is clunky and they tend to print an image that screams gun in the pants I wear.
First off, the Airweight is about 4 oz. lighter to start with. Add 2 0z for the auto's mag and extra rounds, and now you have a firearm that's 6 oz. heavier than the Airweight. The shorter barrel and the grip angle on the revolver make it more comfortable and less noticeable when you look at your pocket. The only small 9mm that I have carried in my pocket half way comfortably is the Ruger LC9. It's lighter than the Shield a little smaller and all corners are "melted" and nicely rounded.
I've carried a 642 and Nano in the pocket. Two differences. The cylinder causes a bulge from the 642 whereas the Nano is flat and the square bottom of the Nano grip shows more than the smaller 642 grip. Personally I'm not convinced 99% of the people out there would notice either. For what it's worth I sold the 642 for the Nano and have no complaints.
I'd suggest that compatibility hinges on degree of match with a given person's body shape and clothing choices.
For example, someone wearing dressy, tighter-fitting business attire and of a given body shape (curvature) might well not be able to conceal both equally well. But that same person in looser-fitting "weekend" wear might have no issues at all, between the two choices. And it'll depend on where holstered (ie, pocket carry, vs OWB/IWB).
As well, holster choice can come into the equation. Not all holsters can adequately deal with the cylinder thickness of a typical revolver. Not all holsters can adequately deal with the square-ish, "blocky" shape of the typical compact semi-auto. Much depends on the leather chosen, the curves sewn/shaped into the holster itself, and how well that matches your body shape and clothing choices.
I alternate between a J and an auto. The auto (Colt Mustang) is flatter, carries 2 more rounds, and is generally easier to conceal.
The 642 Smith, uses 38 special which is a bit more powerful than a 380. The smith, being a revolver, requires less care and is more reliable.
lets say you have to use the gun. You draw it, pull the trigger and nothing happens. Bad ammo (It does happen but not often)
The auto you have to rack the slide to bring up another round, then fire it. With a revolver, simply pull the trigger again. In this scenerio the BG has hold of your other arm. How do you rack the slide?
I am only 5-7 and have a few extra pounds. Icannot conceal a larger weapon. The two above are carried either pocket or IWB. I train with both
I got into caarying in 1970. There were few "deep conceal" weapons on the market. The Smith chief special model 36 seemed to be the weapon of choise for concealment. Other choise: Walther PPK at twice the price. Charter arms was just comming on scene.
Todays high performance ammo is really bluring the caliber issue. I doubt very much if a BG would know the difference between a 38 and a 9 after being shot.....
Guns are like cars. People trade a perfectly good car and buy the latest rated one. Both get you there and back.
The above said, stay with a 380-38-9. All are made small, conceal and have enough power to stop a fight, providing you hit what you are shooting at