S&W 340PD, the most comfortable gun to carry that I own

This is a discussion on S&W 340PD, the most comfortable gun to carry that I own within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Just picked up a gently used, or as I like to call them, broken in, S&W 340PD for $800 with fairly new CT laser grips. ...

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Thread: S&W 340PD, the most comfortable gun to carry that I own

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Old_Dog's Avatar
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    S&W 340PD, the most comfortable gun to carry that I own

    Just picked up a gently used, or as I like to call them, broken in, S&W 340PD for $800 with fairly new CT laser grips. Guy who owned it shot it a few times and never shot it again. He decided to sell it to get something he could shoot at the range. Gun is like new but then again I find a lot of guns like that in my retirement community. People with guns die, ammo is too expensive on a fixed income and old age makes shooting difficult. This gun is the 11.4 ounce J-frame that is made of Scandium and Titanium.

    For some reason people buy this gun and insist on shooting hard recoiling .357 magnums in them and when they cannot take the recoil they trash the gun in gun forums. I do not even load my heavy Ruger Gp100 with hot .357 loads. No need to unless you hunt or may come across some wild animals. There are many good .38 spl +P loads out there that do a fine job and in fact, some regular .38 spl pass the FBI Denim protocol.

    First off, the gun is light. Feels like a toy, even when loaded. It is a dream to carry in your pocket or on belt. Has the typical back notch sight and mine uses a fiber optic front which I prefer. Mine came with CT laser grips which I promptly removed as it stays light late these days and I rarely am out when it is dark. If I go out in the dark I usually take one of my 9mm Sigs with night sights. Quite frankly if you need something to see where you are aiming, it is too dark to be shooting anyway. Carry a penlight flashlight. I do.

    Trigger is typical S&W J-Frame although mine has been smoothed out by the former owner. I replaced the CT grips with Hogue Bantam mono grips which tend to reduce felt recoil. It seems to direct it to the sides of my hands rather than into the web. I started off with some Golden Saber .357 magums. I already know that they are mild recoiling as I have used them throughout the years in my .357 revolvers. I shot two cylinders full and while they did make their presence known, it was far from what I read on gun forums about it taking off your hand or refusing to shoot more than one round, etc. I can understand though how it would not be pleasant to shoot a lot of them. I did not want to shoot more than two cylinders full myself but it was no deal breaker. If I wanted to shoot .357 magnums in a J-frame I just use a heavier J-frame.

    I liken the recoil of a .357 in this light J-frame to be about the same as slapping the helmet of the offensive tackle opposite me when I used to play football. It stings but nothing you cannot suck up and do again the next play. The mild pain is not really the problem because in defense you are not going to be shooting more than a cylinder full of .357 magnums, unless you carry .357 as reloads which I do not advise. The .357 rounds were very accurate but the problem was that the muzzle flip made follow up shots take longer than I like. The muzzle flash was there but only a problem indoors in confined areas.

    Next up were Golden Saber .38 +P. Very mild round in this gun and from what I have seen, penetrate deeper than similar short barrel Gold Dots on most gel tests. No problem shooting a few cylinders of these. After that I put 50 rounds of practice .38 spl through the gun and was very happy with the groups when I shot groups. I shot mostly one handed and some left handed. Before I left the range I shot the Hornady 110 gr. FTX loads. They penetrate 12" through 4 layers of denim into ballistic gel. They will penetrate as well as many +P rounds without the flash and recoil and are *****cats in the 340PD.

    I was very impressed with this gun. Having shot close to 100 rounds I did not notice any soreness in my hands. Heck, after 25 rounds of .45 in my XDs my hands are shaking from being battered by the recoil and I am not recoil shy at all. I do not enjoy shooting small calibers because there is not enough recoil to satisfy me. With a proper grip recoil should not be much of a problem. Jeff Copper once said that recoil is 80% mental and I tend to agree with that. If you think it will hurt; it will.

    I bought this gun because I was looking for a sub 12 oz. gun for pocket carry in the summer. There were no good choices other than the LCP and its ilk and I consider those guns as BUGS or as guns for those times when you cannot carry you regular defensive handgun. I went into this knowing full well that I would not be shooting .357 magnums. I considered it a great lightweight .38 spl that I could also shoot .38 +P for defense, type of gun. However I still read a lot of post by people who insist on putting on fancy wooden grips and loading it up with 158 gr. .357 magnum loads and then complain about the recoil and trash the gun in forums. Apparently some people have not taken physics and are unaware that big bangs in lightweight guns equals harsh recoil. I was chastised on another forum for suggesting this so now I am aware that it is not common knowledge and no offense intended to those who spend almost a thousand dollars on a 11.4 oz. gun and are surprised at the recoil. :)

    The gun was very accurate and I knocked out the X on a few targets at 7 yards. Head shoots using slow fire of about 1 second per shot were also very doable at that range and even out to 10 yards with any of the ammo I tested.

    In short, I recommend this gun for experienced shooters, who are not recoil sensitive and who understand how to make this kind of gun work for them. It is not for the person who thinks they can have their cake and eat it too.
    iguanadon likes this.
    The worst thing about growing old is that other men no longer see you as dangerous.

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  3. #2
    New Member Array November's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review. I pocket carry an XDs and have been interested in the 340PD as a lighter alternative.

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    It doesn't need to be dark to use a laser, but whatever...been round and round on that issue.

    The LCR in .38 is in the same weight class, and much cheaper. If you are going to use .38 anyway, it is worth a look.

    Glad your J is working for you!
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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    Glock 30, 19, 26; Ruger SP101, LCR, LCP (2), Mini 14; Remington 870; Marlin 336 .30-30
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    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    I have a 360... the recoil is STOUT!

    as Deadguy and I discovered, shoot one-handed, firm wrist, loose elbow and shoulder. Don't fight the recoil.

    Great Gun! I carry it loaded with Double Tap 158gr bonded (speer gold dot front end) 357 mags.
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
    - Roy Batty

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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    Good report, i carry a SP101 2.4 an only carry plus P's shoots so much better on followups an very accurate. My mod 60 the same. Try the low flash buffalo bore for short barrels you will love it. I use it even in the 642 works great.

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