J-frame S&W Scandium / Aluminum vs Stainless Steel

This is a discussion on J-frame S&W Scandium / Aluminum vs Stainless Steel within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Forget cost, think function. J-frame S&W (12 – 15 ounce) Scandium/Aluminum VS Stainless Steel (23 or so ounce) J-Frame In one corner: S & W ...

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Thread: J-frame S&W Scandium / Aluminum vs Stainless Steel

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    J-frame S&W Scandium / Aluminum vs Stainless Steel

    Forget cost, think function.

    J-frame S&W (12 – 15 ounce) Scandium/Aluminum VS Stainless Steel (23 or so ounce) J-Frame

    In one corner:

    S & W 340 in .357 Mag or S & W 342 Centennial (or 638 Bodyguard) in .38+P

    VS S & W 640 Centennial (or 649 Bodyguard) in .357 Mag or the S & W Stainless Steel.38 +P versions.

    Are the lightweights too hard to practice with?

    So weak they will crack in time?

    Are the Stainless Steel revolvers too heavy for everyday carry?

    I have a similar thread, but I could use help on this train of thought.

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  3. #2
    bae
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    Depends.

    I have both. For pocket carry, the scandium ones rock.

    For holster carry, might as well carry the steel one. For plinking at the range, the steel one is nicer too.

    I shoot .38s through the Scandium ones though. For ease of ejection, actually, I prefer them in both.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    The Scandium/Aluminum are clearly easy pocket carry.

    How about the J-frame Stainless Steel. Just to much for the pocket carry in cargo shorts / jean shorts?

    PS - I always carry in a holster, so talking pocket holster (in the front pocket).

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array NCHornet's Avatar
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    This is a personal choice. All I heard was the NAA Guardian is a lead brick, blah, blah, blah, now I don't even notice it is there. I myself like to buy guns I know I can pass on down to my kids. I will always choose a solid SS gun over a AIR weight. The extra weight can be carried just fine, but may take some practice. Firing +P or magnum rounds out of a air weight can be quite punishing for some, and thus build bad habits, while others can shoot it just fine. So you see it's all about what works for you.

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    I've owned Scandium, Airweight, and steel J-frames. My preference is for the airweights. The airweight strikes a good balance between weight, shootability, and cost. The airweights have a steel barrel and cyclinder which I like. Btw, the airweight is only a couple of ounces heavier than the Scandium frame, but it is $$$ less expensive.

    The Scandium is a breeze to carry. You will forget it is there. Shootability/recoil is subjective, but I found it to be unpleasant to shoot more than 5 - 10 rounds at a time. My experience was that the Scandium would not produce tight or consistant groups. No such issue with the airweight.

    The steel frames are very nice. Solid, classic. What it comes down to is what you like and how you will carry? Pocket carry, carrying a lot and shooting a little - go with Scandium if cost is no object. Spring the extra bucks for the M&P line - comes with a XS night sight.

    Carrying IWB or OWB, I don't think the weight of any will be a factor. The steel frame tops out at around 23 oz I think, which is pretty light for a carry piece.

    Either way, you can't go wrong with a J frame.

  7. #6
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    I like weight. I much prefer to carry and shoot steel framed revolvers. Lightness is way overrated. I believe I read it first here on Defensive Carry: a handgun is suppose to be a comfort rather than merely comfortable. I'm probably the only person who thinks so but feel that concealed carry handguns have become entirely to shrunken and light weight.

    In my opinion the current Smith & Wesson Airweight guns will go the distance without cracking. Some say that a few of the older Airweights from decades past only cracked because the barrels were "over-torqued" when the gun was assembled and the frames were stressed. Firing the guns resulted in cracks at some point down the road. I have no personal knowledge of this. The great majority of the older alloy framed S&W's are fine. One of the gun writers of the past tried to torture test an Airweight with a heavy volume of heavy loads to no avail. The gun held up fine. I've read the write up but can't recall if it was Elmer Keith or Skeeter Skelton. Pretty sure it was Skelton as I think it was Keith who tested the steel-framed Chief's Special with .38-44 loads in the early 1950s.

    I have both steel and aluminum alloy J-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers. Never owned a Scandium but can't tell that much difference in weight between the Scandium and the Airweight when only handling them.

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    VIP Member Array JimmyC4's Avatar
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    I also like the Airweight--only about 3 ounces heavier than the lightest ones, but much cheaper. I don't see this minimal "weight loss" as being worth it.

    On the other hand, the difference between my wife's 642 and my 36 is five ounces (15 and 20 ounces respectively, unloaded) and I can really feel the extra weight when carrying in a pocket holster.

    My conclusion is that 15 ounces empty is an ideal "fighting weight" for a snubby!
    "It's a big gun when I carry it, it is also a big gun when I take it out” – Clint Smith

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyC4 View Post
    My conclusion is that 15 ounces empty is an ideal "fighting weight" for a snubby!
    I am leaning hard toward the airlight (think I'm 4 weeks from buying one). I have shot all the various J-frames. Grouped really well with them. Even easy to just one hand quick shot. Agree the 15 ounce is a balance between the 12 ounce (pain to practice) and 23 ounce (sort of fun). Odd 3 ounces make a difference in practice. Easy to see how 8 ounces make carry easier.

    Does anyone carry the 23 ounce J-frame in the front pocket? I think it will hang like a dead weight in shorts and make the pants slide down. Am I wrong?

  10. #9
    Member Array PShooter's Avatar
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    My 340PD is a pleasure to pocket carry for unlimited amounts of time.
    My Model 60 .38 Special is uncomfortable for pocket carry for me.

    I practice with some moderately hot .38's in the 340 and enjoy shooting it. I plan on selling the Model 60. Great gun but I just love my light-weights too much.

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    I carry front pocket S&W 640, Mica holster, the extra weight is just fine. Use a good belt. Works for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctr View Post
    I've owned Scandium, Airweight, and steel J-frames. My preference is for the airweights. The airweight strikes a good balance between weight, shootability, and cost. The airweights have a steel barrel and cyclinder which I like.
    The AirWeight has the advantage over the Scandium model, too, of being able to shoot a greater variety of ammunition, i.e., it doesn't require jacketed rounds which will allow you to go with the 158 gr. LSWCHP +P, the all-time favorite .38 special load, if you like.

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    B52
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    I like my Airweight....model-38 it hides well in a pocket. It is 22 years old and still strong as ever, I shoot standard pressure loads with it.


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    I dunno... I have 3 revolvers, all stainless steel Rugers! Not exactly the lightest kids on the block. But all steel are built like tanks, will take a fair amount of abuse, and soak up recoil.

    As far as carrying around the extra weight? Well I had no problems with the two SP-101's and the 3" Stainless Speed Six.

    All that said, I do prefer my G-23 and XD9sc over my all steel 1911's.

    So it's all relevant! No one can really decide for you! To me, ccw is a way of life and a lifestyle. No one told me carrying a gun all day was going to be comfortable and so, I work around it and live with the minor irritations a particular gun may give me. One thing I won't do, is be without a gun... unless I would be committing a crime by carrying it. I draw the line at breaking the law!
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    I have a S&W 640 and I like to practice with .38s and use .38 +P for SD. But when I carry it, I wish it was a 340!
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

    "A superior Operator is best defined as someone who uses his superior
    judgement to keep himself out of situations that would require a display of his
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