Educate me on J Frames.....

Educate me on J Frames.....

This is a discussion on Educate me on J Frames..... within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Having various pocket carry options is great. My primary carry guns are 1911's, but they don't fit the bill 100% of the time. I've got ...

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Thread: Educate me on J Frames.....

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array T Bone's Avatar
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    Educate me on J Frames.....

    Having various pocket carry options is great. My primary carry guns are 1911's, but they don't fit the bill 100% of the time.

    I've got a P3AT (under quality, under powered, still better than the gun left in the car!). I've got a PM9 coming in next week.

    Now I think it's time to consider one of the all time great pocket pistols, the S&W J Frame. But I need to know more about the various models (never really a revolver guy, untill last year's Bulldog Pug in .44 Spec., never owned one other than Cowboy type single actions).

    My main question is that of size. Do the .38's and .357's actually come in the same size, or is there a slight difference? (I presume from the moniker "J Frame" that the frame is the same size?). Are they the same overall length? Just wondering if they'll fit equally well in a pocket.

    All else being equal, seems the obvious (though more expensive) choice for me is to go with the .357. Added capability with the option of a magnum loading, with no additional bulk and little or no wt. penalty if going with the .38+P loading.

    Of course, then I'll need to decide on enclosed or open hammer.... but I've pretty well got a handle on the pros and cons for that aspect of the decision.

    Thanks in advance for any input!
    Regards, T Bone.


    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". Benjamin Franklin


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Rmac58's Avatar
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    I have a model 60-15, .357 magnum. You can get Airweights in a shorter barrel, hammerless too. Same caliber.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T Bone View Post
    My main question is that of size. Do the .38's and .357's actually come in the same size, or is there a slight difference? (I presume from the moniker "J Frame" that the frame is the same size?). Are they the same overall length? Just wondering if they'll fit equally well in a pocket.
    Often, the .357s have a 2 1/8" barrel, while the .38s will have 1 7/8", so the .357s are slightly longer overall. I cannot imagine 1/4" will make much difference for pocket carry, but YMMV.
    If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them.--Samuel Adams as Candidus, Boston Gazette 20 Jan. 1772

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Jackle1886's Avatar
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    The barrel lengths on the J-frames are all VERY close. From 1 7/8 to 2" basically. As far as pocket carry, jeans is a big NO, cargo pants is a yes, and anything else just depends. I have found it to be slightly large for pocket carry. If you haven't shot one, they are quite the experiance. IMO the scandium ones are not worth the extra dough. The gun is light enough in the airweight. They come in 3 hammer configurations: reg open, shrouded, and enclosed. If your going to pocket carry it, go with the enclosed, the others will allow lint inside, and it won't catch on a draw. The PD versions have a big dot front sight, a regular 642 sights leave something to be desired.
    Better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees.

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    Distinguished Member Array T Bone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by falcon1 View Post
    Often, the .357s have a 2 1/8" barrel, while the .38s will have 1 7/8", so the .357s are slightly longer overall. I cannot imagine 1/4" will make much difference for pocket carry, but YMMV.
    Yep, I erred in omitting barrel length. Let's presume that is also equal (was just looking at the 340 PD on Gunbroker, .357 available with 1 ⅞ inch barrel). Are the cylinders the same length?
    Regards, T Bone.


    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". Benjamin Franklin

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    Go to the S&W website, there are a lot of choices. If you want it for pocket carry and in 357 I can recommend the M&P 340. If you are looking for a 38+p, they recently made a run of them without the internal lock. I don't know all the models they made without the lock
    but I got a 642.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array itschuck's Avatar
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    J-frames are not just for pocket carry, with a good clip holster you can stick it IWB cross draw in jean shorts and it just disappears under a t-shirt. Also check out budsgunshop.com. They have the scandium 360 on sale for 409, no 357 though, just 38sp +p (and thats enuff for me in a 13oz revolver)
    Current collection: Too many according to the wife...

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    VIP Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    I have a 642 which is .38 Spl, and two .357 J frames. One is a 640 and the other a M60 3" barrel.

    The .357s are slightly larger than the m 642. The 642 will fit the 640 holsters, but not quite as tight. The 640 will not go into the 642 holsters I have. The difference is not very much, but as to the question of the size, the ones I have are slightly different. I suspect the .357 needs a slightly larger cylinder, but have not done any measuring.

    Regards,
    Jerry

  9. #9
    Member Array Prvt. Toter's Avatar
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    I think the cylinder is just a hair longer on the .357's.

    Used my .357 to build a holster for a 642 and it worked fine.. I did not see a significant difference... YRMV...

    I got the .357 just to have the option...
    If you are planning on shooting the .357's, leave the rubber grips on it... they do help with the recoil, but hiinder pocket carry. They tend to stick and bind when trying to present the arm. I am 6'1" @ 220# and can pocket carry this in dockers, cargo pants and even my Levis if I am in a bind.. the grip will show slightly on the jeans and it is much harder to present due to the tighter fitting profile of the pants... Good luck..

    CHEERS,

    RJ
    If your not packin' your slackin'

    Its better to have and not need than to need and not have, keep it safe but keep it loaded!

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    Senior Member Array KevinDooley's Avatar
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    Mmmm... that last pic just about talked me into a revolver as a BUG
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  11. #11
    Member Array oldpoet451's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrick View Post
    Go to the S&W website, there are a lot of choices. If you want it for pocket carry and in 357 I can recommend the M&P 340. If you are looking for a 38+p, they recently made a run of them without the internal lock. I don't know all the models they made without the lock
    but I got a 642.
    The 642 is the only model right now. Rumor has it that they're warehouse parts put together to clear out inventory OR a run without the lock to test the wind. Either way, I'm all for no-lock Smiths.
    "Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." --Teddy Roosevelt

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    I have a 640 .357 Magnum and a M36 in .38 Spl. I use the same grips and holster for both guns, though the holster was made for the 640, and can detect no difference in frame size. The barrel on the 640 in much more robust in construction and reminds me of the snubbie barrel on the M686. The barrel on the M36 is thin and tapered.
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    Quote Originally Posted by T Bone View Post
    Are the cylinders the same length?
    Quote Originally Posted by JerryM View Post
    I suspect the .357 needs a slightly larger cylinder, but have not done any measuring.
    Quote Originally Posted by Prvt. Toter View Post
    I think the cylinder is just a hair longer on the .357's.
    I have not taken a micrometer to the cylinders (since I do not own a J-frame), but I too suspect that the cylinders are slightly longer on the .357s.
    If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them.--Samuel Adams as Candidus, Boston Gazette 20 Jan. 1772

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  14. #14
    Member Array mike benedict's Avatar
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    years ago S&W stretched the frames and cylinders on j-frames to accommodate the 357 cartridge. So a current J-frame in .38 or .357 is the same size. Alloy J-frame pistols have significant recoil with typical self defense 38 special ammo. The 357 version is plain painful to shoot. IMO there is no use for the 357 version and I do not know any one who caries or shoots theirs.

    Mike

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    442 for me.



    I carry in jeans with no problem. If you do, stick with a Kramer pocket holster since it prints like a wallet.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

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