I have a S&W 642 that I bought for my wife to have around the house when I'm on the road, I myself carry a Chiappa Rhino 200DS.
For a alloyed frame revolver with a 2" inch barrel, there is very little muzzle flip with .357mags due to the pistol design of firing from the 6 o'clock position. When I shoot .38spl +P it's like shooting a loud 22LR.
Here is a comparison chart between the S&W 640 and the Chiappa Rhino 200DS
As you can see the Rhino is a bit bulker then the Smith but overall dimensions are about the same. Advantage over the Smith is it does give you 1 extra round and like I said before very little muzzle flip even with magmum loads.
I just got a 638 I got it online buds gun shop $364.00 Wow what A nice gun! It's really a lot more accurate than you would think for such a small gun. I got a cheap blackhawk size 3 inpocket holster from wal-mart for $9.97 and that works great. It's a real nice summer carry piece. Much nicer than some of them small 380 pocket guns IMHO. I load myself and load 3.8 grains win238 and hornaday 158grain xtp works great! And the recoil is really not bad at all. I'm sold on these little j-frames
J-Frame .38+p revolver
Clance, liking that Rhino. It might have to go on my wheelgun short list.
J-Frame .38+p revolver
J-frames are like Lays tater chips - you can't have just one.
My S&W Model 38 Airweight makes a great BUG and a light summer carry piece in lieu of my full-size 1911.
I have a 642 w/ CT Laser grips and a M36 3" I carry a lot, now retired. A Before I retired I was blessed to work for a state agency that allowed carry with qualification of approved weapons. Issue over time was G17 9MM/Sig P220 45/Glock22 40. I was an insturctor so I carried lots of ammo in my car routinely. My cohorts in the agency were also gun enthusiasts, so we shared interests in many weapons. My personal weapon was a 1911A1 SA 5" w/ 3" BUG, Fed HST 230+P ammo. I had at least 10 loaded mags in car for those(single stack 8rd Chip McCormick Shooting Stars). My 223 rifle(Mini 14 or Kel-tec SU16) had 5 mags(Mini14) or 12 mags(Kel-tec-also used by Ar15/M16). Iopted to go overboard a bit, as a post-grad of Caliber Press Street Survival School- when 4 LEOs in my home town of Alexandria, LA were killed in a shoot-out with some dopers on a warrant service when the City/Parish/State/and FBI units responding ALL ran out of ammo! After that I carried hundereds, if not thousands of rounds in my car for every gun one of my agts carried! 9mm/38/357/40/45/223/308/12ga.
I have three J-frame revolvers.
For personal defense I do not believe in single action at all. Both of my defensive guns have hidden hammers.
I have a 340PD, a 12 ounce gun that is a real bear to shoot because of the light weight. I carry four rounds of +P and a last round of .357 in that gun.
I have a 640 Pro, which is a similar gun in stainless steel, but with excellent sights and is moon-clip equipped for rapid reloads. It is easy to shoot with +P and is OK to shoot with magnums. I carry 5 rounds of 125 grain Federal Hollowpoints in that gun.
I have a model 63 which is a 3" barrel with a conventional hammer and is chambered in .22. It is easy to shoot; it has noise, but no recoil. Ammo is cheap and the ergonomics are the same as the other two (once I installed a pair of boot grips on the 63). I think the trigger time on the 63 transfers as improved shooting on the other two.
The 340 PD goes in a pocket or in a fanny pack when I carry it. The 640 Pro rides on a hip mounted belt holster. I use it in the warm weather because it prints less than my G23.
The 63 rides in my range bag. I never carry it.
It's a ugly gun but I really like it! The only thing that I wish that Chiappa would do is provide either the wood or come up with a nylon grip as standard instead of the rubber. While you might feel it more in your hand, it would lower the signature by not having the rubber grip grab at clothing.
Originally Posted by Easy_CZ
I have a 637-2 with Crimson Trace Laser and love it. I can slip it in my pocket holster or carry IWB or OWB. I agree with semi mags. I bought a semi auto that had pretty stiff springs so I left both mags loaded for a week. No problem now. That tells me that carry mags should be unloaded once a week or so for a day. I could be wrong. Yiogo
With pocket holster
I will say that I bought my daughter the Bodyguard in 38 spl (+p) which is hammerless but I like the hammer on mine. The hammer just gives her something else to worry about. I also like the activation switch on the grip but heres is up above the cylinder. Mine is also 38 spl in +p. Yiogo
Happy to see the OP bought a Centennial-type enclosed hammer revolver. The humpback backstrap enables you to hold the gun much higher on the frame, which reduces felt recoil; the alloy exposed hammer J-frames are much less pleasant to shoot.
Couple observations; my hiking gun is a 340 SC. It originally came with rubber grips, which stuck so well to the skin in recoil that it was painful. I've replaced them with smooth boot grips, which allow a firm hold but don't try to tear your skin off. I like to keep the first two chambers loaded with snakeshot,and have killed four or five copperheads down at camp. Steady carry wore off the finish on the alloy frame, and a trip back to S&W solved that problem. Current holster is an Alabama Holster Company kydex, which doesn't hold perspiration and is kinder to the finish. It can be pocket carried, but it is on the larger end of the true pocket guns.
The trigger can be improved by reducing the power of the rebound slide spring (trigger) and the mainspring for the hammer. Too much off either can cause problems. If the trigger spring is shortened or a less powerful one used, make sure the trigger still pops forward promptly. With the hammer spring, load the gun with your chosen ammo, and take it somewhere that it is safe to shoot it straight up. This will put the cartridges against the recoil shield, and the force of the hammer will have to lift them until they seat against the cylinder. If you have any misfires in a cylinder or two of testing, the hammer spring is too light...better off just leaving it alone and taking some off the trigger instead.
What he said. Three things that quickly and dramatically improved my j-frame marksmanship included, in this order:
Originally Posted by halfmoonclip
1. establishing a very high grip (per halfmoonclip, above) made the pistol relatively painless to shoot and improves accuracy. The grip I prefer is not particularly "natural' feeling. It is a practiced thing to get high on the back of the frame - the pistol doesn't just fall into my hand this way, if you know what I mean.
2. For me, wrapping the non-trigger index finger around front of the trigger guard quickly got shots on the mark.
220 I was looking for a 38 to take to the range and enjoy target shooting. The one thing I was not looking for was a carry gun. I found the perfect fit and it is a SW 357 model 60. I love the grip for my hand size, added weight and extra barrel length (I have a 3" barrel). It is a joy to target shoot regular 38 rounds with and will take +P all day long. The one thing it isn't IMHO is a 357 gun. For me there just is not enough mass to this gun to comfortably shoot 357 rounds with any frequency though if the situation called for them, then I have that option. If I was planning to be in situations that called for 357 rounds, I would go with at least the next largest frame size. Just my feeling about it. But I love my "38" and never tire of target shooting with it. As a defense gun some would probably balk at the 5 round limitation and I get that, but I have other options for home as well as this gun.
My EDC for over ten years has been a 1990-vintage 640 in .38 Special, tested for +P+ (though I only carry +P). I had seen the Pachmayr Compac grips on a Colt DS and they felt great. They allowed my little finger to engage the grip, which helps with severely arthritic hands, so I put a set on the 640. It weighs 21 ounces unloaded, and I carry it comfortably in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster (don't laugh, it does the job and costs eleven bucks when you wear one out as I've done two or three times) in my right front pocket or a jacket. Had a good smith give it a trigger and action job--the J-frames respond well to that--and put an orange insert in the front sight blade to help my elderly eyes. I load it with Remington 158 grain +P LSWCHP and don't feel the least bit under-gunned for the up-close-and-personal encounter that is by far the most likely risk.
As for the option of single-action fire, the thought worries the hell out of me. It's MUCH too easy, in a tense situation, to light off a round you didn't mean to fire, then get prosecuted and/or sued out of your skivvies when some prosecutor or lawyer claims negligent discharge of a "hair-trigger" gun because you cocked the damn thing. I want DAO for defensive carry. My 640 has about an eight-pound trigger, heavier than the Glock .40's my city's PD issues. It's smooth and still very easy to shoot, but it takes a definite decision to fire. Since the furor over infamous shootings, and given the fact that it seems the number one indoor sport in this country is suiing people, the DAO reduces one worry for me.
But as they say, Yankee Mike Mike Victor.
I have a 642 and a 649. Both are great conceal carry personal defense pieces. The 649 does have a brisk recoil when shooting 357s. Prefer the 38 +p in both.