03/16/2022 – I’ve been trying to work on my taxidermy skills. Returning from a big bear hunt in Oymyakon, I decided a rug before the fireplace was in order. Damn thing won’t lay flat.Maybe I just have to shoot it some more? Anyway… Between the bear and chili with beans that won’t soften, it has been a heck of a day.
The Model 340 S&W lightweight, compact 357 Magnum has been with us since 2005. In and out of production during that time, the M&P 340 without frame lock was introduced in 2018. Somewhere between 2018 and today, the three through frame pins; hammer, trigger and cylinder stop, were changed to dead headed studs and are no longer visible on the frame’s left side. Additionally, some of the large white identifying labels were lost. Thank you for all, S&W. It makes from a really clean, matte black anodized finish.
|Smith and Wesson M&P 340
|Type Action||Double Action Only
|Frame||Scandium Alloy – Black
||Stainless Steel PVD
|Trigger Pull DA|| 11 Lbs2 Oz
|Rear Sight||Top Strap Integral
|Front Sight||XS Sights Tritium
|Width – Cylinder||1.3″|
There are four primary factors affecting the suitability of a handgun for concealed carry: form, weight, caliber, and cost. The S&W M&P 340 is very compact, very light and not short on power. In today’s world of quality all metal firearms, the price is quite reasonable.
The M&P 340 is nearly small enough to be palmed, which is a major benefit.
However, getting a revolver or pistol small, often means making its grips smaller. For a 22 LR or 38 Special chambered revolver of this size and weight; no big deal. Grab what is there and hold on. For a 357 Magnum, practice and developing a firm grip is essential for proper use. I know of no similarly chambered compact revolver where the same doesn’t apply. It is the price to pay for a compact concealed firearm.
This is not a revolve that is taken to the range and shot for hours. The sight system and short sight radius do not make for 25 yard or 50 yard bullseye competition. It is a great 10 yard gun with practice and practice is required to make this a useful personal defense firearm. No more, no less than required with any firearm where life depends on its use.
For those seeking the ultimate in lightweight, there is the titanium cylinder, 11.4 Oz S&W Model 360 PD. For those who need a lower price point and only need 38 Special +P power, there is the S&W Bodyguard 38 starting at $440.00.
For me, the S&W Model 360 PD may be too lightweight, gaining further recoil increasing weight reduction and at a higher price. The S&W Bodyguard 38, chambered for the 38 Special +P, may represent too much of a loss in power and too much of a combination of materials; poly, aluminum and stainless steel to get to the revolver’s low price.
Some features of the S&W M&P 340
The top of the M&P 340 is slick, from top of backstrap, to hammer concealing frame, across the rear sight integral to the frame, to slightly forward cut Tritium front sight.and it is a visible green front sight even in just subdued light. I do not see them being used often as shooting may be mostly pointing and shooting. The sights do work well on standard playing cards at 10 yards where 5 shot groups on each was not a problem… with a two hand grip, resting on sand bags.
I would not say the grips are thin. In fact, they are a bit spongy, pudgy. Not destabilizing so, but enough to take some of the sting out of shooting full tilt 180 grain bear loads.Some…The little lanyard pin comes in handy if the revolver was carried under rugged trail conditions. Don’t laugh. Slip off a loose stones under a bed of leaves, land on your ass and an inventory of gear will be required. Following a lanyard truncates a search.
The cylinder is a solid lock up, held at the center pin through the extractor, the cylinder stop and the front locking bolt.
How much do you plan on missing?
The notion of how much capacity a defensive firearm has runs the gamut from 5 to 17+ rounds. Even centerfire revolvers push cylinder capacity to 7 or 8. For compact carry, 5 seems a good number where concealment is the salient consideration and where close in shooting is the probability. So practice, practice, practice… Considering how many police detective carried similar configurations for many decades suggests the formula works.
Four types of ammo where shot during the review of the S&W M&P 340. As I do not throw away ammo caches every time an ammo manufacturer refreshes product boxes and names, some cartridges pictured may now be collector’s items.
|Remington Golden Saber||BJHP||125||1220||1062|
|Barnes Vor-Tx||XPB HP||140||1265||1190|
|HSM Bear Load
Generally, heavier bullets are preferential with short, short revolver barrels. No matter what factory or handloads are shot, they will never be at the vanguard of velocity. Come to think of it, neither were the old Vanguard rockets, but I always liked that name. Hmm… they flew 9,000 kilometers per hour… 5,600 miles per hour in round numbers. Where was I? Oh yeah.
The ammo listed travels approximately 820 miles per hour under the best of conditions, when shot from 5″ – 6″ barrels. That applies to bullet weights from 125 grain to 180 grains, so why not put the heaviest, easiest to expand bullets to the task? Not a rhetorical question.
In and out of love again…
The first shot from the M&P 340 rewarded me with a palm slap that was less then subtle and a tad bit annoyed, truth be told.
The next 12 rounds of chronograph fodder caused me to settle into a better grip, control was good and I got used to magnum loads in a 14 Oz gun. And I could shoot the little revolver pretty well; 5 shots central to standard playing cards at 10 yards from a rest, 5 shots into a 6″ cluster, near center on a silhouette target, at the same distance without the rest. We were becoming good friends.
That last 40 rounds on targets made our relationship… complicated. A pretty revolver, excellent defensive power, but… not a range buddy beyond routine proficiency practice.Which works as the revolver is intended for authoritative concealed carry.
Yes, I see you waving your hands wildly in the back of the room and I know what you going to say, Shoot lowered powered 38 Specials. Yes, of course. Personally, I like to practice with the ammo I have selected for the mission and spare myself the report and recoil surprise under difficult circumstances.
Nice gun, good shooter, a lot to have on your side when needed. What about the removed lock? Ambivalent from my side. I never had a problem with a firearm without one, never had a problem with a gun that had one. I am sure this will appease the no “safety under any circumstances” contingency. I am sure the rest of the world will not notice. In any event, the safety removal is not the story, the M&P 340 certainly is.Real Guns – A Firearm and related publication