Brigid on the Intrepid S&W J-Frame

Like so many other cognoscenti of my generation I own a S&W J-Frame for those times one can’t or doesn’t want to carry a “real” gun. Also like so many other women before her The_Missus took a shining to it for its size, weight and portability. Naturally that led to her wanting to try it out at the range to see how she liked it. So in spite of my dire warnings I loaded up some anemic target loads and it was off to the range. Only one shot was fired by her through that gun.

Brigid is a very experienced warrior woman (and I do mean that as a compliment ma’am) and this week she did a write up of her own impressions of the lightweight J-Frame. Her entire post is well worth reading with descriptives like:

Even with experience, this is not a firearm that makes me sit and think “Gee!  I can’t wait to get to the range and put 100 rounds through this!”
I’d just as soon munch on a bunch of ghost peppers while getting a Brazilian Bikini Wax than do 50 rounds or more at one time.

Brigid is not one to shy away from the Lightweight J-Frame and that doesn’t surprise me. However, this gun and others like it are still what a lot of people push women towards when they go looking for firearms to use for serious social purposes. These just aren’t good firearms for a novice or occasional shooter. For the more experienced and dedicated shooter they make great firearms that are easy to carry and reliable. My own experiences with my 642 is that the recoil with defensive .38 Special +P ammunition is comparable to the recoil of a 240gr .44 Magnum from my all Steel 629 Trail Boss.

Next week we’ll take a look at The_Missus chose for her personal gun as well as some others that she liked but weren’t what she wanted.


One response to “Brigid on the Intrepid S&W J-Frame

  1. I agree on the recoil issue. J-frames are for someone with experience because although they are easy to carry, they are hard to shoot without practice, and that can be painful at first.

    The long, heavy trigger pull is an issue also until you learn to use it, and strengthen your trigger finger considerably. After 500 rounds or so the trigger smoothes out and it doesn’t seem nearly as heavy. I try to exercise my trigger finger every day with dry firing (with dummy cartridges loaded).

    Add a Crimson Trace laser to a S&W 642 and you have an accurate package at close range, if the light is such that you can see the laser. But if the light is that bright I don’t have a problem at close range with the rudimentary sights on my snubnose.

    One thing I would like to see done is definitive research on which weight bullets are best for these short (less than 2″) barrels. Are you better to go with lighter weight bullets (e.g. Hornady 110 gr. XTP hollowpoints for 38 Special) or heavier ones (up to 158 gr in many commercial loadings)? Is it better to use the fastest burning powder, for example, Bullseye?

    Having a concealed carry license in Texas I find the 642 to be one of the most concealable handguns I own. Although the experts warn against it, the 642 with rubber grips is superb for Mexican Carry (and with the hard trigger pull, I don’t think all that dangerous – regardless of what the experts say. 🙂 )