S&W Model 360 .357 Magnum / .38 S&W Special +P Revolver Review ~ VIDEO

The S&W Model 360 .357 Magnum revolver delivers better accuracy for the size than any other maker’s options and it does so with less bulk and far more style.

Smith & Wesson Model 360 .357 Magnum/.38 S&W Special +P
Smith & Wesson Model 360 .357 Magnum/.38 S&W Special +P
Josh Wayner
Josh Wayner

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- Smith and Wesson, a company known for being the premier maker of wheelguns in the world has, remarkably, managed to again put a new spin on the wheel with their new Model 360.

At first glance, this little revolver looks just like any other snub out there these days, but looks can be deceiving. The tiny gun is a J-Frame, which just so happens to be a type of gun that I have extensive knowledge of. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing and shooting many of S&W’s smallest revolvers and I have been uniquely surprised by the benefits and unique characteristics of each.

I would go so far as to say that there is more product diversity between two different models of J-Frame than the entire line of ‘perfect’ pistols combined. You can pick up a Model 43C and a Model 60 PC and, despite the same frame size, have complete variation in materials, caliber, sights, mode of fire, and weight. The J-Frame can be carried by anyone, but it is far from a one-size-fits-all like the offerings from other manufacturers.

Smith & Wesson Model 360 .357 Magnum /.38 S&W Special +P Revolver

This constant innovation has blessed every product line in Smith’s stable. I visit the Smith and Wesson site fairly often to get new ideas for articles and I find that I see guns that I’ve not seen before with features I may have missed. The S&W Model 360 revolver is, despite being a newer model, already is a contender for modern classic.

The Model 360 is extremely light at approximately 15oz empty and just over 16 with all chambers full. The light weight is simply awesome for carry and the gun just vanishes into a pocket. My favorite pistol, my Smith and Wesson Model 642, is technically the same weight but it feels somewhat heavier in my hands. I think this comes from the fact that I can get a full hand on the FDE rubber grips of the S&W 360 while I have a set of slightly heavier Hogue Piranha grips on mine that make it feel more front-heavy.

Balance on the 360 is fantastic. The small gun handles like a much larger revolver and points naturally. Sights are a traditional set-up with a red fixed front ramp and a fixed notch rear. The barrel features a shroud to protect the ejector rod and has attractive lines that complement the smooth cylinder and frame.

Speaking of the frame, it is constructed of the strong and light Scandium Alloy. This material is heavily used in S&W’s lightweight guns and can bring down the weight of even the largest of their weapons. It is finished in a very even black and matches the other features of the gun.

The five-shot stainless cylinder is another unique feature of the Model 360. It is the only J-Frame that features a smooth, unfluted exterior and is coated in a very durable PVD. I personally find this smooth look to be very interesting and again shows that S&W is ready and willing to change things up in small but important ways.

The S&W Model 360 .357 Magnum / .38 S&W Special +P Revolver's five-shot stainless cylinder is another unique feature of the Model 360.
The S&W Model 360 .357 Magnum / .38 S&W Special +P Revolver’s five-shot stainless cylinder is another unique feature of the Model 360.

The trigger is simply amazing for a production gun. I have never been disappointed by a J-Frame trigger and this one was a step above. The double action is very smooth and easy while the single action pull is comparable to some of the Performance Center handgun’s line. The trigger breaks clean and allows great accuracy.

I fired several kinds of ammunition out of this gun to include both .357 Magnum and .38 Special. I find that these guns always shoot the best with .38 loads instead of the .357 variety and this one was no different. Sure,

I will get some people that will debate me on this, but I shoot a bunch and I have taught a bunch of people to shoot and nobody that I know would trade an extra hundred feet per second for the parabolic increase in blast and recoil.

I fired the Model 360 over an Oehler 35P chronograph on a 70 degree day while five feet from the muzzle. Velocities listed below are an average of ten shots.

  • Buffalo Bore 150gr WC .38SPL ———————860fps
  • Buffalo Bore 158gr Heavy .38SPL +P ————-989fps
  • Buffalo Bore 125gr Heavy JHP+P .38SPL +P—–985fps
  • Fort Scott 81gr .38SPL +P—————————-905fps
  • Sig Sauer 125gr V-CROWN .38SPL +P————-895fps
  • Black Hills 100gr Honey Badger .38SPL +P——1056fps
  • Black Hills 125gr JHP .38SPL +P———————843fps
  • Sig Sauer 125gr V-CROWN .357 Mag————-1153fps
  • Black Hills 125gr JHP .357 Mag———————1156fps

Of great interest to me was the number of new and innovative ammunition offerings I was able to test for this article. I regret to say that I was unable to test the individual loads on gel or against clothing, but I found that I was in possession of some of the most interesting commercial loads currently available.

Black Hills Honey Badger Ammunition
Black Hills Honey Badger Ammunition

The Black Hills Honey Badger line is something that you will be seeing more of in my work as it is some of the most radical stuff I’ve tried out in recent years. I shoot upwards of 3000 rounds a year from my own Model 642 and this is what I am carrying in my own gun now. The 100 grain bullet offers performance just below full-house .357 Magnum with none of the blast and recoil. It only took me a few rounds to decide that this was my new go-to. It is the most accurate .38 Special load I have fired and produced 2” groups at 25 yards for five shots with the Model 360.

In addition to the excellent Black Hills loads, I received a new load from Fort Scott. You will be seeing more Fort Scott in the days to come from me, as they offer unique solid spun copper bullets.

Sig Sauer again impressed me with their ammunition in both .357 and .38. I became a fan of Sig ammunition when I began testing it in .45ACP earlier this year and have been blown away, so to speak, with the quality that they can deliver. Both Sig loads shot accurately and delivered five-shot groups of 2.5-3” at 25 yards. Keep in mind that this is fantastic performance for this caliber and any handgun in general.

Lastly, Buffalo Bore brought some of real wrist-wrenchers to the table. I have shot Buffalo Bore for a number of years and have always trusted them to deliver great power. That power is a bit much in a one pound gun, especially with the 158gr +P load in .38 Special. The old-school lead rounds shot well, but I could tell that the 360 had a distinct preference for medium weight, fast-moving jacketed or solid bullets. The Buffalo Bore loads shot a bit wider at an average of 4” for five shots across the board at 25 yards.

I moved closer and shot the gun in some defensive drills at or inside 7 yards on IDPA targets using only the double action pull. The Sig and Black Hills .38 loads shined here as I was able to rattle off all five shots in under a second in most cases and kept virtually all my shots inside the boiler room of my cardboard bad guy. I did a fair amount of point shooting and again discovered that the low-recoil/high speed rounds did the very best of any.

This little weapon delivers better accuracy for the size than any other maker’s options and it does so with less bulk and far more style.
This little weapon delivers better accuracy for the size than any other maker’s options and it does so with less bulk and far more style.

Smith and Wesson has managed to do it again with the S&W Model 360 .357 Magnum / .38 S&W Special +P Revolver , and by ‘again’ I mean that they have successfully integrated the most modern materials and features into a gun that shoots as good as it looks. This little weapon delivers better accuracy for the size than any other maker’s options and it does so with less bulk and far more style. If S&W keeps this trend of innovation up, I’m sure we will see some more outside-the-box products in the months to come.

Need a 2nd opinion? Check this video where TFB TV Reviews the same handgun:

About Josh Wayner:

Josh Wayner has been writing in the gun industry for five years. He is an active competition shooter with 14 medals from Camp Perry. In addition to firearms-related work, Josh enjoys working with animals and researching conservation projects in his home state of Michigan.

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Dean J Bennett

Just fired my new 360 with a mix of 38 and 367. Found all 38 rounds including plus p to be comfortable. In 357 you want to avoid the lighter weight rounds. Recoil is brutal. Heavy 158 gram 357 is very shootable.. The Hornady 357 red tip was the most accurate but also the most PAINFUL to shoot. Felt like you grabbed a live electric line. Suppose that would not be your concern if the gun was ever needed. Blazer 158 gram alum case H.P. functioned surprisingly well, though I doubt if you would get much expansion. Like to see… Read more »


Buffalo Bore 150gr WC .38SPL ———————860fps
Black Hills 125gr JHP .38SPL +P———————843fps
I’d like to know more about how a non-+P load with a heavier bullet went faster than a +P load with a lighter bullet. Is there a typo lurking here?


I figure an airweight to be a grappling tool. And if I have to pull it, my BUG, then I’m probably in very close proximity to whomever is intent on my life, and maybe, probably in their actual grip. If that’s the case, shot placement won’t be as much of a problem for aim as much as for luck and the ability to reach it.

Danny T

SK – of course there is a difference – and you should shoot whatever you like and are comfortable with. My point was/ is that almost all of us find that less recoil and less blast facilitates shootability and shot placement. That is what the reference to big game hunting is about. One shot kills are made each year on elk using .243’s, and each year elk are gut shot and lost with .338’s. That doesn’t make the 243 an elk rifle, it isn’t. But it should make clear that shot placement is what counts, and what people like the… Read more »

Danny T

There are several angles to “ the point of diminishing
returns” arguements here, and they are all interesting.
Some compromises are better than others. It is
well established that it is possible to burn more
powder and create more blast without producing a
corresponding increase in velocity.
Where we don’t find a lot of room for debate is in the
concept that “shot placement is what counts”.
This is as true in combat handgunning as it is in big
game hunting. Nothing to argue about on that one,
but we must remember that it is what really counts.


it is not about .357 performance in a snubbie

it’s about being able to use .357 when it’s what you have

not a first choice; a capability you may be grateful to have


well, he is getting 160+ fps more out of the .357 so at least some of the xtra powder is burning. I’d like to see (and guess I will have to look up) what that equates in terminal energy.
Shooting a scandium for fun, it is no doubt that you enjoy shooting the .38 more. Even my 640 in stainless with rubber grips beat my old wrists up .
The smooth cylinder is pretty cool.

HMLA-167 Warrior

I have never understood .357 in a snubby wheelgun. There just isn’t enough barrel length to burn all of the powder and the benefit of the .357 over the .38 is gone. There is a huge muzzle flash if that’s your goal but other than that I don’t see the purpose. And depending on the length I’m not sure if +P is even beneficial.


I handload for my .357 snubby with a fast powder.. There is a definite difference in recoil between the .357s and the 38s so I have to assume that there is a difference in velocity.


Looking at the velocities listed in the article, there is a difference. I suspect most powder is burned in the case and not the barrel. There is a reason that the military and law enforcement quit using the .38. Some perps just won’t go down when hit with many .38 rounds. I bought a Taurus.357 snubby when my 38 +P was stolen. I wanted more firepower. And I got it. I carry it with Winchester 180gr Nosler Partitions. I don’t think you can buy them anymore. It is not too much to handle. At least not for me. And if… Read more »