Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver: Reason for CCW Advocates to Go Retro

The Rev reviews the Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver and finds a new reason to carry a revolver concealed.

Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver
Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Have you noticed the trend? Retro items are on the rise. Sometimes trends are stupid. Often there’s no logic behind a trend, and reasonable people would do well to avoid them.

  • Eating Tide Pods.
  • Flipping up the collar on a polo shirt.
  • Men wearing yoga pants around the city.

You get the idea. Those trends are stupid. Does the trend toward retro revolvers like the M&P 340 fall into the stupid category? Let's find out.

Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver Trigger
Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver Trigger

A Societal Trend

Some trends have merit. Perhaps you’ve noticed younger people gravitating toward products designed in and for a bygone era. People are wearing classic watches, some people think wing tips are cool again, and most importantly there’s a resurgence of people willing to pay for quality. In the midst of our disposable, instant, build-it-to-replace-it society, people want something— anything that lasts.

Buckle up; this article isn’t about to deny the usefulness, reliability, resilience, or proven longevity of polymer-framed, semi-auto handguns, but it is an open admission— there’s something special about metal guns—particularly revolvers.

Don’t believe me?

James Yeager, of Tactical Response, recently announced a Fighting Revolver class. I unapologetically respect and like James and wish I could make it out to that class. James is a good businessman that trains “good people to kill bad people” to protect and save lives. He’s interested in people knowing how to use the weapons they carry effectively. My guess is he’s noticed this uptick in revolver use.

Trendy shooters need training just like the rest of us—arguably more training than those that choose easier-to-master weapons. There’s a growing resurgence of people in the present connecting with the past through the products they use, and schools like Tactical Response and Clint Smith’s Thunder Ranch are happy to serve them.

Mr. Yeager appears to have noticed the trend, and perhaps you have too. Maybe you’re eyeing a piece of steel in the gun cabinet in your local gun store. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver with Ankle Lite Holsters
Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver with Ankle Lite Holsters

Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver: A Personal Favorite

Buy Online Button ClearIt’s no secret that I find little J-Frame Smith revolvers handy. So with this old-school trend in mind, I picked up the Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver. The 340 is chambered in .357; though it utilizes the classic 1950s design, it features modern innovations like a scandium frame and an XS 24/7 Tritium front sight paired with a U-Notch rear.

At the time of publishing, the 340 street price is in the low to mid $800s. Years down the road, I bet you’ll consider that money well spent. Let me warn you though, if you choose an ankle rig, you may find yourself conflicted if you attempt to put this classic handgun over a pair of Yeezys. Who are we kidding; why don’t you just skip the Yeezys altogether anyway?

The Smith & Wesson 340 (no lock) may be the best overall back up gun available in production today. That’s not a “best money can buy” claim. Rather, it's a “best bang for the buck” statement. It’s also not necessarily the best for every given scenario but the best overall — kind of a best for any given scenario backup gun.

Yes, a Smith 442 or Ruger LCR will do just fine, but if you subscribe to the buy once/cry once philosophy, you may want to consider giving yourself the added benefit of .38 and .357 as well as upgrade sights and overall enhanced build quality.

My 340 rides in Galco's Ankle Lite holster. I have used the Ankle Glove and Ankle Lite models for years. On occasion, it has ridden in Galco’s Tuck-N-Go inside the pant holster. Like Galco’s reputation, both of these holster options are exceptional.

I selected a pair of VZ grips. If you choose to do the same, you'll discover that VZ grips class up the look of and add beneficial grip purchase to your M&P 340.

Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver Grips
Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver Grips

An Established Use

For years law enforcement professionals and everyday citizens have adopted the use of a backup gun. This gun can be brought into action in the case of having to arm a teammate, in the case of a primary gun’s failure, or can be utilized instead of a reload. Simply stated, this back up can be brought into action if the primary has been lost or taken or when more than one gun is required. By the way, Mr. Yeager teaches a Back Up Gun class too.

Let’s keep it 100 though; many gun-toting individuals utilize a backup gun type weapon as their primary weapon more often than they’d pretend. This argument could wax on to the end of time. One would say having a gun is better than having no weapon and another would say if you’ve committed to carrying a firearm don’t allow the primary determining factor when choosing what to carry become comfort… ever. This article is not written to settle that debate, though you’re more than welcome to in the comments section.

Let’s be clear though; there’s a reason people refer to handguns like the M&P 340 as get-off-me guns or bad-breath guns. They aren’t designed for extended range target use. Sure, some masters can wow a crowd, but even they could enhance the wow factor with a longer barrel and sight radius.

I will say, whatever you carry, don’t be lulled into a naive sense of security. Test yourself and be honest with yourself about your capabilities with the weapon you choose to have on your person. These little guns have a particular and useful purpose. They have fantastic build quality, incredible simplicity, and they can’t be pressed out of battery when pressed against an assailant’s torso. They are a go-with-you-anywhere gun, and for that, I love the type.

Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver Wood Pile
Smith & Wesson M&P 340 Revolver Wood Pile

A Reasonable Decision

For me, the M&P 340 is head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. Not that I need a reason, but if I needed an excuse to buy into this particular trend, the M&P 340 gives me plenty of reason. The 340 is a great place to begin buying classic quality.  Far beyond the hype, this option gives you and me a reason to go retro. Go ahead and go retro for a reason.


Brian (Rev) Norris
Brian (Rev) Norris

About Brian (Rev) Norris:

Brian (Rev) Norris, in addition to writing and talking guns and gear via video, is a pastor (hence the “Rev”) who specializes in mentoring young men in the urban context. If he catches a moment of free time, you’ll likely find him enjoying his family or heading to the range on his motorcycle. Brian has enjoyed the shooting sports since his father introduced them to him as a child. He’s an outdoorsman who enjoys life to the full.

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OffGrid9
OffGrid9
1 year ago

Dear Grigori — When I buy a spoon, I don’t complain that it’s a lousy knife. That may sound glib, but please read on. I carry a snub-nose S&W, model 637, in a pocket holster. I practice drawing it in different positions (standing, sitting, lying on my back), and I do it often enough to give me some confidence that I can draw, point (not really aim), and dry-fire in about two seconds, every time. Also, when I’m at my home range (on an off-grid property), I do a few 10-yard wind sprints (…I’m 75, can’t go much farther than… Read more »

Todd
Todd
2 years ago

Rev, I got one of these about 4 years ago. I have tried to love about 5 subcompact pistols since then. I keep coming back to the 340. The XS sight raises this revolver to a new level. I like to carry it in the De Santis Slim-Tuk holster with speed strips in a basic pocket mag pouch by Wilderness Tactical Products.

Thank you for writing this great article. Everyone needs a little validation now and then! Can’t wait to go train with it some more.

Mark
Mark
2 years ago

You lost me at “James Yeager.”

P.S. I love my j frames and carry one often.

Grigori Rasputin
Grigori Rasputin
2 years ago

Sorry, but after my last 442 purchase in 2017, NO WAY could I justify plunking down $800 on a S&W revolver. New out of the box, this gun shot way to the left at 7, 10, and 25 yards. Sent it back. Gun returns shooting much less left at 7 and 10 yards, but shooting still unacceptably left at 25 yards. I called S&W and complained. The CS rep said they only shoot them out to ten yards but they will get me a mailing label. Knowing this, in my letter, I implore them to find a marksman on staff… Read more »

GomeznSA
GomeznSA
2 years ago

Brian – how about a similar review of the Ruger LCRx – in .327Federal Magnum – IMHO it is a good choice as it carries 6 rounds in the J frame size AND it will also shoot .32 H&R Magnum, .32 S&W Long or Short or even (at least in theory anyway) .32ACP. The magnum loads are pushing .357 Magnum velocities 😉 The only down side (so far) is that no one makes speed loaders for it so one is stuck with old school speed strips. Oh yeah, the SP101 can also be chambered for this often overlooked round.

William W.
William W.
2 years ago

I love revolvers too. I tried the transition to a semi auto, but keep coming back to the revolver. I had a bad experience with a Ruger LCR .357mag when using .357mag made by Corbon. Shooting a 38 + P was no problem at all from the LCR. But when I shot the Corbon .357mag the cylinder froze up due to jacket separation from blowback. I then tried a Kahr CM9, great pistol, but too small for my hands to handle effectively. Then I found what I carry now. The Ruger SP101 .357mag 2.25in DAO. Perfect fit and natural pointing… Read more »

Brian Norris
Brian Norris
2 years ago
Reply to  William W.

Well done.

Steve J
Steve J
2 years ago

The S&W airlite 357 is a pocket gun. That’s where I carry mine. Front pocket, can hardly tell it’s there. Defense gun only. It will disperse a bad guy quickly and hurt the wrist at the same time. It will get the job done. I love it

Jim
Jim
2 years ago

I’ve only one semi- 22, that is all. And 3 other are revolvers. My favorite is the 38 S&W Special. But the local gun shops go for the semi. Thanks for column.

Steve
Steve
2 years ago

I also carried the S&W model 640 on duty. I shot/carried 125 grain .357 rounds for duty carry and often practiced with the 110 grain +P+ Treasury round. It digested those with ease and was more fun to shoot with than full bore .357s. This gun was most often carried as a backup gun but I never felt “under gunned” on the occasions I carried it as a primary.

Old 1811
Old 1811
2 years ago

If the author ever mentioned recoil, I missed it. Back when I carried guns for a living, my backup was a 640 (stainless steel version of this gun, without the custom details) loaded with 125-grain .357s. I could shoot it well, but it was unpleasant work, and it weighed about twice as much as the 340 (22 oz. vs. 11 oz.). I’d be very leery of shooting full-house Magnums out of this thing. I might never again be able to shoot a .22 Short without flinching. With .38+P, or even +P+, it would be much more controllable and comfortable to… Read more »

Steve J
Steve J
2 years ago
Reply to  Old 1811

The S&W airlite 357 is a pocket gun. That’s where I carry mine. Front pocket, can hardly tell it’s there. Defense gun only. It will disperse a bad guy quickly and hurt the wrist at the same time. It will get the job done. I love it

Brian Norris
Brian Norris
2 years ago
Reply to  Old 1811

I think a gun built for .357 will absorb the shock of .38 Spl +p even better than the .38. In addition, in the rare situation that I use it as a pack gun, I like the .357 on board. Recoil is what one would expect from a light-weight 357 but it isn’t unusable. I find it quite handy in .357 and .38 +p. With the right .357 loads the felt recoil difference is negligible.

Steve
Steve
2 years ago

I love the Smith and Wesson J frame revolvers and have carried many over the years, both on and off duty. I recently came into a Smith and Wesson 2″ snubnose, J frame, stainless steel, hammerless 5 shot revolver chambered in 9mm. I don’t know anything about it and haven’t been able to find a model number for it. The rounds stop level on their own when put in the cylinder, but the ejector won’t pick them up for extraction. Appears it needs a moon clip but I haven’t been able to find any information on it. Anyone out there… Read more »

Old 1811
Old 1811
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve

It’s a 940 (a Model 640, 9mm). Smith made them for several years back in the 80s or 90s. A guy I worked with carried one for backup. You’re right, it needs full-moon clips to eject the casings properly. I don’t know if the clips are available for it now (check smith-wesson.com), or other companies that make moon clips may make them.

Whoopie
Whoopie
2 years ago

Ironic that M&P 340 would get rid of the pocket snagging hammer only to substitute a pocket snagging front sight instead.

Wayne Clark
Wayne Clark
2 years ago

I have a 66 4″ that I would love to carry but…it’s a 66 4″, so I carry a PX4 Storm Compact in 9 mm. My wife has the M&P Bodyguard .38 special & loves it. I’ve had my eye on several J frames but haven’t yet decided what my wife will give me permission to get (she thinks I have enough…pffft). After reading this article, I’m thinking a 340 would be a great consideration. I’ll have to try one out first of course but it looks promising.
I’m just kidding…I don’t need her permission….just forgiveness. Lol

Wayne Clark
Wayne Clark
2 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Clark

Hey Rev. Don’t know why your comment didn’t show up here but in my email. Anyway, the Storm was one I really liked because of 1: it is DA/SA, just like my revolver & 2: it was easier to conceal. It’s a very accurate pistol but as with any self loader, it lacks the ability to “belly up” to the BG. A snubby would be the BUG I’m looking for the 340 could easily fit the bill.
You should try the Storm. I think you would like it. Surprisingly, the Compact is more accurate than the full size.

Brian Norris
Brian Norris
2 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Clark

I’ve tried it. It’s well made just not my cup of tea. I’m glad it fits you though. Thanks for the convo.

JDC
JDC
2 years ago

Thanks for the article. I use a S&W model 28 Highway Patrolman. Too big for easy CC, but a great weapon.

What is the trigger pull on the 340?

justjim
justjim
2 years ago

Buddy got the M&P 340 and the 340PD. We shot them side-by-side. IIRC the only distinctions between the two were the lock and the steel cylinder on the M&P (the PD has the alloy cylinder). We both came to the conclusion that the tiny increased weight of the steel cylinder was a benefit for handling recoil. (one of the reasons I like the, even heavier, stainless 640’s). Neither of them, nor the heavier 640’s, are fun for plinking. .357 is hard on the wrist (at least for me).

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
2 years ago

Personally, I my theory is that little revolvers like the Smith J or K frame should be for a primary weapon. They are a defense only weapon for many reasons; don’t leave all that embarrassing evidence lying around, afterward; and if, God forbid, one would find himself in a situation that he needed more, then go to that big semi-auto with a couple of extra double stack magazines. Revolvers are terrific for cost free dry firing in the comfort of one’s home, and it would not hurt to shoot that little pistol, weak hand only, for a year, just for… Read more »

Mart3
Mart3
2 years ago

I like revolvers. I have a a couple of semi-autos, one for the house and one collectible in the safe. Of all my revolvers, these three see regular use, more or less: I carry a S&W K-frame 357 when in the field hunting, Oct thru Jan. I used to carry a 642 all the time, but now my EDC is the S&W 60-10. This stainless 3″ J-frame, with a little more added weight compared to the 642, handles 357 just fine. I carry it OWB under a shirt or jacket. On the rare occasion I have to dress-up, the 642… Read more »

Old 1811
Old 1811
2 years ago
Reply to  Mart3

I love 3-inch J-frames,going back to the days when I carried a 3-inch Model 36 as a backup. But my problem is finding good OWB holsters for them. What do you use?

Josh Seger
Josh Seger
2 years ago

I love my little S&W 442 Airweight. Super easy to conceal and not a hard gun to shoot. It only takes .38s but you wouldn’t want to shoot .357 through something that light anyway. Hadn’t thought about it as my backup but that’s something to consider…I’ve been using it for deep conceal with great success. Awesome article! Interested to see for myself how the 340 compares to the 442

Gary Laffoon
Gary Laffoon
2 years ago

I carry revolvers frequently. My carry revolvers range from my S&W 642 to my Performance Center model 327, my 69 , and a Ruger gp100 in 10mm. I’m a revolver guy.

Brian Norris
Brian Norris
2 years ago
Reply to  Gary Laffoon

Which is your favorite? Thanks for reading.

David Hartman
David Hartman
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Norris

The only revolvers I have are a black powder 44, a S&W 38
, a 22.mag, and a 22. I’ve been looking around for a 357 and this looks like one to check out. Thanks for the article, even though my narrowed down search just got a bit bigger, lol.