The Virtually Unsnubbable J-Frame

Smith & Wesson Model 640 Pro Series

Smith & Wesson’s J-frame, what many consider the quintessential snub-nose revolver...

… is virtually unsnubbable. That is, you can’t fault it for much. Sure it’ll sting your hand a bit when you shoot it, but if that’s its only “problem,” then you’ve found a good thing. Buck up and fire five more rounds!

Some tend to think of J-frame snubbies — like the S&W Model 640 Pro Series you see here — as limited-purpose guns: civilian concealed carry or police backup. In other words, a last-ditch self-defense tool or a get-off-me gun. Maybe so. But while a J-frame excels in short-range, short-duration, self-defense situations, its longevity has resulted in a variety of options that make it more versatile than you think.

J-Frame ammo? Let’s just say you’ve got plenty of very good choices.


As you know, Smith & Wesson’s 640 Pro is chambered in .357 Magnum and so can also shoot .38 Special cartridges. For rounds that have been around as long as those two have, today’s ammunition selection provides a wide variety of options. If you prefer less thunder and lightning than .357 Magnum but still want an effective or powerful or easy-shooting or hard-hitting round, the .38 Special offerings are impressive: Federal Premium, Black Hills, and Hornady all will have great options, as will others. Despite how different these rounds are, they all fire reliably and accurately. The nice thing about a revolver is that if, on the remote chance a round doesn’t fire, just squeeze the trigger again.

With some snubbies, like the 640, you can reload using the included moon clips. Or carry another five in a Five Star Firearms speedloader. Or use speed strips or ammo carriers. Or carry loose rounds in your pocket. Lots of options!


This 640 sports stocks that offer a three-fingered rubber grip. But you can switch to a two-fingered rubber boot grip for better concealability. Or you can dress up a J-frame with custom wood stocks. Or install the DeSantis Clip Grip, which allows you to carry the gun tucked into your waistband, no holster, something many experts will argue against. Or replace the stocks with a Hyskore Grip-Lite which, when you grasp the stocks, floods the area in front of the barrel with a brilliant light, illuminating a target. Those are just a few of a seemingly endless array of stocks available for a J-frame, most of which require nothing more than removing a single screw to replace.

Getting a grip for J-Frame is easy because, similar to the ammunition, you have dozens of interesting options. But that makes it difficult, too.


Likewise, hundreds of holster options exist for the J-frame, offering safe, secure, and comfortable carry on just about any part of your body. One of my favorites is the Galco Stow-N-Go Inside the Pant holster. Made from premium leather, it’s durable, thin, comfortable, and easy-on and off.

Well, for now, the 640 will be wearing its three-fingered rubber stocks, riding around in the Stow-N-Go, and carrying five rounds of .357 Magnum on board and five more in a moon clip in my pocket. For me, that’s a virtually unsnubbable combination.

Plenty of holster options exist for J-Frames. Just remember to keep your rig simple.