Wheelgun Wednesday: The Happy Medium – S&W Model 60

    Model 60; Stainless Painless (For the shooter, that is…)

    I spent a number of years carrying the S&W 340PD as a jogging/backup gun.  Those years were painful ones at the range.  I try to train with at least 100 rounds of full power defensive ammo in my carry pieces.  Therefore I often bloodied the web between my thumb and index finger, even though the 340PD had formed a callous where most of the force would transfer to my hand.  That revolver, while insanely light, is true misery to fire.  While that gun now resides in my workshop instead of on my hip, I’m still a fan of the .357 chambered J-frame.  However, I just prefer a more comfortable and versatile model: The Model 60-15 “Pro Series”.

    Top: Model 60, Bottom: 340PD

    Weighing in at roughly double the weight of the 340PD, the Model 60 in Pro Series guise was introduced in 2007.  Featuring a slab sided barrel, Trijicon tritium front ramp sight, brushed stainless finish and wooden grips, this 60 is a handsome devil.  (Interesting side note: the 1965 Model 60’s were the first stainless revolvers produced by S&W) The rear sight is also easily adjustable for windage and elevation.  One aspect of working behind a gun counter that cuts both ways is looking at the guns all day.  The more, I looked at and handled the Model 60, the more I liked it as an alternative to the 340PD.  Therefore, I eventually purchased one for myself.

    adjustable sights


    Specs, Per S&W:

    SKU: 178013
    Model: Performance Center® Pro Series® Model 60
    Caliber: 357 Magnum, 38 S&W SPECIAL +P
    Capacity: 5
    Barrel Length: 3″ / 7.6 cm
    Overall Length: 8.7″
    Front Sight: Night Sight
    Rear Sight: Adjustable
    Action: Single/Double Action
    Grip: Wood
    Weight: 22.9 oz / 649.2g
    Cylinder Material: Stainless Steel
    Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
    Frame Material: Stainless Steel
    Frame Finish: Satin Stainless
    Purpose: Concealed Carry, Home Protection, Personal Protection, State Compliance
    MSRP: $819.00

    At the Range and on the hip

    The Model 60 Pro Series’ trigger in double action is typical of the exposed hammer J-Frames: heavy but predictable.  In single action, it is a very crisp 3lbs.  The wooden round butt grips extend downwards from the frame about an inch, enough for me to just barely get all of my fingers on the grip.  Even when firing 100 rounds of .357, there are no hot spots in the metacarpal zone of my hand.  Neither is there on the knuckle of my middle finger where it rests under the trigger guard.  I usually can keep all 5 rapid shots with the Model 60 in the A zone on an IPSC target out to about 20-25 yards as well.  Steel silhouettes yield easy hits out to 50y thanks to the longer sight radius and the ability to fire it in single action.

    L: Model 60, R: 340PD

    Carrying the Model 60 was comfortable either inside or outside the waistband with a leather holster.  There were very few times where the hammer has bothered me while skiing or biking.  It cannot, however, hold a candle to any of the hammerless ultracompact J-frames like the 340PD when it comes to ankle or pocket carry.  Shell ejection out of a hot cylinder on the Model 60 has never been an issue for me like it has been with the 340PD.

    Trijicon tritium front sight bead is the very small dot in the ramp

    Sadly, my Model 60 carries the dubious distinction of being the only revolver to have a total mechanical failure at the range:  The top of the trigger sheared off at only about round #1200 through the gun, requiring a trip back to S&W, and downgrading my Model 60 from carry piece to range piece.

    Overall Impressions

    With its 3″ barrel, exposed hammer, adjustable rear and tritium front sight, and slightly larger grip, the Model 60 Pro Series sits comfortably in the middle ground between the smallest and largest .357 revolvers.  It performs excellently as a concealed piece, yet is easy to hit accurately at range.  My particular model also introduced me personally to the notion that revolver can and do fail, however.

    For a while, the S&W Model 60 stood out as a great middle ground option between a compact and full size .357 magnum that could do almost everything the smaller or larger revolvers could do, without the downsides.  That being said, these days the Model 60 is bested in many ways by the Kimber K6S 3″.

    Rusty S.

    Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. Editor at Outdoorhub.com