In this installment of TFB’s Wheelgun Wednesdays, we’ll take a look at an extremely light and concealable revolver. The Smith & Wesson Military & Police, or M&P 340 is a five-shot, snub nose, “hammerless” revolver chambered in .357 Magnum that is very much designed as an all-season self defense gun. Before you start looking for the internal lock on the M&P 340, you won’t find one because S&W has omitted the oft debated internal lock on this line of concealed carry wheelguns.
S&W M&P 340 INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & SPECS
Smith & Wesson was nice enough to let me try out one of their lightest revolvers on hand, and I must say that the weight, or lack thereof, is one of the first things that sticks out when handling the S&W M&P 340. Traditional snub nose revolvers don’t exactly have an appealing look to them, but the M&P 340 has a slab-sided barrel and a matte finish that catch the eye. I also love the addition of the XS Sights “24/7” front night sight on this defensive wheelgun. Smith & Wesson’s listed specifications are as follows:
SKU: 163072Model: M&P®340Caliber: 357 Magnum, 38 S&W SPECIAL +PCapacity: 5Barrel Length: 1.875″ / 4.8 cmOverall Length: 6.3″Front Sight: XS Sights® 24/7 Tritium Night SightRear Sight: Integral U-NotchAction: Double Action OnlyGrip: SyntheticWeight: 13.8 oz / 391.2gCylinder Material: Stainless Steel with PVD FinishBarrel Material: Stainless SteelFrame Material: Scandium AlloyPurpose: Concealed Carry, Law Enforcement & Military, Personal Protection, State Compliance
As for the weight of the M&P 340, the model I evaluated came in just slightly under S&W’s specs at 13.65 ounces. I also played around with several different J-Frame grips I had on hand and found that the old slim wood grips from a S&W 36 reduced the weight to 12.87 ounces, and also allowed me to get all my fingers on the grip, as opposed to having my pinky resting underneath the new factory grip.
USAGE OF THE S&W M&P 340
The M&P 340 appears to be well thought out as a fighting gun, where conceal-ability is a must. Urban carry, woods gun, hiking, biking, running, or even bringing the 340 on a paddling trip, it’s equipped to give the carrier a fighting chance. Its weight is one of its strongest suits, as it lends itself to be carried basically anywhere. The inclusion of a lanyard notch and pin in the grip seems like an antiquated feature from World War I, but only adds to the 340’s versatility and suggests that the user is free to take it into harsh environments that a lanyard would be prudent.
Since this revolver bears the name “Military & Police,” the M&P 340 could also be used as a backup gun, or for details that would require deeper concealment. I placed it in my uniform cargo pants and found that it was light enough not to draw attention when moving and slim enough not to print too bad through the material.
Another testament to the 340’s “fighting revolver” design is the hammerless feature, which completely encloses the hammer in the frame. This type of design allows for easier drawing (or even shooting) from a pocket since there’s no hammer spur to catch on clothing. I took the M&P 340 on numerous two-mile runs while carrying it in a pocket holster in my “hiker shorts”. It didn’t interfere with my running, nor did it look like I was carrying a gun, but did have the appearance as though I was carrying a smartphone in that pocket.
All of my trigger time with the M&P 340 was, of course, in double action only, since, as I mentioned, that’s the only way to shoot this particular revolver. The trigger in the evaluation sample I had was quite smooth and consistent, and I felt at home as though I were shooting other Smith & Wesson revolvers in double action. It was possible to slow down my trigger pull for taking more careful shots, but I found it easier to just use a controlled, quicker pull.
As for anyone that’s curious how I fared with shooting a full house .357 Magnum out of one of the lightest revolvers on the market, in short, I must say that it wasn’t pleasant. However, I braved the hurty pills for you. Despite the lightning-like sensation, I have no doubt that in a life or death situation, shooting a full cylinder of .357 Magnum loads at your attacker would be the choice action compared to whatever the assailant is threatening you with. At the time of my evaluation of the M&P 340, 125 grain .357 Magnum loads were too scarce for me to find, so I resorted to using 158 grains for the handful of shots I did with the magnum load.
The recoil impulse of .38 Special was much more enjoyable through the M&P 340, so I mostly shot with that during my time with it. .38 Spl +P was also much more tolerable compared to the .357. Typically, I’ve never thought of ultra lightweight guns to be “fun,” but I can honestly say that I had a fun time shooting the M&P 340 when using .38 Special.
The grips are usually a pretty subjective topic as it pertains to most handguns, but when it comes to S&W J-Frames, I prefer the old school wooden grips for several reasons. Firstly, by getting all of my firing hand’s fingers on the grip, it aids in better recoil management. Secondly, the reduced grip profile aids in making a little more room for reloading with speedloaders. The new rubberized, two-fingered grip profile had enough material to slightly encumber reloading with my HKS speedloaders. When employing the rubber grip, I would be tempted to cut off a portion of the grip closest to the cylinder.
The S&W M&P 340 is a solidly built, purpose driven revolver that covers a whole host of purposes it could function well in. The matte finish is durable in wet environments and I didn’t hesitate to take it out in the rain. The assembled features and good looks of the M&P 340 do come at a cost though, as Smith & Wesson’s MSRP is listed at $869. You can check out the specifications page for the M&P 340 HERE, or S&W’s main website HERE. TFB TV’s James Reeves previously reviewed the S&W 340PD with a titanium cylinder and fiber optic sight if you want to check that out.
What do you think about the Smith & Wesson Military & Police 340? If you already have one, tell us how you carry it and what your experience has been with it. If this model has only now caught your eye, how would you employ it?