Smith and Wesson, arguably the greatest revolver manufacturer in the world, is currently shipping the Model 360. It’s the newest addition to the family of self defense pistols derived from the much loved “Chiefs special” or model 36, so named for it’s introduction at the International association of Chiefs of Police in 1950.
It is estimated that there are more J-frame revolvers in use as primary self defense weapons for civilians, and as back up for law enforcement officers, than any other make of small pistol. Why? Because they work! And work well.
By 1965, with the availability of the .357 cartridge, they added the Model 60 to the line-up. That one is a reinforced model 36 in stainless steel chambered for the more powerful cartridge. The new Model 360 is that same formula with some remarkable modern updates.
The most notable update is the Airweight Scandium alloy frame, which makes it weigh less than a pound at 14.9 ounces. This weight makes it comfortable to carry and light to handle. It features a non-fluted cylinder, which I assume is for strength to handle the full-strength magnum cartridge in such a small space, but I love the smooth, modern look.
They gave it flat earth combat grips, a fluorescent red ramp front site that I recognize from the model 686, and it has what S&W calls a PVD finish, which is non-reflecting black satin. This looks like it will stand up well to corrosion from sweat and body oils as well as the elements.
When you carry a gun and it becomes daily normal practice there’s always a compromise between Comfort vs. Effectiveness. For me, five shots is enough. Studies prove that most civilian engagements end in three shots or less. When those shots are .357 Magnum the odds are even better.
.357 has the highest of all recorded data on one-shot stopping power. The 360 will be at least as comfortable to carry as all the other J-frames only better because of the weight reduction. Put me on the list to try and likely buy one of these. Smith and Wesson lists them at $770.00 but it should be less when it hits the shops. I can’t wait.
Photo from smith-wesson.com