When the double action, swing-out cylinder revolver began to take shape in the late 1800s, it seemed like the designers had already used up all their energy by the time they got to the back end. The grip frames on these guns were universally small, and the grips (or “stocks,” in S&W parlance) almost looked like they were afterthoughts.
Back when the revolver was King, wheelgun shooters and manufacturers paid attention to details that are sometimes overlooked today. A great example of this, is the host of trigger and hammer options that were available back when sixguns still filled most of the duty holsters and won most of the matches.
As most of you regulars probably know, I grew up on the Marine Corps’ MEU(SOC) .45, a custom 1911A1 issued to a handful of Marines. In my day this gun came with a Pachmayr wrap-around grip that covered the front strap with a thin layer of checkered rubber. With this memory in mind, and memories of a good set of Pachmayr revolver stocks I once owned, I recently purchased a Pachmayr Presentation grip to replace the Hogue finger-grooves on my 686.
The small defensive revolver is a compromise. In carrying one I have compromised some benefits of a larger gun, like capacity, ease of use. I have also sacrificed some practical accuracy that a larger revolver or pistol would afford. When my 640 Pro refused to shoot to point-of-aim with any load I tried, I decided this was not a compromise I could live with – I don’t want to have to rely on Kentucky windage when fractions of a second really count. So, I resorted to what those of us with non-adjustable sights sometimes have to. If you find yourself in this situation, you may find yourself filing your revolver’s front sight.
When I initally pulled my 640 Pro Series out of the box I was in love. That feeling only lasted until the first time I pulled the trigger. Even though this is a Pro Series gun, the trigger was abysmal (read: about average for a J-Frame). Attempting to test its weight on my Lyman trigger pull gauge was futile. I received the dreaded “overload” message; the trigger pull exceeded the gauge’s 12-lb capacity. Needing badly to lighten it, I purchased the Apex Duty-Carry Spring Kit from Apex Tactical Specialties.