The gun under consideration here is the Smith & Wesson Model 60 “J-frame” with the 3″ barrel in .357 Magnum, a.k.a., the “60-15.” The Model 60 is not a new design. Introduced in 1965, it occupies its own special niche in handgun history. It was the first regular production all-stainless steel revolver, and it was an immediate success. The original Model 60 was a .38 Special. Today’s Model 60 is a .357 Magnum. It is available in 2 1/8” barrel, 3” barrel, and 5” barrel versions. Like all J-frames, it chambers 5 rounds. With its longer barrel and grip, it is as if the traditional short barreled snub-nose has been stretched for better performance.
If your primary environment is in the woods, where you can come across bears, wolves, or worse, carrying the full powered .357 Magnum round for protection makes a lot of sense. At the same time, it’s hardly desirable to pack around a heavy revolver that’s just going to weigh your belt down all day. The Smith & Wesson Model 60 steps in to combine the best of both worlds: it fires full powered .357 Magnum rounds and does so in a very light and comfortable 24 ounces.
When I wrapped my hands around the diminutive Smith & Wesson Model 60, my first thought was “Honey, I Shrunk The 686!” As I turned it over in my hands, I started to wonder if Rick Moranis had accidentally pointed his shrink-ray at a real gun, because the Model 60 looks and feels like a 2/3 scale model of my favorite .357 Magnum. But trust me: it’s a real gun. In fact it’s a fire-breathing fistful of ballistic fury, and you’ll use two fists if you know what’s good for you . . .