Modernizing the J-Frame Revolver

With all the new and cool pocket-sized .380ACP and 9mm semi-automatic handguns hitting the market these days, the small (and perhaps not as exciting) J-frame revolver tends to be overlooked. While the new breed of pocket semi-auto’s are pretty cool and certainly serve a valuable purpose, they can also introduce more problems than solutions to the equation. Many of these guns are relatively new to the market and as such, haven’t had all the bugs worked out of them (just do a quick search on the discussion forum and you’ll see what I mean). Additionally, some of the parts used in these guns are so small or thin that they simply do not stand up well to repeated use and wear.

This brings us back to the “boring”, yet extremely reliable, small J-frame revolver. These have been around forever and have a proven track record. While not as flashy or exciting as the newest generation of semi-autos, the one constant with a J-frame revolver is they go BANG each and every time you pull the trigger. And let’s face it, if it doesn’t go bang EVERY time you pull the trigger, what good is it? On top of this rock solid reliability, you get an extremely simple manual of arms. No safety’s to manipulate, no slide to rack, no tap-rack-bang drills to practice – just point the gun at whatever you want to ventilate and pull the trigger. If you happen to come across the extremely rare scenario of a bad round, you simply pull the trigger again until it goes bang or the bad guy stops menacing you. It’s as simple as it gets!

Now I know that for many people reliability and simplicity are not cool and exciting. J-frame revolvers are not likely to incite visions of James Bond secret missions or showcase cool new up-and-coming technology. Enter Crimson Trace into the picture.

Crimson Trace has been making lasers for small J-frame revolvers for several years now. The latest product offering in this category, the LG-405 P20 Pro Custom Lasergrip for the Smith & Wesson line of round-butt J-frames, injects both modern technology and simple elegance back into the “dull old” J-frame. These are front-activation lasergrips with a chestnut finished polymer panel wrapped with a rubber overmold. They also feature a recoil reduction pocket in the rubber overmold to help improve control of these small revolvers allowing you to get back on target quickly. The one fault I have with these grips is the wood finished polymer panels as I would personally prefer real wood instead of polymer, but that’s not currently an option so I digress…

Technical Specs From Crimson Trace

Platform Lasergrips®
Attachment Grip Replacement
Activation Instinctive Activation – Front
Material(s) Polymer and Rubber Combination
Installation User Installed, No Gunsmithing Necessary
Sighting Factory Sighted at 50 feet
User Adjustable Windage and Elevation
Battery Life Four Hours
Battery Type 2032 Lithium (2)
On/Off Switch Yes
Laser Output 5mW peak, 633nm, Class 3R Red Laser
Laser Visibility Aproximately .5 Inch Diameter at 50 Feet
Warranty 3 Years Complete
Fits Model(s) Airlight, Airweight, Bodyguard, Chief’s Special, Centennial, Ladysmith, Models 36, 37, 38, 49, 60, 63, 317, 331, 332, 337, 340, 342, 351, 360, 442, 637, 638, 640, 642, 649, 651, and 940 – Round Butt Only
Other Back Strap Recoil Reduction Pocket
Wrench Size .028
MSRP $329


LG-405 P20 Pictures:

So by adding a set of Crimson Trace laser grips, you have taken a boring, old, reliable, easy-to-use J-frame revolver and turned it into an elegant, technologically advanced, even easier-to-use self-defense machine.

Instructions for use*:
1. Put red dot on target.
2. Pull trigger straight to the rear.
3. BANG!
4. Repeat as necessary.

Crimson Trace – working to make the J-frame revolver cool again!!

There are also several models of small J-frame revolvers available with factory installed Crimson Trace lasergrips on them:

S&W M&P340CT

S&W 637CT

S&W 642CT

S&W 638CT


* ALWAYS follow the manufacturers full instructions for use for all firearms and accessories!

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