Good J-Frame Sights

Later this year I’ll be shooting my Smith & Wesson 640 Pro Series at the 1st ever IDPA BUG Championships. So I’ve actually been training with my J-Frame, and one of the things I’ve really come to appreciate is how good the sights are, and how those sights make the gun so much better to shoot.

640 Pro front sight

I don’t normally like 3-dot sights, but when compared to the usual fare that you get on compact pocket guns, the Novaks on the 640 Pro Series are awesome. I get a nice clean sight picture in most lighting conditions, and in low light I have the advantage of the tritium inserts in all three sights. The front tritium dot is noticeably larger than the back two dots, and so even in pitch darkness I can see which dot is the front sight and align it. Of course, in pitch blackness I can’t see the target, but that’s not really the issue here.

640 Pro Series rear sight

These are definitely the best sights I’ve ever seen on a j-frame…but they could be a little bit better. The rear notch could stand to be wider and allow a little more light around the front sight post, and of course I’d prefer a Straight-8 dot configuration to the 3-dot. But beggars cannot be choosers, and as I’ve said these are a quantum leap better than what you’d get on most other j-frames, including the standard (non-Pro Series) 640. Of course, I also understand why you don’t see more small, compact revolvers set up like this – it costs money to machine the frame to accept these sights. And to be honest, most people that carry a j-frame aren’t going to push the shooting envelope with it to the point that they’d want these sights. Put a Crimson Trace lasergrip on your j-frame and call it good, and you’ll probably never need really good night sights.

But for the discerning consumer, the shooter that wants a little bit more on their carry gun, it’s nice to know that the option is there.


  1. Replying to Matt: I have a 640 Pro and it does NOT have the dreaded internal lock! Just like Caleb says, it’s not perfect, but it’s a great gun!

  2. If you have contacts at S&W, tell them to put these sights on a Scandium or alloy J frame, as aside from a BUG match, a 23 ounce J frame severely limits its ability as a BUG/ pocket gun.

  3. I too dislike three dot systems and prefer a wide rear notch. But these issues are not show stoppers. At distances where you’re likely to need to use sights with these small revos, trigger control/management will have a greater bearing on your success than the sights themselves. With the overly busy three dot system most every problem can be solved by shooting slightly “out of the notch” in daylight conditions which also results in an unmistakable “triad” (triangle) in low light conditions. With a rare exception, this is all the sight picture one would realistically need to get the job done. Using this simple method allows the major focus to fall on trigger control than chasing three dots into alignment.

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