Comparing Apples to Oranges
Years ago the law enforcement profession made the decision to transition
en masse to semi-automatic pistols, especially high-capacity pistols in hard-hitting calibers. While I sincerely doubt that the reputation of the Smith & Wesson 327 TRR8 will be able to reverse this trend, I do think some agencies might adopt it as a special purpose tactical handgun.
In the old days the argument that brought about the widespread transition to pistols was all about firepower. The S&W 327 TRR8 dispels some of this argument because it is chambered to carry eight rounds of effective .357 Magnum ammunition, an impressive number of bullets for a wheel gun. It is also interesting to note that the eight-round cylinder on the 327 TRR8 is similar in size to the six-round cylinder that was used on Smith & Wesson N frame revolvers chambered in .357 Magnum.
Even though 1911s and the S&W 327 TRR8 are chambered in hard-hitting calibers and can carry similar accessories, I suspect that most folks would rather be armed with a pistol because we have been brainwashed to believe that semi-autos are better than revolvers. Hear me out here.
Keep in mind that the 327 TRR8 revolver has a removable rail on top of the frame that accommodates various types of optics. This revolver can also accommodate laser grips and a flashlight. In contrast, 1911s and other pistols are not specifically designed to accommodate optics. Given the choice, I'd be more than satisfied with the S&W 327 TRR8 for duty.
While field testing the 327 TRR8 it became apparent that the revolver was shooting a few inches low. To correct this problem I used a small screwdriver to turn the rear sight counterclockwise so I could raise the point of impact. Had the S&W 327 TRR8 been shooting high I would have turned the rear sight clockwise to lower the point of impact. I should add that it took less than 50 rounds of .357 Magnum and .38 Special Plus P ammunition to sight in the .327 TRR8 and see how this revolver shot with different bullet weights.
One problem that seems to haunt this revolver is the lack of available holsters. I found an old Hunter field holster that worked great as long as I did not attach any accessories. Hopefully, some of the holster companies will start making suitable holsters for this revolver, especially tactical holsters.
As someone who is admittedly a tad old fashioned, I tend to be skeptical of high-speed, low-drag, high-tech gadgets and equipment. As a result, I was never a fan of laser grips until I after I installed a pair of Crimson Trace Laser Grips on the Smith & Wesson 327 TRR8 test revolver. From the moment that I installed the Crimson Trace grips on the S&W 327 TRR8, I became a huge fan of both products. The overall size and weight of the 327 TRR8 makes this revolver hefty enough to absorb recoil like a sponge. The unloaded weight of the 327 TRR8 is 35 ounces.
When I installed the Crimson Trace Laser Grips on the S&W 327 TRR8, I was concerned that this revolver would not be as comfortable to shoot when I used .357 Magnum ammunition. Much to my surprise the grips proved to be extremely comfortable to use, even after I fired several cylinders full of Federal Nylcad .357 Magnum ammunition. Well done, Crimson Trace.
I had mixed feelings about using optics while testing the 327 TRR8. First off, this revolver has excellent adjustable sights, outstanding ergonomics, and terrific weight and balance for an eight-shot full-size wheel gun with a five-inch barrel built on an S&W N frame. While training with optics attached, I found that I acquired targets a tad quicker when I did it the old fashioned way and used the adjustable sights.
Even though I had no problem using this revolver with various accessories attached, I preferred shooting the S&W 327 TRR8 without the optics or a light but always with the Crimson Trace laser grips attached. If you feel otherwise I suggest you consider using the Aimpoint Micro T-1 NVC or the Trijicon MS04 Red Dot with the S&W 327 TRR8 revolver.
Lights are also a popular accessory to use on tactical firearms. Of all the accessories at my disposal my favorite is the Insight Technology SSL-1 LED Tactical Light. The only problem with using a light on the 327 TRR8 is the location of the accessory rail under the barrel. Unlike the accessory rail on a pistol that is easy to reach with your trigger finger, a light that is positioned on the S&W 327 TRR8 is not easy to access unless you use a wire and touch pad to extend the light switch to within reach of the shooter's hand. The other alternative is to access the light switch with your weak hand, a feat that would be difficult for a SWAT officer carrying the ballistic shield to do.
While many people will pay more than $1,000 for a tricked out 1911, most consumers find it hard to shell out that kind of money for a revolver, even one that is designed to be used with optics, a flashlight, and a laser. Even when used as a straight revolver with no accessories attached, the S&W 327 TRR8 is the finest American made paramilitary-style tactical service revolver in current production. Hopefully, this article will enlighten law enforcement officers about the benefits of using a well-made revolver like the S&W 327 TRR8 for tactical operations, personal protection, and home defense.
Nick Jacobellis is a medically retired U.S. Customs Agent and former police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent.