3 inch chief special
S&W Chief Special 3inch HB
When I started as a cop (1981) most agencies around here carried S&W Revolvers, mostly K frames. Among the more knowledgeable shooters, the 3 inch Chief's Special was a very popular off duty & backup gun. I bought the first one I ever fired. (A friend made me a deal. I made the last payment on the day President Reagan was shot).
At that time the County Traffic Police was separate from the Sheriff's Department (they merged in January of 1982). Among the avid shooters there was one group that carried S&W Auto pistols. (Many of them carried Walther PP or PPK or PPK/S pistols as hideout guns); another group that carried Colt Pythons (with Detective Specials as hide-out guns) and a final group that preferred the Smith & Wesson revolvers, mostly 5 inch Model 27s. And ALL those guys had 3 inch Chief Specials for hideout guns.
I always thought the 3 inch J frames balanced better and looked cooler. .
I currently own an M36 with the 3 inch tapered barrel, an M36 with the 3 inch heavy barrel, an M60 stainless with the 3 inch heavy barrel, and a (now-discontinued) M650 3 inch heavy barrel in .22LR, that I use as a "practice gun" for the other two.
Originally, for service ammo I used the S&W Nyclad 125 grn "Chief's Special" load, later made by Federal.
Then I switched to the WW 158 grn Lead SWC HP +P and then to the Federal 129 grn Hydro-Shock HP. I was about to switch to the Speer 135 grn +P HP, but then the PD made a change in policy and mandated the use of Hornady Critical Defense FXT hollow points for any secondary or concealment guns, and so I’m using the 110 grain hollow points.
I usually carry the guns in a traditional leather holster with a thumb break retainer, and reloads are Bianchi speed strips or HXS speed loaders carried in a Safariland 371 split six speed loader carrier.
You can only learn from experience if you pay attention!