Tell me about the S&W 640
5-shot J-frame .357 Mag - can it handle hot loads? Any issues? Anyone carry one?
I had one for a while but I switched to a 637 Airweight .38+ It's a lot lighter to carry and the recoil is about the same.
I don't know about hot loads, but 125gr .357s were painful and follow up shots were a bit slow. I'll stick with my .38 642 with Speer 135gr +Ps
Define 'hot load'. If you mean standard .357Mag factory loads, the gun is plenty strong enough to do that, although I wouldn't try a steady diet of them, and I would also go easy with the full bore 125gr JHP screamers. Your hand, and slow followup shots will probably limit you more than the gun will. I use the Remington GS 125's in mine. They are loaded down to around 1220fps in a 4in barrel and while stout are not that much worse for me than the 135gr+P Speers already mentioned IMO. Mine goes with me everywhere but a 642 or similar is a bit lighter.
I bought a 640 when they first came out in the 90's. Love it. My most common carry piece.
It has some kick with .357 mag loads, but I had mine Magnaported, and it takes the bite out it.
Buy, carry, enjoy.