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Thread: Advice for a concealable, reliable revolver

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    Regular Member Hendu024's Avatar
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    I'll make this as short as possible. A friend of mine owns a small business in Maine. He said he had a guy come into his store yesterday who looked pretty sketchy and was asking some questions that seemed a little off. Long, long story short, the guy ended up stealing his wallet off the counter without my friend noticing. ( I know, that's the first mistake, having the wallet out in the open) Anyways, when he realized it, he called the bank and all that and the guy was already out making purchases. After the cops took forever to show up and take the report, the guy was long gone.

    So in the midst of this conversation I had with my friend today, he said "You know, what if no customers had been in the store and/or if he didn't see my wallet and wanted money, it could have been a lot worse." He knows I carry, and we started to talk about carrying in our places of business for self defense and all that. He said he would be interested in a revolver, because he would feel more comfortable with it.

    He is definitely not an experienced shooter, and he's not going to dive right and and start carrying everywhere, but he wants some protection at his store. Putting aside all the gun safety stuff he should do first and everything associated with that (I will be going over plenty of that with him), I wanted to get some recommendations on a concealable, reliable revolver for an inexperienced shooter.

    I am mainly a semi auto guy, but I have fired plenty of revolvers and I am definitely biased towards S&W. What are your recommendations? I know there are other threads elsewhere on revolver recommendations, but I wanted to hear what you guys have to say about it under these circumstances.

    Thanks!

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    I own a taurus snubby 357 and have no complaints with it at all-and hey it has a lifetime warranty.Smith cant say that.A friend of a friend was at the range shooting his smith the awhile back and the top half of his gun blew apart and the cylinder flew off and landed on the bench next to another shooter.
    He sent the gun to smith and they refused him any help or repairs on their gun that malfunctioned under normal shooting conditions.So much for any costumer service-ill take the taurus anytime.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    S&W J-frames are great carry revolvers. (A .357 Magnum lets you shoot .38 SPL and .38 SPL +P if the full-house loads are too much.)

    The new(ish) Ruger SP-101 is great too. (Don't overlook the .327 Federal Magnum if you want something between a .38 +P and a .357)

    I guess the Taurus offerings aren't too bad but I think the quality of a Smith > Ruger > Taurus.

    I prefer ~3" barrels for carry revolvers for a good balance of concealment and accuracy/power. I don't have any experience with other small-frame carry revolvers.

    That's my $0.02

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    Not questioningthe story of the S&W blowing upbut this is an aberration. S&W is one of the most reliable revolvers out there and their Customer Service is usually very helpful and quick to repair which is not the case with Taurus. Yes, they offerlifetime warranty but the waiting time for repair can be lengthy and you may not be satisfied withthe fix. Your friend should go to a range and rentsome guns to see what he is comfortable shootingwith before purchasing, but revolvers always go bang when the trigger is pulled.

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    Regular Member hp-hobo's Avatar
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    There are a lot of guns that would fit the description of what you're looking for. My recommendation would be a Rossi model461/462.



    It's the same size as a 2" barrel J-Frame with a slightly larger grip, it's a.357 but as with all .357's will shoot .38 Specials and is a six-shot instead of a five-shot. That doesn't seem like much until you realize it offers you 20% more rounds loaded and ready to fire. It's also available in either black or stainless. My wife carries her's often and has put just under 2k rounds (mostly .357) down range in the last year with zero malfunctions. If it does break it has a lifetime warranty that they honor without question.

    Best of all they can be had new in the low to mid $300 range and used closer to $250, even less with some shopping. We got hers from used, two weeks old and 50 rounds through it for $190. The original owner said the noise scared her. Her loss was our gain.

    The only thing I don't like about the gun is that I only get to shoot it once in a great while. My better half doesn't like to share her toys.

    P.S. If money is a real issue, you can get an older Rossi .38 Special that's ugly but functional sometimes under $100, however they don't carry the same warranty.

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    Snubnose revolvers are difficult to shoot well, and new gun owners may have too much problem mastering the double action trigger pull, reloading,and the proficient use of the snubbie.

    There are many smaller semiautomatics out there that can be easier for the new shooter to master. The canard of getting a revolver for a new shooter, as opposed to a semiautomatic, is often foisted on men as well as on women. Go to http://www.corneredcat.com/TOC.aspx#FirstGunand read everything there about chosing a first handgun, It applies to men as well as to women, unless you are in the military in which case you are stuck with what they issue you.

    Perhaps you can take your friend to the local gun shop and let him fondle several different styles and sizes of handguns as a first step. Tell him to concentrate on what feels "good" or "right" in his hand - just about everyone knows what that means.

    After he has selected a style/size, see if it is available for rent somewhere, or if someone you know has one. Let him try it out and find out if it is still "right" for his hand, and can he actually manipulate the controls and deal with the recoil.

    After that you can help him check out gunshows, local stores/pawn shops and the internet auctions, and advise him on price/quality.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=1430is a great explanation of how to check out a revolver before plunking your money down. If your friend is going to go for a revolver, I recommend you and he print it out and carry it with you when shopping.

    BTW, I own and shoot several snubies, and carry one as a BUG to my EDC small semiautomatic.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
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    Regular Member Hendu024's Avatar
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    skidmark wrote:
    Snubnose revolvers are difficult to shoot well, and new gun owners may have too much problem mastering the double action trigger pull, reloading,and the proficient use of the snubbie.

    There are many smaller semiautomatics out there that can be easier for the new shooter to master. The canard of getting a revolver for a new shooter, as opposed to a semiautomatic, is often foisted on men as well as on women. Go to http://www.corneredcat.com/TOC.aspx#FirstGunand read everything there about chosing a first handgun, It applies to men as well as to women, unless you are in the military in which case you are stuck with what they issue you.

    Perhaps you can take your friend to the local gun shop and let him fondle several different styles and sizes of handguns as a first step. Tell him to concentrate on what feels "good" or "right" in his hand - just about everyone knows what that means.

    After he has selected a style/size, see if it is available for rent somewhere, or if someone you know has one. Let him try it out and find out if it is still "right" for his hand, and can he actually manipulate the controls and deal with the recoil.

    After that you can help him check out gunshows, local stores/pawn shops and the internet auctions, and advise him on price/quality.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=1430is a great explanation of how to check out a revolver before plunking your money down. If your friend is going to go for a revolver, I recommend you and he print it out and carry it with you when shopping.

    BTW, I own and shoot several snubies, and carry one as a BUG to my EDC small semiautomatic.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
    Unfortunately I am back in VA now, I was just home in Maine on a short vacation, so I can't go around with him to check out the selections, but I will do all I can from here. Thanks for the links skidmark, much appreciated.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    skidmark wrote:
    Snubnose revolvers are difficult to shoot well, and new gun owners may have too much problem mastering the double action trigger pull, reloading,and the proficient use of the snubbie.

    [SNIP]
    I agree that snubbies are difficult to shoot well. That's one of the reasons I prefer the 3" barrel over the super-shorties.

    However, I must disagree with you on new shooters and the double action trigger pull.

    A good double-action revolver or pistol with a visible hammer is an absolutely amazing training aid for the new shooter. The ability to see the hammer move slowly and smoothly back in the foreground of the shooter's sight-picture is one of the greatest training aids for developing a smooth, consistent, and flinch-less trigger pull. A clean and well (but not over) oiled revolver (especially a S&W) will have an extremely smooth trigger pull. In fact, I often prefer to train new shooters on a revolver to develop proper trigger control even if they'll be carrying an auto. (Plus, revolvers are generally safer to teach new shooters with.)

    Teaching new shooters a proper DA trigger pull from the very beginning of their training will almost guarantee that they have a superb trigger pull in single action handguns as well. With proper dry-fire practice in the home or snap-cap surprises at the live-fire range for maintenance will ensure that they retain a good trigger pull. Training a new shooter on a single-action only handgun, such as a 1911, can actually be a disadvantage, as the shorter and lighter trigger pull (often with a very tight and close reset) makes diagnosing trigger consistency problems difficult.


    EDIT: If you're teaching DA trigger-pull with a revolver and not a pistol, it is not necessary to teach the more advanced technique of staging the cylinder and then pausing for what is effectively a SA shot. A new shooter will benefit much more from a smooth, clean and steady trigger pull with a "surprise" break where the revolver will fire "on its own" so to speak. Save the high-speed staging practice for later and only if they're going to carry a wheelgun.

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    shad0wfax wrote:
    S&W J-frames are great carry revolvers. (A .357 Magnum lets you shoot .38 SPL and .38 SPL +P if the full-house loads are too much.)

    The new(ish) Ruger SP-101 is great too. (Don't overlook the .327 Federal Magnum if you want something between a .38 +P and a .357)

    I guess the Taurus offerings aren't too bad but I think the quality of a Smith > Ruger > Taurus.

    I prefer ~3" barrels for carry revolvers for a good balance of concealment and accuracy/power. I don't have any experience with other small-frame carry revolvers.

    That's my $0.02







    not to sure about the smith quality-
    a local sheriff just pulled the m&ps from his department as carry guns due to different failures of the guns-they are now gonna issue berettas

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    h2ofowl wrote:
    not to sure about the smith quality-
    a local sheriff just pulled the m&ps from his department as carry guns due to different failures of the guns-they are now gonna issue berettas
    1) Smith & Wesson M&P's are semi-auto polymer framed guns, not unlike XD's and Glocks. The Smith & Wesson firearms I'm referring to are J-Frame compact and compact magnum revolvers, which have decades of proven reliability.

    2) That local sheriff's training division found that 60+% of new recruits had failure to extract problems... To me, that sounds like a training problem; perhaps 60+% of new recruits had improper grip (limp-wrist) issues that contributed to the FTE issues. Note that Smith & Wesson itself hasn't recalled their semi-autos.

    So, since the OP is inquiring about revolvers, pointing out the potential for new-shooter difficulties with the M&P is irrelevant.



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    Regular Member PaxMentis's Avatar
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    hp-hobo wrote:
    There are a lot of guns that would fit the description of what you're looking for. My recommendation would be a Rossi model461/462.



    It's the same size as a 2" barrel J-Frame with a slightly larger grip, it's a.357 but as with all .357's will shoot .38 Specials and is a six-shot instead of a five-shot. That doesn't seem like much until you realize it offers you 20% more rounds loaded and ready to fire. It's also available in either black or stainless. My wife carries her's often and has put just under 2k rounds (mostly .357) down range in the last year with zero malfunctions. If it does break it has a lifetime warranty that they honor without question.

    Best of all they can be had new in the low to mid $300 range and used closer to $250, even less with some shopping. We got hers from used, two weeks old and 50 rounds through it for $190. The original owner said the noise scared her. Her loss was our gain.

    The only thing I don't like about the gun is that I only get to shoot it once in a great while. My better half doesn't like to share her toys.

    P.S. If money is a real issue, you can get an older Rossi .38 Special that's ugly but functional sometimes under $100, however they don't carry the same warranty.
    About the "ugly"...my BUG is a (Interarms) Rossi M88 5 shot .38 stubby that looks identical to your wife's .357...
    My wife, who has never carries, but has practiced with the Rossi has decided she wants one to carry...I will let her have mine as soon as I find something I like as well for my ankle.

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    I had a Taurus 85, and it was a pretty good pistol. For MOST shooters, a little longer barrel would work better.

    I have a S&W K Frame model 65, and I like it very much. It has a 3 inch barrel. I can shoot 38 or 357. I can hit an 8 inch mark all day long at 25 yards. It's doubtful that a pistol would be used defensively at even half that distance, especially indoors...

    For MOST folks, a revolver is a very good choice, as practicing likely won't happen too often. A 3 to 4 inch S&W, Ruger, or Taurus would be an asset. But I would not recommend a true snubby for someone that's not going to put in the time at the range. A 2 inch pistol is difficult to hit consistently with, especially if it has tiny grips to match the tiny barrel. NOT that anyone CAN'T do it, it just takes a degree of dedication, that many will not provide.

    IMHO...

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    FHBrumb wrote:
    For MOST folks, a revolver is a very good choice, as practicing likely won't happen too often. A 3 to 4 inch S&W, Ruger, or Taurus would be an asset. But I would not recommend a true snubby for someone that's not going to put in the time at the range. A 2 inch pistol is difficult to hit consistently with, especially if it has tiny grips to match the tiny barrel. NOT that anyone CAN'T do it, it just takes a degree of dedication, that many will not provide.
    I think you're right on. Including the realistic view about how much people are really going to practice, which is definitely necessary for a 2" snubbie.

    A good platform is the 2" snubbie with Crimson Trace laser grips ..... plus .....practice with it constantly. One can get very accurate, even point shooting.

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    I find the Smith 637 lightweight is a great carry gun, it is hard to get good at shooting it but unless you are using it in an open shoot out it is a great lightweight and easy to carry gun. I also trad off now and then with a SIG 232 380 cal. Another great gun.....I find Comfort in carrying is the important part...

    just my $.02 worth

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    I occassionally use a rossi snubbie in .38, or a s & w in same calibre.
    Like any other carry, practice with it regularly to keep in touch with trigger pull.
    I get a kick out of folks saying its a da trigger, hard to pull, accuracy off.
    They eveidently don't shoot their much, might as well carry a couple of D size batteries to throw at their assailant, its cheaper. IMO
    If you can't shoot it correctly don't carry it. Pretty simple to me.

    It is amazing how many carry handguns and do not practice regularly. I've met some that haven't shot their weapon in months or a much as a year.
    Practice, practice, could or will save you or someone you love.
    good luck with a choice, way too many selections and opinions, best to handle a few, what feels good go with, give it a go and if not, trade it out for another. Eventually one will stick.
    Practice Practice, and carry, thats about it.

    rj

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    Great response RJ...I have tried many small and large guns till i settled on the two mentioned...I shot match for many years with the old 45 colt...but i sure dont want to lug it around for SP...
    You are right...practice is the key...I practice at 25 feet...just point and shoot...it wont take long till you can hit what you are looking at, at a mere 25 feet.....in my 65+ years I haven't needed to shoot much farther, except in Nam....and that dont count...lol

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    Smith and Wesson Model 15 Masterpiece - if you can get one - 4 inch barrel, accurate, hell yes. Concealable? The FBI carried them for years and when I got into the Investigation section in the USAF sps, I eschewed the Colt Detective Special and kept my Masterpiece. Just make sure it is a Model 15 and not a pre-1957 weapon as the pre-1957 "K-38"s will not handle +p; and never use +p+ in a Smith. Pre-57s have an adjustment screw in front of the trigger guard. The legend is that J. Edgar Hoover was so taken by the accuracy of the "Target Masterpiece" that so many LEOs were winning competitions with in 1948 that he asked S&W to modify it with a 4" barrel and Baughman "quick-draw" front ramp sights. And General Curtis "Bombs away" LeMay decreed it to be the standard duty arm of the USAF. That's a pretty ringing endorsement to me. Not too heavy, not too light; barks good and has a lethal bite.

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    I'm surprised nobody has recommended the Taurus Judge, loaded with 410 shotshells. It's a little big and bulky, which might make it a little touch to conceal if you were walking around, but it seems to me that the Judge would me a good "shop gun".

    Being a revolver, it's easy to learn for a beginning shooter. It's also simple to load, reload, and shoot. It won't jam like a semi-auto, and misfires are easy to deal with. For a non-enthusiast, it just seems like a great "defense" gun...

    And loaded with the new 410 shotshells that Federal is producing SPECIFICALLY for it, I imagine it would be very effective against even the most extreme badguy.
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    Dreamer wrote:
    I'm surprised nobody has recommended the Taurus Judge, loaded with 410 shotshells. It's a little big and bulky, which might make it a little touch to conceal if you were walking around, but it seems to me that the Judge would me a good "shop gun".

    Being a revolver, it's easy to learn for a beginning shooter. It's also simple to load, reload, and shoot. It won't jam like a semi-auto, and misfires are easy to deal with. For a non-enthusiast, it just seems like a great "defense" gun...

    And loaded with the new 410 shotshells that Federal is producing SPECIFICALLY for it, I imagine it would be very effective against even the most extreme badguy.
    http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot41.htm

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    I shot a judge yesterday and while it was a lot of fun to play with, its heavy, inaccurate, and kicks like all hell when loaded with .410 Probably not the best for a new shooter.

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    The niece carries a Judge in ome of those modified purse/holster rigs. First two are .410 birdshot, second two are full-house centerfire hollowpoints. Her reasoning is that being attacked might "freak her out" and put her aim off, and getting a facefull of birdshot may scare off/incapacitate/blind the BG and give her an opportunity to flee. and if not, the next three will hopefully "do the trick". She is well aware that in such situations there are no guarantees, but (I'm so proud!) says that she fels she has equipped herself well enough to have an overwhelming advantage to at least be able to get the hell away from the danger. She also says that if it gets down to it, an empty Judge would make "One hell of a conker" when used as a blunt-force weapon!

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    Ahh good points lol. But other than a purse I dont see how concealing one would be an option. Please noone suggest a fanny pack I doubt your buddy wants to carry around a fanny pack..

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    I think that Smith & Wesson's quality control issues from the early 1980's are pretty much behind them. Everyone else keeps having hiccups, but S&W's are just getting better.

    I would never recommend a J frame to anyone however. A K frame with a 4" barrel is just as concealable and a lot easier to control. I think the .38's, models 64 and 67 are pretty much optimum for defensive carry. I prefer the 64 w/ fixed sights & heavy barrel. The 67 has adjustable rear and red-ramp front sights.
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    My SP101 is very dependable

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