small revolver recommendation

Wheelguns of all descriptions.
Post Reply
amheck
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 271
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:41 pm
Location: St. Pete, FL

small revolver recommendation

Post by amheck » Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:26 pm

Thinking about a small revolver that both my wife and I would feel comfortable with. This won't necessarily be a piece carried in a holster, but maybe put in a glovebox, purse, desk drawer, etc. Any comments about the S&W 642, 640 or the Ruger GP100? I'm not sure why, but I don't have any interest in the LCR for whatever reason.

Thanks!

User avatar
jmikeb653
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 1427
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:24 pm
Location: palm beach county

Re: small revolver recommendation

Post by jmikeb653 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:19 pm

A no-lock 642 or similar with a set of Hogue rubber grips.... light weight, snagless and fits everywhere, pocket, purse, IWB, ankle. Let your wife practice with low-recoil full-wadcutter to get her confidence, but carry Hornady Critical Defense or similar. I personally carry a hammerless Ruger SP101 in .357 but it is too heavy and to much noise and recoil for most women. The idea is to give her the ability and not scare her off of the idea with a hand cannon. Hopefully she will never have to use it. Good on you for taking the time to teach her.... jim
"Try never to run out of smokes, ammo and luck all at the same time. But remember, if you have ammo, you can always get more smokes, and make your own luck."—G.K. Shirpa
wakkoss wrote:
" Good thing for me that I don't wear panties. I freeball with support from a small glob of firm tofu."

User avatar
Odessaman
Life Member
Life Member
Posts: 2314
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:05 pm
Location: Tampa Bay area, Florida

Re: small revolver recommendation

Post by Odessaman » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:27 pm

I'm no expert my any means, but I've owned, shot and carried a number of small guns over the years, including several flavors of snubbies, so understand these comments are based on my experiences, and YMMV.

This reply got away from me a little, so I'll apologize in advance if you've already set your mind to get a snubbie, and just want recommendations among those you specified (and the Ruger GP100 is not a small gun - I think you might be thinking of the 5 shot SP101.) If that's the case, I can recommend any of the steel frame hammerless S&W snubbies, and I personally would never own one that has the silly safety lock above the cylinder release latch - just my preference. I suggest steel frames (640, 640-1) over Airweights (642, 442, etc), unless you and your wife are experienced shooters and intend to carry the gun on your body. For glove box or desk drawer, the extra weight won't matter, although it might get a little heavy in your wife's purse. (Although in a glovebox or desk drawer, you could - and in my opinion should - really go with a bigger gun.) Stay with hammerless, and learn to control the double action pull - I personally don't have a practical reason to shoot a snubbie single action, and hammers tend to get caught on things when they shouldn't. I've got nothing against a Ruger snubbie, other than I prefer the triggers on Smith & Wessons. Both are fine, robust guns. If that's the extent of the opinions you were seeking, great. But, if you're at all on the fence about snubbies in general, I've got a few more thoughts:

Why a snub nose?
It would help to know what level of shooting experience you and your wife have, and why you think a small revolver would fill your specific needs. I'm not assuming you're inexperienced shooters, but a snubnosed centerfire revolver is a difficult gun to master, even for experienced shooters. Many folks think just because they're small, simple to operate and can shoot the same ammunition as a full sized gun, they're ideal for concealment or carry. But size is only one factor to consider. Yes, they're small - but many quality, modern semiautos are no bigger, are often thinner (which can make a big difference when carrying concealed on your person) and have greater capacity - 6 or 7 rounds of 9mm vs. 5 rounds of .38+P or .357 magnum. Semi autos are also faster to reload, but if you have to reload a pocket gun in a defensive situation, a better option is to get the hell away from wherever you are. Many folks tout the revolver's reliability, and I agree that there's less to go wrong, and if a revolver fails to fire (as long as the cylinder isn't bound up tight) you just pull the trigger again to bring another round into battery and (hopefully) fire. However, if you're using a gun for self defense, I believe you're obligated to be thoroughly familiar with it, and that includes what to do when something doesn't work as planned. Most quality modern semi autos, if properly maintained and thoroughly tested, will do everything they're supposed to do when called upon. However, if you buy any gun, run 20 rounds through it and put it in the nightstand, the glove box or your belt, don't expect it to be some magic Hollywood laserbeam blaster when you really need it.

The downside of snubbies
They've got a short barrel, so practical accuracy is often expressed in feet, not yards. This also reduces the effectiveness of most self-defense rounds, although some companies do make SD ammunition specifically tailored for short barrels, although I haven't personally tested any of them. Rudimentary sights with a short radius also limit accuracy, and muzzle blast and recoil make accurate follow up shots difficult, especially in a hurry. With a larger gun, this could be improved with lots of practice, but I can tell you from experience, small guns aren't fun to shoot for extended periods with even marginal self defense loads.
As Jim said above, a good set of Hogue grips will make it fit the hand better and help absorb recoil.

The upside of snubbies
They're small.
They're simple.
They're reliable, if properly manufactured and maintained.
They're better than pepper spray.
They're cool, in an old-school kind of way - which may be a reason to own one, but never a reason to rely on one for defense.

For me, a snubbie would never be a primary defensive choice, unless it's all I had. A backup? Sure, but never a primary.
Again, those are just my personal preferences - six other people may have seven other opinions. :ber
~ Odessaman ~


“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
― Mark Twain

User avatar
305tillimoved
Life Member
Life Member
Posts: 3398
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:45 am
Location: SE Broward/ North Miami border

Re: small revolver recommendation

Post by 305tillimoved » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:30 pm

I prefer the older models 66, 64, 60, 36.
I dont care for lcrs either. Shitty triggers and they aint fun to look at.

If your wife hasnt had much trigger time with a snub revolver, definitley get her on the range to make sure she would be comfortable shooting one. Sometimes guys buy first then regret it when their wives dont like the trigger pull.
"[A]nyone who was not a liberal at 20 years of age had no heart, while anyone who was still a liberal at 40 had no head."
~ Winston S. Churchill

User avatar
Cardboard_killer
Life Member
Life Member
Posts: 2605
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2007 11:52 am
Location: Zephyrhills, FL

Re: small revolver recommendation

Post by Cardboard_killer » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:44 pm

A k-frame smith snubbie is a very accurate and easy to shoot revolver (very little recoil with standard 38spl). I prefer shooting 38spl, a model 10 or 15. I'd avoid the stainless models as they are more expensive and heavier. A K-frame is a medium sized gun, though, so be prepared for a hefty carry piece.
Brian
Early Merging Causes Traffic Jams

amheck
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 271
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:41 pm
Location: St. Pete, FL

Re: small revolver recommendation

Post by amheck » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:48 am

Thanks for the comments, all. Good info and Odessaman, I appreciate the time it took to type that all up.

Yes, I think I was probably thinking of the SP101 over the GP100.

I'm a pretty new shooter, only 5-7 years into the hobby. I suppose its probably best to go up to the store and handle a few. I'm just making some assumptions on what kind of weight she'll feel comfortable with at the range, and just thought the smaller the better, but I don't want it to be no fun to shoot either.

I am interested the smaller autos like the Sig 380, Colt Mustang, etc, so I suppose that's always an option too. But like you said, can't hurt to have a snubbie for the old school factor.

She's taking a concealed class coming up in a couple weeks and I suppose I'll just send her up with my G19 for now. I think that's probably about the best thing I have suited for her, aside from some .22 stuff. I'll have her try the 6" 686 but I think that's going to be too much for her, but we'll see.

User avatar
Odessaman
Life Member
Life Member
Posts: 2314
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:05 pm
Location: Tampa Bay area, Florida

Re: small revolver recommendation

Post by Odessaman » Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:51 am

amheck wrote: I suppose its probably best to go up to the store and handle a few. I'm just making some assumptions on what kind of weight she'll feel comfortable with at the range, and just thought the smaller the better, but I don't want it to be no fun to shoot either.
This is a good idea - even better if you know some people that own the models that feel best in the hand and will let you run a few dozen rounds through their guns (it'd be polite for you to buy the ammo and the range time in return.)

Next time you're both in a gun store, have your wife hold a couple of different small, polymer framed semi autos. A single stack 9mm like a S&W Shield or a Kahr P9 or CW9 is thin and lightweight, but doesn't beat you up with recoil because part of the recoil energy is used to cycle the slide - unlike a revolver, where 100% of the recoil is absorbed by the shooter's hand and arm. Your Glock 19 might be a bit big for your wife, but if it feels OK in her hands (the grip is probably the #1 complaint folks have about Glocks, the trigger being second) then you might consider a G26, or wait for Glock to finally come out with a single stack 9mm, which is supposed to be in the works. I'd avoid .380's, which are just a shortened 9mm and don't offer much advantage in recoil savings, in my opinion. Plus, 9mm is easier and cheaper to come by, which translates into greater opportunities for practice.

Take your time and try out as many as you can. I also strongly suggest getting additional training beyond the CCW class, which will focus on the legalities of carry more than the mechanics. A qualified instructor who caters to teaching women and beginners will be infinitely better than some Rambo wannabe who will likely intimidate her and try to make her advance too quickly.

Good luck, have fun and be safe.
~ Odessaman ~


“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
― Mark Twain

chuck17
Member
Member
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 11:07 pm
Location: Palm Beach County

Re: small revolver recommendation

Post by chuck17 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:55 pm

I would recommend a lot of .22 practice...it has low recoil and is a confidence-builder. Snubbies are hand-slappers and can be difficult for extended practice, but they are reliable and small. I took a petite coworker to shoot with a bunch of guns to try them out. She could not pull the trigger on the model 36 snubbie (or a model 10) in double action. She liked the Glock 19, shot it well and could rack the slide, and ended-up buying one for herself. My wife also likes her Glock, but recently bought an LCP for herself to carry. Glocks are soft recoiling, but they're big (the new 42 .380 is nice, though). If it's too big, she won't carry it. The only way to achieve any kind of proficiency with a firearm is regular practice. Good luck.

Chuck

User avatar
flcracker
Life Member
Life Member
Posts: 5553
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 8:55 am
Location: Safety Harbor

Re: small revolver recommendation

Post by flcracker » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:42 pm

Used Taurus Model 85 .38 special ~$250.
Wolf spring kit installed <$50.
Point. Shoot.

If you like it and get to the point where you want something better in a revolver, then buy an SP-101 for yourself and let your wife have the Taurus. If the two of you decide to go forward with an auto for a carry piece, just keep the Taurus for a car/truck gun.
and some rin up hill and down dale, knapping the chucky stanes to pieces wi' hammers, like sae mony road-makers run daft - they say it is to see how the warld was made!

User avatar
45caldan
Life Member
Life Member
Posts: 1204
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:04 pm
Location: Lakeland

Re: small revolver recommendation

Post by 45caldan » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:57 pm

If it is not to be carried, get an all steel K frame snub as some have mentioned.
No need for an alloy frame UNLESS you carry it a lot.
DON'T TREAD ON ME

Post Reply