Stopping power or the gun I can shoot best?

This is a discussion on Stopping power or the gun I can shoot best? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; If you were talking the difference between a .380 and a .44 Mag, I'd be all for carrying what you shoot best. But a .22 ...

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Thread: Stopping power or the gun I can shoot best?

  1. #16
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    If you were talking the difference between a .380 and a .44 Mag, I'd be all for carrying what you shoot best. But a .22 is just a wee bit under what I would wish to depend upon. I think the issue lies more with the snubbie rather than the caliber.
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  3. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by buffalosabres61 View Post
    I would seek out a professional and confirm that your stance, grip, etc are correct. Usually, it is the shooter that needs fixing, not the firearm. I hear of lots of small framed women that shoot .357s without trouble.
    I have had shooting lessons, and grip and stance are fine. I have some nerve damage in my hand and wrist, and the recoil of the light weight 642 just doesn't work for me.

  4. #18
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    I second the steel-framed revolver suggestion. The revolvers with aluminum alloy, scandium, titanium, obscurium, unobtanium, or plasticium frames are way oversold and way overrated. A good used J-Frame Smith & Wesson in any of the following models, 36, 40, 49, or 60 would serve well. So would a Colt Detective Special or a Ruger SP 101. For just a little more bulk that features greatly enhanced shoot-ability, try a nice Smith & Wesson Model 10 or Model 15 in 2-inch barrel guise. These two 6-shot models tame the most energetic .38 Special ammunition and hide surprisingly easily.

    Make the change to a steel-framed revolver and practice a ton more and you'll be there.

    Another thought. Is your hearing protection up to snuff? Are your muffs worn out or only offering a lower grade of protection? What about trying both muffs and plugs for a while when practicing?

    I got some new 30 db ear muffs last week but didn't get to try them out until today. They were much superior to the 20-year-old 31db rated ear muffs I'd been using. The foam inside the cups had deteriorated in the old ones. These things sneak up on you and you don't really notice the difference until you try a new set.
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  5. #19
    New Member Array alex3737's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I think the issue lies more with the snubbie rather than the caliber.
    I agree. Although it's not so much the snubbie, but the light weight snubbie. Now just trying to figure out which heavier, steel gun would be best.

    Ruger sp101 2 inch barrel, S&W 640 2 inch barrel, or S&W 60 3 inch barrel

    The only place to rent guns around here only has the Ruger, which I tried and I think it's manageable. I wish I could try the other guns.

  6. #20
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    I agree with Smitty that a .38 is better than a .22. That being said, people die having been shot with a .22 all the time.

    Carrying a larger caliber gun that you can't hit what you are aiming at is a real problem. Especially in the event that you have to shoot some piece of dirt and miss. There is no such thing as a justified accidental shooting. They call that negligence, and a DA will start salivating at the mention of it. Having a lightweight gun sounds real good on paper but many find themselves unable to hit the broadside of a barn standing on the inside shooting out.

    Smitty gave you some sound advice concerning ammo and moving to a steel frame over the alloy. If that doesn't fit you or your desires, then you may have no other option but a smaller caliber gun. Keep in mind that the term "mouse gun" isn't about the size of the gun but the caliber. I am sure that few on this forum would recommend a .22 for SD but I am also sure that no one will volunteer to stand in front of a .22 and let you shoot them.

    The advice that has been given over the years is carry the largest caliber that you can shoot well.

    Here's hoping you never have to find out first hand if the .22 will stop the BG that attacks you.
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  7. #21
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    Alex, if you have a Cabelas or other place you can try the fit in your hand that would be the best at this point. I have nerve damage too, but I'm my weak side hand so I know what you are facing. I like Walthers but I carry a Ruger SR9c....it feels good on the hand and doesn't have a lot of perceived recoil..at least I don't think so. You can get one for around $400..
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  8. #22
    Senior Member Array Macattack's Avatar
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    hmmm my friend also has some nerve damage in his hand and is in a similar boat. Luckily we have alot of gun ranges that rent and we were able to try some out that might work for you!

    1. 22 MAG revolver-. Not much more recoil than a standard 22, but alot more power. ammo is alittle more expensive, but cheaper than most bigger rounds.

    2. 32 or 380 cal - revolver made by taurus. (not much recoil but the worst trigger ever, even for a revolver :)

    3 327 mag revolver-my favorite. big boom low recoil, but ammo is harder to find (internet is best i guess)

    good luck. My bud carries a pt 22 (tiny 22 semi auto) he can put all 8 shots in a tiny pattern at 7 yards alot faster and more accurate than i can with my glock 19.

    whatever you are more deadlyerer.....er with gets my vote.

    I think cdnn still has those 327 rev. for sale

    good luck
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  9. #23
    Senior Member Array sensei2's Avatar
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    dear alex3737:

    like you, i have an S&W 642, which was my primary pocket carry gun for years. like you, i don't shoot it very well. (see the current thread on the maximum combat effectiveness of a snub-nose revolver.)

    i have changed to a Kahr CM-9, 9mm pistol for my pocket carry gun. i can shoot it MUCH better than the 642 (which i still have).

    choosing a carry gun is always a balancing act between cost, size, caliber, number of rounds, type of gun, and how well you can shoot it. (and i'm sure i've left out a few factors)

    personally, i would go with the gun i had confidence that i could shoot well enough to hit a human-size target at up to 25 feet reasonably quickly. from what you have said, i would recommend the .22.

    best of luck....

  10. #24
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    Not sure if this will help but I have a taurus .38 snub special. I have very small hands and can shoot this gun pretty well. Does take practice but after a few months I was doing pretty well. Maybe this would be a gun that might work for you.
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  11. #25
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    I'd definitely go with a larger caliber. I'm not too informed about revolvers because it's been a long time since I had one but I know that different models in the same caliber & size will have different recoil characteristics. Factors such as weight of the gun & bore axis can make the difference. I think that a .357/.38 special might fit the bill. A gun designed to be able to shoot .357 mag should be a bit heavier. If I were to get a revolver I'd get one with the longer barrel. More weight, easier to aim accurately but a bit harder to conceal if that's a factor. Anything can be concealed within reason.
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    I've carried a 442 for years. Yes, the recoil isn't forgiving, but that's the cost of doing business. I would stay away from anything smaller than a .380.
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  13. #27
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    If you like the size and caliber of the 642, maybe you should look into an all-steel j-frame? Look around for a Model 36. If you really want to shoot an accurate j-frame, try one that is a square-butt style grip. My Model 36 is a square butt and is very controllable and accurate.
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  14. #28
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex3737 View Post
    I've been concealed carrying a S&W 642 .38 special revolver for about a year now. I love the size of the gun and I like the idea of its stopping power, however the recoil in such a light weight gun is to much for me. I can't shoot it well, and therefore don't feel confident with it.

    I know most people don't like the .22 caliber for self defense, but I really like shooting a .22 revolver and can afford to do it. I'm thinking about getting rid of my 642 and getting a S&W 43c or Ruger LCR 22.

    Is it better to stick with stopping power, even though I can't shoot it well, or should I go with a gun I can shoot confidently comfortably? Is a .22 I can shoot well, better than a .38 that I can't shoot well?

    Any thoughts?
    When I saw the thread title I was all ready to just say "somewhere in between". But a 642 is already on the light side of "stopping power" - not that there really is such a thing. A hit with a .22 is certainly better than a miss with a .38 - but maybe if you tried some larger/heavier guns with a little more capacity and power you'd find them very enjoyable to shoot. A snub nose revolver is what is typically described as "carried much, shot little" - they aren't a lot of fun to shoot, because they are very light and recoil is annoying. The small grip and light weight make the recoil much more noticeable.

    I suggest finding some other guns to try out. And in the meantime - lots of dry fire practice with your 642. And standard pressure loads. Put 1 in the cylinder, spin it and snap it shut. Slowly, at 3 yards, being very deliberate - dry fire your way through the cylinder. Gradually speed up, gradually add more rounds....next move the range out a bit, 7 yards....it's a gradual learning process.

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  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex3737 View Post
    I did just get back from the gun range where I tried the Ruger SP101 .357 2 inch barrel. I shot .38 loads out of it and it felt much more manageable. It wasn't awesome, but it was definitely manageable. I'm sure with practice I could get better at that gun.

    So now that I know a heavier gun may be all that I need. For concealed carry purposes, should I go with a 2 inch or 3 inch barrel?
    I would go with the 3 inch barrel for a couple of reasons.

    First, the extra inch of steel will help manage the recoil more than the 2 inch barrel. Every little bit helps.

    Secondly, the longer barrel will give you a little better bullet performance ballistically.

    Third, the longer barrel gives you a slightly longer sight radius for taking aimed shots more accurately.

    Fourth, the 3 inch barrel will not have much of effect, if any at your ability to conceal one better over the other unless you want to "pocket carry." But if you are carrying holstered on your belt, there will be no difference.

    My wife and I both have 2 inch SP-101's and they are great guns. Mine is in .357 and the wife's is a .38 special. They are great guns and we still carry them from time to time. My wife definitely more that me.

    But what I really like is my 3 inch stainless Ruger Speed Six. In a revolver, I think the 3 inch barrel is just about perfect for concealed carry. Now it is a six shot rather than a five shot like the SP-101's so it has a slightly larger cylinder, and weighs more. Of course with the weight of the six shot, it will also make it a little bit more manageable with the recoil. But it is definitely a larger gun dimensionally.

    While the Speed Six is no longer made, the improved version would be the Ruger GP-100 which is available in stainless steel or blued and also available with a 3 inch barrel.

    Our two DAO SP-101's on top and the 3 inch Ruger Speed Six on the bottom
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  16. #30
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    I believe that in order to stop a deadly violent threat it's important to be capable of effectively bringing the most-effective power to bear upon the enemy. And that entails many elements that can alter effectiveness: accuracy (sight picture, sight radius), ease of use, caliber, barrel length, skill with that specific tool, tactics, etc.

    Part of it's accuracy, probably most of it, sure. But it doesn't do much good if it's not effective enough to halt the threat before it reaches you. Accurate holes don't necessarily equate to halting the threat.

    For me, I pick the best mix of size/caliber/power/accuracy that I can carry with me on a daily basis. And I've tested the basic mix frequently, so that I'm fairly assured of making a good impact should I be forced to use it. (Ask any side of beef that I've torn up in the past 15yrs ... they'll confirm it.) Works for me. YMMV, as the best mix is dependent on your skills, physical strengths, mental/tactical competency, comfort and capability with that given weapon's actual performance in your hand, etc.
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