Stopping power or the gun I can shoot best?

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; 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 ...

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

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    New Member Array alex3737's Avatar
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    Stopping power or the gun I can shoot best?

    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?


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    If you can't afford a second gun (a .22 to build your skills), then I'd say find some lighter loads to shoot in your snub. What are you shooting now? If you're using +Ps, back off to standard pressure. If you're using standard pressure loads, then step down to 148 grain wadcutters. These still do some serious damage at close range, far more than a .22.

    Alternatively, step up to a steel-framed snub. It'll be just a few ounces more, and in a decent pocket holster you'll hardly notice the differnce. But in your hand at the range, you'll know right away from the reduced apparent recoil.
    Smitty
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    New Member Array alex3737's Avatar
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    I've tried adjusting the loads I shoot. I have shot everything from +P to standard pressure wadcutters. I honestly can't tell a difference between any of them. They all feel the same to me.

    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 put 3 finger grips on my S&W 642, so the overal length that I am concealing right now is almost 6.5 inches (from back of grip to front of barrel). I read that the overall length of the S&W model 60 3 inch barrel is 7.5 inches. Should I go with the longer barrel to help with shootability, or for easier concealment should not go bigger than a 2 inch barrel?

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    Senior Member Array sioux565's Avatar
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    I honestly think you just need to practice more with your current carry gun!

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    New Member Array alex3737's Avatar
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    I've practiced a ton, it doesn't get better.

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    Member Array Simonsay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex3737 View Post
    I've practiced a ton, it doesn't get better.
    How much dry fire have you done? I dry fired the hell out of a 642 and got pretty good with it, a few years ago. Now not so much again.

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    Distinguished Member Array kelcarry's Avatar
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    I do not know what your finances are all about, but I sold my 642 and took the money and purchased an FN5.7X28. Big cost difference with a 642 at say $500 and an FN at $1000. The FN5.7X28 is a full size, lightweight, highly lethal, high capacity semi auto. The bullet is essentially a 22 in diameter but it is more like a rifle cartridge with velocities exceeding 2000fps--really lethal BUT and it is a big BUT, that for all its lethality and velocity, the recoil is just slightly more than a 22 and a heck of a lot less than a 38 or a 9MM. I purchased it by finding an answer to your basic question and that answer to my delight is the FN5.7X28.

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    Senior Member Array mulle46's Avatar
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    I have a SP101 with the 2 1/4 inch barrel. I love the little tank, even though the wife claimed it as her HD gun. I shoot it every chance I get.
    You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

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    New Member Array alex3737's Avatar
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    Kelcarry, Thanks for that suggestion. I like the FN5.7X28, but I'm looking to stay with a revolver. I prefer a revolver for high stress self defense. I know not everyone agrees with that, just my personal preference.

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    Senior Member Array mulle46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex3737 View Post
    Kelcarry, Thanks for that suggestion. I like the FN5.7X28, but I'm looking to stay with a revolver. I prefer a revolver for high stress self defense. I know not everyone agrees with that, just my personal preference.
    then I would try the 101 or the GP 100, if recoil is an issue for you
    You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

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    New Member Array alex3737's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulle46 View Post
    I have a SP101 with the 2 1/4 inch barrel. I love the little tank, even though the wife claimed it as her HD gun. I shoot it every chance I get.
    I noticed the SP101 weighs 3 ounces more than the S&W 640. I wonder if 3 ounces makes a significant difference on recoil? Or would those 2 guns feel the same in terms of recoil?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array mulle46's Avatar
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    I haven't shot the 640 myself, but I shoot +p 38 through my 101 with no problem.
    You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Member Array FLMOPE's Avatar
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    It sounds like you need to hit a range that rents guns.
    You need to find something you can shoot but still has enough stopping power to do the job.

    Keep an open mind and find what works for you.
    Spirit51 likes this.
    "Only the Sith deal in absolutes."

    "My dog is smarter than your honor student."

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    New Member Array buffalosabres61's Avatar
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    I can't comment on revolvers, because I do not own one. Nor, do I know anything about your physical stature.

    With that said, a smaller caliber gun is better than a gun you cannot control. You can do more harm than good with a firearm you cannot control. The last thing you need is shoot a bystander by accident. However, before you go and discard your current firearm, 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.
    sensei2 and CAS_Shooter like this.

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    Ex Member Array detective'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?
    Well, .22 is the bottom far as quick lethality - but that's in general, doesn't mean it won't work for you. You could also simply try a .38spl in steel, Colt Detectives are great snubs and shoot 6, but have gotten quite pricey/ there are many fine Smith&Wessons in .38 from 60s, 70s, 80s that are inexpensive and former police guns, means they weren't shot a lot, may have a lot of holster wear but who cares, most ex-police guns would be 4" but S&W has MANY fine snubs from that era or later. They would be much easier for you to handle. I'd try this before the .22.

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