Revolver opinions needed
New guy looking for advice and opinions. I plan on obtaining a CC permit and have thoughts about what type of handgun I would carry as my primary defensive weapon. I own semi-autos and I would probably carry one of them from time to time. But, after careful thought the ideal go-to carry handgun, in my mind is a snub-nose revolver. They are as close to utterly reliable and fool proof as a gun can be. The higher capacity provided by a semi-auto is an advantage however, if one was to use a CCW it would be as a last option. The odds of a shoot-out like a LEO would encounter is pretty slim. You canít be prepared for every situation, if you did I guess we would all carry Semiís, BUGs and Scatterguns all the time. So, with that said, my questions and considerations regarding carry revolvers are;
Iíve always had a desire to own a SP 101. I like itís .357 capability and the durability provided by solid SS. But the weight difference between that and an alloy S&W is 10 ozs., which is quite a bit. But, a compact XD or M&P for instance weighs the same as an SP 101 and those are commonly carried. So, is the 10 ozs. a factor? The other thing I like about some S&W revolvers are the bobbed but usable hammer option. I think that would be fun particularly for the range. Ruger only offers a full hammer and completely shrouded versions. And then thereís the Taurus Protector as well but I donít know a lot about it Any thoughts or opinions about revolvers and carrying them would be appreciated.
As a side note, I would probably get CT grips for this weapon as well.
I have a SP101 that I use for CCW. Yes, it IS heavier than say a S&W 637/38/42 etc. However, when shooting .38 +P through it you'll like it a little better because of less felt recoil (quicker the get back on target). Yes, you CAN shoot full power .357s through it but after 10 rounds it's almost the attitude of "Thank goodness that is over". However, I don't mind the heft of the SP101 (in fact when it comes to autoloader I prefer an all metal gun to a poly gun, but that's just personal preference, I don't think one material is superior to the other). I do like the fact that Ruger made this little revolver to be a shooter, and it "encourages" you to put as many rounds through it as you'd like. However, I've had no problems using it as a CCW and the "extra weight" is definitely appreciated when firing hotter rounds through it (such as 158g +P or full power .357s).
And you can get it hammerless for easier CCW, however then it is DAO and not DA/SA like the lightweight S&W .38 J-Frame revolvers can be had.
For CC when I want to take a revolver I get out the model 60. I don't mind the weight of it and I love the feel of it.
You are asking the right question but, unfortunately, the answer is "it depends." The heavier stainless steel revolver, SP 101 or S&W Model 60, is more pleasant to shoot but the lightweight alloy revolvers are more pleasant to carry. Because I expect to carry a lot and shoot relatively little, I carry a 637 Airweight when I carry a revolver. On the other hand, my wife and daughter see it differently and both carry Model 60's. I have no experience with the new very lightweight .357's and I don't really want any - +P loads in my 637 are ENOUGH, I can't even imagine full house .357 loads in an even lighter revolver.
Originally Posted by Sonic82
The SP101 is a great choice. I have a 2 1/4" model, with a hammer, and I carry it quite a bit. You can always have the hammer bobbed, but I don't see the need. I also have a S&W 642 which is lighter than the SP101, but I usually choose the Ruger. The 642 is relegated to summer carry, in cargo shorts, typically. The only thing I would do differently is get the SP101 in the 3" model. The added length gives a bit more performance than the 2 1/4" barrel, a longer sight radius and some extra recoil reduction. I wouldn't shoot 357's in the alloy S&W's.
I'd get the Ruger. You can always get a 642 for summertime...
The SP101 is hard to beat. Out of my own stable my preferences for concealed carry are my SP101 2.25" and my S&W Model 10 with 3" Barrel. I favor these over the J frame ultra lights.
I normally carry a charter arms bulldog pug, 44 special. I carry in OWB holster. When I want a smaller rig, my wife bought me the Ruger LCR 38 special. I carry it in an OWB holster, however I have a few more options of concealed carry with the LCR. It is very compact. My wife has a Ruger GP100 for a range gun. I love Rugers. I personally would not regret carrying the sp101. I think it would be right in the middle of what I have now, with the added option of magnum loads.
My opinion - SP101 good choice.
Glad to read that you have a realistic perception of this whole carry issue. Based on your comments, it sounds like you may be comfortable with an older or new S&W Bodyguard. It will accept +P carry ammo and will slide comfortably into most creases of our anatomy. I find the older version to be super slim and the humpback actually facilitates a graceful draw from the pocket or elsewhere. In fact, I almost bought one yesterday but it simply wasn't clean enough for the asking price.
Which is what I plan to do. Get a 638 for carry when I'd like something to carry under very light clothing.
Originally Posted by TX-JB
OK, two more cents on the issue.
While my primary edc is an auto, I do carry a revolver periodically. When I do it is not less than a 3", .357 with sufficient weight to allow easier shooting and quicker secondary shots and it carries .357 mag loads. My reasoning behind this is that if I am going to give up high capacity, I want to be shooting loads with greater authority and the ability of the .357 mag is well known. As to the weight, I have never found it to be a problem, but I have been carrying full size guns for most of my life. My edc auto is a 92FS.
Looks like you're arleady thinking the problem through, rather than buying on a whim because you think you should have this gun or that gun and then chasing a solution.
I used to carry a full size XD-40 with 12+1 and a spare mag of 12 rounds, but have switched to a J Frame 642 .38+p with two reloads. It works for me.
I have an SP101 in 3". Personally, I prefer to carry my PPS in 9mm... but i absolutely love the SP101 in a simply rugged holster. I carry the SP101 more as a "woods" gun when walking my parents property in Northern PA. I like the heavier weight for the full steel for shooting even .38 +p through it, especially since I have a bad wrist on my dominant hand from an accident many years ago. I really like my SW 640 snubbie as well, but I honestly don't shoot it as much due to the afore mentioned bum wrist.
Anyway.. I think your logic is sound no matter what you end up with. Good luck!
I have always been partial to the model 13, but they are not available these days in any meaningful way.
Originally Posted by Guantes
I routinely carry the SW Bodyguard, the model with the shrouded or "bobbed" hammer. While the stainless steel does add weight to carry options it is a more solid revolver when shooting the heavier .357 magnum loads. I probably shoot .38 special 75% of the time at the range and 75% of the time with the double action trigger. Smaller revolvers do take a little more practice but if you like to shoot than that is a bonus.
Well, if you get N reponses to this post you're likely to get N-1 opinions. But you asked, so - here's mine. In no particular order -
The big advantage to a snub is found in the Taurus advertising of their CIA series: Carry It Always. When I don't feel like strapping on a 1911 because I'm "just" going for a 5 minute trip to the hardware store, the J-frame goes in my pocket. If I'm doing yardwork, the J-frame is with me. If I'm working on the cars or doing workbench projects in the garage, the J-frame is in the top drawer of the toolbox. Once you have a snub, it'll get carried a lot.
But beyond that, I carried an all-steel J-frame (Taurus 85) for a while as an alternative to the 5-inch 1911. But in a pocket, that 23 ounces (plus ammo) was a heavy lump. Eventually I moved to a lighter-weight snub (another Taurus; a story for another post) that's 17 ounces empty... and those 6 ounces make a whale of a difference (to me). Instead of being conscious every minute of a pound and a half in my pocket, I now only really notice the gun when I put thumbs in the pockets. On top of that, the snub I now carry often is the humpback "Bodyguard" style, with a shrouded hammer. For pocket carry, thumb-on-the-hammer technique notwithstanding, you simply can't beat the hammerless or shrouded-hammer models. Bobbed hammers are as quick if the hammer is brought down nearly to the profile of the frame.
The SP101 is a great gun, but too big for me to carry as a pocket gun, and it's heavy. I like the weight and heft when I shoot it, and I love the durability, but that's a gun I would only carry on my belt.
But how light is too light? I'm not especially sensitive to recoil, but after 50 rounds of 130-grain practice ammo I'm quite relieved to shoot my full-size .45s to give my hand a break. I'll run a couple of cylinders full of 158 gr +P each session just to keep in touch with how that stuff feels, and that's not fun, it's a chore. I simply can't imagine any joy in shooting a full-house .357 load in a 16 or 17-ounce gun!
Crimson trace? Go for it if you like 'em; I'm not sold. I've used a laser-equipped gun in some low-light IDPA stages and MY brain doesn't focus on the red dot on the target as quickly as I can index a front sight on the target. And once a couple of shots are fired and there's any smoke, your laser lights up the smoke better than it does the target - although that's more of an indoor problem. (Just as an aside, when we were photographing my lab's holography setup for some advertising, we had to use "canned smoke" to get the laser beams to show up.) I think the CTs are great training aids, but for my money I'll spend more on practice ammo, thanks.
Lastly - bobbed/shrouded hammer, or "hammerless" (i.e., internal hammer)? I don't think it makes a huge difference. Even at the range, except in unusual circumstances I only shoot the snubs in double action, and I recommend the same to anyone carrying a snub for defense. About the only benefit to an exposed hammer is that you can unlock the cylinder (to check for a full load) by pulling back on the hammer a bit, something I'd be loathe to do on a hammerless model. My shrouded-hammer snub accumulates some lint in the hammer well and behind the trigger in spite of being carried exclusively in a pocket holster, but a puff or two of canned air takes care of that.
If I was buying a snub today for "always" carry, my choice would be an alloy-framed S+W Bodyguard (the traditional series) in .38, and I'd go for the 2-1/2" barrel if it was available. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!