Newbie: 357 snubbie in gun purse, or 380 on body?

Newbie: 357 snubbie in gun purse, or 380 on body?

This is a discussion on Newbie: 357 snubbie in gun purse, or 380 on body? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; For years my wife has carried a Ruger SP101 357 (a superior but heavy snubbie revolver) in a fanny pack. She has not been training ...

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Thread: Newbie: 357 snubbie in gun purse, or 380 on body?

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Newbie: 357 snubbie in gun purse, or 380 on body?

    For years my wife has carried a Ruger SP101 357 (a superior but heavy snubbie revolver) in a fanny pack. She has not been training with it (my failure as proper leader/encourager: workin' on that). She recently has moved from fanny pack to purses, and I'm wondering how to proceed:

    Question 1: should we stay with the snubbie and buy (or make) her a gun purse? Note that I share the community's view of off-body carry. Or should I encourage her to choose and actually carry a smaller pistol like a .380, hopefully on-body? I am NOT asking for a discussion of caliber: I want her to carry a bear gun! But I agree that "a mousegun with you beats a hand cannon in the nightstand" and I don't see her carrying her revolver on-body. (I would be pointing her to the class of pistols and letting her try and choose, of course.)

    Question 2: And regarding the revolver vs. semi-automatic question for newbies, my wife is fully supportive of concealed carry but her interests lie elsewhere - she's pretty much a non-shooter. If you think a move to a more concealable semi-automatic would be wise, are there any 380s which stand out from the others as a better choice for such a person?

    Question 3: is there some better option which I haven't thought of?

    Limitations / Previous Experiences / Future Training:
    • She's handled the Taurus TCP and felt that it fit her hand well.
    • She also liked feel of a Glock 19 she tried a few years ago.
    • Her grip isn't very strong and she's had trouble racking some of the semi-autos.
    • Price is a factor, unfortunately: I'm afraid that the 9mm Rohrbach and Boberg are kinda out of our range. However, as we would probably sell the revolver to cover the cost of a new pistol, the actual cost out-of-pocket might be reduced somewhat (or might come out even).
    • I realize that whatever we do, both of us need to begin a training program of some sort: lots of shooting just for familiarity as well as draw-from-concealment practice.


    Thanks for your thoughts...
    Recently updated website: http://www.damagedphotorepair.com


  2. #2
    Member Array Ishmael's Avatar
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    Have her check out a Ruger LCR .38. If you get the optional "boot" grips ($30 from Ruger, and a snap to trade out), it's even more concealable and very lightweight.

  3. #3
    Member Array Eaglebeak's Avatar
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    Maybe both would be good, the bear in her purse and the mouse on her body in the event she was separated from her purse for one reason or another.
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  4. #4
    Member Array lowercase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eaglebeak View Post
    Maybe both would be good, the bear in her purse and the mouse on her body in the event she was separated from her purse for one reason or another.
    I second this recommendation. I often carry a snubbie (S&W 642) along with my mousegun .380 (Ruger LCP). However, I'm a guy and don't carry the snub in a purse.

    I think the SP101 in a purse would do great for an accessible weapon while in a car. Just make sure your wife trains with her guns, or they're just gonna provide a false sense of security IMO.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array GunGeezer's Avatar
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    I bought a CC purse for my daughter. A little pricey but very stylish. The nice part is it's built-in holster so she doesn't have to fumble around lip-stick, empty gum wrappers, keys and a cell phone. She can wear it over her shoulder and have her hand on the gun without looking suspicious in case her spidey senses go off. That being said, I worry about her being disarmed by a purse snatcher.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    I would highly encourage you and her to find an on-body method of carry.

    For on-body, is the issue size or is it weight?

    If the latter, the LCR or S&W Bodyguard 38 would be good choices in a revolver. Recoil can be mitigated with the proper load, if that is an issue. This route avoids the problems with her grip and racking the slides on a semi-auto.

    If the issue is size, then you are going to be looking at a semi-auto. Good ones to look at, which are smaller than a snubbie, are: Kahr CM9, Ruger LCP, Sig P238. Many here have reported that the latter has an easy slide to rack. However, it is carried "cocked and locked" and has a safety, so if she is not willing to train with it, a "point and shoot" pistol (like the others I mentioned) might be better. The Sig P238 is also single-action, so you need to clean out the area under the hammer to make sure there is no lint there on a regular basis - if she is not willing to do that, this might be a poor choice.

    I would steer clear of some of the other small pistols out there - the Diamondback DB 380 and DB9, Taurus TCP, and the Kel Tec P3at. While they have their rabid fans, the overall feedback is very mixed.

    Hope this is of some help. Good luck.
    gottabkiddin and marcclarke like this.
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  7. #7
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    Given your parameters of weight, size, preference for on-body carry, some strength issues, plus a low interest in shooting per se therefore need for simplicity, an Airweight (Not the mule kicking Airlite) S&W J-frame would fill the niche well. Add cushy grips and standard pressure loads. The pedigree S&W Bodyguard model 38 would be my top suggestion but any of the 14 - 15 ounce J-frames including the newer step-child version will get the job done.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array sixgun's Avatar
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    In 380 I recomend the bersa thunder 380. Easy to carry and shoots good. Imho

  9. #9
    New Member Array MsBattleBorn's Avatar
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    Here's my 2 cents from a woman's perspective...
    Whatever she will actually carry, that's what she should carry :)

    And this is my PERSONAL experience and OPINION...
    I am a very firm believer in on-body carry and for me, a revolver is not a viable option for this. The grip and cylinder are too wide and uncomfortable and it's much more difficult to conceal than a flat, slender semi auto. I started out with purse carry and felt like I was doing well, cause at least I had the gun with me! Then I began to train and realized that purse draw is not as easy as one would think, even with a specially made concealed carry purse. I practiced drawing from it with different scenarios, such as someone grabs my right wrist (strong hand), would I be able to draw and fire with my weak hand? The answer was no, or at least not very effectively. Then there's the 'ol "shoot through the purse" recommendation, which turned out to be easier said than done. Penetrating the old leather purse I used for this test effected the expansion and trajectory of the round quite a bit. I'm no scientist but in experimenting with these things, I "debunked" those methods for myself. Then there's the obvious argument about being separated from my purse, which not only disarms me, but arms my attacker!

    With those factors in mind, I carry on body now, although I am very slender which limits me to your so called "mouse gun". I chose a Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .380 based on it's features, concealabilty, and personal preference after handling most of the micro compact .380's. I carry it in a Tagua gun leather IWB holster in the front of my waistband. Due to my build, this is most concealable place for it.

    I am not like your wife in the way that I REALLY love guns and shooting and I train whenever I get a chance, but I definitely wasn't like that in the beginning. These little guns are not pleasant to shoot, so it is important to understand how they feel, shoot, and function. Also, if she is unwilling to train with it, what good does it do her if she pulls it out and it malfunctions? I know this is where the revolver vs. semi auto comes in but then again, the revolver is just as useless as a jammed semi auto if she can't access it!
    Do you think you could interest her in a woman's firearm training class? It might sound silly but it really is nice for a woman to be able to practice and train with other women who "understand" her and the challenges she faces with firearm handling and carrying. Also, when I first started shooting, I read the book "The Cornered Cat" by Kathy Jackson. I read it when I didn't have much interest at all in guns and it really changed my perspective, answered tons of questions, and made me much more interested in the world of guns :)

    As for gun choice, I saw some mentioning the Sig P238. I would be inclined to avoid this gun just due to the SA trigger and safety....cocked and locked with a safety is just one more thing to worry about for a woman who doesn't like to train anyway. I actually have one and although it shoots night and day better than the other micro .380's, the reasons I mentioned make it a less than ideal choice. Plus I found the safety and square features uncomfortable when pressed against my skin during carry.
    I've owned and carried the Ruger LCP, Kel Tec P-3AT, and now the S&W Bodyguard .380. The Kel Tec is a miserable little gun. The Ruger is slightly better but not much. I really like the S&W and even bought one for my mom to carry :) It's been very reliable, although like all the micro .380's, it's not "fun" to shoot by any means. I added my own version of an aftermarket grip (tennis racquet grip wrap!) which really helped control the "jumping" out of my hand feeling. I also like the Kahr P380. If she's able to conceal something slightly larger, the Kahr CM9 (as someone else suggested), Beretta Nano (not my favorite trigger), or something in the micro compact 9 class might appeal to her.
    As far as racking the slide, it's ALL technique and practice. I taught my 70 year old arthritic grandmother a proper slide rack technique using less hand strength and she's a pro now so I promise almost anyone can do it!

    Sorry this was so long but I hope there is a bit of useful information to it! I'm happy to answer, from my female perspective and personal experience, any ??'s you might have that you feel may help your wife.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Very helpful advice - especially MsBattleBorn (and welcome to the forum!)
    Recently updated website: http://www.damagedphotorepair.com

  11. #11
    New Member Array MsBattleBorn's Avatar
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    Thanks Paymeister! I think I have been trolling around here a little bit but decided to finally join :)
    I am no expert but I am always happy to talk about my experiences, especially if it may help another female get involved in shooting and carrying for self defense. I am in the process of acquiring my Kahr PM9 for carry on occasions where my wardrobe permits. Once I get it (in the next week or so) I will be doing a video on my carry methods for that and the S&W Bodyguard .380, plus my ideas on *fashionable* concealed carry clothing options for women. It will be on my YouTube channel so once it's up, maybe your wife will find some of the info useful as well. Again, it's only intended to show what I have found to work for me through my personal experience.

    MissBattleBorns Channel - YouTube

    It should be up within the next 2 weeks....currently I just have several videos of me shooting machine guns and blowing things up LOL :)

    Good luck to your wife on her quest. Let me know if I can be of any more help

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array AZ Hawk's Avatar
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    Hmm, I'm not a big fan of putting a concealed firearm in anything off the body, especially in a purse.

    I don't know if you live in or frequent any big cities, but professionals like to go through the nicer restaurants and pick off purses. The mother of a girl I dated in high school had this happen to her while she was in Chicago, and they were somehow able to spend $500 in under 25 minutes in four different states with all purchases under $25. Now put a gun in the purse...

    Basically, I advise to avoid putting guns in purses because purses are generally the object of muggings, and if you've got a guy tugging on your purse, it's going to be very difficult to get your gun out of it.

    Fanny packs are a much better choice (also much more obvious) if you HAVE to carry off body, and if you've got one that has metal wire in the strap so it can't be cut off and taken quickly.

    Whatever you and her choose to do, be sure that you always do it the same way. It's not good to be digging in your purse for a gun that isn'there.

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  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Smitty901's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    I would highly encourage you and her to find an on-body method of carry.

    For on-body, is the issue size or is it weight?

    If the latter, the LCR or S&W Bodyguard 38 would be good choices in a revolver. Recoil can be mitigated with the proper load, if that is an issue. This route avoids the problems with her grip and racking the slides on a semi-auto.

    If the issue is size, then you are going to be looking at a semi-auto. Good ones to look at, which are smaller than a snubbie, are: Kahr CM9, Ruger LCP, Sig P238. Many here have reported that the latter has an easy slide to rack. However, it is carried "cocked and locked" and has a safety, so if she is not willing to train with it, a "point and shoot" pistol (like the others I mentioned) might be better. The Sig P238 is also single-action, so you need to clean out the area under the hammer to make sure there is no lint there on a regular basis - if she is not willing to do that, this might be a poor choice.

    I would steer clear of some of the other small pistols out there - the Diamondback DB 380 and DB9, Taurus TCP, and the Kel Tec P3at. While they have their rabid fans, the overall feedback is very mixed.

    Hope this is of some help. Good luck.
    The Body Guard 38 mentioned above has a lot going for it. Hammerless ,light small size. It comes with a factory installed laser the works well.
    It can be bought for around 439 if you shop right. I Picked up one for my wife last week for 439 and got a 50 dollar gift card with it.
    I am a Ruger fan but this is a case were I would say the S&W is the best deal. I have no problem with 38's getting the job done if you feel you need it will eat Plus P ammo also.
    Forget the price listed on the page way out of line.
    Product: BODYGUARD® 38

  14. #14
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    "Exceptionalism" and KISS

    MsBattleBorn has shared some helpful and insightful experiences for you. I watched MsBattleBorn on You Tube and she is exceptionally comfortable with firearms. I recommend the OP and others in his shoes watch to evaluate if the wife fits that mold, or is likely to.

    The common advice to let her "try before you buy" and "don't push" is good advice. It can save disappointment and a costly mistake.

    Congratulations on moving forward with the wife and good luck in the quest.

  15. #15
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    #1)
    You say she is NOT a gun enthusiast.
    Stay with the platform she is used to.

    2)
    Have her wear the firearm on body,
    so she remains in control of the weapon........There will be that one time shes shopping , and lo and behold she puts her purse down, just for a second and bam ITS GONE!

    I say get her a 442/642 size firearm, you can even get one with a shrouded hammer, or one with a hammer as well.
    Get a holster, IWB, and have her wear it appendix/up front of her belly.

    My mom just started carrying, and of all the weapons/places & holster options, this she LOVED the most and was the most comfortable by far she said.
    Just my 0.03c
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