I have serious plans later this year or early next year to get my mitts on a dedicated full size (or closer to full size) carry gun. I've already learned that I like the choice I've made for a BUG/"always" gun and it's really warmed me up to the whole idea of carrying it everywhere and keeping it concealed.
I've looked at making my existing guns work as CCW options, and they just won't. The 686 isn't as bad as I had thought. I find it tolerable in the cross draw position. It's something I can use in the meantime if I perceive a greater level of threat.
I've already got it narrowed down to two possible choices if I went with a semiautomatic, which I have to admit I'm seriously considering for this. They are a heck of a lot easier to carry because the holsters, accessories, and the like on the market might as well put up a sign saying "Revolvers need not apply".
Really it's the form factor that's winning out here. Automatics are thin, revolvers are fat. Or so I thought, until I started comparing my P89 and 686. There's not a lot of difference really. It's enough to matter but not as much as I had thought.
I began to think about what am I really hoping to accomplish with a bigger gun, and that is greater accuracy. I can shoot a bigger gun better than a smaller one. I'm sorry I just can.
I was thinking about it, and realized I can use a better caliber if I go with a revolver. .357 is more confidence inspiring than 9mm not to mention more familiar.
So I figure, hey I've narrowed down my choices if I went with the semiautomatic, why not just for the heck of it consider a full size revolver?
I drew up some criteria for "The Combat Carry Revolver":
Caliber: .357 Magnum - Most effective caliber I already stock
Sights: I'd prefer fixed sights on this gun but I am flexible. The adjustable sights on most revolvers are still pretty rugged and I do shoot better with them.
Capacity: 6 rounds. I want to gain something on my little J Frame, and 7 and 8 capacity cylinders are either really thick or the walls are too thin, plus they're just weird... revolvers are meant to hold 6 rounds. I feel weird owning one that holds 5.
Barrel : 3". Four is just too long. I'd prefer a half length underlug but once again I am still flexible.
Hammer: A real hammer. Not a bobbed hammer, not a so called hammerless model, not a shrouded hammer, not a ball peen hammer.
Weight: I'm fairly sure I'd be better off going with a steel gun on this. 125 grain loads are all pretty hot and the tougher the gun is the easier it will be on me. I've always found heavy guns are easier to shoot. But I have to admit it might actually be better to go lightweight on this as these are easier to carry. So I'm divided.
Finish: Stainless, it's just easier to put up.
Here's what I've found on the market:
Smith and Wesson 386
Pros: Super light
Cons: Weird 7 round cylinder, not sure how it would hold up, pricey
Smith and Wesson 65LS
Pros: Actually a good no bulls#t gun that meets all my criteria
Cons: Am I ever going to get made fun of... But seriously I'd rather just have a regular model 65 with a 3" barrel because it already comes with the grips I'd want. I feel stupid paying extra because it is from the "LadySmith" line.
Pros: Always wanted a Ruger wheelgun
Cons: None really...
Anything else out there that might be worth looking into? Anyone have any experiences with any of these? Anything out of production I should watch for? Anyone have a good donut lately?
I have a feeling I probably won't go with a revolver just because the market doesn't support them as well as full size carry guns, but like I said these sure would hit a lot harder than any 9mm I ever bought with comparable accuracy and control.