First Carry Gun- Help Me Choose a Revolver

This is a discussion on First Carry Gun- Help Me Choose a Revolver within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have been reading David Kenik's book "Armed Response" and have found it helpful and full of useful information. He is one of a few ...

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Thread: First Carry Gun- Help Me Choose a Revolver

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array McPatrickClan's Avatar
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    First Carry Gun- Help Me Choose a Revolver

    I have been reading David Kenik's book "Armed Response" and have found it helpful and full of useful information. He is one of a few respected authors that have suggested a novice carry a revolver for his first sidearm. I am a firearm/concealed carry novice and own a couple of guns, one of which is a Springfield XD40 (4" barrel). I enjoy shooting it.

    That being said, I think a revolver w/pocket carry may be a good investment for a couple reasons:

    a) for a few hundred bucks, I can have a safe, easy to use gun that is good for a CHL rookie

    b) many revolvers are small enough to fit in a pocket holster, which is ideal for the shorts + short-sleeve shirt attire of most the Texas year

    So I have two questions.

    1) Is my line of reasoning solid & would buying a revolver for my first carry gun be a wise decision, in your opinion?

    2) If you answered yes to #1, please make a suggestion for my first revolver, based on the following criteria:

    *easy/fun to shoot during practice, not just a cannon that will roar when in a pinch
    *safe to carry (the shrouded or concealed hammers are intriguing- what is the drawback?)
    *steel over alloy for less recoil
    *full-hand (3-finger) grip
    *barrel length is unimportant as long as gun is easy to conceal & shoot
    *caliber is unimportant as long as gun is easy to conceal & shoot
    *would like to carry OWB (4 o'clock) and in pocket holster
    *willing to spend about $500, though certainly not unwilling to save a few bucks

    Thanks for all your help.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
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    pick out a nice DAO .38 special snubby.
    " Refuse to be a victim, make sure there is a round chambered ! "

    Just call me a pessimistic optimist !

    U.S. Navy vet 1981-1992

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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McPatrickClan View Post
    I have been reading David Kenik's book "Armed Response" and have found it helpful and full of useful information. He is one of a few respected authors that have suggested a novice carry a revolver for his first sidearm. I am a firearm/concealed carry novice and own a couple of guns, one of which is a Springfield XD40 (4" barrel). I enjoy shooting it.
    Great gun, and easily concealable with right holster.
    Quote Originally Posted by McPatrickClan View Post
    That being said, I think a revolver w/pocket carry may be a good investment for a couple reasons:
    Any reason to buy a new gun is a good reason.
    Quote Originally Posted by McPatrickClan View Post
    a) for a few hundred bucks, I can have a safe, easy to use gun that is good for a CHL rookie

    b) many revolvers are small enough to fit in a pocket holster, which is ideal for the shorts + short-sleeve shirt attire of most the Texas year

    So I have two questions.

    1) Is my line of reasoning solid & would buying a revolver for my first carry gun be a wise decision, in your opinion?
    In my opinion you already have a good gun for a carry gun, and investing in some holsters, ammo, and practice time might be a better idea. If you would feel more comfortable carrying a revolver, then by all means, purchase a revolver.
    Quote Originally Posted by McPatrickClan View Post
    2) If you answered yes to #1, please make a suggestion for my first revolver, based on the following criteria:

    *easy/fun to shoot during practice, not just a cannon that will roar when in a pinch
    *safe to carry (the shrouded or concealed hammers are intriguing- what is the drawback?)
    *steel over alloy for less recoil
    *full-hand (3-finger) grip
    *barrel length is unimportant as long as gun is easy to conceal & shoot
    *caliber is unimportant as long as gun is easy to conceal & shoot
    *would like to carry OWB (4 o'clock) and in pocket holster
    *willing to spend about $500, though certainly not unwilling to save a few bucks

    Thanks for all your help.
    Smith & Wesson Model 642 sounds like a good choice for several reasons...easily carried, it's within your price range(around $400), and if you choose to switch to a semiauto or carry your XD, or a 1911, or anything else, it will make a very good BUG, so it can have a permanent place in your concealed carry rotation, not just something that you might grow out of.
    The Smith & Wesson Model 642 Centennial Airweight Revolver
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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    If I were going for a snubby revolver I would go for something like the Ruger SP101 in 357 Mag. With the 357 you can practice with 38 special for reduced recoil, and carry with 357 mag or 38 either one. It is available in either shrouded model or exposed hammer. If your going to carry in the pocket I would go with shrouded, less likelihood of it snagging and hanging up in your pocket when you need it for defense. If your going to carry it OWB I would go with the exposed hammer, allowing for DA or SA fire.

  6. #5
    Member Array dsonyay's Avatar
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    I'm carrying a S&W model 65 (4 in barrel) most of the time.
    Shooting 357 magnums in this frame is no sweat. I use Black Hills 125 grainers for carry. They are potent, but in this frame, they are easy on the hand. :)
    PLUS- I can still shoot 38 +P if I want to- or if my wife decides to keep it on the nightstand when I'm on the road.

    The 4" barrel is not bad at all for conceal carry (I carry it IWB). On other forums, I've run across many others who carry a 4" revolver.

    I'm not too crazy about the snub nose 38 special. Just doesn't seem to propel the bullet with much velocity, and the 38 special needs all the help it can get.
    I love the fact that the 357 magnum can chamber 38 special rounds. Makes for very cheap plinkin' and a big variety of self defense choices. With a 38 special you are limited in choices for self defense ammo.

    With the Model 65 loaded with ANY 357 mag round, you're talking serious firepower.

    Another choice is the new Ruger SP101 in 327 mag. You can shoot cheaper 32 H&R rounds, and/or the smokin' new 327mag rounds. The SP101 is very tough and a dependable revolver. It's very easy to carry and hefty enough to tame recoil in the potent loads you may choose to shoot.

    In the end, the best handgun for you will be the one that you feel good about- no matter what we say. And better yet- you can always get a different firearm later on. I also carry an XD45 Service and a Colt Commander 45acp. The Model 65 is not any bigger than these, so to me, it's better than the snubbie option. You know I do own a Taurus Model 85 (snub nose 38 special). I bought it to carry when I go jogging, or when I have to carry in my pocket. But I've never carried it once. I love it, but I have not had to chance to carry it yet (I've had it over 10 yrs).
    David
    from LA


    I have 5 guns.

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    Senior Member Array McPatrickClan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    If your going to carry it OWB I would go with the exposed hammer, allowing for DA or SA fire.
    What is DA or SA fire?

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    Member Array rathos's Avatar
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    DA = Double action, this is the type of pull that the revolver will have when you just pull the trigger, usually long and hard. SA = single action, this requires that you first pull back the hammer, but allows for a more accurate shot as you have a shorter softer pull.

    I would say a snubby revolver is a good idea. If you learn to accurately shoot a snubby revolver you can accurately shoot anything.

    As for what type, I would say a smith 442, or 642, depending on if you want a black gun or stainless. I carry a 442 all the time, even when I carry a bigger gun. It constantly rides in my left pocket.
    ‘‘To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.’’

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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    DA(double action) means 1 pull of the trigger cocks the hammer and fires the weapon, SA(single action) means the hammer is already cocked and a pull of the trigger only drops the hammer. I think if you want to pocket carry you are going to have to go with a snub. Unless you have really big pockets, concealing a 4" barrel might be pretty tough.


    edited to add: rathos beat me to it, and almost word for word, too
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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    Member Array dsonyay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McPatrickClan View Post
    I am a firearm/concealed carry novice and own a couple of guns, one of which is a Springfield XD40 (4" barrel). I enjoy shooting it.
    I missed this part. You own a really good handgun. The XD is easy to carry concealed. I carry the XD45 Service easily IWB.
    But, I'm thinkin you're looking for rock-solid reliability that the revolver affords. A lot less can go wrong when you have to use a revolver in self defense situations. There are some drawbacks to the revolver, but when you consider nearly all self defense situations or resolved in under 6 rounds, the drawbacks are not very much. In super-close quarters revolvers are a good friend to have.
    They will not jam (at least the odds of this happening are pretty remote).
    David
    from LA


    I have 5 guns.

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    Foolproof 642 with +P rounds fits into a pocket just fine. Not my choice for my primary weapon, but makes a great backup or running to 7-11 gun. Don't listen to the horror stories about recoil ripping your hand off, my girlfriend shoots it with the hottest loads and it doesn't bother her a bit.
    Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse.

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    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    look for a used s&w j-frame. a older model 36 and/or 60 in 38sp will do the job.
    An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

    Red State State of Mind

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    Senior Member Array mr surveyor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McPatrickClan View Post
    ..................That being said, I think a revolver w/pocket carry may be a good investment for a couple reasons:

    a) for a few hundred bucks, I can have a safe, easy to use gun that is good for a CHL rookie

    b) many revolvers are small enough to fit in a pocket holster, which is ideal for the shorts + short-sleeve shirt attire of most the Texas year

    So I have two questions.

    1) Is my line of reasoning solid & would buying a revolver for my first carry gun be a wise decision, in your opinion?


    One Suggestion....Be sure you shoot your CHL qualification round with the semi-auto! Do NOT limit yourself to a revolver permit only by testing with a wheel gun! Texas rules, you know!

  14. #13
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    I think I know exactly what you're looking for!! An S&W model 640, why?

    Stainless steel; heavy enought to make it more enjoyable to shoot but still light enough to pocket carry

    Hammerless design; no hammer to snag or fumble with; you'll only practice DAO (double action only) which is how you ought to use it in an SD scenario so it's simple and easy.

    Stainless; you can refinish it years down the road if you want it to look new again (you can't easily do that with it's airweight counterpart the 642)

    It's .38/.357 so you can shoot cheaper, easier shooting .38's or a variety of the more potent .357. The 642 is .38 only.

    I bought a 642 and I've owned a 637 but if I had to do it all over again, I'd get the stainless 640, then I'd save up more money and get it to a good gunsmith to have him smooth and lighten the trigger which is decent enough out of the box and then you'd have one great shooter!

    Some will/have suggest an SP101 and that's a great gun ( I have one) but it's too heavy for pocket carry unless you're 6'4" and have big heavy pockets....

    Be safe!

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    Check out Academy and look at the S&W442 or 642. I pocket carry a 642 quite a bit here in the Houston heat. (I got my pocket holster from stmcelroy, a member here) I think they are excellent carry guns. Loaded with +P's, they are a decent compromise between size and power.

    +1 on using your XD for your CHL, so you aren't limited to wheelguns.
    "Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States can't make it without Texas!".... Sam Houston

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    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    For my use I consider the 642 the max weight and size for pocket carry. In truth I do not consider even that small enough, but it is the closest I can come with a revolver.
    The all steel guns are just too heavy for pocket carry. Others will disagree, and if you can, borrow a steel gun from a friend and carry it for a day or so, and see for yourself.

    If pocket carry were not a requirement I would go for the 640 in .357. I have one and like it, but not for pocket carry.

    Regards,
    Jerry

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