Many thanks ANGLICO! You're too kind.
I do get enthused about neato revolvers and cartridges.
Long winded - but detailed, and with pictures of beautiful guns.
Also....S&W makes 7 and 8 shot revolvers too. My wife's "house gun" is an 8 shot S&W.
Hence, my preference for my M-1911 in Civilian situations. Has so many 'limited rounds' in the mag, but also has effect on target if I am good enough. Just sayin.
ha ha ha ... yeah we get excited about the wheel guns.
Let me add my .02, I have a Dan Wesson .357 w/ 4" barrel, shoot .38 Sp at the range and
couldn't ask for a better revolver. Only problem is one of the other regulars keeps upping
the price he'd pay for it. Not gonna happen !
As far as S&W and Rugers ... sold my S&W 642 Airweight as it's already been said that they
are no fun to shoot and I'll second that ... they hurt ! My Ruger LCR .38 Sp on the other hand
is so comfortable that my wife now claims it although I carry it. Look for the XS sight if you
consider the LCR.
Now let me ask you this. Your wife wants the gun for home defense and you want to carry it. Obviously it can't be in two places at once. I am not sure about your situation, but have you thought through the priorities, i.e., who goes without when you are separated?
Shoot ability - for the little revolvers, the light weight ones are less fun to shoot than the heavier ones. If you decide to get a HD gun for the wife and a carry gun for you, you may decide to go with a larger revolver for HD. a Smith 686plus would give you 7 rounds of .357 rather than the 5 rounds of the J frame. It would also be more fun to practice with.
IMO the 38/357 is a perfect home defense and range gun. Personally, I have a S&W 686 plus (7 shot) 3". With the never ending debate on 9 vs 40 vs 45...etc, I've never heard anyone say the .357 magnum is under powered so for a home defense handgun it's effective and reliable and for a range and practice gun the 38 special is affordable. I also occasionally carry the 686 in colder weather and as a woods walk firearm.
If I could only own one gun, it would be the S&W 686. The best gun for home defense and fun shooting that I own. I just don't know why I don't shoot it more often. The 357 is a great choice My late wife loved it.
I bought my wife the Ruger LCR in .357 magnum and she loves it. The Ruger is perfect for her carry piece, she can load it with the .357 magmum but when we shoot it at the range, she can shoot the .38spl and the +P loads as well.
I highly recommend the LCR for ladies. It has a smooth trigger pull, light enough to carry concealed but sturdy to handle the higher caliber loads.
For a carry revolver I carry either the 640 (OWB) or 642 (OWB or Pocket). As stated above, the 642 is an aluminum frame and lighter.
Most of the small j-frame style of revolvers are readily available as rentals at ranges. Go to a range and rent them and see what she likes best. As for the k-Frame recommendations, that's a lot of gun for a carry piece. To me, the k-frames are too heavy for comfortable carry (and I'm 6'0 and 200 pounds).
The reasoning behind it, is that the .357 build much more pressure when fired than the .38 does. The .357 revolver can handle the pressures of the .38, the .38 handgun is not designed to handle the pressures of the .357 and you could have a catastrophic failure of the gun, causing serious injury or death.
As to a recommendation for a gun. I don't think you'd be going wrong with either the S&W or Ruger. If finances will allow it, I personally would go with the Ruger GP100 in a 4" barrel for home defense, and the SP101 for carry.
Check out a S&W model 60 with 3 inch barrel for your wife. Great for smaller hands, no recoil with 38's. Excellent home defense handgun.
.357 generally cost more than the same model in .38. If she's not going to shoot .357s, why spend the extra $? A good .38 round is plenty ample for SD.
Ruger SP101 in .357