Which revolver for carry?

Which revolver for carry?

This is a discussion on Which revolver for carry? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hello all! I am buying my first handgun and am a little torn. I know I want a .357 magnum revolver with a 4 inch ...

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Thread: Which revolver for carry?

  1. #1
    New Member Array Halvorsenb's Avatar
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    Hello all!

    I am buying my first handgun and am a little torn. I know I want a .357 magnum revolver with a 4 inch barrel, as I want to be able to use it for bear/cougar protection while hunting or hiking. I also want to concealed carry it on a daily basis.

    I've been looking at the Ruger SP101 in 357 magnum with the 4.2 inch barrel, as it is designed for carry but beefed up to my standards. I've also got my eye on a Smith and Wesson model 19 classic with a 4.25" barrel, as I love the way it looks, would handle recoil better, and has a 6th shot.

    I guess what I'm really asking is how much harder would it be to conceal the k frame vs the sp101?

    Do you have any other suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Brandon
    Last edited by Halvorsenb; June 12th, 2019 at 03:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Member Array seeker_two's Avatar
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    Both would conceal about the same. The S&W might weigh a little more, but a good belt/holster combo will mitigate that.

    You might want to look at the 3" SP-101 as an alternative. It conceals better, and the fixed rear sight is more rugged.

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  3. #3
    Member Array Tennessee Jed's Avatar
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    For concealment, I think the biggest issue you will run into will be the differences in the grip, not the frame size differential. If you've got a good sturdy belt and a good sturdy holster, I don't think you'll notice a difference between the two due to the frame size.

    If the decision is between these two models, I'd get the Smith for the extra round and probably slightly better trigger, but if you want to avoid printing you'll want to get a different grip for it. The big wood stocks that come on the 19 are beautiful, and will also make concealment very difficult.

    I've got a similar S&W (65, which is similar to the 19 but is stainless and has fixed sights), which I carry very frequently. My preferred grips used to be Pachmayr Compacs. However, I recently bought a Pachmayr Gripper and took a Dremel to round off the bottom of the grip, to remove a corner-like edge on the bottom. The Gripper is just a little bit more narrow, and if you round off the bottom it conceals even better than the Compac.

    That said, you can't go wrong with the SP101 either. Both are mighty fine revolvers.
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  5. #4
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    Have to agree that if cost isn't an issue I'd go with the S&W, go with smaller grips, and do 3in length for concealment. The loss of muzzle velocity from 4 to 3in will be there but not enough to matter much. A really solid belt is essential to carry concealed, and they don't need to be expensive - just sturdy.
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  6. #5
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I would get the S&W j-magnum if you want to conceal it, like the 640.
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  7. #6
    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    I would go with a 4" K-frame S&W six shot or a 4.2" Ruger Match Champion GP100. My woods concealed carry gun in black bear/cougar country is a 4" S&W 29-2 .44 magnum. If I carried it in urban areas, I would load it with .44 special.
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  8. #7
    New Member Array rlggray's Avatar
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    I would go with a Ruger 357 magnum SP101 3" myself. My second choice would be a Ruger GP100 3"

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array WebleyHunter's Avatar
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    Welcome to DC!

    Just curious- Why do you NEED the 4" barrel?

    I would go with the 2.25" or 3" barrel SP101, loading it with 158 gr JSP or 180 gr hardcast when in the woods and maybe something like a mid-pressure 110 gr - 135 gr JHP for urban use.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Array lee n. field's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halvorsenb View Post
    Hello all!

    I am buying my first handgun and am a little torn. I know I want a .357 magnum revolver with a 4 inch barrel, as I want to be able to use it for bear/cougar protection while hunting or hiking. I also want to concealed carry it on a daily basis.

    I've been looking at the Ruger SP101 in 357 magnum with the 4.2 inch barrel, as it is designed for carry but beefed up to my standards. I've also got my eye on a Smith and Wesson model 19 classic with a 4.25" barrel, as I love the way it looks, would handle recoil better, and has a 6th shot.

    I guess what I'm really asking is how much harder would it be to conceal the k frame vs the sp101? I appreciate all responses.

    Those two in particular? About the same.
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  11. #10
    VIP Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    I would much rather have 6 shots than 5 shots especially when dangerous 4 legged predators are likely! Both of the guns you mentioned are good choices but I think there are better options especially if you get into the used market. A Ruger Security Six .357 or Speed Six would be close to ideal and are more compact than the GP-100's. If you would consider an auto loader, a Glock 23 is compact and holds 13+1 rds of .40 which should be more than adequate for your needs. I think you will find that a Glock 23 would be easier to conceal than a full size revolver. Just my .02 worth!
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  12. #11
    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebleyHunter View Post
    Welcome to DC!

    Just curious- Why do you NEED the 4" barrel?

    I would go with the 2.25" or 3" barrel SP101, loading it with 158 gr JSP or 180 gr hardcast when in the woods and maybe something like a mid-pressure 110 gr - 135 gr JHP for urban use.

    I am more accurate with a longer sight radius and the longer barrel helps tame the recoil. My concealed carry revolvers are four inch barrels and my open carry revolvers are six to eight inch barrels.
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  13. #12
    Member Array Vexmaw's Avatar
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    I'd say either the Ruger or the S&W would work well. See if your local range has rentals for you to try if needed. I own firearms from both of them, no complaints. Either one will last you several lifetimes if maintained.
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  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker_two View Post
    ...You might want to look at the 3" SP-101 as an alternative. It conceals better, and the fixed rear sight is more rugged.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Jed View Post
    ...That said, you can't go wrong with the SP101 either. Both are mighty fine revolvers.
    Quote Originally Posted by rlggray View Post
    I would go with a Ruger 357 magnum SP101 3" myself...
    Quote Originally Posted by WebleyHunter View Post
    ...Just curious- Why do you NEED the 4" barrel?

    I would go with the 2.25" or 3" barrel SP101...
    I believe you would find the M19 noticeably harder & less comfortable to conceal than the SP101. The SP101 is a very 'trim' package, but a whole lot easier and more comfortable to shoot than a .357 J-frame.

    I'm heavily biased towards 3" revolvers. Just a personal preference, but I find they are a lot more manageable than a 4". You're not sacrificing too much in terms of power or sight radius compared to a 4". On the other hand, the 3" is dramatically superior to a 2" in those respects.

    My vote would be for a 3" SP101. YMMV
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  15. #14
    Senior Member Array Goldy49's Avatar
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    I had an SP-101 and never liked it even though it was easy to conceal. I miss my 3" S&W 686. I'd suggest a 686 or a Ruger GP-100.
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  16. #15
    VIP Member Array Bad Bob's Avatar
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    I would look at the new Colt King Cobra.
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