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I am back in the market for a CCW for my wife. She orignally picked out a Ruger LCP but that has since been passed on to me because she has decided she is not a fan of automatics. This is due to a couple of reasons. She doesn't like the empty casings bounching around the firing lane and the range because she caught a few in the head and it makes her uncomfortable. She also has fairly week hands and has issues racking the slide of automatics which could pose a serious issue in the event of a jam.

I borrowed a 22 mag from my dad and she has a BLAST shooting it so this has lead me to looking at a revolver for her. I freely admit that I know very little about revolvers as I don't own any and have only shot my fathers so please bear with me here.

From my understanding you can shoot .38 out of a gun chambered for .357 mag. I guess my first question should be is this true of ALL .357's or just certain ones? My second question is that if you fire .38 out of a .357 then why buy a gun that is only chambered for .38? Seems to me like .38 is generally cheaper ammo (For practice) and overall your getting a gun that can fire 2 calibers instead of one. Once your done practicing then you could just slap in your .357 ammo for defense.

Am I looking at this the wrong way? Is there a downside (seems like there usually is) that I am missing?
 

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All revolvers chambered for .357 can use .38. Of course the reverse is NOT true.

You can manufacter a smaller and lighter gun if you only use it for .38s.

Somewhat of an example is the S&W 66, IMO the perfect sized combat revolver chambered in .357. The problem was that the lighter .357 loads caused too much stress so S&W recommended only heavy magnum loads. This eventually created the S&W 686 a heavier framed handgun weighing more and slightly larger.
 

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The only caution I might add it to make sure your wife can operate the revolver in double action. My wife is fairly strong but has trouble operating my 38 Spec. She preferrs an auto due to this.
 

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Yes, you can shoot .38 in a .357. A lot of the smaller wheel guns are chambered in .38.

Plus the .357 frames are often much beefier. Which may make them a little harder to conceal.

And if the wife has weak hands a .357 will be a lot to handle if you don't chamber them with .38
 

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I can't think of any reason to buy a .38 only revolver, unless you like collecting them or get a fantastic deal on one. I've got 3 .38 specials....all of them my dad's old guns that he doesn't shoot, so he gave them to me. One is a S&W J frame model 36, the other 2 are S&W model 10s. I'll always keep them, as my dad gave them to me, but they see no use other than fun at the range.

If you need a wheel gun, for defensive purposes, range fun, a home defense weapon, or a field gun, a good .357 magnum is the way to go. From powder puff wadcutters to thumping 180 full house 180 grain wild boar hammers, a .357 is a very versatile weapon.

If your wife won't use a semiauto (and I'd urge you to let her try a Glock or M&P compact before giving up on them), get her a Ruger SP-101. They are easy to shoot with .38's, and really not that bad with magnums. Aftermarket grips are available for them, as are front night sights. They are a bit heavy, but for someone who doesn't have the strength to rack the slide on a semiauto, I don't think a hard-kicking lightweight .38 snub is a viable option.

Also, enjoyment at the range is less of a factor to consider in choosing a defensive gun than the reliability and practicality of the weapon. Remember....comforting, not necessarily comfortable. It's hard to have both sometimes.
 

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No downside to the snubnose in my opinion. Look at the S&W 642. Instructions for use: Pull the trigger. :king:

 

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Any gun built to shoot .357 mag will shoot .38 special. The only advantage to a gun built for .38 only is they are usually a bit lighter in weight. Also many .357's are only 5 shot, where many .38's are a 6 shot capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, you can shoot .38 in a .357. A lot of the smaller wheel guns are chambered in .38.

Plus the .357 frames are often much beefier. Which may make them a little harder to conceal.

And if the wife has weak hands a .357 will be a lot to handle if you don't chamber them with .38
Honestly, the beefier frame of the .357 is kind of a plus for her. I would like to buy something a bit heavier to help abosorb a bit of recoil. As far as her hand strength goes I see your point. But I guess the bonus would be that she could just carry lower recoil .38 defense rounds until she was ready to move up.

I'm kind of split on frame size atm. She is fairly new to all of this and is still insisting on carrying in her purse. I understand the negatives of that method of carry but convincing her is prooving to be a bit difficult. However I would much rather have her carry in her purse then not carry at all. If she insists on purse carry I may actually go with the Ruger SP101.
 

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Go with the Wife to a few gun stores to check them out She will let You know what feels good to Her. Then maybe rent them at the range and She can shoot them and see if it works for Her. To buy a firearm She will not use ?.
 

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A .38 would be perfect for the wife, if of course, she picks it out. I picked out a S&W 637 for my wife and she never carried it. First she liked the KelTec P-3AT she found in the safe, now it's the Glock-26.
So now I have an extra 637, which I would never part with because it's an excellent pocket rocket.
http://www.proguns.com/smithwesson-637revolver.asp
 

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357 mag

I am back in the market for a CCW for my wife. She orignally picked out a Ruger LCP but that has since been passed on to me because she has decided she is not a fan of automatics. This is due to a couple of reasons. She doesn't like the empty casings bounching around the firing lane and the range because she caught a few in the head and it makes her uncomfortable. She also has fairly week hands and has issues racking the slide of automatics which could pose a serious issue in the event of a jam.

I borrowed a 22 mag from my dad and she has a BLAST shooting it so this has lead me to looking at a revolver for her. I freely admit that I know very little about revolvers as I don't own any and have only shot my fathers so please bear with me here.

From my understanding you can shoot .38 out of a gun chambered for .357 mag. I guess my first question should be is this true of ALL .357's or just certain ones? My second question is that if you fire .38 out of a .357 then why buy a gun that is only chambered for .38? Seems to me like .38 is generally cheaper ammo (For practice) and overall your getting a gun that can fire 2 calibers instead of one. Once your done practicing then you could just slap in your .357 ammo for defense.

Am I looking at this the wrong way? Is there a downside (seems like there usually is) that I am missing?
I have a 357 Magnum, of which I have the choice of shooting 38 special & snake shot. I love it because I can shoot various bullets in it. I have authoritis so my husband had to smooth the trigger & put lighter trigger/hammer springs in it & new hogue grips on it. It made the gun so much better for me. I find this gun Ideal for me, I should think this would be good for your wife as well. The .38 special bullets are cheaper, & so I practice with these more for that purpose. I practice with .357 bullets as well. Remember, it is always good to have practice.

We have a young lady in our church who likes/perfers a 22 Long rifle.
It is good to have friends who have various guns, so she can try them out. That is how I found out that I like the 357 MAG. When I used that one, I was a better shot with it.
 

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No downside to the snubnose in my opinion. Look at the S&W 642. Instructions for use: Pull the trigger. :king:

+1, Nice little pistol. Every CC system should consist of at least one. :hand10:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If your wife won't use a semiauto (and I'd urge you to let her try a Glock or M&P compact before giving up on them), get her a Ruger SP-101. They are easy to shoot with .38's, and really not that bad with magnums. Aftermarket grips are available for them, as are front night sights. They are a bit heavy, but for someone who doesn't have the strength to rack the slide on a semiauto, I don't think a hard-kicking lightweight .38 snub is a viable option.
You were typing up your reply while I was typing one up as well. I have actually been eyeing the SP101. As far as auto's go, I think with a bit of practice she could build up enough hand strength to be able to operate the slide on a auto but the flying shell casings would still prove to be a issue. I admit, when I was a rookie shooter it bothered me as well. Maybe Ill look at the revolver for the time being (Because she needs something bigger then that 22 mag to carry) and then let her run a few mags though my glock when we go to the range to try to get her used to a auto. Then I could move her up once/if she gets comfortable with a auto.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Go with the Wife to a few gun stores to check them out She will let You know what feels good to Her. Then maybe rent them at the range and She can shoot them and see if it works for Her. To buy a firearm She will not use ?.
She was acutally the one that picked out the Ruger LCP. She handled probably 20 or so pistols at the gun store. I kept my mouth shut unless asked a direct question as I wanted her to pick a gun that was comfrotable to her, not what I thought she should have. Since she has since decided that she doesnt like the LCP she wants me to be a bit more involved the second time around.

I would like to go the rental route but unfortuanetly the only revolver my range has for rent is a .357 with a 5 inch barrel that is all steel. I know that it is going to feel a LOT different then a .357 that she would actually carry.
 

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I think it is funny when I see people disrespecting the 38, the 38 has killed it's share of bad guys and will continue to do so. At one time it was the issue gun of many law enforcement agencys. The 38 +P is a hell of alot better than that .380 for self defense, I own both plus a host of other guns.

My 2cents worth!
 

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Buy a 357 and practice with 38s. If you're a collector, that's another story.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think it is funny when I see people disrespecting the 38, the 38 has killed it's share of bad guys and will continue to do so. At one time it was the issue gun of many law enforcement agencys. The 38 +P is a hell of alot better than that .380 for self defense, I own both plus a host of other guns.

My 2cents worth!
I don't think anyone is disrespecting the .38 My question was is there any reason to by a gun that will only fire .38 when you can buy one that will fire .38 AND 357.
 

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I think it is funny when I see people disrespecting the 38, the 38 has killed it's share of bad guys and will continue to do so. At one time it was the issue gun of many law enforcement agencys. The 38 +P is a hell of alot better than that .380 for self defense, I own both plus a host of other guns.

My 2cents worth!
I don't see anyone disrespecting the .38 special. It's a good round! But just about any revolver that is chambered for .38 is also available in .357 magnum. Why not go with the more versatile weapon, even if you only shoot hot .38s in it?

The only revolver that I might buy in .38 +P is a S&W Airweight, due to cost issues alone. I believe that the lightweight .357's are quite a bit more expensive, and I would never shoot .357s in a lightweight snub anyway. But I advised against a lightweight gun for a beginner, so I didn't consider the airweight/ultralite snubs. For a beginner, a heavier snub is more enjoyable to shoot and easier to practice with....hence my recommendation for a .357 over a .38....particularly the SP-101.

The S&W Model 60 .357 is also a good option, and maybe a little lighter than an SP-101. But still, not an Airweight.
 

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357 MAG Is Ideal

I believe it is better/ideal to have one that shoots a variety & that is why I have a 357 MAG. Why have a 38 special when you can have a 357 MAG, that shoots both.

I carry a 357 Magnum Security Six: it is what the police used to carry, & they probably still do. If she needs more strength in her hands, then she can alter her's like I had done with mine above. Of course it doesn't hurt her to excersize her wrists & fingers (?), I know I have to excersize mine for strength.
 

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Just a data point for those wondering why one would buy a .38 only gun.

A gun with a shorter cylinder is a slightly smaller and lighter gun. Additional a gun with a shorter cylinder also fires the shorter round more efficiently than the longer cylinder gun would fire the shorter round.

Usually .38 gun will add an additional 25 to 50ft/s of velocities over a .357 gun firing the .38 round.

FYI, all my guns are .357 chambered revolvers and that's what I carry, but I thought I'd interject a few facts into the discussion.
 
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