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I'm inviting you all to pick on me a little here. I'm picking on myself a little because I find this dilemma so very amusing.

I've known since the start of this year I wanted something else to go with my 642. That incident in Tyler, TX really got me thinking about something that's a little more confidence inspiring. I'll admit my 642 is 98% likely to take care of anything that might ever happen to little old me. I don't go running around looking for bad stuff to go down, but neither did Mr. Wilson.

I'll admit it: I shoot a larger gun better than I shoot a smaller one. I shoot better with a rifle than I do with any pistol. I shoot a K frame sized revolver better than a full size semiautomatic. I shoot a full size semiautomatic better than I can shoot a snubnose revolver. You're all going to yell at me and I know it shouldn't make a darn bit of difference what piece of hardware is in my hand, but the fact is that it just does. In any case the longer the barrel and the further apart the sights are, the more accurate I am with it.

So while the 642 is a great tool, and may indeed be an ideal tool for extreme close quarters, I wanted something a little more confidence inspiring I could carry whenever circumstances permitted. Due to my profession and lifestyle the 642 is going to be as good as it gets 60-70% of the time. I could explain why at length but would simply rather not.

My criteria were pretty loose when I started. It had to either have a 3" barrel (for a revolver) or a 4" barrel (for a semiautomatic). I had to think it was cool. It had to be a top shelf brand, not more than $800 MSRP, comfortable to hold and carry. It had to point well and have good sights.

I eventually decided I would kill two birds with one stone and try my first caliber that starts with "4". I've been a .357/.38/9x19 baby all my life and I still think that's all the calibers a sane person would ever need in a handgun, but I realize now that I am going insane and might as well concede to my own madness.

I like .38 but I don't want another .38

I like .357 very much but I quite frankly am developing concerns about muzzle blast and flash. I've become much more educated in the past year and one thing I soon learned was to expect to shoot in low light conditions. I know from firing .357 at dusk that even relatively mild loads put on a bit of a light show.

9x19 is an extremely easy caliber to live with due to its low price and light recoil, and it's probably the best compromise caliber, but I'm already carrying a .38. Why carry .38 and 9mm at the same time? It just seems redundant. If I'm going to carry a bigger gun I might as well be carrying a bigger caliber, yes?

The firearm will be used as is, box stock. No custom work, it will be a workhorse and not a baby.

I think I've got it down to two choices. I'm not committed to either yet and it'll be months yet before I purchase anything in all likelihood.

First contender: The S&W 396



Unfortunately I've never actually gotten to see an actual 396, but I have played with a 386, so I feel that's a very fair comparison.

Pros:

- I have to admit I am developing a hankering for Smith and Wesson revolvers. I like them, darn it!
- The 386 fit my hand perfectly. It felt more natural than my 686 which I adore. I can only imagine the 396 would be very similar if not identical.
- The sights on this thing are awesome.
- I've always wanted to try .44 Special. It's just a cool caliber.
- It weighs nothing. Nothing. I swear it's like a feather. This would make it so easy to carry I might carry a larger gun more often.

Cons:

-It seems to be a bit of an odd ball and a touch hard to get. I've yet to physically see one. Oh there's some people that would be happy to order me one, cash up front please, and I've played with its .357 chambered brother, but I've never actually gotten to see one in person.
-While certainly not an exotic caliber, 44 Special isn't nearly as widespread as .44 Magnum like I thought it was. Truth be told I would like to have a gun like this chambered in .44 Magnum just in case, but I've seen the market and I can't have my cake and eat it too.
- Bit of heavy sticker price but when I compare the cost of magazines to the cost of speed loaders it's not really that much more expensive.
- My only reload option is a speedloader. Speedloaders are tons of fun and I like to play and practice with them but the fact is that they suck to carry. They are wide and cumbersome and awkward to carry. Speedstrips are not available for this caliber. I don't believe it's necessary to have a high capacity but I do believe it's necessary to carry a reload.
- The greatest problem when considering a full size revolver for a CCW is a lack of holsters. The market follows the semiautomatic so much it's sad, with many great holster makers only doing 1911s and service pistols. If your revolver is any larger than a 640 your holster options suddenly thin out.

Second contender: The Springfield Armory XD40



Pros:

- No external safety.
- Very, very smooth, glassy, I dare say buttery smooth, magazine feed and release with a very positive magazine catch.
- The magazines themselves seem easy to load and well made.
- Longer barrel than the 396.
- More common caliber that reminds me very much of .357 for some reason.
- This is truly a semiautomatic that answers my every little paranoia about semiautomatics.

Cons:
-Not sure how I feel about that grip safety. Most people I've known who carry a gun with a grip safety (1911s mostly) have it pinned, and I don't know if I want to explain that on a witness stand.
-Sights are okay but not as good as 396.
-God it's ugly.
-If it were for home defense the light rail could be tremendously useful but for my intended purpose it's not useful. I hate not using this feature. It's kind of like having a truck with 4WD and never using the 4WD.
-Strong possibility of magazines being unavailable after Bush leaves office.
-Even after all that, it's still a semiautomatic that spits hot brass all over the place. That's exactly what I need is a hot brass casing in my eye or someone else's eye. :biggrin: Note: this "con" is facetious I'm not actually worried about that happening. I'm having a sense of humor about myself already sheesh.
- The 9mm version of this gun is plentiful. It's the .40 that seems to be hard to get for some reason. I would likely have to settle for the non stainless finish, which doesn't affect how the gun functions in any way but still it's a negative in my book.
- Fantastic ergonomics but it just doesn't seem to point as well.

Ties:

They're both going to cost about the same in the end. I'm going to want several spare factory magazines for the XD40.

They're both going to require some retraining on my part. The 396's light weight probably makes it muzzle flip pretty bad, and the XD40's format isn't as easy to shoot. But then again any gun I own has its own weirdnesses and one thing about it I just don't like but accept anyway.

They're both very comfortable guns. While the 396 feels better in the hand, I think the shape of the XD40 will be easier to conceal and will ride more comfortably. I dare say the XD40 is the most comfortable semiautomatic I've ever picked up.

I thought you'd all find it amusing that I am torn between two offerings which have:

NOTHING

and I stress

NOTHING

in common beyond the superficial distinctions we could make.

See normally people are torn between two different Glocks, or two different Wondernines, or two different 1911s... not me. I'm torn between two offerings that no one in their right mind would be debating between. This would be so crystal clear for most people.

I'm actually laughing at myself. This is like debating between an Impala and a Titan. Nothing in common whatsoever.
 

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My opinion, and admitted bias for semiautos (not against revolvers), would be the XD40. Not sure why you would have a hard time finding one of these, they are everywhere I look around here. It is a very comfortable gun to carry and shoot. Recoil is not bad, they are fairly simple in their design, very safe (don't pin the grip safety) and very accurate. I traded a Glock 30 that I couldn't hit diddly with and was pleasantly surprised to find that this gun was not just a Glock under another name. I think the XD is a "sleeper" and would satisfy even you, Euc in terms of reliability and value. When my son turns 21 and gets his CCW in September I will probably buy him an XD40. I trust it enough to protect him. :wink:
 

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Euc...you have way to much time on your hands! :tongue:
 

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Yup, wayyyy too much. Ever consider the 357 Scandium revolver? It's even lighter. I have an "Airweight" aluminum frame model. The Scandium are 4oz. lighter and handle a magnum instead of a standard 38. I really like it. And if you get the Crimson Trace Grips, the fit is better. But the $$$$'s is extreme IMHO. Karl.
 

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Euc,

As a friend, find a woman, please.

Other than that, let me answer your handgun question. Unless you handload, choose the .40 SW every time.

The .44 SPL usually is loaded with a soft, round-nosed bullet at pressures not that much different from those in 1907. Granted, there are some better 200 grain combat loads, but then, a well thrown brick is more effective. I say that because I've handloaded the .44 SPL for +/-30 years. My wife's favorite gun is her nickel plated .44 Charter Arms Bulldog.

On the other hand, a few Golden Sabers out of a .40 SW (of any brand, BTW), are better than just about anything. The 180 grain 10mm Auto, the .41 AE and the .40 SW were all developed with human targets as criteria.

I'd like a 396 myself. I have a real-deal 429421 Keith mold, 1,200 pounds of linotype and over 50 pounds of Alcan AL-8. With common components available on my shelf tonight, I can reload a cartridge that will stop a good sized bear. YMMV.

Buy a .40 SW and some premium factory ammo. And I would suggest a nice blonde.
 

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Get the XD! I carried with an XD for quite a while and found it to be a sleeper like bumper said. Great feel, very accurate, widely available very reasonably priced.
 

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The Tourist said:
Euc,

As a friend, find a woman, please.

Other than that, let me answer your handgun question. Unless you handload, choose the .40 SW every time. And I would suggest a nice blonde.
Well you're on the right track, but I'd go with a 45 EVERY time and a 40 only SOMETIMES. And to HECK with a "nice" blonde. Get a "GOOD" blonde. Why good rather than nice? It takes PRACTICE to be "good!"
 

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I care for the 40 short and weak not at all ... but the xd platform is a excellent platform ... another thing on the grip safety i see no one proght up is that umless its depressed the gun cannot be fully pulled out of battery ...


the smith wheelie would be nice except to over priced and dont think i would want one in 44 sp only good caliber but what of resale always some wanna be that has to have a snub 44 mag till he shoots it and will usually pay top $$$

Course carrying the xd i dont feel bad about it getting scratched up or finsh wear but sure wouldnt want my colt wheelies to take that abuse they have soul tactile tupperware doesnt
 

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Euclidean....try going to Cheaper Than Dirt over on loop 820....they carry a large selection of handguns....I've seen Springfield XD's there...just last week. Also the gun show at Big Town Mall in Mesquite always has them.
 

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Based on where you're going with this choice, I'd conisder either a Kahr P40 or a Kahr K40. Both have excellent grips, both are S&W .40. Both have just about the slimist profile out there. I've held the XD's and they're nice but the P and K40's from Kahr grip better IMHO. The steel Kahr (K40) is a little bit on the heavy side, the P40 is anything but heavy. The P40 is a little snappy, exhibiting some muzzle flip, but then again any lightweight revolver in .44 is going to be the same, and probably worse.

The XD is a nice pistol but I'd highly recommend the Kahr and it's top shelf as well a one of the most concealable weapons that I'm aware of....
Good luck on your decision.
 

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Hey Euc..........WAyyyyy too much time on yer hands,<LOL> sorta like me as well.
I was looking at a Taurus 41 Mag Model 415T <Titanium > 5 shot stainless........they retail around 608.00 full price, but I'm sure you can find a better deal on one....It's ported on the top of the muzzel to help keep recoil down. Kinda the same size as a K frome Smith.....Might want to look into it as it's just a consideration.. maybe a BUG...or a secondery weapon?? 41 mag is a good caliber, right in between the hot 357 and 44 mag...plus it's stainless and a round butt weapon it also has a full length schroud under the Barrel.
www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=415SH2C&category=Revolver

Either way, all of the prior weapons make a great choice as well.....Just throwing in some more info for consideration..
 

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Euc' - just me but - ultra lightweight revo? Nope! I like revo's, instance my SP-101 and CT grips but heck - these ultra lightweights .. even with comp up front (muzzle flash?!) ... they are (high priced) bears to control.

I have resisted going into .40 but looking at your apple and orange I'd say XD wins the day. I would however myself elect to go with a SIG.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Let's see... how to add to all this silliness...

I am feeling slightly that I'll wind up going with the XD series but I can't commit to it yet. I feel stupid about considering buying anything with the word "Extreme" in the name.

"How do you like my new gun?"

"Well it's a gun I guess-"

"IT'S X-TREEEEEEEEEEEM!!!"

On the bright side I don't think it's ever been on the cover of a rap album.

And perhaps I'm looking at the light rail all wrong. Why not add an experimental M3400 tactical weapon lighting system with motion seeking auxilary spotlights? I could mount a Motorola flip phone in the mag well and replace the rear sight with a Sony PSP. I'd just have to have a gunsmith mount a keyring on the trigger guard and all I'd ever have to carry would be spare batteries.

Of course then again I could sober up and go with the 396, and replace the factory grips with industructible adamantium to reduce the weight another 0.5 ounces. Never mind the fact the gun will go flying end over end over my shoulder after firing loads more anemic than a .380 ACP. Or maybe I could send it off to Mick Strider and have it Tiger Striped something like this:



Somewhere in New Orleans a pimp is unarmed... but I digress. Just imagine that on a shiny new wheelie.

Am I funny yet? Trying too hard?

I'm just bored. I just got done typing 14 pages of academic jargon crap. I need to break up the monotony. That was coincidentally the motivation for the original post.

But seriously I've seen enough of the XD to not doubt its usefulness; I do wish I could get that very pistol in .45 ACP instead of .40S&W. Yeah I realize that's impossible and yeah I realize they do make it in .45 GAP but I don't want to be hunting for a weird cartridge that may go the way of the 10mm.

It seems .40 isn't too liked here... should I just wuss out and consider the 9x19 instead? I was under the impression .40 packs a noticeably more punch but ballistic tables can give you headaches if you stare at them too long. I seem to recall 124 grain 9mm loads have a muzzle velocity around 1100 ft/s with 364 foot lbs. and something like and .40 S&W is around 1200 ft/s and 500 foot lbs. out of a 4 inch barrel give or take, but am I wrong?

Ahh who knows what those numbers really mean in the real world anyway.

As for the .44 Special, well if I went with another revolver I was kind of hoping to get away from the problems I associated with the .357 somewhat.

Anyway all calibers are somehow flawed and I should just pick one and run with it. Carry on and continue the silliness!
 

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Silliness??? what silliness?? you're just wanting one of every flavor.....just like the rest of us... :biggrin:
 

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Euclidean said:
Let's see... how to add to all this silliness...

I am feeling slightly that I'll wind up going with the XD series but I can't commit to it yet. I feel stupid about considering buying anything with the word "Extreme" in the name...
Then, here's some food for thought. You might consider a stainless SIG P226 or P229 in 357 SIG. You can get a .40 barrel and the magazines can be used for either cartridge. It's stainless, like you want.

Pros:

- No external safety.
- Flawless magazine feed and release with a very positive magazine catch.
- The magazines themselves are easy to load and well made, with continued availability likely.
- Longer barrel than the 396.
- .357 performance in a semiautomatic with less muzzle flash and noise, at the same cost as premium defensive 9mm and .40 loads.
- .40 performance only requires a change of the barrel, not the springs.
- Stainless, like you want.
- Available in DAK, DAO, or DA/SA smooth-as-glass triggers.
- Excellent and building track record with PD's and Gov't agencies across the nation.
- Bigger and heavier than the XD.

Cons:
- Doesn't have the word "Extreme" in the name.
- It has a rail.
- Cost is at or near the top of your range.
- It will outlast you.
- It is a beautiful thing, and you might be distracted by its beauty.
- It is too versatile.
- It is too accurate.
- It is too consistent.
- It is too dependable.
- It is too much fun to shoot.
- It is too easy to carry.
- You have to practice with a target load that is identical to your defensive load, so you'll be too good.
- You have to buy something that has "SIG" in the name.

I could go on, but it wouldn't be fair.
 

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NOISE LEVELS of .357 Sig

Tom357 said:
Then, here's some food for thought. You might consider a stainless SIG P226 or P229 in 357 SIG. You can get a .40 barrel and the magazines can be used for either cartridge. It's stainless, like you want.

Pros:
.357 performance in a semiautomatic with less muzzle flash and noise, at the same cost as premium defensive 9mm and .40 loads.
- .40 performance only requires a change of the barrel, not the springs.
Cons:
- Doesn't have the word "Extreme" in the name.
- It has a rail.
- Cost is at or near the top of your range.
- It will outlast you.
- It is a beautiful thing, and you might be distracted by its beauty.
- It is too versatile.
- It is too accurate.
- It is too consistent.
- It is too dependable.
- It is too much fun to shoot.
- It is too easy to carry.
- You have to practice with a target load that is identical to your defensive load, so you'll be too good.
- You have to buy something that has "SIG" in the name.

I could go on, but it wouldn't be fair.
I have to agree with all of this except on one single point:

The .357 Sig is L-O-U-D and virtually guaranteed to produce permanent flinch the first time you fire it without serious hearing protectors. I can't even IMAGINE firing it in a tight space like inside a vehicle!
 

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Well, I have to agree with everything but one point, as well:

It's not easy to carry (at least one me). I loved my P226 .40 and regret selling it. I would bet I have another some day, though. :smile:
 

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I've shot the 396. It doesn't kick more than a mid-framed 357 with moderate loads.

Compared to my 296, it's a .22. ;)

And far be it from me to recommend anyone buy a Sig 226.

No, they're bad. No, they're evil.

No, I don't need to buy a third. No, not me.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Actually the 226 looks pretty good. My only knock against it is that it borderlines on that price range where I'd be scared to get it all scuffed up...

I'll have to go look at one and see. Damn you all. :biggrin:
 

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ExSoldier762 said:
I have to agree with all of this except on one single point:

The .357 Sig is L-O-U-D and virtually guaranteed to produce permanent flinch the first time you fire it without serious hearing protectors. I can't even IMAGINE firing it in a tight space like inside a vehicle!
Well, it does go BOOM marginally louder than target loads in other cartridges, but I think it is on par with hot defensive loads, such as +P+ loads in 9mm, .40, or .45. One good thing, though, is that if you practice with a 357 SIG, there is almost no difference between the way your practice loads behave and sound, versus your defensive loads, so I don't think the Flash/Bang is quite as unexpected. Frankly, I think that discharging any defensive load of any caliber inside a vehicle or other tight space is going to produce a deafening BOOM.

As to fitness for carry, I'm 6'6" and 240 lbs. and I carry my 226ST, no problem, but I realize a full-size isn't for everyone. That's why I also suggested the 229, which is coming out in Stainless, this spring. The 229 is sweet, a little more compact, equally interchangeable between .357S and .40, and a little less expensive than the 226.

Another alternative is to consider a SIG-certified reconditioned pistol. It may have a little character, but it is less expensive, comes with a SIG warranty, and you don't have to worry about getting it dinged up with daily carry.
 
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