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I guess the short way of asking my question is if the only way to see if you could potentially see how a gun would conceal is actually buying it. I mean, I'm not going to go to the gun store, asking them if I could see a particular firearm and then shove it in my pants, but I don't want to blow 7 or 800 bucks on a gorgeous new Smith & Wesson revolver only to realize I hate it or it's just going to sit locked up in a safe somewhere.

I've seen those blue plastic training guns in the shape of real firearms which cost anywhere between $50 and $100, but the gun I really want to play around with is the Smith & Wesson 686 and I can't find a 686 blue gun. I want to see how the different barrel lengths shoot and conceal, .357 magnum versus .38 special, snubbie, 4-inch, 3-inch, I want to try them all out and see what works best, but I don't exactly have 3 Gs to flush down the drain (that's IF I could even FIND these revolvers with the shortage nowadays... the gun shop/range I usually go to is a literal ghost town.)

Any suggestions? What have you all done?
 

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Some gun shops have ranges that allow you to rent guns. They have a lot of different models. Personally I just get a weapon I think will be a good fit for me through research and word of mouth and even forums like this and watching them reviewed by some online gun reviewers I have learned to trust over the years. If you find you get a gun you do not like you can always resell it. A new gun will not depreciate much.
 

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I guess the short way of asking my question is if the only way to see if you could potentially see how a gun would conceal is actually buying it. I mean, I'm not going to go to the gun store, asking them if I could see a particular firearm and then shove it in my pants, but I don't want to blow 7 or 800 bucks on a gorgeous new Smith & Wesson revolver only to realize I hate it or it's just going to sit locked up in a safe somewhere.

I've seen those blue plastic training guns in the shape of real firearms which cost anywhere between $50 and $100, but the gun I really want to play around with is the Smith & Wesson 686 and I can't find a 686 blue gun. I want to see how the different barrel lengths shoot and conceal, .357 magnum versus .38 special, snubbie, 4-inch, 3-inch, I want to try them all out and see what works best, but I don't exactly have 3 Gs to flush down the drain (that's IF I could even FIND these revolvers with the shortage nowadays... the gun shop/range I usually go to is a literal ghost town.)

Any suggestions? What have you all done?
LOL. Why the heck not? That's exactly what I did with several compact guns before I bought my primary carry gun. Just this last weekend, I went to Cabela's and a local store looking for holsters. In both places I asked them to grab a Kahr from the case to see how it fit the holsters I was looking at and did slip them inside my waistband a few times.

Obviously that's a far cry from being able to carry something all day in a variety of situations, but the sales guys never batted an eye.
 

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Never hurts to ask. I was looking to pocket carry so I asked the guy at the local gun shop if I could slide it in my pocket to feel how it was. He said sure and that he gets that a lot. Just ask them, from my experience they will gladly let you try it before you buy it because they want to make the sale and make sure your comfortable with what you're getting. If that gun shop doesn't let you go somewhere else.
 

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1)Master the fundamentals of a good grip on a pistol
2)Go to a rental range and figure out what feels best in your hand and stick with it.
3)What kind of holster you are wearing determines a lot. I like the appendix carry holsters a lot.
4)Where do you plan on positioning your reloads?
 

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Never hurts to ask. I was looking to pocket carry so I asked the guy at the local gun shop if I could slide it in my pocket to feel how it was. He said sure and that he gets that a lot. Just ask them, from my experience they will gladly let you try it before you buy it because they want to make the sale and make sure your comfortable with what you're getting. If that gun shop doesn't let you go somewhere else.
Heh....it never dawned on me to ask. It's not like I'm gonna walk out of the store with it and there's probably not much I can do to it by putting it in my pocket. Seemed natural to me to see how a subcompact fit into various pieces of clothing.
 

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Some gun shops have ranges that allow you to rent guns.
+1 for this. My LGS rents a large variety of guns and I test shot my 3 finalists before deciding on my EDC - Glock 30 SF 3rd gen. I'm sure they will also let you try it in a holster or 2 before you decide.
 

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I would find a gun that I could shoot well first and then find a way to conceal it.
 

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I would find a gun that I could shoot well first and then find a way to conceal it.
Yeah, this seems like a strange criterion for purchase, though there are a few brands that don't have a lot of holster options. How could one not be able to conceal a handgun, I wonder. A full size 1911, in .45, sure, but any compact even a revolver should be fairly easy unless you have an odd body type.
 
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