Which brand?


July 24, 2008, 11:06 AM
I'm in the market for a j-frame style revolver and am on a pretty tight budget. I have already ruled out the ruger sp-101 because I am going to pocket carry, and those things are just too darn big :mad:.

Now I come to you fine folks of THR to advise me on which brand of snubby to pursue. My dream would be a SW 642 but I see two problems with them... one would be the price, and the other would be the internal locks (I hear bad things). The price is a concern because I am on a pretty tight budget so I've also got my eye on Tauruses and Charter Arms.

How do T's and CA's stack up against SW's?

Of the cheaper options (T an CA) wich would you choose?

Should I even bother with the others and just save a little more for the SW?

Thank you in advance for your wisdom and input.

P.S. This will be my first handgun. It will be a carry piece and home defense weapon, and will be the only handgun for me for quite some time I'm afraid.

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July 24, 2008, 11:10 AM
New or used, and what's the budget?

July 24, 2008, 11:22 AM
www.cdnninvestments.com has S&W 637's for $359.

I own a model 638 and occasionally pocket carry it. I really dont feel comfortable pocket carrying. I prefer IWB. If would consider IWB carry you can get away with a much bigger and more comfortable gun to practice with!

Taurus makes a model 605 .357 with a 3" barrel that is very nice.

July 24, 2008, 11:45 AM
Hmm, tough to recommend a snubbie as a first gun. You will need to spend a LOT of time practicing with it.

Also, to recommend a particular gun, we'll need to know your price range. Around here, I see Taurus and Charter Arms firearms going for anywhere from high-$200s to mid-$300s; to me that is no different from some of the used S&Ws. If given the choice I would never choose Taurus or Charter over S&W. The lock might make me pause, but do some serious shopping and you should be able to locate some type of J-frame in your price range - I find just about any J-frame is light enough for pocket duty, not just the Airweights. Don't settle when you don't have to.

July 24, 2008, 12:28 PM
I guess I should have been a little more specific. Sorry, I hadn't gotten my second cup of coffee in me yet (yes, I'm an addict, I need help).

Budget: Bewtween $300-$400 preferably. I'm still working on saving. I can go higher if I save longer, but my wife and I are also trying to plan for my education as well, so money doesn't go very far. 3-400 is ALOT of money for us. And that doesn't count ammo, range costs, holster, storage container(s), etc.

Pocket carry: The reason for this is primarily the wife's preference. She likes the way I dress (she mostly chooses my clothes :rolleyes:). I have a long torso and so shirts tend to be just a little too short on me for IWB, unless I get shirts that are too big, which the wife doesn't like,... on and on... so pocket carry it is. I know there are those who will argue there are better ways to carry, the gun is supposed to be comforting not comfortable, and all that. I'm aware, but just go with it.

Snubby: I should have clarified. This is the first handgun I have owned, not the first handgun I have fired. My dad CCWed when I was a kid. I'm no target shooter, but I have shot enough to know that snubbies feel really good in my hand, and point fairly naturally for me. And they fit into my pocket comfortably, which is neccessary (see above).

I know the Taurus and CA are no SW. I'm just wondering if they're even worth looking at, or if it just makes more sense to save some extra cash, look a little harder for used stuff, and maybe something prelock, and get the smith.

Hope this clears at least some things up.

July 24, 2008, 12:41 PM
j_charles, you should have no problem finding a used S&W in your price range. I recently passed a used 642 with a few scratches for $325 and a used Model 38 for about $360. I felt both were good deals but did not have the desire to pursue either gun. I picked up my flat latch Model 37 for $300 and it's in great shape.

Taurus and Charter have made some good firearms, and there are certainly many on this board who would attest to their quality. But to me, there is no way I would choose anything but S&W (well, maybe Colt too) if I had to choose ONE snubbie for all-purpose duty. While S&W is not without its problems, I would not feel comfortable knowing that it might take who knows how long to get warranty service from Taurus. There are plenty of good S&Ws in your price range, and maybe a few Colt Detective Specials/Cobras. Just look hard, and perhaps be patient. The deals will show up.

July 24, 2008, 12:47 PM
If you shop wisely (gun shows, gun shops and internet site's) you should be able to get a nice used S&W model 36 for less than $300. I picked up my 1964 vintage model 36 for $225 in march 2008 from a local gun shop. The all steel M36 can be pocket carried and the added weight make it a joy to shoot at the range.

Below are 2 potential choices for you.



July 24, 2008, 12:53 PM
You should know that S&W just released a batch of 4000 brand new 642-1s with NO LOCK. Get to your LGS now and see if they can order you one. The distributor who has them is a place called RSR. Check this thread: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=378526

July 24, 2008, 12:58 PM
I don't think that the money you save on a T or CA is worth it. The S&W is just that much nicer, and not much more expensive.

July 24, 2008, 01:09 PM
You should know that S&W just released a batch of 4000 brand new 642-1s with NO LOCK

I believe they have only released 700 so far and those sold out quickly. Try to find a dealer that uses RSR as a distributor and see if they can get in on another shipment. Also, check the Handguns For Sale section here on THR. There was a dealer who had them for $419.95.

July 24, 2008, 02:19 PM
I've recently come around to S&W, I must admit.

I tried really, really had to like Taurus. Like you, my budget tends to run somewhere between tight and tighter. However, I've spent the last several months handling revolvers of all sorts: Taurus, Ruger, S&W, even a few Colts.
I love Ruger single actions in an almost unnatural fashion. They're awsome for range time and woods time.
The short of it, however, is the more I handle and compare trigger pulls/carry comfort/etc on DA revolvers, the more drawn I am to the S&W J frames.
It's hard to admit that, it's true, but here it is. I'm checking for used 36s, and keeping a little extra aside here and there for a new 442/637 if I cant find a 36 I want.

July 24, 2008, 04:47 PM
I carry the DAO SP101 in a Mika pocket holster all day in my jeans front pocket...Not too heavy IMO.

July 25, 2008, 05:42 AM
You shouldnt have any trouble finding a good J frame for 300-400 dollars. Check out Gunbroker and your local shops.

July 25, 2008, 05:49 AM



July 25, 2008, 07:43 AM
I have two DA revolvers. A Taurus 431 in 44 Special, and a Taurus 605 in 357. I am very happy with both of them. I have been happy with the 431 for 20 years. I have owned many Smiths, Colts, Rugers, and Tauruses, and a few Rossi. Handle as many as you can, and get what you like best and can afford.

July 25, 2008, 07:57 AM
While the Ruger Sp101 is a bit heavy, it is not "big".

July 25, 2008, 08:07 AM
Charter Arms Undercover. Hands down. About $200 new, if you can find one that someone was willing to part with used, they are Saturday-Night-Special cheap. Solid, reliable guns. I owned one for years before giving it to an ex-girlfriend as a moving away to the city gift. She still has it.


July 25, 2008, 08:41 AM
Why not get a used j-frame? It'd be within your budget.

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