CCW .38 revolver for 430$


December 25, 2008, 05:52 PM
hey guys ive managed to come up with 430 bucks,and im thinking of getting a good CC revolver ,i've been looking at the S&W 637 and ruger sp101 2" mainly,but is there anymore that you guys know of


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December 25, 2008, 06:58 PM
That kind of money should get you a very nice used S&W model 19.

I'd much prefer that to either listed.

The 19 (2 1/2" or 3" or even 4" with the right holster) is small enough to CC easily, and big enough to shoot well.

4v50 Gary
December 25, 2008, 07:01 PM
Ruger advantage - no screws to come loose and mess up your gun. They're more reliable than S&W revolvers. However, S&W has a better trigger pull and should be trouble free provided you check the screws every now and then.

December 25, 2008, 07:03 PM
The SP101 is nice, Smiths are great too. I think that your chances of getting a new SP101 are greater for the lower price (of course). I'd take a new SP101 over a used Smith, you're putting your own mileage on your own gun.
Wolff springs & a little work can work out most of the S&W trigger comparisons.

December 25, 2008, 07:27 PM
Smith and Wesson j-frames include, but may not be limited to, the following models:

(The most I could think of from instant recall)

And they had dash-1 to dash-infinity 'iterations' of the model numbers.


airlite (scandium/titanium cylinder) 10-11 oz.
airlite (scandium/steel cylinder) 13.3 oz.
airweight (aluminum/steel cylinder) 15 oz.
standard (steel frame/steel cylinder) 21-23 oz.

Exposed hammer (chief's special), shrouded hammer (humpback), enclosed hammer (centennial)

1 7/8" barrels or 2-2 1/8" barrels for snubs, some available in 3" barrel lengths.

Some .38 special only, some .38 +P, some with .38/.357 capability (including +P)

Maybe pre-lock/no-lock, maybe ILS (integral locking system).

Maybe MIM parts, maybe not. Maybe pinned barrel, or not. Maybe recessed chambers, or not.

Plenty of choices available. I sold a few myself, used/like new, all under the $430 ceiling, so you can find a quality used (or new) one, for certain, within your budget. You may find them, however, at a wide range of prices, depending on how pretty you need it to be. But then again, it's a CCW piece, so who needs to see it? It's beautiful if it's reliable, IMO.

December 26, 2008, 12:57 AM
S&W model 65 or 66---having bought the 65 I wish I had the adjustable sights on the 66. The Mod. 19 is also very nice and I have one with a 4" barrel, but it is a bigger gun than the 65/66's. Get one in .357 caliber so you can use both .38 spcl. and .357. Don't skimp on your holster. My holsters are from Rob Leahy at and I highly recommend these. You can use 'em both OWB and IWB.

December 26, 2008, 01:38 AM
Any handgun must fit your hand to be able to shoot it well enough for CC. Go to your local gun shop and try a few revolvers on for size. Don't discount a used revolver either. It takes a great deal of abuse to damage a modern commercial firearm.

December 26, 2008, 03:14 AM
I'm pretty happy with the S&W#442 38+P I just got for CCW.

(it was $432, including tax, Brand NEW! PHX,AZ.)
And the recomended load seems to be Speer 135 +P JHP's.
I probably would have gotten the .357 version if I had just a little more $ at the maybe price those where you live, also.

December 26, 2008, 04:09 AM
I love my M49!

December 26, 2008, 07:38 AM
Hmm, are you finally settling on something? I hope so. Here's my contribution to help you along, Bud's Gun Shop has new S&W 642's for $399 delivered. If you use a CC there's a 3% premium but even with shipping insurance ($5) it'll still be under your $430 limit. An even better deal from them right now is new Kahr CW9's and CW40's for just $369!

December 26, 2008, 08:19 AM
I carry/own both ruger and S&W snubs. I recently sold my S&W 638 but still have my 1964 pinned M36. Shooting a snub takes LOTS of practice...airweights like the 637 are not fun to practice with. I would lean twords the ruger...especially if you decided to get it in .357. The big downside with the ruger is that it really is a bit to large and heavy for pocket carry.

December 26, 2008, 09:05 AM
.380awsome, For ease of carry one of the S&W Airweights is the way to go. orchidhunter

December 26, 2008, 09:20 AM
Used to make some solid inexpensive 38's. Are they still around?

December 26, 2008, 09:36 AM
ulflyer, Charter arms are still around, but they are not what they use to be. orchidhunter

December 26, 2008, 11:27 AM
I would suggest the 442 (black) or 642 (grey). Both are enclosed hammrs, so nothing to catch on your pants/coat, either. They run $409 + s/t new around here. Great revolver for CCW, not so much for plinking. They are .38 Special +P rated - carry 148gr wadcutters (mild target ammo) to the +P 158gr LHPSWC ('FBI load') for protection. There are far better choices for plinking - but this is designed as a 'Doomsday Device', for when the fecal matter impacts the air movement device - and it excells at that. At 15 oz, some 10 oz less than the ~2" SP101, it won't be noticed in a pocket holster, like the excellent ones Robert Mika makes.

I've owned lots of Rugers. I have fewer revolvers now - but they are all S&W. My Rugers weren't dependable - and all came with QC issues. No problems with the S&Ws - mostly IL equipped, too. YMMV.


December 26, 2008, 11:40 AM
For CCW weight and size are two key factors. By a gun that is easy for you to conceal and easy for you to carry all day. Anything is fine on the hip but a 2 pound gun in your pocket is a different thing.

December 28, 2008, 03:27 AM
Exposed hammer (chief's special), shrouded hammer (humpback), enclosed hammer (centennial)

thesecond, that was a very good writeup you posted for the OP. Just one small correction, the shrouded hammer revolver you called a humpback is really a "Bodyguard" frame. (my favorite revolver frame)

December 28, 2008, 07:36 PM
I have a Smith 637 Airweight, purchased six years ago. Had I known then what I now know, I would have bought the 642 instead. This is a HD/SD weapon with potential for pocket carry if ever we get a sympathetic sheriff (Ah, California!). Therefore all my practice with it is at five-ten yards, entirely double action. I have fired it single action maybe ten times in that six years. At home I have practiced carrying my 637 in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster, and quickly learned that I must put my thumb tip on the hammer when drawing to prevent a snag. The 642 has no external hammer to snag. The 638 does, but it is within a shroud that should prevent snags. Oh -- the sum you mentioned would just about buy you a new 642 here.

Cordially, Jack

December 29, 2008, 08:48 PM
I have a Ruger SP101 and just today bought a Taurus 85S. I have not shot the Taurus yet but let me say without any doubt the Ruger is 110 percent better built gun night and day period every aspect. However you pay for that in the size and weight department, the Taurus is way easier to hide on your body and that's a strange thing to say because they are not all that different in size but are kind of different in shape. I sold a Bersa thunder 380 to get the 85 I hope I did not make a mistake.
I like the smiths but when looking at used ones I noticed that the alloy bodies can get nasty gouges in them, I don't know...just try each one for yourself.
Good luck!

December 29, 2008, 08:55 PM
Jffyg -- those "nasty gouges" on 6xx Airweights are in the plastic overspray, not the alloy frame. Smith&Wesson will replace it on fairly recent models, free of charge, and on their postage nickel. And comparing Rugers to Airweights, one can carry an Airweight in one's pocket (in a pocket holster, of course) all day and not even notice it. Try that with a Ruger.

Cordially, Jack

December 29, 2008, 09:17 PM
The Mod. 19 is also very nice and I have one with a 4" barrel, but it is a bigger gun than the 65/66's.

the 66 is just the stainless version of the 19.

While good guns, IMO, they are a tad heavy and large for CCW comfortably....

December 29, 2008, 09:58 PM
At that price you have a lot of great options.

I am not a fan of DOA guns (I admit owning one) but a nice older Smith, like a Model 10 would fit the bill. (I saw 2 at for $375).

In my never-so-humble-opinion, an older quality gun is better than new schlock anyday!

Have fun finding your new gun.

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