I want to buy a new revolver for concealed carry. My eyes aren't so good any more and so I think that it will be equipped with crimson trace grips. I currently have a Smith and Wesson Model 65-2 with a 3" bull barrel and am a decent enough shot with it at the range at least. I have had a cc permit for about the last ten years or so but rarely carry due to the weight and bulk of the revolver and my bianchi cross-draw holster with thumb break. I have been practicing DA only the last couple of outings.
Before the 65 I had 60 (that was around 1980) and thought I would go back to that until I noticed the dizzying array of s&w j-frames in the case. After doing some heavy internet research I decided that the centennial style enclosed hammer made alot of sense. +P ammo is fine with me so the field narrows to the 442 and 642.
I prefer the blue/black 442 but it has a carbon steel cylinder and barrel. Will that have a tendency to rust over the stainless components of the 642? What about the 1-7/8 vs 2-1/2" barrels? I know there will be a small bump in muzzle velocity but with the laser is the sight plane improvement still a consideration?
So then last time to the range I wanted to shoot one to check out the alleged killer recoil but alas they didn't have one to rent. However, they did have a Ruger LCR and I really liked it. The trigger was nice light and smooth, very comparable to my 65. Light weight, recoil not an issue even with the 135 gr +P rounds I normally carry. I read the positive reviews done by Gunblast and American Rifleman and have concluded that the design and construction of the Ruger addresses and meets pretty much all the features that interest me in a cc weapon. I have never owned or shot a Ruger before this but am not married to s&w either.
There are some incidents reported of flame cutting the frame and firing mechanism problems with the LCR and comments about the lack of a specific warranty from Ruger. As a happy owner of a BMW motorcycle I take the doom and gloom reports on the internet with a grain of salt. I haven't read of any operational or customer service complaints about the s&w.
Sorry for the long post but I'm looking for some bit of information that will break this tie in my mind. The small difference in price is not an issue for me.
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My daughter now has my favorite carry and that is a S&W shrouded hammer 38 snubbie. The slightly exposed hammer gives you the option of double action and its inherent safety of half cock.
March 6, 2010, 01:37 PM
I think that 3" 65 is a splendid choice for a concealed carry revolver.
I'm surprised to hear you think it's too heavy. What sort of belt are you using? A belt built specifically to handle the weight of a gun makes a big difference in how the gun feels on your hip. A good holster on a department store belt won't cut it. But even a crappy holster feels decent on a belt constructed for carrying a gun.
A nice strong-side pancake holster on a sturdy belt, one built for carrying a gun, might just open your eyes to how well a 3" K frame carries.
Unless you plan on carrying the gun in your pocket, I'd encourage you to take a second look at carrying that model 65 with a good leather belt and a tight pancake holster.
March 6, 2010, 01:51 PM
Angel, thanks for the link - I haven't seen that before. I particularly like the idea of the ambidextrous cylinder release as I have trained myself to shoot left handed as well as right. Looks like they won't be availble in stores for a few months though and there's that old irrational fear of low serial numbers.
Ken, I would love to not have to spend 6 or 7 hundred bucks on a new piece and all the accoutrements if I didn't have to. I do have an actual gun belt (5.11 brand) and have looked at various new holsters - that's even harder than trying to pick out a new weapon. I would kind of like to just be able to put it in my coat pocket when I walk the dogs at night or out on the road on my bike. I'm definitely not going to get rid of the 65 that's for sure (I've had it almost 30 yrs now!) so I think I'll order a new holster for it and see how that goes. In the mean time that new smith and wesson might be available.
March 6, 2010, 02:10 PM
The various Centennial models are the way to go IMO.
Much better for concealed carry. One should practice the way they will shoot in a self defense situation. An exposed hammer is one more reason why some folks don't stay with that wise rule.
Single action is unsafe in 90% of ultra stressed self defense situations. If you can't hit the bad guy while stroking through the double action portion of your J-frame you probably won't be able to hit him anyway.
That's not to doubt that many guys who carry with a hammer on their gun don't or wont do well in a gunfight. It's just to say that the "hammerless" Smiths are the best way to go for most folks for several well thought out reasons.
March 6, 2010, 02:22 PM
I'm sitting with my LCR on my hip as I write.
It has had about 200 rounds of mixed factory and reloads pushed through it, from mild target stuff to hot +P. There is no flame cutting on it at all. My thoughts is that it is a carry gun - not a range gun. While I put at least a double-handful of rounds through it every range trip, it doesn't get 50-100 run through it each time. Someone wrote here on THR that the LCR is a "disposable" gun with a limited lifespan. At the rate I shoot it, it will probably be just fine for my son and maybe grandson - assuming Pelosi, Ried, et. al., don't get it first.
As to the lockup issue, I haven't had a hiccup. I've probably dry-fired it 2 or 3 times for every round I've fired through it, so that means at least 600+ trigger squeezes. The only caveat is that you MUST let the trigger to fully forward to reset. Failure to do that will cause grief - like not turning the cylinder, or it will turn the cylinder without letting the firing pin hit.
The sights are very acceptable. Not true target sights by any stretch, yet there is enough to them that very precise shooting is possible. They are head & shoulders above the little LCP "sights".
I love the cushy Hogues. I understand the stiffer CT grips make the gun feel rather snappy. At 13 ounces, empty, it's still under a pound loaded (my ammo is 5- remington 158gr +P) and rides either in a Crossbreed QuickClip IWB rig or a Blackhawk #4 pocket holster. Either way, it's comfortable for all-day carry.
I picked mine up for just over $400, S&H included, off Gunbroker.
March 6, 2010, 02:26 PM
The leather or nylon belt?
Marvin, I'll pass on the hammerless model, but thank you very much.
There are many good options. I won't go as far as to say any one of them is the "best".
March 6, 2010, 02:32 PM
1- Before you decide on a carry revolver I suggest that you reevaluate how you carry. I bought a 5:11 reinforced trainer belt and it literally changed my life. I can carry a much heavier weapon quite comfortably than when I used a leather belt. The 3 inch 65 becomes seemingly weightless. The Detective Special on my belt presently is as though it is not there.
2- I could not disagree with Marvin more concerning hammers on snubs. Were all defensive situation the statistically most likely 5 ft gun fights he would be correct, but you wouldn't be shooting action anyway.
The only inherent disadvantage, snagging, can be overcome with simple training or buying a gun with a shrouded hammer. While some folks like Old Fuff can shoot double action from a snub and knock a dingleberry off of a hummingbirds butt at 200 yards while doing Ty Bo in the bed of a monster truck jumping over an explosion with the gun clenched in his butt cheeks and sighting over his shoulder using the head of a pin, most mere mortals cannot. Single action is of great assistance for a longer shot.
March 6, 2010, 03:23 PM
"The leather or nylon belt?"
What do you think of the Simply Rugged pancake?
March 6, 2010, 03:24 PM
I couldn't tell you. Do you have a link?
March 6, 2010, 03:26 PM
March 6, 2010, 03:33 PM
The boning isn't very detailed, so I'd be a little concerned about retention, but it looks like a decent budget-price holster.