CCW Revolver


July 7, 2010, 11:33 PM
I'm selling my PF-9 because I want a snub nose for concealed carry. I just like the thought of wheel-gun reliability. I'm just looking for a good direction to be pointed in. I personally think that a 38+p round is sufficient, and I know how painful a 357 load can be out of such a small barrel. Right now I'm thinking about the LCR. I thought about getting an SP101, but I'm worried that the weight may be a little much. Not looking to spend a fortune when there are so many quality revolvers for less.

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July 8, 2010, 01:23 AM
cquedr,I have the Rugers in SP101 2.25 inch barrel,2 LCRs in .38 and the NEW.357. All 3 are GREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT shooters. Even the LCR in .357/38 which I have one for myself. The SP101 is a nice shooter also. And I have most of the Rugers aalso in the stainles Security Sixes,Speed sixs, and also with adj. sights on my 3 inch pinned rear sight. So,what ever one you want,get any that are mentioned and if you are afraid of the .357 rounds,there are .38s out there.rich642z

July 8, 2010, 02:20 AM
Quote from cquedr: "I just like the thought of wheel-gun reliability"


cquedr, that's the most logical thing I've heard all day.

I also looks like you know exactly why you want the gun, and how it'll be used, which seems to be a characteristic in short supply in most forum posts these days.

I have a light weight .357 Magnum DAO revolver, and I like it, but it's hardly a high value gun. To be honest, if I were to make the purchase today, I'd probably opt for a light weight .38 Special instead. I've done a lot of ballistic testing on both rounds from my gun (and other guns too), and with the right choice in .38 special +P, you'll have a very potent weapon. Some of the lighter weight Cor Bon and Buffalo Bore easily record well over 300 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.

I love the SP101, and have put many rounds through it, but for .38 Special, I think you are on the right track when looking for a light weight gun. You like the LCR, and that is an excellent choice, and before you make your final decision, also check out a Smith & Wesson 642 or 442. (mid $400's at my local gun shop)

Low Budget Shooter
July 8, 2010, 03:43 AM
Dear cguedr,

I've tried lotsa guns, and am presently very pleased with a S&W model 642. YMMV.


July 8, 2010, 04:09 AM
My suggestion would be a S&W M642 ( or M442 ( I carry one daily and am very satisfied with a 15oz .38 Special +P. There's nothing wrong with a Bodyguard J frame either like the M638 ( or M438 ( I also own a M638 but my son seem to always have it in his pocket and that's why I carry the M642 instead.

July 8, 2010, 11:58 AM
Thanks for the suggestions fellas. I'll take a look at a couple of those Smiths in addition to the Rugers.

July 8, 2010, 12:18 PM
...and I will encourage you to look a step up-stream at the S&W scandium-framed revolvers. DA/SA like the 360 and Chief's Special, or the M&P 340 (or PD variant). The quality of this product line is noticably higher in areas like frame strength, manufacture and assembly QC, and finish quality and durability.

Costly--yes. But if your budget can afford it, worth it in the long run. Remember that these particular (357) revolvers show up used, and when they do, they typically have perhaps one cylinderful of 357 rounds fired. Nobody I know routinely shoots 357s in these revolvers, save for the occasional poster here, so naive buyers drop them, simply because they want to shoot 357.

I carry an M&P340 daily as a pocket revolver. At one time I carried a 2" SP101--but I carried it SOB. a 28-oz. revolver is not, IMO, a pocket revolver--and I think the jury is still out on the LCR; there may be intermittent "new design" issues showing up.

Jim H.

July 8, 2010, 12:49 PM
I like the S&W Model 60LS (LadySmith). The gun can shoot .357 or .38 Special. Empty weight is 21.2 oz. The light weight and grip shape make the gun relatively easy to conceal. I frequently wear mine OWB with only a light shirt covering it. However, it is still small enough to fit in a pocket. The only thing that I don't 'love' about the gun is that it says LadySmith on the side, but really who knows and who cares. The SP101 is a good value, but IMO is not suitable for pocket carry. If you are willing to carry OWB or IWB the SP101 is hard to beat in terms of revolvers. I will say this, if you are willing to deal with the extra weight of the SP101 you could then easily carry a Glock 26 or 19 in the same manner and be 'better' armed. That was my challenge. I would strap on the SP101 and think to myself, this thing is just as heavy as my Glock and I only get 5 shots. That's me, you have to decide what you feel comfortable with. The 60LS on the other hand is just so light and easy to carry that I find the trade off worth it. Good luck.

July 8, 2010, 12:50 PM
I am a Ruger fan, and a .357 reloader. I chose a nib 2.25" SP 101 as my ccw recently. I don't feel that the weight is an issue with me.
Whatever you sure to give it a thorough inspection before you lay your $$ down. I became too involved in "gun talk" to bother to inspect the bore on my 101.
Just because it's new doesn't mean it's perfect.

July 8, 2010, 12:54 PM
I went through a half dozen CCW wheelguns before settling on....

a Colt

July 8, 2010, 01:16 PM

if you are anything like me you will end up with a bunch of carry guns, depending on your wardrobe, location and even the weather.

With this in mind you don't have to find the "perfect" carry gun. I have a PM9 for thunderstorms and deep carry, a diamondback for most days, along with several others.

Work on a good carry piece that you shoot well and know that it will be the first of many

July 8, 2010, 08:19 PM
a fine choice, but then so are many of the others that have been mentioned. My wife carries the Ruger LCR and is quite happy with it as the trigger is very smooth and easy for her. I also have several for various modes of dress and prefer the revolver over the semi-auto for its simlicity and reliability. Good luck on your search and have fun.

Old John
July 9, 2010, 10:32 AM
I've been carrying a Ruger SP101, .357 for several years, in a high-ride, open-top pancake holster. My next purchase will be a Ruger LCR in .357 mag, probably for occasional pocket carry.
I've already tried out the S&W J-frames and the Taurus UL model 85's. The trigger is much better on the LCR than any of the others.
Besides I just prefer Rugers. I have a couple.

texas bulldog
July 9, 2010, 11:18 AM
Thanks for posting the Colt, doc. That's real purdy.

Back on topic...
My primary CCW is an SP101. It's been a great piece. I hear you on the weight, but I prefer some heft myself. It makes it more comfortable to practice (which means you'll actually want to do it), and lets me shoot heavier loads than I likely ever would out of an ultra-light revolver.

Good luck, whatever you choose.

July 9, 2010, 11:30 AM
It really depends on how you want to carry. I have an SP101 as one of my EDCs, and absolutely love it. However, if you want a gun that you can through in your pocket, the SP101 is not it.

If you are planning on carrying OWB/IWB, I think the SP101 is best option. You won't really notice much of a weight difference compared to a J-Frame. With a good holster and good belt, you'll forget it's even there.

The SP101 has a few pros that the J-Frame/LCR don't have. For one, the option of shooting full power .357's. Sure, you can get a .357 J-Frame/LCR, but you certainly aren't going to be having much fun practicing with it. With the SP101, I can shoot a couple hundred .357's before it gets as uncomfortable as a couple cylinders worth through a S&W M60. The SP101 is just a tougher gun. It'll hold up for a long time even with a steady diet of full power loads.

The thing that you want to keep in mind when looking for a CCW revolver, is that you really have to choose between two paths. Path #1 is getting a gun that won't be as much fun to shoot, but will be a little bit smaller/lighter to carry. Path #2 is getting a gun that is a bit bigger, but more fun to shoot and practice with. As I see it, choosing a CCW is all about compromise. You'll just have to figure out how which type compromise is right for you.

I think you're on the right track with making the switch to a wheelgun. I carry autos almost everyday. I keep one in my car or in my bag, but the SP101 is most often the one on my body. It is one gun that I know will always work.

Long Tom Coffin
July 9, 2010, 11:59 AM

I like your style. Count me in as a fan boy for the ruger ccw revolvers. I have used/owned both full size and snub revolvers from every major manufacturer (except taurus, I never touch a taurus) and my 3" SP101 .357 rides my hip every day. For the price/quality ratio, there is no better bargain on this earth than a SP101 or LCR NIB. That's just fact. Sure, smitties may have better triggers out of the box or be slightly more aesthetically appealing but this is a ccw snub nosed revolver, not a target gun nor a safe-queen show piece. You want something that is functional, reliable, and supremely durable. And you want a good price on it.

Therefore, you want a ruger :)

My Recommendations:

If you want IWB/OWB, get a ruger sp101 with a three inch barrel. It DOES make a difference over the 2" bbl as when I've done chrony tests between the two there is ~50 FPS difference with the same types of factory ammo. Sight radius is also better, and from my own perspective the gun just handles better with the longer barrel.

If you were shooting for deep concealment/Pocket Carry, the Ruger LCR is your huckleberry. Amazing little gun that's easily worth twice its current MSRP.

Ammo Choices: Buffalo Bore, all the way. If you are using the sp101, regardless of bbl length, get the buffalo bore 158 grain .38 +P fbi load. here' some stats for it: 1100+ FPS out of a sp101, and 450+ ft/lbs of energy! FROM A .38! Ballistic tests over at stoppingpower show it getting 15" in 10% gel after passing the 4 layer denim test and expanding to .56 diameter. Freaking fantastic.

If the LCR is your route, I would avoid the +p BB unless you are very recoil tolerant. It is a stout load which the sp101 soaks up nicely but the LCR does not. For the LCR I would go with buffalo bore's "standard pressure" (haha, yea right!) .38 158 gr LSWCHP loading, which is still a great performer and performs better than many of the same style +p loadings of other manufacturers

July 9, 2010, 12:00 PM
Pocket carry all the time or some of the time or belt carry all the time? That's an important question because if you want to carry in your pocket all or some of the time then you need a light weight revolver like the ruger LCR or any good S&W airweight J frame.

If you ever carry on your belt sometime and then in your pocket sometime and you can afford it, get two revolvers! An SP101 type for belt carry and an airweight like the 442 for pocket carry.

What the heck...Get two and carry both!!! Much easier than trying to reload one of them!

bdb benzino
July 9, 2010, 01:16 PM
S&W 638 is the perfect carry revolver imho!

July 9, 2010, 02:50 PM
I think it depends on HOW you'll be carrying it - on the belt or in a pocket - WEIGHT becomes the main factor then.....

July 9, 2010, 04:15 PM
Almost any S&W revolver should fit your needs/requirements. Ruger makes an excellent weapon as well, not a highly finished as the Smith but very solid. Taurus is a crapshoot, get a good one and you will have a very serviceable revolver for less money than the Ruger or Smith. Get a bad Taurus and it may never be right.

I strongly suggest that you get the .357 instead of the 38 special. With the .357 you can safely shoot 38 special, 38 +P, 38 +P+, and .357 Magnum rounds. One gun so many choices.

July 10, 2010, 07:10 AM
The wheelgun I carry is dependent on what I am wearing (tailor your wardrobe to your firearm).

Most of the time I carry a Ruger SP-101 with a 3" barrel (hard to find in these parts) outfitted with a Trijicon night sight and a set of Hogue Cocobolo grips. Carry load is a .38 +P Gold Dot for the better part of a year or a 125 gr Remington SJHP for winter carry. I carry it in a leather IWB holster that a local leatherworker/gunsmith made exactly to my needs. Perfect under an untucked T-shirt. I also have carried it in a Galco OWB with a thumb break.

However, for those times when IWB/OWB may not be possible I use a S&W 638 Airweight Bodyguard. It has been my American Express card and has gone nearly everywhere with me, usually in a pocket holster such as those offered be Uncle Mike's and Desantis. Carry load is the +P Gold Dots.

Like many have stated before, weight and size are important factors when looking at firearms for CCW purposes. I have many fine autos, but size and shape limit how I can carry them, if possible. This is where the revolver shines with rounded edges, small size, and a caveman simple manual of arms. Not to mention dead-nuts reliability.

A Smith or a Ruger would be a fine choice. Although I own many Rugers, I do have a Smith and even a NAA Mini-Revolver for those times when I can't conceal something larger.

July 10, 2010, 10:43 AM
What's wrong with a Taurus Mod. 605?

July 10, 2010, 11:14 AM
If you pocket carry, you pretty much have two choices in 38spl; Ruger LCR and Smith 642/442. Smith has their 357 mag versions as well. For belt carry, there are lots of good choices which includes the Ruger SP101. For belt carry, I would go with a steel framed revolver in probably 357 mag. I like the old Colt Detective Specials for general belt carry.

July 10, 2010, 11:44 AM
If no pocket carry, then I'd go with the SP-101 2" DAO.

In addition to the ability to comfortably fire .357 magnum ammunition, it's a more ergonomic gun in my experience than a J-frame or LCR (or a K-frame for that matter).

July 10, 2010, 03:32 PM
The 642, or if you like black, the 442, is all you need. You can draw it from cover without fear of catching it's hammer on a pocket edge, etc. That's the two respective ammo's suggested - the +P .38 Special 158gr LHPSWC and a .32 ACP JHP for my wife's Seecamp .32 shown.

Check out the 642 specific threads here for much more 642/442 praise.


July 10, 2010, 06:49 PM
cguedr, I think you've gotten some good advice to a good decision. I *always* have a J-frame in my pocket - sometimes I carry something larger as well. For years it was a 642, and that's just about an ideal ccw revolver. But my wife fell in love with it, so I went shopping ... and would up with a S&W 360M&P in .38 special. A little lighter than the 642, though I don't notice the difference to be honest. I do like having the SA/DA option.

The LCRs are fine guns, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them, either.

July 10, 2010, 10:21 PM
I love my S&W 442. I carry it everyday.

July 11, 2010, 12:42 AM
I don't CCW my SP101, but I do carry it on most fishing/hunting trips and many times it ends up under my shirt. I use a sturdy belt and really don't even notice it. I am 6' 2" 215, but not a crazy muscle guy, just some what large framed. As soon as CA gets its' CCW problems worked out, hopefully in the next year, I plan on carrying it daily. I know most folks might frown on this, but it does fit great in the back pocket of my wrangler jeans. With the holster, I don't notice a thing. The Smith revolvers mentioned are also great and I would add the MP360, I think I will be getting one of those soon.

July 11, 2010, 10:32 AM
S&W 642 or the S&W 442 are the way to go for a carry gun, always with you and seldom shot. A pound of prevention at its finest

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