Wife hates 38 snub


September 22, 2010, 02:41 AM
I sold the taurus 85ul due to wife disliking the recoil. I have been looking into a charter arms 22mag snub; am I setting myself up for her disappointment? Is the 22mag's recoil similar to the 38 special? By the way she loves to shoot the stainless steel mark 2 with bull barrel and compensator. She wants recoil like that(:rolleyes:) ,but the 22lr is not the best stopper.

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September 22, 2010, 04:01 AM
What is her use for it? Carry? If carry, how is she carrying it? Pocket? IWB? purse? Is it strictly home defense? I don't know much about the Taurus 85ul, but from a quick search it looks like it roughly weighs 22oz. Thats not really all that light for a snubby compared to the J-frames and the LCR. If recoil is an issue I'd be reluctant to go with a smaller caliber for the reasons your specified. Any firearm is better then having no firearm but I'd be inclined to go with a larger gun to reduce felt recoil depending on her use. If she is carrying in her purse or if she is using it for home defense, or even as a vehicle gun then there really is no reason not to go to a full size frame. A K or L frame S&W, or a ruger GP100 with the right grips should be manageable in size and also have the extra weight to reduce felt recoil. Ammunition is the other area where you could reduce recoil but at the same time you'll also be reducing stopping power. If you reload then, downloading would be a decent option. If not then just factory 38 special and not +p might be the best option. IMHO I wouldn't want to go below 38 special for a defense weapon.

September 22, 2010, 04:17 AM
Why are you picking out a gun for your wife? Does she pick out guns for you?

September 22, 2010, 04:30 AM
There is an ancient discussion on the same topic here:

Note the biggest issue with .22 magnum is that it is loud, also out of a short barrel it is not that much more effective than .22lr. If this is just for home defence and she is a decent shot with the .22, then leave her with that.

If it is for CCW, if she doesn't have an issue with the small revolver as a platform (trigger pull can be a problem for some ladies) and if she is interested (reference the post above, you can point her in the direction but she should make the purchase herself) then look at the S&W 632 Pro in .327 magnum. She will be able to shoot .32 Longs for practice and carry 32 H&R Magnum or .327 magnum. Note however that this gun has a compensator, so although muzzle flip will be reduced with the hot rounds, it too will be loud!

September 22, 2010, 05:09 AM
I can't say I blame her. I don't particularly "like" the recoil of a 38 snub either. I carry one, and I like everything about it BUT the recoil.

My wife had the same problem. She tried a Taurus 85CH. Even with wadcutters she didn't like the recoil. She did like her Ruger 22's.

So we picked out a 22 (Bersa Firestorm) for her carry gun. No it's not the best stopper. But it's a lot better than teeth, claws and crying.

She carried that little 22 for a couple of years. She learned to load and unload, to clean, to carry, to shoot and most importantly when NOT to shoot.

In the meantime she was gaining confidence in herself. She shot other guns and learned to handle recoil. Eventually she said she wanted something "better." She picked out a Glock 19, and loves it. Until then with the Bersa, she was far from unarmed.

Sometimes it's baby steps.

September 22, 2010, 05:22 AM
Did she have the opportunity to shoot the snubby with 148 grain wadcutters or was it loaded with hot ammo? WC ammo is effective for defense without the heavy recoil of HP ammo.

September 22, 2010, 09:05 AM
a 22lr revolver would not be bad to me with good ammo you have 8 rounds in the newer snubby 22lr like the 317 smith and wesson also makes a model 351 22 mag thats a 7 shot

September 22, 2010, 09:27 AM
I hate light revolvers too.
I carry a D frame Colt because the added weight helps me shoot it better.
SP101 lovers always cite the weight and comfort of shooting.

A Taurus UL, which is a nice enough gun, is a terrible choice for most people, especially folks that might not have a lot of experience shooting. In addition, since most folks don't like shooting it most folks won't practice with it.

Tell that lady to head down to a local gun range and try out a bunch of their loaner guns.

September 22, 2010, 09:27 AM
.22 mag recoil is quite a bit less than .38 Spl.

September 22, 2010, 09:33 AM
.22 mag recoil is quite a bit less than .38 Spl

quite a bit less in many ways

Black Knight
September 22, 2010, 10:51 AM
Take her to a range that rents different types of handguns. Let her try a different 38 as well as 380 and other calibers. That way she can pick the gun she likes best.

September 22, 2010, 10:55 AM
I'd give the 38 another try, but I'd re-start her with cowboy loads. Something that won't be punishing to practice with. And then when she's out, she can carry hotter loads.

Vern Humphrey
September 22, 2010, 11:40 AM
Consider, as was mentioned earlier, 148-grain wadcutter loads. The WC is an effective bullet for defensive purposes.

Consider also new grips. Analyze her problem -- often the most objectionable feature of recoil is getting the middle finger rapped by the trigger guard. Adding a Tyler T-Grip goes a long way to solving that problem. Another help would be Hogue soft grips.

September 22, 2010, 01:19 PM
I've had a model 37 for five years. And always hoped that, if I had to use a gun in SD, it wouldn't be the day I was carrying *that*. Self defense ammo n that thing HURTS. It's an airweight, so that makes recoil worse. Wadcutters are fine in it, but...

...I just traded for a Detective Special. The difference is awesome. It sits in a pocket holster in my slacks as I type, and it's not so heavy that it bothers me there. But when I shoot with it (assuming that I grip it properly) I can even shoot the 110gr. Corbon without discomfort. Given my arthritis, this is an enormous deal for me. I'm over the moon about this revolver.

Pass that on to your wife and then let her find her own gun. A good DS is "enough gun" and not "too much gun".


September 22, 2010, 03:23 PM
My wife went through 4 revolvers before we discovered a profound truth - she doesn't like revolvers, period. She carries a CZ2075 RAMI 9mm now, and loves it. Don't limit yourself.:)

September 22, 2010, 03:46 PM
My wife went through 4 revolvers before we discovered a profound truth - she doesn't like revolvers, period.

Same thing with my cousin when she decided to start carrying. Her new husband let her try revolvers galore, kind of forcing his opinion and insisting auto-loaders were a bad choice.

I let her borrow my Glock 19 and 50 rounds. When last I discussed it, she was going to get a 26. Not what I'd reccomend for her in the beginning...but apparently she is comfortable with it and likes it. That's why it is best to just turn her loose when you take her to the store, then rent what she thinks she wants.

September 22, 2010, 03:58 PM
Interesting stuff.

I've seen a few things lately about women and glocks. ( A woman here shot a dog that attacked her daughter with a glock in 9mm a few weeks ago) Maybe there is something about glocks that work for women.

One thing, some woman have issue with is a grip strong enough to operate and auto pistol. My wife can't use an auto due to this but she likes her M36 just fine.

September 22, 2010, 04:16 PM
One thing, some woman have issue with is a grip strong enough to operate and auto pistol. My wife can't use an auto due to this but she likes her M36 just fine.

That can be an issue, which is why I let someone try everything I have...along with stuff I don't have or even care for.

My ex-wife racks and shoots the glock just fine with no limp-wristing. My girlfriend, who is dang near a foot taller, in better shape and works out regularly has alot of trouble with the glock's slide. Hand her a 1911 and she's fine. Go figure. To me, the glock (strength wise) is easier to rack. Again...it all goes back to letting her experiment. I asked my current girlfriend to try whatever she wants...in revolver or auto-loader platforms before she decides what to keep at her house for home protection.

September 22, 2010, 04:19 PM
One thing, some woman have issue with is a grip strong enough to operate and auto pistol. My wife can't use an auto due to this but she likes her M36 just fine.

Is this an issue with holding/shooting the gun, or working the slide?

If it is slide operation, has she tried (what I call) the "Tom Gresham method" for operating the slide? It used your chest muscles instead of arm muscles, and works very well for those with limited strength.

- Pull the gun in close to the breastbone, right hand on the grip, left hand over the slide with the left thumb pointing at the right elbow.
- Grip tightly and PUSH with both hands (right hand pushes left, left hand pushes right).
- When the slide hits the end of it's travel, let go with your left hand.
- Reverse hands if you're a leftie.

My wife can operate a slide normally, but she uses this method, too, because it makes it even easier.

September 22, 2010, 04:30 PM
She might do better with something heavier. Like an all steel model such as the SP101. It is way more mild than my 15 oz featherweight. A 3" Sp101 with mild 148g WC loads feels like shooting a stout .22, yet is much more effective than any .22.

September 22, 2010, 04:39 PM
My wife can operate a slide normally, but she uses this method, too, because it makes it even easier.

That method works for my girlfriend. I don't particularly like it, because she hasn't practiced enough for it to become second nature. Now that she has greater triceps strength (I helped her learn to target those muscles since she felt hers were flabby, even though I disagreed), she racks it much easier...but she's just "better" with my 1911's. Of course...it may be some sort of evil ploy since she has hinted around at my AR becoming "hers." Gotta love her...

Big Bill
September 22, 2010, 05:34 PM
Get the 22 mag and let her shoot that for awhile. I don't know many people who would enjoy getting shot with that caliber. CajunBass posted some real good advice and I agree 100% with his analysis.

September 22, 2010, 06:27 PM
A couple of things

Once again...I too hate light snub nose revolvers. No fun to shoot. A less effective cartridge may be in order but more likely, a heavier gun might make her happy. (it does me)

While I may have more firearm knowledge than the women in the house, I cannot imagine picking out a gun for my current wife. She has 3 handguns and a couple of shotguns. One was a gift but it was given with the understanding that if she didn't like it, she could take it back. I certainly would never choose a carry gun for her any more than she would for me.

Husbands are often not the right people to advise or teach their spouses about guns. I have had several people, including a fellow on THR, that asked me to coach their wife. Quite often there is too much "other stuff" that goes to the range.

The Lone Haranguer
September 22, 2010, 06:53 PM
Is the 22mag's recoil similar to the 38 special?
It will have a lot less kick, but a louder, sharp "crack" report instead of the "boom" of the .38.

Yours (or rather, hers) is a common complaint about small-frame .38 revolvers, especially lightweight ones. (I don't care much for them myself, preferring a subcompact 9mm pistol like the Kahr PM9.) There are two ways to reduce the recoil: a heavier gun or lighter-loaded ammo. The same Taurus is available in a steel frame, and non +P or even target wadcutter ammo can be used. More hand filling grips can also be obtained, but excessively large grips make the little gun just as big as a medium frame revolver.

September 22, 2010, 07:30 PM
How about a SP101 in .327 Federal?

Also it carries 6 in the cylinder.

September 22, 2010, 07:34 PM
The 327 fed also can shoot 3 diffent rounds. The 32s&w at 700fps, the 32h&r mag at 1200, then the 327fed mag. at 1400fps. Lighter bullets in the 80 to 100 gr level. Indoor ranges might also have a rental to try. just have the 32s&w ammo to try. She can with time up from a very lite almost no recoil round up to the 327 fed mag. Kinda like 22cb, 22lr and the 22 stringers. You can also get the 32's that from several firearm makers in several sizes and wieghts. Besure you have a 3 finger grip like a hogue soft rubber grip to give her a good grip.

September 23, 2010, 04:33 AM
A friend's wife hates light snub-nose revolvers too but like said above, a M36 might be more to your wife's liking. My friend's wife is carrying a M60 in .38 Special and likes the M36 my friend carries. The additional weight of an all steel revolver made all the difference for her and might help your wife too.

September 23, 2010, 07:41 AM
try a 3 " revolver,

just my .02

September 23, 2010, 10:05 AM
I like the .327 Federal magnum idea with a Ruger SP-101 being the delivery vehicle. That's with the 3 inch barrel.

Most of the reasons are already covered. One can tailor the ammo to the mission at hand.

Need the full power rounds? Those are there. Need a bit less power? Then the .32 H&R magnum ammo gets the call.

.32 S&W Longs are pussycats to shoot and Mag-tech actually has a JHP load for it.

I own 3 different revolvers in .327 Federal magnum. 2 snub revolvers and 1 Ruger GP-100.

If those won't work then how about going with a pistol in .32 ACP. Granted, it is no powerhouse, but it is a soft shooting cartridge and better than a .22lrf or .25 ACP pistol.

The Beretta 3032 and NAA Guardian pistols are fine examples of that.

Need something bigger in a pistol in that caliber. There is either a CZ83, 15 shots, or a 10 shot Taurus PT132. Either will fill the bill and give a velocity boost over the small pocket pistols. Both pistols are well made and reliable.

I own an example of each.
With modern ammo bullet designs and ammo makers like Corbon, Speer,and others have brought the .32 ACP up off it's knees and made it more useful.

September 23, 2010, 10:40 AM
I handled this issue with my wife by purchasing a S&W .22lr snubby for her to practice with at the range. Other than a few ounces of weight it’s exactly the same feel as the 637. I keep her 637 loaded with 95gr SCHP rounds that aren’t +P for recoil management too. It’s not the ideal situation but it’s better than leaving her at home without any weapon she feels comfortable with.

September 23, 2010, 11:23 AM
Just a note: the .327 actually shoots FOUR different loads. It will also shoot .32 shorts. And they are FUN. Talk about no recoil...! I want to get a .22 revolver one of these days to practice my revolver form cheaper than I can with the bigger guns, but recoil-wise, the .32 short in the SP101 is not really any different.

Seriously....let her pick her own gun.


September 23, 2010, 11:39 AM
She has tried the LCP, Glock 26, keltec pf9, and Beretta 92fs.Does not like the recoil on any of them. Sadly the range that we frequent doesn't have any 22mag revolvers our 327 that I can remember.

September 23, 2010, 12:00 PM
A few thoughts outside the box:

If she's interested, a handgun class for women (you might have to look around for one of those, but they are out there) might help. Not that recoil will be different physically, but the support from other women and networking with them might be helpful, and they can talk with her about how they manage recoil.

One of those squeeze balls that you use after hand surgery to regain strength can also be used to strengthen grip, which, if I were betting (and from my own experience with myself) may lie at the heart of the recoil problem. Also, they're awesome for stress reduction, but that's a different topic.

Finally (and I touch on it above) sometimes you just have to get used to some recoil. The problem comes when a person (male or female) develops a fear of it, which leads to flinching...so you shoot, make your hand "hurt" and miss the target too. A .22 revolver (if she really wants a revolver) will enable her to perfect her revolver form and when (if?) she is ready, she can go to a .327. And maybe someday to a .38.

You won't be able to rent a .327, most likely. There's not that many of them around anyway. Maybe someone on here who lives within driving distance of you, and who has one, could arrange a "play date" with it for you and your wife, lol.

Final word: if all she will EVER shoot in her lifetime is a .22lr, it's not the end of the world. An awful lot of people are killed with .22's. An awful lot of bad guys are chased off just by their target victim even HAVING a gun. Get her a .22 revolver that has a small enough barrel to carry concealed if need be, and if that ends up as her carry gun, then it ends up as her carry gun. Most of those are 7-9 shots, which isn't chicken feed.


September 23, 2010, 12:04 PM
She has tried the LCP, Glock 26, keltec pf9, and Beretta 92fs.Does not like the recoil on any of them. Sadly the range that we frequent doesn't have any 22mag revolvers our 327 that I can remember.

I'll go completely against the grain and ask: has she tried a .45?

Until she got her SR9c a few weeks ago, my wife absolutely HATED shooting 9mm, but she'd shoot .45 all day long. The 'snap' of the 9mm was just obnoxious to her, while the 'push' of the .45 was much more comfortable.

She tried the 9mm in a Glock and in a Ruger P95 and wanted nothing to do with it beyond one magazine. But giver her my 1911 and she'll shoot until the ammo is gone. She'd also shoot .38 SPL in a S&W Model 10 without qualms, but the 9mms weren't fun for her.

That's a long way to go to suggest she try a .45 - she may not like it either, but you may be surprised. I sure was!

September 23, 2010, 12:32 PM
Go and buy a 4" smith, colt, ruger, taurus... Stop getting the snubs. Small guns recoil more than large guns. That is physics.

I also agree that she needs to pick her own guns. I a lot of guys "buy" guns for their wives. In reality, they are just buying more guns for themselves. The .22 mag does not recoil as much as the .38 unless you are shooting it from a very small gun. The mags are always loud and snappy...

Why is it when women or men think of guns for women, their first instinct is to go an buy these mouse guns? Every woman I have ever taught to shoot I have taught on a S&W model 10, actually a 67, but same difference. Recoil was manageable, gun was easy to handle, load, see, inspect. Trigger control was easy to teach. They are all fans of shooting now.

September 23, 2010, 06:04 PM
+1 on letting the wife try and buy


+1 on the .327. I think it is a defiantly underrated round.

September 23, 2010, 11:58 PM
I got my wife a Glock 26 but she actually prefers shooting the Glock 30. Why not have her try out a Glock 26? The "felt" recoil is alot less than either my S&W 36 Chief's Special or my AMT Backup 380.

The thing with snubbies, in my opinion, is that you really aren't going to shoot them unless you need to for self defense purposes. No matter how much you practice they'll never be a 50 yard slow fire target gun. If someone knows how to operate that kind of weapon they'll know how to use it if the time comes.

September 24, 2010, 08:55 PM
I love snubbies and shoot them well....it can be done by anyone with determination and practice. Not everyone wants to put in the time, dedication and practice, and thats ok too. I think your wife should try as many pistols and calibers as possible (renting) and even if it takes a while to find one that fits her well, it will be worth the effort in the end.

September 24, 2010, 10:09 PM
why cant your wife choose her own firearm??:confused: maybe the two of you can go to the range and rent some different hand guns for her to shoot and get the feel of them. she will then be able to pick the one that she is the most comfortable with.

September 24, 2010, 11:03 PM
why cant your wife choose her own firearm??

I have no idea.

September 24, 2010, 11:12 PM
Before we met, my wife decided to purchase a handgun for self-defense. Not surprisingly she was repeatedly steered toward small .38 revolvers. But she was a little different than most buyers and actually went to rental ranges and tried out the recommended guns rather than buying based purely on gun store clerk recommendations.

She did NOT buy a .38 snubby and to this day, decades later, she still hates small revolvers. She absolutely refuses to fire any centerfire revolver as a result of the experiences she went through testing out those little revolvers.

She kept shopping and eventually bought a gun that she could operate properly and could practice with frequently and effectively.

September 25, 2010, 08:29 AM
First of all, a man "picking out a gun" for a woman rarely works well.

Second, a small-frame .38 snubby is rarely a good first handgun for anyone. Moreover, most people, both men and women, hold small snubs too low on the grip frame, which has the effect of increasing felt recoil.

My wife favors K- and L-frame revolvers, and a Kahr K9.

September 25, 2010, 09:22 AM
First of all, a man "picking out a gun" for a woman rarely works well.

I would only change "a man" to a husband or boyfriend....

Neither does trying to teach them to ride a motorcycle. It's easier to hire someone else for this .... and it's a helluva lot cheaper than divorce lawyers.

harmon rabb
September 25, 2010, 09:43 AM
First of all, a man "picking out a gun" for a woman rarely works well.

When they make boneheaded decisions like picking a snub for a new shooter, I agree. But there are plenty of good choices that could be made.

I bought, ostensibly for my wife, a bersa thunder 380 and a walther pk380. Both fit her hand well and have very little felt recoil. They're good choices for her.

Now if only she would shoot more :\

Onward Allusion
September 25, 2010, 07:24 PM
It may have less recoil, but the 22 mag gives off a lot of flash from a short barrel. It also is pretty low powered from a short barrel. The NAA site will give you a good idea of just how much energy one can expect from the 22 mag in short barrels...around 100ft/lb from 2" barrel. The 32ACP actually gives off about 30% more energy from a 2" barrel.

I would also toss in another vote for a revolver chambered in .327 Federal Mag. Your wife can work up from 32S&W to the .327 Federal Mag which packs quite a punch.

trigun87 (http://www.thehighroad.org/member.php?u=102157)
Wife hates 38 snub

September 25, 2010, 07:44 PM
My GF commandeered my beretta 92 after a range trip. I know its a big gun, but she just laughs at me and says "lucky I am a woman and I carry a purse."

September 25, 2010, 07:54 PM
As far as comparing the 22 mag to a 38 SPL. The 22 WMR is much louder and for the flash well here you go:

Click Images to Enlarge

P.S. The ammo is Federal 129gr.+P Hydra-Shok and CCI 40 HV Plated HP.

September 25, 2010, 08:15 PM
My GF commandeered my beretta 92 after a range trip...

Best method, IMO. First my wife took my BHP as "her" gun, then my 5904 as "her" gun, and that led her to taking a 3913 I brought home as her current "favorite" carry-gun. Fine with me. It justifies me buying more stuff for her to become familiar with, and, "commandeer" if she so chooses. :D

FWIW, she doesn't really "enjoy" shooting any revolver except my S&W M63-4 5", which is not a candidate for self-defense for obvious reasons.


September 25, 2010, 08:29 PM
It justifies me buying more stuff

I'm in the same boat as you, it gave me a reason to buy a new M9A1.

BTW, she now has my S&W model 36 and SIG mosquito as well.

September 25, 2010, 08:48 PM
I had the opposite. Went to a gun range with my then girlfriend, talked her away from the Beretta 9000s she was interested in and to the Beretta 92fs that _I_ wanted. Asked here if she liked it, as soon as she said yes I handed over my credit card. when she turned to me with stars in here eyes and said "thank you!" with amazed gratitude, I knew I had just bought _her_ a gun. Dammit. :)

She went on to become our state IPSC ladies champion and then on our prime ministers security team. I miss her a lot more than the gun.

September 26, 2010, 12:18 AM
I'm with the comment for a 3" barreled revolver.

My wife tried all my handguns and quickly ruled out the automatics. She really liked my 3" revolvers best. Her favorite was my S&W Model 65-3, followed by my big, custom-shortened (to 3 1/4") barreled Model 25-2 N frame in .45ACP.

Then . . . I ran across a gun I really felt she'd like based on what her preferences were . . . a 3" barreled Model 37 Airweight J-frame. It has the longer sight radius that allows her to shoot really, really well . . . and the longer barrel reduces the recoil quite a bit vs. the same gun in a snubbie!!!

I was right too . . . she LOVED the 3" Airweight snubbie . . . easy to carry, easy to hit with and the recoil was well in the acceptable range too!

Today I carry a 1971 Model 37 Airweight snubbie, and she carries her 1971 Model 37 Airweight 3" . . . and she's quite a shot with it.

BTW . . . Tyler T-grips on these little things makes recoil quite tolerable . . . much more so than using aftermarket "rubbers," IMHO.

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