Concealable Revolver


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giggitygiggity
October 12, 2010, 12:27 PM
I've been looking for a good handgun to conceal in shorts and a t-shirt. The small semi-auto pistols seem to have mixed reviews citing numerous reliability issues. Therefore, I think a revolver might be a better option. Particularly, I am interested in the Ruger LCR. What are your impressions of this revolver, especially the .357mag version? What other revolvers are as small, light, and have as good of triggers as the Ruger? Do any of them come in .357mag? Thanks.

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Lucky Derby
October 12, 2010, 12:47 PM
Have you actually fired .357 in one of these light weight wonders? Stick with .38 in one of these guns, the ammo, if not the gun itself.
LCRs seem to have a good reputation as well as the airweight/airlight S&W's.
My personall favorite is a pre-lock S&W M38 Bodyguard.

MCgunner
October 12, 2010, 12:50 PM
I have a Taurus M85SSUL I carry a lot, carrying it today. It has the best out of the box trigger I've felt, but I haven't handled the excellent LCR, yet. It's way better than the J frames I've tried and fired. The Ruger's trigger design, from what I've HEARD, really gives it a superior smooth feel. I'm not disenchanted with my Taurus, though, far from it, and am not in the market for another pocket revolver. I love that thing, accurate, smooth trigger, rugged, compact.

One thing about the .357, if I had an LCR in that caliber, I'd only shoot .38 in it. Now, I'm an experienced handgunner, handgun hunter, have a TC Contender with some powerful rifle caliber barrels, know recoil and can handle a good amount of it. But, I've fired a 12 ounce J frame with a hot .357 and, well, that's okay, pocket revolvers work best with the .38 IMHO. Also, consider recovery time for that second shot. Nope, I'm not into .357 in light weight revolvers. That said, like I say, I've NOT fired the LCR in particular and the grip on that gun might soak a bit of it up compared to a J frame. I'll let other folks experienced with the gun give that info. Just thought I'd weigh in on the 13 ounce gun in .357. I'm not a customer. :D If the price is the same as the .38 version, though, and there are no other compromises, hell, why not get the .357? Don't have to actually FIRE .357 in it, eh? I won't pay a scandium price, though, when I can get an alloy +P .38 for half that. Some will opine that the LCR's plastic grip frame would make it too fragile, but the grip frame doesn't have a thing to do with the ability of the gun to handle .357 pressures. It is not a stressed part of the handgun.

I often carry a small auto, 9mm Kel Tec, and it's very reliable and practical for pocket carry. But, I do understand your concern for reliability and revolvers tend to be jamless if nothing else. I've had 'em break, a model 10 with a cracked forcing cone and a Rossi .357 with a busted firing pin. Those breaks were worse than a jam, put the gun out of action, but they truly are the exception rather than the rule. Autos DO need to be tested with carry ammo, though, lots of it, and that can be costly to find an appropriate load. Revolvers only need a few rounds fired to test accuracy, then you can carry the load. I'm a revolver guy at heart, can relate to your concern here.

jleyring
October 12, 2010, 12:52 PM
The LCR's are sweet. I would stick with the 38 with that small pistol. They are light weight and Ruger usually makes great products. That would be my vote.

Mr.Davis
October 12, 2010, 01:29 PM
I held one of the new S&W bodyguard revolvers recently and wasn't impressed. Activating the laser was exceptionally awkward, requiring a righty to cross the thumb over the top of the gun, shifting into an unacceptable firing grip. Also, the method of opening the cylinder was very weird.

WNC Seabee
October 12, 2010, 01:31 PM
I had an LCR and I HAVE a (couple) J frame S&Ws. I really really wanted to like the LCR, but it just never felt right. NO issues with reliability, and that trigger is awfully nice, but the J frame just suits me better.

Fearnot
October 12, 2010, 01:47 PM
People raise concerns about the recoil on a small revolver like the LCR, but in my trips to the range, I routinely run through a box of 50 158g target cartridges and 5-10 +p cartridges and really don't feel it at all... and believe me, no one's going to confuse me with Rambo. Maybe it's the LCR's grips, maybe the polymer shell, but I don't think the recoil (on the .38) is bad at all.

Guillermo
October 12, 2010, 01:52 PM
People love their LCR's

For me it answers a question that I am not asking. Too light for me to enjoy shooting and getting good with. I do not want a 38 that light, let alone a 357 magnum :what:.

I carry steel framed revolvers when I can (D Frame Colts usually. When I can't I carry a Kahr PM9. Very small and easy to conceal. 100% reliable so far.

There is no perfect answer. But you are asking the right questions to get the the best answer (or answers) for you.

Quoheleth
October 12, 2010, 02:00 PM
The LCR is shootable and very accurate. The secret is to grip it up high so the recoil drives almost straight back into the palm. THe Hogue grip has a squishy gel insert where the grip meets web of hand and it makes a difference. The light & smooth trigger makes follow-up shots easy. Sights are good, so a quick sight picture acquisition is also helpful for quick shots. Light enough to carry anywhere, a good pocket holster gives only a telltale bump in the pocket - but not an outline that screams "GUN!" An LCR in one pocket and a speedstrip in the other is a good combination.

I'm not bashing any other gun out there, just commenting favorably on the LCR.

Q

giggitygiggity
October 12, 2010, 02:15 PM
Is it fair to say that the various S&W revolvers within the same size and weight category are not worth the extra $150-350 when compared to the Ruger LCR? It seems like the Ruger is flawlessly reliable, accurate, and has a better trigger than the S&W revolvers at a fraction of the price. Do the S&W's have any advantages over the Ruger? Price really isn't a huge issue, but $150-350 more for what seems like no advantages seems pointless. Please let me know what you think. Thanks.

Russ Jackson
October 12, 2010, 02:16 PM
How about that new Chippa Rhino? It looks very concealable...Russ

Guillermo
October 12, 2010, 05:15 PM
Is it fair to say that the various S&W revolvers within the same size and weight category are not worth the extra $150-350 when compared to the Ruger LCR

As I am not a Ruger fan or a fan of ultra light revolvers I do not have a dog in this hunt.

So impartially speaking I would say that "no, a Smith is not 150-350 better"

I would only put one caveat on that answer, and that is "how much are looks worth?"

The LCR is very ugly and the Smith is not. Were I in the market for an Ultra Light snub I would have the LCR on the top of my list.

And I would sing this as I made my way to the range.

:D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NF5XU-k2Vk


(I crack me up)

mstrat
October 12, 2010, 06:12 PM
I was recently in the market for a small, lightweight handgun. Initially it was between 380 semis and a number of revolvers. The final contenders where the LCR a J-frame (specifically the 642 or 442). I opted for a revolver for the same reason as you - reliability.

Anyhow, I can only shoot .38 through mine (a 642), but I don't think I'd want to shoot 357 through it even if I could. Granted it's a different gun, but it's similar in weight and size to the LCR. I suspect it would be too hard on wrists, and too hard to handle.

If i were *absolutely* certain I wanted to shoot 357, I would *have* to borrow somebody's and try it before buying. I have a feeling it would be too unpleasant.

Edit: by the way, if you're not yet decided on an LCR, Smith and Wesson has a $50 rebate right now on some J-frame revolvers, including the 642.

Rob1109
October 12, 2010, 06:32 PM
I have both. The LCR is the .38 and with +P's it is "stout". I don't want to try the .357! Yes, I know it's 4oz. heavier, I STILL DON'T WANT TO SHOOT IT!. Also, I have a 642 with CT laser, that I cannot like it! compared to the LCR it is primative...bad trigger, uncomfortable recoil. I will keep it and keep trying to like it...the LCR is the ticket!

I also have a Glock 26....the LCR/642 are easier to carry, but, the Glock has obvious advantages.

W.E.G.
October 12, 2010, 07:00 PM
S&W Model 60 (five shots .38 Special) vs. Glock 26 (twelve shots 9mm Luger)

http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/pistol%20pics/Glock/G26comparedtoSWM60.jpg

Critical J
October 13, 2010, 05:01 AM
I only carry a Taurus and I don't own any shorts, mate - let me just say though, a Taurus 856 .38 Special, snub nosed 6-Gun, in stainless (Don't go polymer!) will fit just perfect inside your sporran or tucked between the pleats. You should try it sometime, kilt wearing I mean, yea? That would solve your main problem right there, the shorts, I mean...

smartshot
October 13, 2010, 06:23 AM
I own the LCR38 and it is very concealable. I would actually recommend the 38 over the 357, its a few ounces lighter and some of the +p loads available for it today dance in 357 territory (i.e. buffalo bore 1000 fps 158 gr lead hollowpoint) out of a 1.75 in snubby.

MCgunner
October 13, 2010, 12:17 PM
Is it fair to say that the various S&W revolvers within the same size and weight category are not worth the extra $150-350 when compared to the Ruger LCR


IMHO, and I AM a Ruger fan, NO, a S&W ain't worth that much extra. I'm not a Smith koolaid drinker, either. My snubby is a Taurus and it's a very nice weapon, very good shooter, as good as any J frame. Ruger didn't have the LCR when I bought the 85UL or I'd have considered it. I'd also consider a 642 though, even though it's heavier. I sorta like having a hammer on the gun, doesn't snag for me. For purely pocket defense, i'll concede that the DAO is better, but I like to shoot at 100 yards and do other assinine things with my Taurus like take it outdoors, pop hogs in the trap, etc. :D I'm not a city boy, though I've been hanging out in Corpus lately which sorta resembles a city. :D I usually have my 9 on me, concealed hammer, but am toting the .38 at the moment just because I got in the mood.

joe_security
October 14, 2010, 11:31 AM
New LCR with Big Dot front sight and boot grips on GB. Im leaning toward a 642, maybe the super tuned version.

hawkeye10
October 14, 2010, 12:50 PM
:) I am a big fan of S&W. That being said I think any of the "J" frame revolvers mentioned on this thread will suit your needs and are good guns. I am also a fan of Kahr's. I like them because the polymer framed ones are light and thin. I think you will make the right choice no matter which gun you chose. Don

Old John
October 14, 2010, 02:51 PM
I've shot my friends S&W bodyguard. It's okay. Grips's kinda small. But, I went to a couple local gunshops when I was looking, to try out various pocket sized revolvers. I liked the trigger on the Ruger LCR the best. There is no comparison with it and the J-frames, or Taurus model 85's.
I bought the Ruger LCR, .38 special. It shoots well, and easily drops into the pocket of my Dockers or jeans.
My EDC has been a Ruger SP101, .357magnum, for years. It still is, most times. But the LCR with 5, .38 special +P's is just fine sometimes. My next purchase is going to be a Ruger LCR, .357 magnum, I think.

doc2rn
October 14, 2010, 03:51 PM
I have to second the S&W mod 60 is ideal for CCW. A lot of guys also love the new flip top NAA .22 Mag.

MCgunner
October 15, 2010, 10:21 AM
A lot of guys also love the new flip top NAA .22 Mag.

It's out, now? I bought a Black Widow magnum a while back. The break top price point that they were shooting for sounded a bit stiff and, well, the Black Widow has nice Millett Sights. I found a slightly used one in a folding holster grip and got a decent, if not great, deal on it, 275. That's about MSRP, but The holster grip would have set me back 40 bucks about with shipping. They were talking 500 bucks MSRP on the break top, a might high IMHO for ME, though I'd LOVE to get one! They looked really cool in the pics. :D

Dloy
October 15, 2010, 02:40 PM
While I've owned a 642 for 2+ years now, I don't really have a dog in this hunt. I fondled a LCR in a local shop recently and would agree it has a nice trigger. Personally I thought the gun looked a bit clunky but the polymer body might well reduce some of the felt recoil.
One thing I would comment on though. I've read many posts and articles on the 642 that indicate the trigger improves with use. A couple articles suggested dry firing 5 or 10 thousand times as a cheap trigger job. So I bought some snap caps (that many say are not needed) and I did just that. Guess what, it worked. Not sure it's AS smooth as the LCR but it's about the same, and I like the package a lot.
Just 2 scents.

Stainz
October 16, 2010, 09:46 AM
Firstly, Critical J, you wear a dress, er, kilt, in Montgomery? Little wonder no one worries about what you are packing - you could carry a hogleg and no one would likely notice! Seriously, what a plan! I've lived around Birmingham a long time... but that would still shock me.

Oops - back to the OP. I have had the opportunity to shoot two LCR's. My 642 is a great improvement. Their triggers are similar - the S&W 'rattle', from the hammer block - been there since WWII, is magnified in the LCR - and the trigger feels mechanically weak - I felt it, or something inside, could break easily. It sounded like it was coming apart - more so with warmer ammo. My Remington R38S12 +P 158gr LHPSWC's did not feel safe in that revolver. I gladly shot them in my 642 afterwards, where the only difference one feels over powder puff loads is the slap in you hand. I welcomed those rounds in my 642 - as I said, a welcome improvement, in my mind. Perhaps it's profiling, but I lumped the new S&W mixed-media .38 with the Ruger LCR - and gave it a pass by - not for me.

I have repeatedly lamented not being able to tote a 4" 625MG in .45 Colt for urban protection. I have considered my latest N-frame - a 2 5/8" PC627 UDR. Maybe the kilt makes sense... or, in my case, a moo moo... If you see a rotund old guy in a skirt, don't laugh and point...

Stainz

Sig88
October 16, 2010, 09:48 AM
S&W 442 carries very well.

CHEVELLE427
October 16, 2010, 10:49 AM
when i need to carry a small revolver i have a 850 CIA ultralight not a days trouble out of it and sometimes you forget you have it on its so light.

not a revolver

but i also use this kel-tec in a NOT AOW wallet holster.:cool:

http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff103/CHEVELLE427/ALLPICONCAMERS.jpg

harmon rabb
October 16, 2010, 12:27 PM
Unless you're experienced at shooting DA revolvers, I'd stay away from any j-frame. I'm mostly a semi-auto guy (and of those, prefer SA triggers), but I own a few revolvers. I bought a j-frame with the intention of carrying it. The trigger must've been 20lbs -- it was laughably, wow, I can't believe they actually sell this thing bad. It functioned flawlessly, but I just couldn't shoot it well. It also was pretty snappy for what is a lower end cartridge (as a comparison, my little taurus 709 snaps a good deal less with 9mm+p).

Anyway, I got rid of it for a SP101 (since I already had a GP100 that I love). Wow, what a difference. Much better trigger, and it's actually comfortable to fire -- even with full bore .357. It's definitely a belt carry only gun, and requires a real gun belt, but with an iwb holster and my beltman belt, it disappears under a t-shirt. I think it has something to do with the curve of the grip or whatever, but the darn thing just doesn't print.

If you want to actually be able to enjoy shooting the thing, especially with .357, I say get a SP101.

Anyway, I have tried out the LCR. Fantastic trigger, soaks up recoil better. In fact, had I purchased a LCR instead of the j-frame (as I almost did), I'd still own it. If you want a pocketable revolver, it's the way to go. But I can't imagine what it would be like to fire .357 out of it. Would probably feel like slamming your hand in a car door ever time you take a shot. :eek:

MCgunner
October 16, 2010, 07:17 PM
CHEVELLE427, did you make that holster? It's really cool, if a little illegal looking. :D

CHEVELLE427
October 16, 2010, 08:10 PM
DEALER ON GUN BROKER AND EBAY.

cheaper on EBAY same dealer

also asked for paper work from BATF showing it is NOT AN AOW item. i also talked to a local ATF guy and he said it WAS NOT on his list.

i carry a copy of the BATF PAPER with me and have a laminated one in the truck just in case

$32 total in this one no body bid on it but me

TexasBill
October 16, 2010, 10:33 PM
1I have a Model 60-15 and a Model 637-2. Bought them in preference to any of the Rugers. Much better triggers. That said, I understand the Wolf springs do a nice job for Ruger triggers and the SP101 is definitely robust.

IMHO, a .357 Magnum in a LCR or one of the S&W Scandiums is case of being able to build a lightweight revolver to fire a powerful cartridge without asking anyone if it's really a good idea. The various reviews I have read all say it punishes your hand, to the point of bleeding in at least one case. That's stupid. It's not about macho, it's about going home instead of the hospital or morgue.

I know everyone says in the stress of a firefight you don't feel the recoil but I have a hunch there's a limit to even that. The laws of physics don't care about your situation and they will affect your ability to deliver the quick the follow-up shot that is almost universally recommended in these cases. In addition, the too-small grips deprive you of important hand strength; the last two fingers are the primary gripping digits. That's why I replaced the factory grips on both my S&Ws with grips that allow me to have the maximum control.

If you really want to carry .357 Magnum in a small-frame revolver, you should select the Model 60 or the Ruger SP101, preferably with a 3-inch barrel. Either one is still a handful, but the extra weight and barrel length will make the gun far more controllable.

jad0110
October 16, 2010, 10:40 PM
One thing I would comment on though. I've read many posts and articles on the 642 that indicate the trigger improves with use. A couple articles suggested dry firing 5 or 10 thousand times as a cheap trigger job. So I bought some snap caps (that many say are not needed) and I did just that. Guess what, it worked.

My experience is identical. With my 642, I did a bunch of dry firing, then removed the sideplate and cleaned out the internals. The action was already decent, but nowadays it is very slick. The pull is a bit heavier than the LCR, but it is every bit as smooth. And I much prefer the firmer, more positive trigger return on the 642.

Interesting. It is said by many that usually, S&Ws have better triggers out of the box than their Ruger counterparts, but Rugers improve with use. But with LCRs / J Frames, the opposite is the case.

harmon rabb
October 17, 2010, 09:43 AM
Interesting. It is said by many that usually, S&Ws have better triggers out of the box than their Ruger counterparts, but Rugers improve with use. But with LCRs / J Frames, the opposite is the case.

I have fired 3 different S&W's (a j-frame, a .357, a .44mag) and have yet to experience this awesome trigger I read about regularly. In fact, the best trigger of the bunch was about on par with my GP100.

What gives? S&W makes some beautiful revolvers and I'd like an excuse to own, say, a 686+. But I can't seem to find a reason to.

MCgunner
October 17, 2010, 10:37 AM
I have fired 3 different S&W's (a j-frame, a .357, a .44mag) and have yet to experience this awesome trigger I read about regularly. In fact, the best trigger of the bunch was about on par with my GP100.

I agree and I've often stated on this board that my Taurus 85SSUL's trigger is the best out of the box I've ever felt. I've owned two Ruger DAs, a Security Six and a SP101. Triggers were smooth, just that Ruger goes overboard on strength and that includes the springs. BUT, Wolff makes springs for cheap and in both cases a simple spring kit helped a bunch. When I got through with that SS, it was budda!

I've felt some Smith triggers that were awesome, really awesome, but they weren't that way out of the box. My buddy has a M29 he picked up at an estate sale for 300 bucks. Damn, the luck! It's been magnaported and has one SUPER smooth, light DA. It's obviuusly had the attention of a good revolver smith. That thing is awesome.

On a carry gun, hell, I don't really worry about out of the box. Triggers can be slicked up. However, I haven't had to do a thing to my Taurus, but shoot it. Thing is incredible. Neat thing about the Rugers, especially that little SP101, were both very smooth, just needed lighter springs. It was a DIY job for 10 bucks or so for a spring kit.

About the only revolver I've ever tried that had a trigger beyond fixing and beyond shooting out of the box was a Nagant, though. I don't find the J frames unshootable out of the box. Hell, we're nit picking here IMHO with the triggers.

Guillermo
October 17, 2010, 11:05 AM
Triggers can be slicked up

MIM parts can not be polished effectively but can be "burnished". So dry firing them until your family is ready to bludgeon you is about the best you can do.

Old Fuff
October 17, 2010, 11:27 AM
I agree with Guillermo on burnishing MIM parts rather then polishing - and you won't take a chance on voiding your warrantee.

A fast way to get a less-heavy double-action trigger pull is to swap out the factory springs for lighter aftermarket ones. But it is not a good way to go about it, especially on any handgun that might be used for defensive purposes. If you doubt me, call up Smith & Wesson, Ruger or Taurus and ask. Of course keep in mind that some keyboard commando on the Internet is far more knowledgeable about such things then the gun manufacturers are. :rolleyes:

Switching springs is a technique employed by those that don't know the right way to go about it, and yes there are other ways - but they involve a considerable investment in jigs, fixtures, gauges and specialized tools.

Guillermo
October 17, 2010, 12:09 PM
I agree with Guillermo on burnishing MIM parts rather then polishing

actually Guillermo agrees with Old Fuff. He mentioned this to me and because of that conversation here on THR I spend 45 minutes talking to a talented gunsmith who refuses to do a trigger job on an MIM gun. He says that he cannot make enough difference to be worth his client's money.

ArchAngelCD
October 18, 2010, 04:11 AM
I carry either a S&W M642 or M638 daily. I like the Airweight and the .38 Special and will continue to carry them.

Stainz
October 18, 2010, 07:34 AM
S&W still does a masterful trigger job to centerfire K, L, & N frames. They know where to polish - and how to change springs. That's right - their Performance Center changes springs! Why? Obviously, their stock/OEM springs are stronger than they need be. They want to be sure, whatever it's state of cleanliness, that your defender will pop anyone's primers - that means a stout hammer spring. They want to be sure the trigger returns rapidly for follow-up shots - thus, a stout trigger rebound spring. Both add to the DA pull. Even a full strength Wolff hammer spring lessens the DA pull - change the trigger rebound spring to the heaviest one Wolff includes in their 'kit', and you get another, albeit slight, DA improvement. Polish the rebound slide's inside and break any flash from it's 'flat' sides with a flat fine sharpening stone, and you'll cut a lot of time/dry-fires out of the equation and be smoother more quickly. Don't touch the engagement areas - they 'wear-in' quickly.

You don't believe S&W uses other-than-OEM springs? Both of my PC627 UDR's came with Wolff springs - the familiar rib was present. Also, a full sized strain screw. That is important - a modern 'quick trigger job', like my 625JM and 627 Pro came with, involves grinding down the factory screw - and modern strain screws are smaller on the end, anyway. The combination means less pre-load - that screw actually intruding into the 'hump' on the Wolff leaf, further reducing the pre-load, when tightened. Great trigger - fantastic with the reduced leaf. Of course, to reliably pop Federal primers, you'll need a tailwind.

All of this said and I do nothing but 'clean up' the innards of my CCW's. They don't have to be my finest plinkers - that isn't there mission. They have to be reliable - and, if used, not able to be held up in court as a being 'modified'. Paranoid... me? I don't care what the voices say!

Stainz

leVieux
October 18, 2010, 07:52 AM
We have both the GLOCK 26 and the S&W Scandium 38+P J-frame.

The GLOCK 26 gets carried a lot more frequently.

leVieux

Old Fuff
October 18, 2010, 09:28 AM
Great trigger - fantastic with the reduced leaf. Of course, to reliably pop Federal primers, you'll need a tailwind.

And what do you do if you encounter a headwind??? :uhoh:

Smith and Wesson's Performance Center does indeed use some aftermarket springs - but usually only in big-boy toys.

The primary focus concerning overweight double-action trigger pulls is directed at the company’s small J-frame revolvers, where users have unreasonable expectations, not the K, L and N sizes. Also J-frame revolvers are seldom used in environments where one can afford to cut the reliability factor to the point where they have to depend on a tailwind if using the wrong brand of primers or ammunition.

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