Next ccw handgun: small auto or revolver?


February 22, 2013, 09:10 AM
I started carrying about 5 years ago. I (of course) got a big ole CZ 40b that I carried twice then put in the safe. Over the past 5 years, I've found that I like to carry something bigger in the woods at all times (have an SP101 for that), and something smaller around town. My TCP .380 is great for carrying, but not the best round. I've decided I want to carry .38 or 9mm at the smallest and would prefer .40 in a compact gun. I have a P239 in .40 which I shoot great, but it's still too big.

I'm trying to decide between getting a small .38 (642 or LCR), a small .357 (LCR .357) our a small autoloader (SIG P290, KAHR CW40, S&W Shield .40, etc.)...

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Yo Mama
February 22, 2013, 10:07 AM
Check out the Taurus PT140 or PT145. Smallest platform with best capacity. Very light, and easy to carry. The PT145 has 10+1.

February 22, 2013, 10:50 AM
Can't speak to the others or the 40 calibers, but I have an S&W M&P9c. It is very concealable, accurate and VERY comfortable to shoot. The Shield version is slightly smaller and lighter but good luck finding one. I also pocket carry a Ruger SP101 357 DA only snubby. But most people would probably find it a bit heavy and bulky for their pocket. (Helps to be a big guy with loose fitting jeans.)

Good luck with your search.


February 22, 2013, 11:11 AM
After owning a TCP, I don't think I'll own another Taurus ever. It had lots of problems and needed a trip back to the factory (where they replaced more than half of the gun) and now it's reliable but took a bit of work to get it there. It's a decent gun now, but it's not worth the risk on another one.

February 22, 2013, 11:16 AM
I have a Springfield XDs in .45 acp. It is a great gun. I also have a S&W 642 in .38+p. It carries great, but the XDs offers more fire power, and is easier for me to shoot. The 642 will definately carry easier in a fron pocket. The XDs carries great IWB in a hybrid holster.

Of the two, I'd recommend the XDs over the 642. If I get the Xds carrying as well in a pocket as the 642, then the 642 may go away, though, selling any revolver that is functioning properly is difficult for me.

February 22, 2013, 11:39 AM
My EDC is a Kel-Tec PF9. It has functioned flawlessly through hundreds of rounds, perhaps approaching 600, but it wights only 12-something ounces empty, and that makes it less than comfortable to spend a lot of time with it at the range.

It would probably be about as fun to shoot as your TCP, but it's easy to keep on target, and easy to carry. The somewhat fatter P11 holds more ammo, but has a notoriously long trigger pull (it's available also in .40.)

That's just me, and this is pretty much the only gun I have extensive experience with that fits your criteria. I do own two .38 snub revolvers, and they work well, but the KT is simply easier to conceal and offers greater firepower.

February 22, 2013, 12:11 PM
Any opinions on the Kahr CM40? I don't own any 9mm handguns as of now, but have a couple in .40 (decided to concentrate on that cartridge). I have a nice supply of .40 right now, but not a single 9mm...

February 22, 2013, 01:28 PM
I have multiple small autos and several small revolvers, and I tend to prefer the revolvers for CCW carry, mainly because I feel being able to shoot from the pocket of my jacket if need be offers tremendous advantages.

February 22, 2013, 09:17 PM
If you want the 38/357 platform the SP101 2.4 or the S&W Mod 60 is your best bet all steel heavy enough to actually handle the 357 especially if you get good grips I.E. Hogue or Gemini Wood grips. I carry them in Milt Sparks summer special or a remora while driving great cc guns you forget you have them on. If you want to go to 38 do the 642 great gun

February 23, 2013, 02:19 AM
I'd look for a S&W Model 60 with a 3" barrel. Best of all worlds, that one is... ;) Probably I'd add some Ahrends combat grips but that's all.

February 23, 2013, 02:27 AM
I've heard only the best things about the Shield. I'd have a very hard time deciding between the Shield or LCR.

February 23, 2013, 07:49 AM
For me the small auto would be a Kahr PM9 and the revolver would be a S&W Model 638.

February 23, 2013, 09:51 AM
I'll throw out a vote for the good-old 642. No lock & bone stock.

I've been nothing but pleased with mine and it conceals like a champ.

Can't speak to the LCRs because I don't own one (yet).

February 23, 2013, 12:10 PM
I love my CM9... it recoils less than my 1911(commander size .45) IMO. Definitely one of the lighter recoiling small guns I've shot, with the XDS being very similar to it. Both are scary accurate for such small guns.

Only problem with the CM is the front sight is plastic and broke... a trijicon steel night sight is $50 and screws right on... I knew this going into the purchase of the gun.

Never shot a .40 kahr, but would like to... though every other gun I've shot in .40 I hated... too snappy for me to be predictable with. I think a CW40 might have potential for me. Full grip but still easy to conceal because they are VERY thin.

February 23, 2013, 03:51 PM
I have recently switched from mouse gun autos to a small revos. My hands have lost strength thru the years and recent injury was the frosting on the cake. Can't rack those small slides anymore. Now instead of a 738 an LCR lives in my pocket.

February 23, 2013, 06:59 PM
I vote small revolver,s&w or ruger lcr. More reliable than a small auto in my opinion.

February 23, 2013, 07:17 PM
lowercase wrote: I'll throw out a vote for the good-old 642. No lock & bone stock.

I second that notion...

February 23, 2013, 07:53 PM
I'm trying to decide between getting a small .38 (642 or LCR), a small .357 (LCR .357) our a small autoloader (SIG P290, KAHR CW40, S&W Shield .40, etc.)...

Since you already have an auto, I'd suggest the S&W 642, as others already have. Fabulous little pocket rocket.

February 23, 2013, 08:04 PM
For me the small auto would be a Kahr PM9 and the revolver would be a S&W Model 638.


February 23, 2013, 10:14 PM
I have a 642 and an LC9. The LC is a little easier to shoot but the 642 carries better in the pocket or IWB. If I had to get rid of one it would be the LC. Smaller and lighter is the way to go for me.

February 23, 2013, 10:30 PM
One of my first pistols back in the late 1990s was a 1st Gen Taurus PT 140. It was garbage.

I am a high-quality gun gun. Sigs, Glocks, HKs, etc.

However, I recently got a good deal on a Taurua PT 145 Pro. It is outstanding. Reliable with brass and steel ammo. Accurate. Comfortable. They worked out all the glitches. 10+1 .45 in a compact design. Excellent! Highly recommend it.

IMO lightweight .38 S&W 642 and similar are very punishing to shoot and hard to keep on target. Better than nothing but they take practice.

February 23, 2013, 10:39 PM
I carry a Ruger 380 auto. I also have a small 38 revolver I carry from time to time. I like revolvers a bit better because they're more reliable but of coarse a semi gets more rounds off quicker. I'd probably go with a revolver. Always reliable, no jams or stove pipes. I'd go with a 38. They got all the power you need.

February 23, 2013, 10:51 PM
I concur with the note about a S&W model 60 with three inch barrel. Shorter barrels just sacrifice too much performance. If you prefer a self loader, I once read that John Browning carried one of his own .32 automatics. And of course, I'll bet he practiced often!

F-111 John
February 23, 2013, 10:59 PM
I carried a Smith & Wesson Model 60 Chief's special until I purchased a Glock 26 in December.

At first, the Glock was like carrying a brick inside my waistband compared to the J frame, but now I've gotten used to it. I may switch back to the J frame in the summer months with lighter clothing, but for now the Glock is proving more concealable than I first thought possible.

That said, you may really enjoy the S&W Shield if you can find one.

February 23, 2013, 11:48 PM
I carry a J frame daily, a M442 but the M642 is just as good. I happen to like the Black gun better. If you would rather a semi-auto pistol and want something small I highly recommend the S&W M&P Shield in either 9mm or 40 S&W. It's a single stack pistol that's very thin and it's light too.

February 24, 2013, 01:25 PM
I alternate between carrying my Ruger LCR and Kahr CW9. I have no experience with the CW40 and believe that a 9mm is enough (if a quality HP is used).
I have no complaints with either firearm but generally prefer the Kahr.
The links below are to a couple of reviews that I did of these two guns last year. Some sites frown upon posting links to other blogs. Please delete this post if I'm stepping on anyones's toes.

I'll hit a few highpoints. Both guns are great and I'd buy either again. $400 was the price for the Kahr and Ruger when I bought them a couple of years ago. Of course the Kahr only comes with one mag and spare magazines are about $34 from CDNN. Speedloaders and speed strips for the LCR are much cheaper.
I have no idea what either gun is selling for in this current period of insanity. Hopefully the prices are still reasonable as neither gun is on the ban list.
I carry the CW9 in IWB (Crossbreed) usually. Once in a while I'll use a shoulder holster. The Ruger gets pocket carry and occaisonaly IWB. Both guns carry easily. They won't be left at home due to weight or size.
The CW9 is a lot easier to shoot. The LCR is a bit easier to carry. Reliability is great for both guns. I believe in both of them strongly enough to let my daughter have her pick when she's of age (already picked the CW9, BTW).

February 24, 2013, 03:33 PM
My current EDC gun is a Walther PPS. Best shooting small 9mm I have, and very slim. Perfect for IWB carry.

February 24, 2013, 03:45 PM
I love snubbies. I would suggest SP101 2.4 or a S&W Mod 60 gives you the ability to use 357 or 38 either way they are much more comfortable to shoot out of a steel gun, Good luck

February 24, 2013, 07:52 PM
I have gone over to a SIG P938. After 1200+rds it has proven to be light, very concealable and accurate.

35 Whelen
February 25, 2013, 04:49 PM
Shoot everything you can get your hands on. Small handguns have trade-offs in accuracy and controllability. I've found the more comfortable a handgun is to carry, the more difficult it is to shoot/control. I carry an old Star M43 9mm. It's a little chunky, but easy to control and hit with. I bought my wife a Charter Arms Pink Lady. At 12 oz., they're very light but a bit of a handful with the 150 gr. rds. I load for her. Lots of practice cured that problem.


February 25, 2013, 05:06 PM
A J-frame is more comparable to a Glock sub-compact (or other similar pistols) in size.
Personally, I'd get a G26 and call it a day.

February 26, 2013, 12:43 AM
I like revolvers - own more of them than I own automatics. I do not, however, like snubbies. I just have a hard time shooting them well and the cylinders are annoyingly fat. So while shopping for a pocketable pistol today, I ended up picking a Springfield XD-S. I only had a chance to put about 85 rounds through it but I don't regret moving to a small auto so far.

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