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Recommendations for a noob

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by papaholmz, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. papaholmz

    papaholmz Member

    Let me start by saying that I have only ever operated a firearm once or twice and those were .22 rifles (the last time being about 10 years ago). I am starting a new job where I would feel much more comfortable carrying a firearm. I will be signing up for classes soon on the operation of a firearm as well as applying for my concealed weapons permit once I have completed the classes.

    After reading some of the posts and recommendations on this website from members who teach classes on operating firearms and other members who are obviously experienced with the use of firearms I have come to the conclusion that I would like to purchase a snub nosed revolver.

    So, my questions are (1) what revolver should I purchase, (2) what grips should I get, and (3) is there anything else I need to consider when purchasing my revolver?

    Thanks in advance for sharing your wisdom.

  2. FLRon

    FLRon Well-Known Member

    Guess I'll jump in. Welcome to the world of concealed carry. You will no doubt get lots of ideas and opinions, as there is a myriad of choices to pick from.

    I will suggest you look at the Smith & Wesson 442 or 642 snub nosed revolver. They weigh in at 15 oz., and give you great value for the money, as you will be able to find them for around $380. You should seriously consider the "Centennial" model that has a fully enclosed hammer which makes it ideal for pocket carry.

    If you decide to purchase one of these great revolvers, please make sure you get the newest released version that does not have an internal safety lock.


  3. Loomis

    Loomis member

  4. Gunner4h1r3

    Gunner4h1r3 Well-Known Member

    Well, let me be the first of many to say welcome aboard!! I've been on this forum for about a year now and THR is a great source of info, advice, etc.

    Ok, you're looking for a snubby. What caliber are you looking for? The most common are either the .38 Special or the .357 Magnum. Either one is good. I have a .38 Special snub with me right now. Good little gun, easy to conceal in all types of weather here in VA. Now you can find snub nose revolvers in calibers such as .41 Magnum, .44 Special, .327 Federal Mag, but I can honestly say that the .38 or .357 would be the easiest to find across the nation, a major factor I take into account when buying a firearm.

    The nice thing about revolvers is that you can find grips of every shape, size, and material. The Uncle Mike's grips that came with my .38 were good, although I changed them out for a set of Hogue Bantams. Hogue grips are pretty good and the help with recoil too. Although it all depends on what fits your hand.

    One thing to also consider is choosing grips is how you will reload your gun. If you plan on using speedloaders, make sure that the grip isn't interfering with the speedloader as you load the cylinder. Or you cna use speed strips, which are a little more concealable.

    Revolvers are made in a variety of materials, from stainless steel to the latest in lightweight alloys and materials. The lighter the gun, the more recoil in most cases, which is why I would stay away from the Scandium/Titanium guns (especially in .357 or larger calibers).

    Prices will vary by manufacturer, store, and individual. Always have a budget of what you can afford. I would check around the local shops and classified ads to see what one would find. Also, there are websites such as www.gunbroker.com and www.auctionarms.com where you can bid on guns like at ebay.

    I hope this helps you in choosing your snubby. If you need any help/advice, etc. feel free to PM me.

    My personal favorites are the Smith & Wesson 638 Airweight Bodyguard, the Charter Arms Bulldog, and the Ruger SP-101.
  5. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    for a new person i would recomend a 38 the recoil is going to be a lot less than the magnums. Especially if you are shooting a short barrel. This will be easier to shoot. Allowing you to focus on more range time and practice. Later on as you get very familiar with the 38 you can move up to a 357 or 44
  6. greener

    greener Well-Known Member

    I have an S&w 442. Nice, light, dependable revolver for CC. The SP101 is a darned nice revolver. I've also heard some good reports from owners of the Taurus 85 and 60 models. All a matter of which one suits your needs/preference/budget. The larger framed .357's like the S&W 686 and Ruger GP100 are great, but you aren't going to conceal them in warm weather very well.

    A word of caution. According to your post you are pretty much an inexperienced shooter. Handguns are much harder to shoot accurately than rifles and the smaller and lighter the handgun, the more difficult they are to shoot accurately. I consider myself a fairly experienced shooter. I started shooting an S&W M&P .38 special revolver over 40 years ago. I shot M1911's for years in the Army Reserves. My guess is that I'm better than 80% of the folks I see shooting handguns.(All that means is I can hit the broad side of the barn most of the time). The 442 kicked my butt for a while and forced me to go back to school to learn to shoot it. If you are going to buy a handgun, you are better off getting some training and lots of practice. I'd also suggest that you consider learning to shoot handguns with a .22. No recoil to speak of, most are very accurate and the practice ammo is dirt cheap compared to .38 or .357. You can find relatively inexpensive .22 revolvers like the Heritage Rough Rider or some of the Taurus double action .22's. I shoot a Ruger Single Six regularly. A bit more expensive than the Heritage. I have a ball shooting it and ammo is about 10% the cost of .38 special rounds.
  7. indiandave

    indiandave Well-Known Member

    Don't buy a light gun for your first revolver. Get something like a S&W model 10. recoil is no problem you can start with powder puff loads and you can shoot the latest plus p loads. The little air weights do kick like a mule with stout loads.The short barrel also makes them dificult to shoot accuratly at first. My daily carries are 642-2 and a 12-2. I really worked hard to become a good shot with them. Practice,practice and then practice some more.
  8. simple start-up DA only revolver for protection...

    This subject pops up often...

    I'd suggest the great DA only model Ruger SP-101 in .357magnum. This was my 1st handgun, ;).
    The SP-101 is small, stainless steel and fires either the .357magnum or .38spl loads.
    You can also buy Hogue grips or even better a CrimsonTrace lasergrip, www.lasersights.com .

    Other solid picks would be the S&W model 638 or model 642. The Taurus model CIA or Protector are good for concealed carry.

  9. Rmac58

    Rmac58 Well-Known Member

    Some have made laser grip recommendations, many revolvers come with them, if you're going that route, buy the gun with them installed.
    I have a S&W model 60, 3 inch barrel, stainless steel, .357 magnum, you can fire .38 specials with it also. Regular grips have been replaced with Hogue's.
  10. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    a 38 or 357 loaded with 38 would be best IMO. A snubby or 3" barrel. DAO if you can but whichever.
  11. twoclones

    twoclones Well-Known Member

    I'd recommend that you visit a local shooting range and fire a couple of rented guns before you make a purchase.
  12. papaholmz

    papaholmz Member

    Thank you all so much or your advise. I think I have decided to go with a .38 since 90% of the reply's have recommended it. I went to the S&W website and looked at the 442, 642, and 638 but couldn't really find any difference between them beside the color and the front sight. Are there any other differences that I missed?

    Thanks twoclones for the recommendation to fire some rented guns first, I think I will do just that, and I'll test some that aren't as light like indiandave suggested.

  13. papaholmz

    papaholmz Member

    Also, can anyone else chime in on FLRon's recommendation to get one without an internal safety lock?

  14. calaverasslim

    calaverasslim Well-Known Member

    Onternal safety lock

    I don't have any experience with these pistolas. I buy older model Smith's without the locks.

    That being said, Consider the 3" M36. they also come in 1&1/7" barrels also.

    Yes, 38 special only and a little heavier but they absorb recoil better than the lighter guns and do not shoot loose after the many K's of rounds shots in practice. However, should you decide on one of the others, you can't go wrong.

    I carry a 3" 44 special. But thats just me, however, that is also an option.

    decisions, decisions, decisions........
  15. wnycollector

    wnycollector Well-Known Member

    +1 on the 3" revolver reccomendation. That extra 1" of barrel helps out velocity and accuracy. A 3" sp101 in .357 is a great pistol. 3" model 36 .38 are hard to beat also. If you want to move up in size ANY 3" K frame .357 (model 13 and 65) or .38 (10 and 64) would do fine. Also ANY ruger "six" with the 2.75" barrel would last a lifetime.
  16. FLRon

    FLRon Well-Known Member

    I don't know the exact history of when Smith & Wesson started building revolvers with these locks. I can tell you that they are identified by a small keyhole right next to the cylinder release. The gun is shipped with a small key that you can insert and turn thus locking the trigger, making it inoperable.

    The general feeling is that while they are still extremely reliable with these internal locks, you would rather not have them, as they are just a potential source for problems, however unlikely.

    There is also a resentment of having these useless safety features foisted upon firearms manufacturers, so if you can obtain a weapon without it, you are better off.

    As far as the 442 vs. the 642, the only difference is the finish.

    Here is my 442 with a lock. It was the only way i could purchase a new one at the time. I added some Ahrends cocobolo wood grips just for aesthetic reasons, but the rubber grips will certainly suffice.

  17. ErikS

    ErikS Well-Known Member

    I'm also a new shooter, and I have commented on this kind of question before.

    My opinion is tat you should start with getting some instruction, and learn with a .22. That way you learn how to handle a gun properly, and dont get any bad habits like flinching.

    Second, dont get a .357 or a snubnose without at least trying them first, firing them at a range. The .357 kicks really hard for a beginner, even in fullsize version, and snubnose versions are even worse.

    To give you an idea, I have no problem with the recoil of a fullsize 1911 .45ACP, but a .357 in fullsize has a much harder recoil. Trust me, you do not want to buy a snubnose version of those without having fired one first, so you know what you're buying.

    So my tip is, first instruction and learn basics with a .22, and then "try before you buy", dont buy a gun model you havent even fired.
  18. Stainz

    Stainz Well-Known Member

    The 642 is a great CCW. It fulfills the first criteria a carry gun must - it is easily concealled. In a Robert Mika's pocket holster, it will fit any of my pants' front pockets. As a S&W, it is dependable right out of the box - and has a lifetime warranty with a cost-free call & pick-up as close as your phone, should trouble arise. It is gripped properly for it's application as delivered - it isn't a plinker, it's mission is to protect your life. Mine, like most of my S&Ws, has an Infernal Lock - which isn't a problem here.

    Their new price, and that of the black version, the 442, runs $410-$430 new around here now. Practice initially with inexpensive 130gr MC from Wally World, recalling that it isn't meant to be a fun plinker. Get a box of 20 Speer 135gr Gold Dots in .38 Special +P for carry. Shoot a couple for familiarization - they will bounce more - and not be 'fun' - but this is a serious device, if you want a plinker type gun, make it your second purchase. A 4" blued 10/15 or SS 64/67, like a security guard trade-in available at gun stores and pawn shops, is an ideal plinker. It can also serve double duty as a 'house' gun. Of course, get a CC license or permit before carrying - and a local gun range should be checked for appropriate instructive courses and programs.

    Above all - welcome to the world of revolvers! I was a dedicated plinker for many years before I would keep a loaded gun in my house... and then many years passed before I would 'carry'. Now, I don't go to church without at least that 642!

  19. indiandave

    indiandave Well-Known Member

    I still say buy something with a little weight for your first gun. A S&W k frame will be much easier to shoot at first. A k or l frame also would be an ideal gun for home defence. If you do buy a 642 or a 442, you can change the grips to something that covers the back strap. This will help control recoil. I would also suggest you try wad cutters to start. they have less recoil and make it easier to learn, no flinching ,etc. I hope this helps.
  20. crebralfix

    crebralfix member

    My revolver experience started about two years ago and I researched them thoroughly. It comes down to: size, capacity, caliber, concealability, and reloading method.

    Reloading the gun may or may not be an issue if you get into a real situation. However, plan for 99% of the situations, not 90%. That difference is in the extremes: a reload was required against multiple armed assailants who did not stop when one or more were shot. Occasionally, someone will get shot because they ran out of ammunition. There's no reason not to keep one speed loader and two speed strips on you at all times while carrying.

    You will find that many revolvers, while adequate, lack a few features that are really helpful. The first is chamfered cylinders. An angle is applied to the outer edge of the cylinder to facilitate loading the rounds. Second, moonclips are very fast for reloading and most revolvers are not cut for moonclips (a moonclip holds all the rounds together and they go in and come out as one, like a magazine). I recommend them, but you'll have to make a few changes. A carry trigger job is a requirement, though some folks will dispute that (S&W triggers will smooth out over time). The gun should have a smooth trigger in BOTH directions and the weight should not be onerous. Finally, grips that fit your hand are essential. You will need to try several. For example, the new S&W Nightguard series come with huge grips that make it difficult for many folks to work the trigger.

    A quick word on frame names: S&W designates their small, 5 shot frames as "J", slightly larger K-Frame (6 shot), the L-Frame is beefier for heavier calibers, and N-Frame is their "service" size. The X-Frame is for those huge revolvers in 500 S&W Magnum.

    You may want to look at what I call "mid-size" short barreled revolvers. I think they are more versatile and have a few "shooting" advantages...such as weight. These include S&W K and L-Frames with 2-3" barrels. You may find the 3" barrel to be a great compromise. The longer barrel allows for a longer ejector rod (allowing spent cases to be fully pushed out) and results in a bit better ballistic performance (almost on par with longer barrelled guns--and ammo can be tuned for it by careful reloading).

    I happen to like N-Frame revolvers with short barrels. I have one that holds 8 rounds of 357 Magnum.

    You may want to consider a 5 shot revolver in 44 Special. This cartridge is similar to the 45 ACP cartridge--check a reloading manual for the actual differences. 44 Special has a dedicated cult following.

    Remember, you now have the option of 5,6,7, or 8 shot capacity in 357 Magnum. Larger calibers are generally limited to 5 or 6 rounds.

    You don't need to learn to shoot with 22 LR. There are some very mild 38 Special rounds. Remington UMC 38 Special out of an S&W N-Frame revolver felt like hot 22 LR...they were that mild. They felt a bit more stout out of my S&W Model 36 (a J-Frame 38 Special revolver). But, if you accept recoil and drop the ego, you'll do fine.

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