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4" or 3"? .357 for carry/home

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Kylaen, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    For carry, a 2" (or maybe 3") small-framed revolver. 38 special is fine.

    For HD, a 4"+ medium or large framed 38 or 357.

    For the range, a 6"+ medium or large framed 38 or 357.

    A good used revolver doesn't have to be expensive. My 2" Ruger LCR 38 special cost $300-something. I have gotten a number of good-quality 4" and 6" revolvers for $400-something. A good-quality handgun is hard to wear out.

    My preferred carry handgun: a Ruger LCR 38 special.

    A recent favorite for the range, and would be fine for HD: a S&W Model 28.


    As stated, the Ruger was $300-something, and the S&W was $400-something. They are useful for different purposes and don't overlap that well.
     
    SharpDog likes this.
  2. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

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    It's funny, this thread seems to be the counter argument to the "Regret buying a 3 inch?" thread.

    Agreed that the frame size matters more than the barrel length, and also agreed that most people (myself included) seem to shoot a 4 inch gun better. That being said, there is a reason the 3" is so popular. You (usually) gain a fair amount as far as ease of carry.


    Yes, you can carry a 4 inch gun. I say you can also shoot a 3 inch gun about as well as the longer gun, at least at typical defense ranges. And if you are mostly looking for a house gun and don't intend to carry it much if any, then this isn't even really a conversation; get the larger gun that is easier to shoot and typically will carry another round over a J frame or similar (some exceptions duly noted). It's all a compromise - and this is a classic question that will surely be asked again.
     
  3. Barry loyd

    Barry loyd Member

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    For carry I like my 4in GP100. For HD I go with the 4in GP100. For the range I like....... yep you guessed it, the 4in Gp100. In all seriousness, the 4in is more controllable for me. The 3in guns we have are .38spl and they are hard enough to shoot. My wife has a 4in GP100 too.
     
    Armored farmer likes this.
  4. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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    Oh no, I think we've answered all of the controversial questions now and we're just waiting for them to invent a multi-caliber semi-auto revolver with a collapsible barrel in .32 + .380 + 9mm + .357 + .40 + .10 mm + 44 + .45 :evil:
     
  5. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    A guy I worked with fired a 158 grain Nyclad from his Model 10 in the locker room. Ears rang for a while but nothing permanent. I touched off a 9MM indoors once. Ears rang for a bit but nothing permanent. But I agree .357 indoors would be fierce. I fired ONE outdoors once with protection and it get like an ice pick to ears. But nothing permanent.

    But I agree ears on at all times. Even for a .22.
     
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  6. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    Mine was a 158gr XTP. In the car. AD/ND; caught my hand moving it out of the way while driving. My fault, and I still have the bullet (recovered from a subframe rail) to remind me to pay attention and not be stupid.
    A car is not a fun place to set one off.

    This. A thousand times this.
     
  7. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    Man, you got that right!
    The only 357 that I'm willing to carry is a 2.75" Sp101.
    The 3" is just too heavy for me.
     
  8. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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    ya that extra 1 oz is a deal breaker LOL
     
  9. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Is anybody going to San Antone?
    I have fired a .44 mag 180 gr and a .45 Colt cowboy load indoors. Each only once. I can't go into details but I do get a mild annoying tinnitus every other week or so.
     
  10. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Is anybody going to San Antone?
    BTW I prefer at least a 4 inch for .357 I have carried lesser barrel lengths but if I have a .357 or larger magnum class cartridge on me person it's usually for hunting reasons though it could easily (and without worry that it doesn't hold infinity rounds) be pressed into service. I do carry a Smith M&P 2.0 compact in 9mm most days and an LCP for back up. I will be replacing the LCP with a J frame soon enough however.
     
  11. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    Soooooo...I have this debate weekly.

    Let's talk training. I attended a two day handgun course with a S&W Model 27 3 1/2" barrel (don't worry, it was the new one with 8 shot capacity), S&W 625 4", and S&W 327 TRR8 5". The performance between the 3 1/2" and 4" guns was significant and the 5" was dramatically better. I carry the 327 TRR8 IWB in a kydex holster and it conceals well so long as the stocks do not extend past the bottom of the grip (forward cant is your friend). Avoid snubbies like the plague. They completely suck in all ways other than being convenient to carry. Carry is not the purpose; it is getting hits in a time of need.

    The 3" barrel gets you some carry convenience at the expense of accuracy at speed and some improved terminal ballistics. Carrying it strong side is easier as the back pocket of your pants doesn't press on the muzzle area to start tilting the gun back. You do feel the muzzle of the 5" barrel. I always want the 3" for carry but then remember the lower performance.

    But, the purpose of the gun is FIGHTING. The mid-frame guns like the 686 and GP100 are excellent. The S&W K-Frames are a bit better on carry but still perform well. Keep in mind that some advancements have made the 686 feel more like a K-Frame. The Performance Center Pro Series 686 SSR handles like a K-Frame, but shoots like a 686 (L-Frame).

    Many old school guys considered the 4" barrel to be the best compromise between shooting, carry and terminal ballistics. I tend to agree. I also subscribe to the idea that lower capacity guns should be of higher caliber and 357 Magnum is a really good cartridge chambering--possibly the best for a fast stop (Never mind the silly "study" that shows higher deaths from 22 Long Rifle...it discounts time to stop and dying in the hospital three days later does you no good on the street.)

    It comes down to what you're willing to put up with. Consider the SHOOTING, CONVENIENCE and PERFORMANCE triad. How do you prioritize each item? A 3" gun is higher in convenience but much lower on shooting and average on performance. A 6" gun is going to be short on convenience, but long on shooting and performance. I recommend carrying the largest revolver possible since heavier guns handle the magnums better.

    I personally choose the N-Frame size from S&W. I really like the alloy frame guns like the 327 TRR8. They are lighter than the steel frame 6xx series. However, the 627 with eight shots of 357 Magnum is an excellent gun. It will serve you well on a steel core belt and a Milt Sparks Versa Max 2. The trick for concealment is to use the Versa Max 2 (or similar), increase the forward cant a bit by replacing the rear loop with a Blade-Tech rubber Pull-the-Dot loop and using "boot" style grips. In the N-Frame, this still provides a full grip. The best stocks are Herretts Stocks Jordan Troopers with checkering. Bill Jordan created the specification for these stocks in his book "No Second Place Winner". These stocks are made for gun fighting and are excellent for shooting hot loads for hunting and target shooting.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  12. george29

    george29 Member

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    I've had a 3" S&W 13 and still have a 4" 65.

    I know the 3" is more coveted but the 4" just feels right which is why I kept it. I think it balances better, sight radius is easier and concealment is about the same.
     
  13. tactikel

    tactikel Member

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    4" is a great length for .357. I had two. Easily carried, nice sight radius, better balance, less muzzle flip.
    The weight differential over 3" is 1/2 OZ. For a CCW 3" is preferred, all else ≥ 4" is IMHO best.
     
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  14. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

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    Life is full of trade-offs, and nothing exemplifies that more than one's choice of a handgun. As you know, in a .357 you can go from a 5-shot j frame up to an 8-shot n frame or a Redhawk. All with your choice of barrel length.

    I think my suggestion would be to just get the one that you like best and that in your opinion makes the best fit for you.

    You can, and probably will, be back for another one and then another one after that.

    (For carrying a .357, my choice is an SP101 with a 2.25 barrel. Nothing wrong with a 4 inch, especially if you're going hunting, but... 3's are very, very popular for carrying.)
     
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