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Lightweight snubbies

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Godsgunman, Jan 29, 2013.

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  1. Godsgunman

    Godsgunman Member

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    So this past weekend I took my mother (64) to the shooting range since she has requested my help with her buying her first ever handgun. She grew up around guns but has never owned one herself. The range I am a member at has rental guns so I figured we could rent a couple and see how they fit her. I brought along my 3" Taurus 65 .357 and my Glock 26 so she could shoot those also. Anyways I rented this light weight 2" Ruger .38 snubby for her to try also (sorry dont recall the exact model) but boy did that thing kick like a mule! Far worse than any mag load out of my Taurus and even worse then shooting 00 buck out of my Judge when I used to have one. I was just using 130gr target .38 sp loads, not even +P. I am not usually recoil sensitive but I was truly shocked at how unpleasant this little snubby was to shoot. I didn't even let my mother try it out because it even bothered my palm after 5 shots. She did enjoy shooting the Taurus and even the Glock and shot them fairly well.
    I guess what I'm getting at is I found these "airweight" snubs to be unpleasant shooters, at least that one. I know they fit the niche for light weight carry options but I myself prefer something with a little more heft in the revolver arena and more manageable recoil. After shooting that snubby I find my Taurus to be a great compromise between concealability and manageable recoil for follow up shots even with full load magnums.
    And the search is still on for the right gun for my mom, good excuse for more range time :p.
     
  2. Bikewer

    Bikewer Member

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    I have to say that other than a S&W M29 with full-house loads, one of the most unpleasant handguns I've ever fired was an "airweight" Chief's Special with fairly hot loads and stock grips.
    Nasty...
    However, my little Taurus stainless "Chief's" knockoff, equipped with Pachmayr grips, is quite pleasant to shoot.
     
  3. DammitBoy

    DammitBoy Member

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    Easiest light weight snubby I ever shot; a CharterArms Bulldog Pug in .44 special

    The worst snubby I've ever shot; my Ruger Alaskan in .454 and it's not light.

    My Chiefs Special in .38 special was somewhere in the middle of those two...
     
  4. DMK

    DMK Member

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    I have two 5 shot 2" snubbies, a Smith 642 (all lightweight alloy) and an SP101 (all stainless steel).

    38 specials in the 642 are more unpleasant to shoot than 357 mags in the SP101.
     
  5. DammitBoy

    DammitBoy Member

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    Good point DMK, my favorite snubby is my Ruger SP101 with any load!
     
  6. David E

    David E Member

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    Sounds like you need to find the right load more than finding the right gun.

    Go back and shoot that "lightweight Ruger" (must be the LCR) with 148 grain (not 158, but 148) FULL wadcutters used for bullseye shooting. She will like it much better.

    Finding the right gun is only part of the equation. Finding the right load, in this case, is far more important.
     
  7. mj246

    mj246 Member

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    I'm betting the Ruger snubby was an LCR (OP; was it all black and gray or stainless steel?). Given that the 38+p version only weighs 13.5 ounces unloaded, I would definitely imagine the recoil being a bit stiff. I personally have never seen a huge draw to the super lightweight snubbies. I don't find a revolver weighing 20-25 ounces to be very heavy for carrying, and definitely helps for actually shooting.

    Granted, I have only carried around the house for a few hours at a time because I'm still saving up to get my CCW, so I could maybe understand getting one that's 16-18 ounces or so. However, I just feel that something much lighter than a pound would recoil too sharply for fast follow-up shots whether the recoil bothers your hand or not. JMO and YMMV. If you like it and are comfortable with an airweight, more power to ya.

    EDIT to ADD: If she likes the overall feel of the LCR, you could always try to find a 357 one to rent, but shoot 38s in it. The 357 version weighs a few ounces more and likely would tame the recoil of standard pressure or +P 38s much better than the 13.5 ounce 38+p only version.
     
  8. easyg

    easyg Member

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    I would not recommed a snub-nose revolver for any female.
    They are not easy guns to master.
    They have a short sight radius and a heavy double-action trigger pull.
    And they are very slow to reload.

    I would recommend something like an XDS in 9mm, or a Ruger SR9c.
     
  9. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    IMO "snubbies" are generally poor choices for beginning shooters. They may seem good because they are so small and light, but those are actually flaws for anything except concealed carry. Light weight guns recoil badly even with normal .38spl rounds, let alone +P or .357 ammo. The short sight radius and often rudimentary sights make them hard to shoot accuratly.

    Personally, I might suggest you consider a "K-Frame" like the S&W Model 10. A not too big and heavy but much easier and more comfortable to shoot than a light weight small frame. If you want something a little smaller for conceled carry, look at a steel frame gun like the S&W Model 60 or the Ruger SP101, either with a 3-4 inch barrel.
     
  10. David E

    David E Member

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    She proved she could shoot them, but they weren't loaded with the proper ammo.

    It's not hard to shoot "minute of badguy" at five to ten feet.

    The LCR has a fairly smooth and light pull.

    It's over, one way or another, by the time the gun is empty. She's not trying out for the SWAT team or Action Pistol team.

    Where chambering the first round might be extremely difficult? Where a weak wrist or improper hold would induce a malfunction?

    This isn't a gun for US, guys, it's a gun for a 64 yr old woman who has never owned a gun before.

    Revolvers are easy to understand, easy to shoot (point and pull) and won't jam due to weak wrists. Load it properly (for her) with the aforementioned 148 grain wadcutters and she will be fine.
     
  11. Godsgunman

    Godsgunman Member

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    mj246,
    It was all black and gray so yeah it was the lcr. We will definitely stick to the stainless steel models and I think at least a 3" barrel. As i said she shot my 65 pretty well once she got the hang of the sights. I was just not expecting the lcr to be that bad but I guess thats a compromise some people are willing to make to carry something all day. Not for me though, don't mind a little more weight. I like to know its there, not have something so light I could forget and not shoot accurately because of recoil.
     
  12. David E

    David E Member

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    You are still overlooking the importance of load selection.
     
  13. premier1

    premier1 Member

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    I'm sure your mother isn't going to be spending countless hours on the range.So giventhat fact she might have her longest shot ever across a room,with that being said I don't see anything wrong with a snub.If she does wish to do range shooting I would suggest like others here to use 148gr. wadcutters and since she's not going to be carrying this daily why not go with a standard weight snub like a Taures model 85.
     
  14. Mosbyranger

    Mosbyranger Member

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    Ruger SP 101's are hard to beat imho. If you can find one with a 3 inch barrel, have her try it. My son bought one and it is a real soft shooter even with .357's compared to my 2" in 38 Sp. Ruger also makes them with a 4 inch barrel, but that is a rara avis, at least around here.
    MR
     
  15. jimbo555

    jimbo555 Member

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    I gave my daughter a s&w model 60,the original stainless version of the model36. She shoots it just fine with standard pressure hollow points. She loves to shoot that snubby and refuses to give it back no matter how hard I try! -
     
  16. DammitBoy

    DammitBoy Member

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    I've lost two Ruger SP101's with 3" barrels to my daughter and my wife. They love shooting them and are quite accurate with them.
     
  17. IllinoisGun

    IllinoisGun Member

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    Myself, I've never had an issue with me wife shooting my S&W 442. No lock, of course.
     
  18. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    Sounds like the OP is the one who is recoil sensitive.

    If the OP has a problem with the LCR, he'll have a problem with all the Smith J frames as well.
     
  19. mauiglide

    mauiglide Member

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    I bought a Model 638 Airweight last fall which is my first J frame revolver and the first thing my FFL dealer said to me was that I should expect a bit of recoil. I don't consider myself to be recoil sensitive but shooting this revolver with the stock two finger grip was uncomfortable to say the least. I was shooting American Eagle standard pressure ammo and some Remington +P ammo. I decided to mount a set of Nill grips which are larger than the factory scales. I've not shot it since I've installed the new grips but just holding the revolver with the new grips makes the gun feel much more comfortable and controllable. I'll see how it is next time at the range.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX using Tapatalk 2
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  20. David E

    David E Member

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    I've never seen an SP-101 with a trigger as light and smooth as the LCR. It'll be more difficult to master the hard DA pull on the SP-101

    I've observed over the years that people who claim to be "good with a revolver" are firing it single action; a technique not suitable for fast and furious close range defense encounters.

    Only one other poster seems to agree that LOAD SELECTION MATTERS.
     
  21. ETXhiker

    ETXhiker Member

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    If your mother isn't going to be carrying, or will be carrying in a purse, there is no reason to go with a super light weight gun that kicks a lot, but I agree that a revolver is a good choice for new shooters. How about a 4" .38 in a K-frame Smith?
     
  22. easyg

    easyg Member

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    I didn't say a female cannot shoot a snubbie...it's just that they are very difficult to shoot accurately, especially when the adrenaline is jacked up and the person is fearing for their life.

    Actually, it's harder than some folks might think.
    Especially with a snubbie.

    Smooth and light are subjective.
    For a man with strong hands and strong fingers it might seem smooth and light, but for an elderly woman it might seem heavy.


    It will certainly be over if you empty your 5-round cylinder without hitting your attacker and that attacker still has 10 rounds in his pistol.

    You don't wait till your door is being kicked in before chambering a round.

    Limp wristing is rather rare. About as rare a bullet jumping the crimp and locking up a revolver.

    Exactly! And I can't think of a worse handgun to recommend than a light-weight snubbie.

    Yeah, she's a older woman so she can't possibly understand and operate something as complicated as a Ruger SR9c or an Springfield XDS. :rolleyes:

    Please stop treating treating the women like they're idiots.
    And please give her a better weapon than a 5-shot light-weight snubbie.
     
  23. WhippingBoy

    WhippingBoy Member

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    I took my CCW class using an Airweight 38. After 100 rounds the web of my hand was bleeding in a number of places. The stock rubber grip was a real punishment.

    Anyhow, I had a similar situation when my own mother wanted a handgun. The guy at the gun store had talked her into an M&Pc in 9mm. She's 77. Her fingers aren't strong enough to load that gun. I'm sure he gave her his best smarmy-used-car-salesman trick to get her to buy something expensive.

    I will give that store credit for taking it back, although it was unfired.

    In the end she got the Walther PK380. The slide is easy to move for her and the grip is small enough for her to hold on to. Also, recoil was not beyond her control; in fact, it was minimal. We went right over to the range and she did quite well for never having owned a gun in her life.
     
  24. Drail

    Drail Member

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    I have always believed that a snub revolver is just about the most reliable handgun you can carry (assuming good ammo). Snubbies are great. Very Lightweight Alloy/Polymer snubbies in Magnum calibers are just silly. Mass is your friend - in handguns.
     
  25. heeler

    heeler Member

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    I owned a Smith model 37 Air Weight and ended up selling due to how unpleasant it was to shoot.
    Horrible recoil.
    Now it's true I never tried those 148 gr. wad cutters but I did use the plain fmj 130 and 158 gr. ammo.
    At times on the auto forum I hear people complain how bad the recoil is on pocket 380's.
    They are no where near the recoil of these lightweight snubs.
    I would never recommend one of these snubs in a 38 Special or larger calibers to a woman.
     
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