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Nice overall round for protection

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Pathtoyorsoul, Jul 25, 2009.

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  1. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    I have had this come up several times, mostly from women with violent and/or stalking significant others. I refer them to a retired cop friend or the range master at my local range.

    Usually they recommend people without a lot of firearms experience get a a snub nosed revolver in .38 Special. They are small and concealable yet can do the job at close range.


    Get a snub-nose .38 revolver ...Smith and Wesson. (Model 642...... concealed hammer so it will not snag in your clothes... and its lightweight... and can be pocket carried.)


    I am a retired LEO. 31 years on the job. Almost all of it as a firearms instructor. A snub-nose would be the last gun I would advise a new shooter to buy. They are difficult to learn to shoot well due to their light weight (more recoil) and short sight radius.
     
  2. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    For the life of me, I can't understand why people insist on talking about sight radius and target accuracy in a belly gun. Snub-nosed revolvers were never meant for target shooting. Their intended role is for last-ditch emergencies at powder burning distances...often with the muzzle in contact with the shootee. They don't need tactical hi-viz sights or the ability to cut one-hole groups at unrealistic distances.

    Remember Bernie Goetz...the "Subway Vigilante?" Not exctly a highly trained gunny, but the stoop-shouldered, 97-pound weakling managed to aquit himself pretty well in close quarters with a J-frame Smith .38 revolver...which he probably never fired until the night that he put it to use, and likely fired one-handed...and he probably never noticed either the recoil or the muzzle blast.
     
  3. skoro

    skoro Member

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    I'd recomend the 9mm. It's abundant, less expensive than others, there are lots of fine pistols chambered for it, it's easy to shot accurately, and it's been proven effective around the world for decades.

    If you're more of a revolver guy, the 38+P is a good choice. And fine 38s can be found ranging from small pocket snubbies to full size service revolvers.

    These two calibers perform very similarly, in my experience. I feel very comfortable with both.
     
  4. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    Maybe I'm a bit more laid back, but my advice is: don't sweat it.

    I will suggest you stay at .380 for an auto, or .327 Federal for a revolver, and larger. From there, bigger can often be better, but just find a gun you're comfortable with and can shoot straight, and load it with your choice of hollowpoints.

    Placement is more important than size, so make sure you can take care of that.
     
  5. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Their intended role is for last-ditch emergencies at powder burning distances...often with the muzzle in contact with the shootee.

    But it's better to engage the opposition at more of a distance rather than right on top of you.
     
  6. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    Great second post.

    Ever try the Search function? :rolleyes:
     
  7. Oro

    Oro Member

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    1911Tuner was describing how the gun was designed to work; not the ideal defensive scenario. This is a non-sequitar comment.

    For self defense, I like something between .38 target loads and .44 magnum full loads. Anything in between is fine for me as long as I like the gun it is in and I can control it in that gun. .38, .357, .44 special, .45 Auto, .44 mag. I own them all and use them.

    However, I restrict my "platforms" of defense/carry guns to only two types - 1910 and later S&W DA revolves and 1911 style autos. That way I know the platform and don't have to think about the controls and manual-of-arms. You don't have to choose those platforms, but choose what you are comfortable with in platform and caliber and live happily with it.
     
  8. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    It'd be nice if we always had that option...like a solid, two-handed grip on the gun when the flag flies. Unfortunately, we don't. Women in particular...women who aren't normally involved in shooting disciplines...are hesitant to "draw down" on a suspicious character until he's within grabbin' distance.
     
  9. DasFriek

    DasFriek Member

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    I find it hard not to recomend a 9mm for several reasons.
    1. It gives less recoil especially in small ccw type pistols.
    2. Its about the cheapest ammo for SD you can buy.
    3. 9mm is generaly the least expensive handguns in most makers lines.
    4. Most anyone feels a 9mm is the smallest they feel comfy about carrying and it still be powerfull enough to do the job right.
    5. Most makers have more 9mm offerings than most other calibers.

    .380 is out of the question imo as a person new to shooting needs practice,its bad enough even finding .380 ammo let alone its stupid high cost now.
    .40 and .45 tend to have some higher recoil all the way to having to much recoil for some people.
    A .40s&w is a choice after 9mm as ammo is higher but not as much as the others,i feel a .40 has a sharper recoil than a .45 but just takes a bit of time to get used too.

    I only own .45acp's myself,but i need a small 9mm so i can shoot cheaper ammo and can afford more practice.BTW you second gun should be a .22 as its super cheap to practice with.
     
  10. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    The 9mm Parabellum has a lot to offer...except in one area. New shooters, especially women with limited hand strength or those who only want a gun for protection and don't plan on actually working with the gun aside from a trip to the range for familiarization...aren't generally comfortable with autopistols. I've found this to apply to about 7 out of 10 women...and 2 out of 10 men who don't plan on doing anything with the gun except loading it and leaving it in a nightstand. Those types prefer revolvers, after being given the opportunity to test-fire both. Simpler. No safeties to manipulate.

    No manual of arms other than swing out the cylinder to load or unload...close to make the gun ready...point and pull the trigger. Nothing to remember to do or fumble in a terrified moment.
     
  11. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    The few constants are "shot placement" and "get what fits your hand best" -- go w/ a caliber you can afford constantly and can put in the trigger time to get proficient and practice practice practice!
     
  12. DasFriek

    DasFriek Member

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    1911Tuner- You do have a valid point on the revolvers,im a semi auto only person so i never even think about them.Also with 0% experiance with revolvers its probley best i dont even try.But .38special id guess would be for a 9mm alternative?

    I took my mom to the range about 2 months ago,shes 65 and on oxygen and uses a walker.But even she could shoot a 92f 9mm she owns without to many issues.It did pose an issue at first with her limp wristing it and that actually hurt her alot more.Once that was fixed she shot well.
    She cant rack the slide of my 1911 or my PT745,but is fine with the 9mm.

    I know some people will buy and shoot it once for familorizing themselves and then carry or put on the night stand,id say thats a big no-no and should practice at least 1x a year.
    Btw i been digging a few revolvers latley as being able to carry some decent calibers in a small package.
    Id take a small .38 special over a .380auto anyday.
     
  13. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

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    The second post was one of the most cogent ever posted on this site.

    Guns are tools. Pick the best one for the job. All tools have limitations. For me:

    Pocket Carry: .380 DPX in an LCP. Certainly not what I would choose for to take on a team armed with assault rifles, but adequate for a pocketgun.

    CCW: 9mm in an XD Subcompact. I think 9mm works very well for the CCW context providing a nice balance between capacity and capability. Some prefer the .38 snub. It will certainly work, but I prefer the capacity of the 9mm.

    Nightstand gun: .45 in XD Tactical. Concealability is not an issue, so can go with .45 ACP and carry 14 rounds in a package which does not have severe recoil.

    Different guns for different jobs.
     
  14. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Before anybody decides they know a lick about revolvers and defense try reading The Snubby Revolver by Ed Lovette, and visit this site and read the blog.

    http://snubtraining.wordpress.com/2008/06/

    You will realize the snub is a gun for the last ditch when there is not other option, when you have been taken by surprise, in a low visibility environment. In other words when you most likely will have to defend yourself. These readings will teach you that in times like these the snub may just be not only an option for defense but the ideal option.
     
  15. skoro

    skoro Member

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    Earl -

    I've read Lovette's book, too. Lotta good info there. And I'd agree that in a point blank encounter, the snub is your best bet. And I have a S&W 642 in my carry rotation.
     
  16. WalkAbout

    WalkAbout Member

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    I think its a personal descion only you can make. I decided to utilize the .40 as my personal self defense round of choice after witnessing the aftermath of a single shot to the chest of a 300+ pound very angry very aggressive man. Shot placement had a good deal to do with it, but still, he was dead before he hit the ground even if his brain didn't know it right away and the threat was stopped immediatly. I went out and bought one the next day. Just make sure whatever you get is a round you're comfortable and accurate with when utilized in the firearm you plan to carry.

    b
     
  17. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    your choice. find what you like best. but I'd make it a .38/9mm or better.
     
  18. Oro

    Oro Member

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    That should be poetry. Get into a rhyme and meter and we can make it gun lore legend.

    I consider myself a "shooter." Many guns over three decades. Reloading for decades. Military academy inductee; also Ivy and graduate degrees. I point this out not to boast, that I think myself a shooter as well as smart guy. In that "terrified moment" I know it's routine and simplicity that will win. Most of the time (not always), I carry a magnum revolver and speed loader as I think that's the simplest way to deal with real terror.

    I can detail strip a 1911 blindfolded with no tools. It's not that I'm uncomfortable with autos. But when I sleep alone at night in bear country, I want a magnum revolver at my side.

    I trust Myself with any auto I own, don't get me wrong. But I also know sometime I might need to trust my partner with the gun. I want her to not have to pick up the auto and fumble with it. She has her own S&W 66 she likes and enjoys. Knowing she can pick up any like revolver and defend us or herself is important to me. I REALLY like revolvers as the ultimate defensive gun.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2009
  19. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    Nothing less than a .464 Casull is acceptable for all-around defense.

    Or you could make your own compromises.
     
  20. cratti

    cratti Member

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    The honest and short answer? Whatever you're most comfortable and proficient with, preferably above 9mm.
     
  21. memphisjim

    memphisjim Member

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    glock 10mm
     
  22. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    There's no real answer to this question. If there was a best caliber and load for self-defense, there would be way fewer rounds on the market right now.
     
  23. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    A snub-nose would be the last gun I would advise a new shooter to buy. They are difficult to learn to shoot well due to their light weight (more recoil) and short sight radius.

    For the life of me, I can't understand why people insist on talking about sight radius and target accuracy in a belly gun. Snub-nosed revolvers were never meant for target shooting.


    I never said they were for target shooting but any handgun with a longer sight radius is easier to shoot whether you're using the sights or point shooting.
     
  24. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    Nine millimeter Luger for autos, .38 Special for revolvers.

    With a 9mm you get:
    Lots of cool guns made for it
    Light recoil in a very compact gun
    You can fit lots of them in a bigger gun
    Adequate "stopping power" for most human attack defense scenarios
    Lower cost of ammo allows & encourages more shooting practice
     
  25. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Given that snub-nosed revolvers and others of that ilk are...by design and intent...defensive tools th be used as a last-ditch at extremely close ranges...and given that, in the greatest majority of situations like that, it will either be too dark to see the sights, or the shooter won't have time to use them...one could do about as well without any sights on the gun at all...so sight radius would mean nothing. Intrinsic accuracy would mean nothing. Even practical accuracy would mean very little.

    As Cooper so eloquently put it:

    "These little guns are designed for a singular purpose, and they're strictly business. They don't need to be very accurate. Across a kitchen table, one does not need to be a virtuoso."
     
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