Pocketable/extreme concealed carry....small 9mm vs. snubnose 357..

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by saturno_v, Oct 29, 2017.

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  1. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    So far I'm very pleased with my Kel-Tec P-11 (owned for years)....pocketable most of the time. 12+1 capacity, +P capable, it eats everything, accurate enough out to 10 yards.

    I been wondering about getting a snubnose 357 as well for the same purpose so I would love to hear opinions and thoughts about it.

    To be clear, I do not find these small handguns really appealing (not particularly nice to look at it, almost useless as range toys) other than the extreme concealment feature so I'm asking for an opinion entirely on objective pros/cons points.

    Some of my own thoughts on the subject:

    - Price: Snubnose revolvers tend to be more pricey than small semi-auto 9mm or, better said, there are more choices with small semi-autos starting at prices significantly lower with well proven models (Kel-Tec for example).

    - Magazine capacity: Pretty much no context, many small semi-autos win here ....sure if you need more than 5 shots you better run still....

    - Ammo cost: For plinking/practice ammo. the 9mm has the edge

    - Concealment: In my experience it is a wash.

    - Reliability: On paper the revolver has the advantage, my P-11 has been flawless....so far....however there are still more chances of malfunctioning at the wrong time with a semi-auto...

    - Power: On paper the 357 is a more powerful round but what is the real world power advantage of a 357 round coming out of a sub 2" barrel vs. a 9mm +P out of a 3" pipe?? Does it really matter at the very close range handguns like that are used in SD situations anyway?? Can a small revolver like that, especially with aluminium or polymer frame, eat full power 357 rounds or you have to use the watered down loads?? I would love to hear from someone that has done some tests or had experience with both.

    Am I missing something?? There is really any practical reason to consider a small 357 revolver to replace or complement my P-11 for pocket duty?? They aren't cheap....
     
  2. entropy

    entropy Member

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    They don't malfunction, you can shoot through a pocket or such (hammerless/shrouded), no safety to have to release or do so in your pocket, and I really recommend a .38 (or even .327 Fed. Mag.) in something so small.
     
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  3. SteadyD

    SteadyD Member

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    I echo the thoughts of going with 38 or 327. 357 from a pocketable snub nose revolver generates a lot of recoil. There are several+p 38 special rounds that reliably expand and give adequate penetration from a snub nose barrel.
     
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  4. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    saturno_v

    A shrouded/hammerless revolver does have certain advantages if pocket carried and the DA trigger does eliminate the need for a safety. Have to agree with entropy with the .38 Special recommendation in something like a J frame size revolver. I like the S&W Model 638 in this application.

    Reloads are faster with the semi-auto. My own choice in a pocketable /extreme concealed carry pistol is a Kahr CM9. And the DAO trigger (it's a good one), means no external safety is required.

    TyNf0Dv.jpg

    8vX25iP.jpg
     
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  5. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    Is not a matter of being faster per se (with clips a revolver can be pretty fast to reload) but the magazines of a semi-autos are more practical and easier to carry/conceal.

    My P-11 is DAO as well with no external safety...ready to rock.
     
  6. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Lucky gunner recently did some ballistics tests that answer some of your questions.

    Their webpages seems to be a little wonky right now but they have good info. on loads for .38 Special and .357 magnum revolvers in both 2" and 4" barrels.
     
  7. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    Another option is to get a 9mm revolver

    For pocket carry I think a revolver is much less susceptible to pocket lint. I'm not saying you can let lint build up in them forever, but I do think they have less of a chance of being disabled by lint than a semi-auto.

    In my opinion, the revolver also generally stays more functional in the most common extreme close combat situations. If an assailant is on top of you, you may only get one shot off with a semi-auto because your body or an arm or something keeps the slide from coming back into battery, you can continue to fire the revolver unless something is really applying pressure on the cylinder or hammer. I don't know - this may be one of those areas where there are trade offs too
     
  8. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    Greybeard, (who is a member here) published some chronograph results of the 9mm LCR versus the LCP at the Texas CHL forum. The LCR sometimes produces slightly higher velocities than the 3" barreled LC9

    Speer Gold Dot 124 grain "short barrel": 1,142 fps out of LCR vs 1122 out of LC9
    Federal (alum case) 115 grain FMJ: 984 out of 2" revolver and 1,029 out of 3" semi
    * Monarch 124 grain FMJ: 1,068 out of 2" revolver and 1,015 out of 3" semi
    ** Federal 124 grain HST: 1,047 out of revolver and 1,064 out of semi
    Remington UMC 115 grain: 1,050 out of 2" revolver and 1,038 out of 3" semi.

    * Very inconsistent 5 shot strings. High/low out of revolver: 1,289/998 High/low out of semi: 1289/938
    ** Most consistent 3 shot strings. High/low out of revolver: 1,071/1024 High/low out of semi: 1070/1059.

    http://www.texaschlforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=76265

    I think shooting the 124gr +P HST out of the LCR would give velocities similar to the standard 124gr HST out of a 3" barrel. The 124gr HST seem to do well when they're going over 1075 fps.
     
  9. SteadyD

    SteadyD Member

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    I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but the LCR 327 should definitely be considered. If more of you would hurry up and get one maybe the ammo costs would come down!
     
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  10. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    You have more rounds and a flatter profile with the auto, not to mention recoil management, accuracy, and less punishment to your eardrums if you need to use it. If the magnum calibers are such a necessity for defense- why are they almost totally obsolete in military and LE circles? Remember- we are talking about people in uniform who have no need to conceal their duty weapons.
     
  11. Mike J

    Mike J Member

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    I had a P-11. It was too large to work for a pocket gun for me. It was okay though. I did finally did pick up a pocket gun not too long ago. I don't have a ton of rounds through it but the only thing resembling a malfunction that has happened is the slide not returning to battery. That happened because some bozo (me) was pushing up on the slide stop with his thumb. The advantage of the auto in my mind would be faster reloads. The advantage of the revolver might be less chance of an operator induced malfunction. I need to get back out with the CM 9 & practice some more.
     
  12. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    I did the opposite my first range trip with my CM9. Slide didn't lock back on the last round because I was pressing down on the slide stop with my thumb.
     
  13. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    I don't know why you would say that the small revolvers are almost useless as range toys. I shoot my SP101 and my model 638 out to 40 yards,pick off cans and bottles with them and generally do the same stuff with them at the range that I do with all my other handguns.
     
  14. JONWILL

    JONWILL Member

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    IMHO pass on 357 loads in a short barrel revolver. Lots of muzzle blast and brutal recoil. The Ruger SP101 helps but it is heavy.
    The recommendation of the 327 is good. Gives you an extra round in the same size gun
    Not wild about moon clips for the 9mm Hard or carry extra ammo
     
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  15. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    There are videos of a single attacker requiring multiple hits to stop and there is no guarantee of well placed shots or % of shots/hits under stress.
    I wouldn't dismiss capacity, better to have and not need than need and not have.

    Power / performance...
    I'm attempting to select comparable ammo that is readily available "apples to apples":
    https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/revolver-ballistics-test/
    2'' barrel - 357 Mag Golden Saber 125 gr. 18.7'' / .62 (333# KE)
    2'' barrel - 357 Mag Winchester PDX 125 gr. 13.9'' / .63 (336# KE)
    https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/
    9mm Golden Saber 124 +P 18.2'' / .66 (377# KE)
    9mm Winchester PDX1 124 +P 19.6'' / .52 (359# KE)

    IMO pocket 9mm > pocket snub
     
  16. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    For me, small 9mm's still aren't small enough for pocket carry which is why I have a j-frame revolver.

    If I have to pocket carry it's my .38 sp 442 (I have no desire to shoot .357's out of such a small gun, recoil is noticeable enough out of my SP101). But if I carry IWB I jump up to a single stack 9mm, IMO the capacity outweighs any benefits of a revolver when the gun's on my hip.
     
  17. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Good luck trying to decide.

    20170119_210915.jpg 20170119_210756.jpg 20170119_211119.jpg 20170119_210934.jpg

    I have a comparison of my sp101 and my compact 1911. It's a .45acp, but very similar in size to many 9mm pistols.

    I found the auto suited my needs, despite my fondness to revolvers.

    The auto is:
    Thinner, longer sight radius, easier to reload, easier to carry spare ammo, higher capacity, nearly the same size as the revolver, better sights.

    For a ccw the auto gets my vote, but to each his own reasons are more important.
     
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  18. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    The P-11 can be a bit bulkier indeed for pocket carry but have you ever tried the single stack mini 9mm?? They are as easily pocketable as a small revolver in my opinion....
     
  19. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    > 350 of KE out of a small 3" barrel auto?? Really?? That is impressive......or was the test done with a full size 9mm pistol?
     
  20. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    Not sure which ones you mean. I have a SIG P938 which is too large for pocket carry. I've also played with and shot an LC9 and Kahr CM9 and found both of those too large. On paper they don't seem any larger than a snub revolver, but I notice a huge difference in real life. The only semi's I'd consider are the small .380's like my LCP.
     
  21. Mike J

    Mike J Member

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    That may have been what happened. To be honest I was trying to remember which way it happened. What I learned was to keep my thumb away from the slide stop.
     
  22. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    According to the link the test gun was a M&P9c so a 3.5" barrel.

    The biggest reason I have both is my 38 special LCR is under a pound loaded and works even in gym shorts , my LC9 is enough heavier to pull them down a little and it bangs against my knee cap.
     
  23. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    I carried a 4" barrel .357 with full house loads in the SO for a good number of years. The very idea of a snub nose .357 is ....well....ummm....distressing.
     
  24. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    Their testing was with a 3.5'' barrel, so not really pocket material; however, I have data of my own.
    5 shot averages over my chrono
    Kahr PM9
    Winchester Ranger T 124 +P @ 1,139 fps / 357# KE
    Corbon 115 +P JHP @ 1,264 fps / 408# KE (What I carry in it, my average a little faster than in test)
    In Lucky Gunner test 115 Corbon penetrated average 13.6'' / .56 expansion
    Kahr PM40
    180 gr. Speer Gold Dot @ 950 fps / 361# KE
    155 gr. Federal Bonded @ 1,086 fps / 406# KE (What I carry in it, my average a little faster than test)
    In the Lucky Gunner test 155 Bonded penetrated average 11.9'' / .68 expansion


    Kahr PM40 in my pocket gives me a "hard hitting" 2nd option to larger pistol IWB.
     
  25. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    I believe a single stack 9mm are easier to hide in a pocket compared to a revolver. That is mostly because the cylinder is much wider on a revolver unless you are carrying something very small like a .22LR or 22WMR revolver. Also keep in mind that it is generally advisable to have at least one reload on hand. For either a revolver or semi-auto. And a spare magazine is typically easier and flatter for carry than a speed loader for a revolver.
     
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