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Recommendations for a noob

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

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  1. papaholmz

    papaholmz Member

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    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.

    -papaholmz
     
  2. FLRon

    FLRon Member

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    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.

    442
    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...d=10001&productId=14760&langId=-1&isFirearm=Y

    642
    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...d=10001&productId=14793&langId=-1&isFirearm=Y
     
  3. Loomis

    Loomis member

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  4. Gunner4h1r3

    Gunner4h1r3 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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. RustyShackelford

    RustyShackelford member

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    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.

    Rusty
     
  9. Rmac58

    Rmac58 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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

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    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.

    -papaholmz
     
  13. papaholmz

    papaholmz Member

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

    -papaholmz
     
  14. calaverasslim

    calaverasslim Member

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    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 Member

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    +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 Member

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    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.

    SW442WoodGrips3.jpg
     
  17. ErikS

    ErikS Member

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    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 Member

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    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!

    Stainz
     
  19. indiandave

    indiandave Member

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    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

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    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.
     
  21. Loomis

    Loomis member

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    The 642 has no hammer. The 638 is a compromize, or half way between the 642 and the 442. It has a hammer, but it is almost completely covered up. You can't see it in the pictures.

    For 38 special, you don't need the 3" bbl. For 357mag, a little extra bbl is necessary to make proper use of the magnum's additional power. The only thing you really need to watch out for is make sure you don't get one of the super lightweight ones that have a sleeved barrel. You want a solid steel barrel. Aluminum alloy frame is fine though.

    442, 642, or 638. Those are the best choices. Which one will come down to personal preference. The 442 is generally referred to as a "chief" or "cheif's special". The 642 is generally called a "centenial" and also an "DAO hammerless". The 638 is usually referred to as a "bodyguard" or a "shrowded hammer".

    Taurus makes copies of the 442 and the 638. The 638 copy is called a "protector". I don't know what they call their copy of the 442. And I don't know if they even make a copy of the 642 at all. Taurus is more affordable. Your laser grip options may be fewer with a taurus though.

    You definitely need to get laser grips with a J frame snubby. I personally don't care for the one's that come with S&W revolvers. I like lasermax much better. Crimson trace grips have the laser below the cylinder and it is easy to block it with your trigger finger when you have your finger along side the trigger guard like you are supposed to do. Lasermax has the laser above the cylinder, near the sights. That's much better. The downside, though, is that you could theoretically damage the laser if you dropped your gun on a hard surface.

    Just my opinions
     
  22. springmom

    springmom Member

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    Please consider carefully the advice people have given regarding not getting a snubbie as your first gun. A snubbie works better for someone who's shot pistols and learned the basics on an easier gun, and even then, as someone said, it will kick your behind for awhile. They are difficult to shoot accurately at any distance.

    There are other issues to consider if you are determined to get a snubbie. There are different weights: titanium frame snubbies, airweights (aluminum frame, I believe, lighter weight than steel, a bit more heft than the titanium), steel frames. And there are differences in size that aren't obvious from the designation of barrel length. My little m37 is a J-frame....the smallest revolver S&W makes. My m66-3 is a snubbie too, but it's a K-frame, next size up, more similar to the Ruger SP101. It's a LOT heavier and bulkier and harder to conceal. On the other hand, I can shoot .38+P's (hotter loaded, more speed on the bullet, more kick when you shoot it) out of it all day long without the recoil bothering me, and I have arthritis pretty badly in my hands.

    I will also point out that the 66-3 is easier to shoot well, because the barrel doesn't rise so much from the recoil, which means it's easier to reaquire your target and shoot a second round. Additionally, because the recoil is SOOOO much less an issue (certainly with .38's) you're less likely to develop a flinch, which causes the gun to jerk to one side because you're anticipating whatever bite you feel from recoil.

    The best advice you got was, start with a .22....revolver or semiauto, doesn't matter. Get your basics down with a gun that has no recoil and is cheap to shoot. Then, if possible, find a range that rents guns (or a friend who will take you to the range with his guns) and try as many as you can. Since ammo is expensive, this is a bit of a pricey exercise, but it is worth it. Don't go in with your mind already made up; you may fall in love with a CZ compact semiauto, or a 1911, or an XD or a Glock. Never know until you try them. Sort of like buying a car....best to test drive a few different types before you buy.

    Happy shooting, and welcome to THR!!!

    Springmom
     
  23. Loomis

    Loomis member

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    Titanium is much heavier than aluminum. It is roughly half way between steel and aluminum in terms of both strength and density. Taurus makes some snubbies in 100% titanium. S&W only uses titanium for cylinders. Aluminum is the lightest, but it isn't strong enough for use on 357mag revolvers. For lightweight 357, S&W uses scandium frames. I don't care for the scandium frames because they have scandium barrels with stainless inserts. THese "sleeved" barrels are not as accurate shooters as the solid steel barrels.

    I just came back from the shooting range and I happened to rent a S&W 642. That thing totally sucked. If that is the quality of a typical S&W nowdays, I would no longer reccommend them to people. The trigger was absolutly horrible. I don't think I've ever shot anything with a worse trigger. It could be that this is just a beater that the range rents out. I don't know.

    I don't agree with some of the opinions here that a snubbie is too hard to shoot. It's the weight of the gun, not the barrel length that makes it uncomfortable. Adding a 3" bbl to a snubbie, all else remaining equal, isn't going to amount to a hill of beans in terms of controllability. If you are concerned about recoil, just get an all-steel snubbie. It may be that the only all steel snubbie still being made by S&W is the 649. It's a 357, but you can shoot 38 in it.

    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...selected=tech&isFirearm=Y&parent_category_rn=
     
  24. c1ogden

    c1ogden Member

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    I would go with a Smith and Wesson Model 60 in .38 Special with a 3 inch barrel. That is a J-frame (small) gun and it holds 5 rounds.

    The .38 Special is more than adequate for your needs and the 3 inch barrel has two features in its favor over the 2 inch model - The extra barrel length makes it easier to shoot accurately and it also comes with adjustable sights.

    As the others have said here, the key locks are "just something else to break" and should be avoided if at all possible.
     
  25. Photoman

    Photoman Member

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    1. Smith and Wesson 642 with factory grips. $425

    2. Send to Smith and Wesson for a Master Revolver Action Package. $158

    3. Two HKS 36A speedloaders. $20

    4. Mika pocket holster. $25

    5. Federal Gold Match 148gr. wadcutters for primary ammo. $35

    6. Winchester 110gr Silvertip (non+P) for speedloaders. $35

    I recommend the 148gr ammo as it is very soft shooting in the lightweight 642 and the 110gr ammo in the speedloaders as the round nose assists in quick reloading. If you can handle the 110gr ammo well, just use it for primary and reloads. If you find the recoil of the 642 doesn't bother you, use Speer 135gr Gold Dot ammo.
     
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