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S&W model 36 or pocket pistol.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Riccaia, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. Riccaia

    Riccaia Member

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    Hey folks;

    This is my first post on this forum and I sure hope to post this thread in the right place; let me begin by saying that as the title suggest I'm asking for advice on my first ccw. Due to my job, I have to carry a well-covered weapon and, since I mostly wear a suit the choice was pretty simple, either IWB carry or pocket carry. I need to travel a lot and sometimes for extended periods of time so I need a gun that is not only very easy to conceal but also "shootable" enough to have some fun in the local firing ranges. Let me say that even if this is my first "small" handgun it's not my first handgun ever I am in fact owner of a Beretta 92 and I've shot numerous rented handguns both revolvers and semiauto but only in 9mm/38 SPL. or .22 lr and always full-size guns. Now back to my question, While I was browsing looking for the right handgun for the job I've stumbled into two, in particular, a Smith and Wesson model 36 in .38 special from the 80s and a colt mustang pocket lite .380 both used and both in very good conditions, the dilemma starts here, I really like both of them and if the country I live in was actually free I wouldn't hesitate to buy both of them but unfortunately here in Italy, we have a maximum number of firearms that we can own and, buying both of them would mean that I will not be able to purchase any more firearms of that category until I get rid of one of the two so I'm stuck with one or the other. Do you have any experience with these two models in particular? Which is more "pleasant" to shoot? Which would you buy?
     
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  2. magyars4

    magyars4 Member

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    Welcome aboard the High Road!
    I don't have any direct experience with the colt, I believe it is a single action auto like a 1911 and therefore needs to be carried cocked and locked for quick shooting...maybe that isn't important for you....it can always be carried with a full may and no round in the chamber
    The revolver, while not great for pocket carry, is always ready to fire without and levers or buttons.
     
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  3. Col. Harrumph

    Col. Harrumph Member

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    You cannot be sure until you've tried both. Revolvers are easier to operate and pistols like that Colt you're looking at are easier to shoot with.
     
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  4. shoebox1.1

    shoebox1.1 Member

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    Between those two choices the model 36 hands down in my opinion. Better caliber/ more reliable
     
  5. Riccaia

    Riccaia Member

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    I see, honestly, I'm a bit concerned about carrying the colt with one in the chamber, I still lack the experience needed to do it but I usually train 1 or 2 times a week so I can easily fit it in my schedule; unfortunately I can't try them because private selling is quite tough here in Italy so I have to buy one of them and then if I don't like it I can try to resell it. I've tried a couple of revolvers but I have far more experience with the semiauto so I can "imagine" the kick of a.380 but not the one of a snubby (I don't if that makes sense to you) that's why I'm a bit confused over the choice, if I may @magyars4 why do you think the S&W isn't great for pocket carrying?
    Thank you everyone for your time.
     
  6. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    In your country is there any difference in the availability of ammunition? If there is a significant difference in availability of either caliber, I would chose the caliber that is more consistently available.

    I have carried a S&W Model 60, which is the stainless steel version of the Model 36, for 7 years in a pocket holster. It conceals nicely but it can be slow to draw. My wife carries a Model 36 in her purse. I have no experience with the Colt or .380 caliber. I prefer revolvers for their simplicity and reliability.
     
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  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I have the slightly larger Colt Gov't Model .380; a longer butt with one more shot in the magazine, enough longer barrel for a bushing, but still a small gun.
    I do not consider it sufficiently reliable for self defense although it is a good shooter and has placed high in IDPA BUG competition.
    I would not buy a Mustang without test firing and acceptance of chamber loaded carry as safe.

    The Model 36 is almost as reliable as a stone axe and is simple to operate.
    A small double action revolver is a challenge to shoot well.
    The hammer spur affects the way you carry it. A belt holster would be good, an inside the waistband holster might let the spur abrade your shirt and skin. Pocket carry requires that you learn to draw it with your thumb over the hammer to prevent snagging.
    A lot of people have ground off the hammer spur entirely. I have the Model 640 with concealed hammer.

    Me?
    I would keep looking. I consider the Glock 43 to be my best pocket pistol. But does Italy still have the ban on private ownership of "military" calibers?
     
  8. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

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    The model 36 would be my choice.

    Better cartridge, more reliable, and makes a better impression on the old school shooters.
     
  9. Riccaia

    Riccaia Member

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    There are plenty in Italy:'D
     
  10. sarge83

    sarge83 Member

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    The model 36 is a fine piece to carry, you might also consider the model 642 or 637 as well. If you can get a Colt Detective Special you will pick up an extra round as they are 6 shooters. I also suggest you consider the Mika pocket holster for these revolvers, it is the best one I have found. It stays in your pocket and your weapon will slide out easily should you need it.
     
  11. Riccaia

    Riccaia Member

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    Thank you, everyone, for the answers, @J-Bar ammo availability is pretty average for both cartridges, we still have a lot of mil surplus Beretta's in .380 so that balance the thing, maybe the.38 spl is a bit more common but not by a lot, honestly I like the simplicity of a revolver too.
    @Jim Watson, you're probably right about the chamber safe carry issue, is, in fact, the thing that is driving me away from the Colt, about the hammer I can say that it's not particularly concerning for me since, as you correctly say, if I ever experience the hammer snagging during training I would have it grounded by a weaponsmith; I'm quite surprised that you know about that idiotic ban, yes, in fact, "military" cartridges are banned in Italy and we replaced them in a pretty silly way, our 9mm is not a 9mm Luger or Parabellum so 9X19 but it is 9X21, that changes basically nothing but makes finding parts in the USA market for 9mm guns pretty challenging, I have never experienced a small Glock except a 27 in 40 S&W but now that I think about it my local gunshop has a Glock 43X for sale, what do you think about that gun? My fear is that it is a bit on the bigger side due to the butt but I didn't hold it to tell
     
  12. Riccaia

    Riccaia Member

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    @sarge83 thank you for your time, in my area, there aren't a lot of choices when it comes to ccw, very few people in Italy have the licence and it's getting even harder to obtain it (I have it only because I am an entrepreneur and according to an old 80's law I'm a subject under risk of kidnapping for ransom) so the used market is very limited and the vast majority of guns in my area are rifles and shotguns for hunting, I'm mentioning the used market because the prices for guns here are absurd, to give you context a new Glock 19 is about 900$... Thank you for the tip about the holster thou, is really helpful :)
     
  13. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    I'd have no issues carrying the Mustang in a pocket, but not cocked-and locked because I'm left-handed and the safety lever is not ambidextrous.

    The hammer, however, is, so I'd carry it with the hammer at rest on a loaded chamber, and train to thumb-cock it as I drew.

    I'd find the Mustang easier to conceal than the wheelgun, but probably not as much fun at the range. Neither, though, is a gun one buys for extended shooting joy.
     
  14. golden

    golden Member

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    Riccala,

    I would suggest if you want to pocket carry a concealed weapon, you pass on both. I have carried a S&W model 36 in the past and it was fine. I most of the time used a pocket carry using a pocket holster, but have also used a outside the waistband holster on my strong side.

    I also had a COLT .380 Government model and would not consider it or the smaller Mustang for concealed carry. I do not like "cocked and locked" and will not use it for a concealed carry gun.
    I now carry a GLOCK 42 when I want to be low profile. It is lighter and slimmer than the S&W 36, similar in size to the Mustang. It is much easier to shoot than the S&W 36 and holds two more rounds, plus has night sights, a game changer if you have to use it at night.

    Limited to the 2 choices, I would go with the S&W, just for safety reasons. I would not really be happy with either one, but the S&W has a simpler method of operation.

    The negative is that you have fewer rounds of ammo in the gun. RELOADING IS MUCH SLOWER, the sights are worse (you can put night sights on a Mustang) and the Mustang with have less perceived recoil.

    Still, I would choose something else.

    Good luck,

    Jim
     
  15. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Riccaia,
    The Italian caliber restrictions are fairly well known in the USA. There was some use of 9x21 to find a loophole in IPSC competition rules at one time. And a 9mm Steyr or .45 HP Colt is a collector's novelty here.

    The Glock 43X is a good sound pistol. It has a longer butt than a Glock 43 and will be a little harder to conceal, but gives you ten shots.
    The Glock 42 .380 is a good pocket pistol; I have the Glock 43, a friend uses the Glock 42.
     
  16. magyars4

    magyars4 Member

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    A revolver tends to hang up in a pocket ( I'm assuming pants) unless it's an extremely large one...IMHO
     
  17. Reinz

    Reinz Member

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    I carried while at work wearing a suit for 20 years.

    IWB just did not work for my body type. Besides, during hot weather I take off my jacket when outdoors. Thus, pocket carry was best for me.

    A pistol hides better than a revolver in the pocket. During those 20 years no one suspected that I carried a gun.

    I even got pulled over for speeding once and the officer did not believe that I had a 9mm pistol on me (I was standing outside of the car). We sort of had an argument about it. She finally shut up when I said that she could not see it because it was CONCEALED! That’s probably why she did not let me off with a warning. :)
     
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  18. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    I would personally go with the S&W Mdl 36, and have the hammer bobbed. Five shots of "ultimate ease of use" .38 Spl beats 6/7 of "fumbling mumbling with a hammer and safety .380 Automatic".

    On a full sized belt gun, the safety and hammer would be a non-issue; but either a pocket gun ? I'd advise it to be as easy to draw as possible.
     
  19. Armybrat

    Armybrat Member

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    The Model 36 is a fine little revolver for concealed, but the Model 38 is better for pocket carry. Nothing wrong with the Colt for belt carry either.

    6679B2C0-83C5-4306-9C57-3DAD57A828AE.jpeg CA44356E-B32D-4D63-90CA-4A3CC99F942A.jpeg 53E4774C-18AC-4152-BCAF-7D5657B224B7.jpeg
     
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  20. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Riccaia,
    Welcome to The High Road. :)
    Of the 2 handguns you mentioned I would go with the S&W model 36. I trust revolvers more that most semiauto pistols, but you mentioned the Glock 43X. As much as I love revolvers, I have an S&W 36, I personally would take the Glock 43X over the other two for these reasons:
    • Glock reliability
    • 10 round capacity
    • Ease of reload if you need more than 10 rounds.
    • Parts and accessory availability , though I don’t know how easy it is to get Glick parts in Italy. I would imagine it’s easier than finding S&W or Colt parts.
     
  21. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    I carry a Taurus 85 UL IWB at all times under an untucked t-shirt. It's the same size as a S&W 36. 99% of people would never recognize it as a concealed handgun even if it does print the grip if I bend down or twist just right. I much prefer a revolver over a semi auto.
     
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  22. Riccaia

    Riccaia Member

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    Thank you everyone for your answers,

    Yesterday I had the chance of shooting a S&W 36 from a friend at a local range and I have to say that I really liked it, it's not easy to shoot, from the long DA trigger to the 158 grains of the cartridge but it was pleasant even if I would not shoot 200 rounds through it in one session, I really need to check that Glock 43X, I've been busy with work but I'll go see it tomorrow, I'll keep you updated but I think that I'll pass on the little colt.380, I lack both the practice and experience to carry a SA only handgun in condition 1 with the safety on, thank you very much to all of you.
     
  23. Riccaia

    Riccaia Member

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    Would you think it might be possible to pocket carry the Glock 43X? it seems a bit big, and I'm a pretty healthy boy (6,2'' for 209 pounds)
     
  24. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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    I have the G48 same grip size as the 43x but has a longer barrel I think its just to big for a pocket gun
     
  25. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    Have you looked into a 640 Centennial? The concealed hammer and 1-7/8" barrel allows for a quick draw or could even be fired from the pocket. I carry mine in a Bianchi 152 pocket holster.
     
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