Which subcompact do you shoot better: revolver vs. auto?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Smaug, Sep 1, 2022.


Which do you tend to shoot better?

  1. Autos

  2. Revolvers

  3. About the same

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    I find I'm more accurate with semi-autos in general, especially with SAO .380s like the Colt Mustang and SIG P238, than I am with S&W J frame snubbies, like the S&W Model 649 and 638. Also have decent results with a Kahr DAO CM9 versus my wheelguns. I recently picked up a SIG P365 and while I haven't had a chance yet to put it through it's paces, I feel it too will shoot better than my revolvers.
    Targa and wcwhitey like this.
  2. bassjam

    bassjam Member

    Sep 9, 2014
    It depends on the individual gun for me. Here's a ranking of the subcompacts I've owned and how well I shot them from most accurate to least:

    SIG P938 - Honestly this is like a laser and I shoot it almost as well as full sized 9mm's
    Taurus 942 3" - A 3" is more of a compact IMO but this shoots as well as my .22 revolvers with 6" barrels, even in double action
    Kimber k6s DAO 3" - I guess a 3" barrel puts this more in the "compact" size but I shoot this one very well; it is my EDC so I practice with it the most.
    LCP gen 1 - I can reliably ping a 5" gong 6/7 shots at 17 yards if I go really slow. I've had 2 of these and am ranking the 2nd one here, the first is at the bottom of the list.
    S&W 337 - For being a lightweight titanium gun I could always shoot this great in double or single action. DA trigger was excellent
    Kahr MK9 - Decent accuracy, nothing to brag about but it did the job
    S&W 442 - also decent accuracy.
    Ruger SP101 2.25" - I never really could shoot this well in either single or double action, plus it pointed high for me like Glocks do.
    NAA .22lr - OK, more of a novelty gun but with the 1-1/8" barrel if I take my time it's not as bad as you'd think.
    LCP gen 1 - My first I bought in 2010. I could barely hit an 8.5x11 sheet of paper with this one at 5 yards. Horrid accuracy, almost a belly gun.
    qwert65 likes this.
  3. derek45

    derek45 Member

    Jun 21, 2007
    The one you practice the most with


    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

    Jun 6, 2011
    It's a toss up for me if we're talking 7 yards between my p938 and my sp101 but honestly I feel more comfortable with the Ruger
  5. PzGren

    PzGren Member

    Jun 28, 2003
    My SIG Sauer P365 with the large tritium front sight dot gives me an excellent sight picture in bright and low light conditions and a 10 round two inch rapid fire group at ten yards is easy to achieve and the Bill Drill at 7 yards is done within the two seconds. My old S&W Bodyguard can do the same with good lighting, more careful aiming and one reload. I haven't tried the Bill Drill with it and think I would only be disappointed with the results.
  6. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

    Mar 10, 2010
    I have a early production M640-38Spl. (Marked: TESTED For +P+) It is my understanding that there was no industrial standard for +P+ at that time and later production eliminated the marking. The first three letter marking of the serial number (CEN). I would also say that my EDC is a Shield 9X19mm and the M640 is a backup to the Shield.
  7. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

    Jan 19, 2010
    Galveston Bay is an Hour Away ©
    "Which subcompact do you shoot better: revolver vs. auto?"

    Since my subcompact autoloaders have double action type triggers, I shoot those autoloaders about the same as my short barreled double action revolvers.
    mokin likes this.
  8. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

    Nov 20, 2017
    McKinney, TX
    I've had a number of smaller autos, and a single J-frame.... and, honestly, I can't shoot any of them well in quick, defensive shooting. Sure, they are all great on the target range, but once you transition to draw and shoot drills... it's over for me. Having a bigger grip to get hold of, present, and shoot makes all the difference. Just before I sold my J-frame, I got a set of knock-off grips for it that really helped draw and presentation a LOT... but the die was already cast, and I sold it anyway.

    Transitioning to semi-autos... primarily Kahr 9mm's... I also found issues with draw and presentation with the smaller CM9 pistol. As soon as I bumped up to the 1 round larger CW9, where I could get my hand on the grip... things improved greatly. I have since started carrying the CW9 more, unless concealment is an issue... and where the CM9 excels. Sure, I have pinky hooks and extended magazines for my CM/PM9's, but then you are right back to the grip size of the CW9, so I might as well carry that. Just my .02 worth.
    qwert65 likes this.
  9. Smaug

    Smaug Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    SE Wisconsin
    Pat, I think a lot of folks tell themselves they "need" more powerful ammo than they actually do. For example, I think a lot of folks' thoughts evolove along this line over the years:

    1. they want 357, because if you're going to "settle for" a revolver and its lower capacity and slower reloads, one might as well have more powerful round for better expansion and penetration.
    2. Then, we shoot it and it is dramatic. Big concussion and flash. We get used to it in a bigger revolver, and it's not bad, but never pleasant.
    3. then we decide to get a small CC revolver. Whoa, it's a whole different ballgame now; "With 357 ammo in a snubby, I'm realistically only going to get one shot, because of the blinding flash and recoil."
    4. Then, we have to weigh whether it is better to have a few shots of 38 or one shot of 357. (or multiple shots, but after the first, they're all blind!)
    5. Then, we start thinking: "Maybe I could get by with 38 +P..." We look at ballistic gelatin tests, FBI required power levels, etc. 38 +P is about the same power level as standard pressure 9 mm, but can shoot heavier bullets, if we want.
    6. Then, we realize we're (mostly) not cops or FBI agents, who are going out looking for and chasing criminals, sometimes seeking drug-addled super strong guys who feel no pain. We are regular guys who are just a bit more prepared for trouble than the regular sheep. Much/most of the time, just HAVING a gun is going to disarm the situation.
    7. Next, we realize that regular old 38 Special 158 gr. LRN has planted a LOT of perps over the years, and it can be shot at close ranges with a simple "J-snub". Or, with modern ammo, a 32 Mag can have six shots with even less recoil in a cylinder that would normally hold only five 38s.
    All of this is kind of points to something like an SP-101. When I bought mine, I considered it a magnumized J-snub. It's just heavier-duty enough to be able to shoot 357 with some semblance of control, if I decide I want to. (esp. with my 3" barreled version) But even with its extra inch and a bit of heavy barrel and heavy steel frame, 357 is a handful. I consider myself matured enough that I realized I will never need more than 38 +P, and regular 38 with flat-nosed bullets would also do the job. S&W and others are making super light 357 snubbies, but I don't want any part of that. Even shooting +P out of my little LCR is quite stout. I'd be lucky to hold onto a gun in that class with a full-house 357 load.

    Probably a lot more important is training. Shooting regularly and maybe even some tactical-type training, situational training, awareness training; that sort of thing. Better to be well-trained and carrying 38s out of a snubby than clueless with a full size 357.
    qwert65, mokin and jar like this.
  10. LeftyRed

    LeftyRed Member

    Feb 11, 2013
    WCH OH
    My G26 or XDSC outshoots everything else, when they are in my hands. I shoot both like their bigger siblings. My AW j frames are just too hard on my nerve damaged hands.
  11. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

    Feb 15, 2012
    New Braunfels, TX

    If you really want a G20, get one and shoot .40 S&W rounds through it. Or download the 10MM to .40 power.

    Shooting .40 through a 10MM has worked well by every account I can find and from personal experience.

    Another option…buy a G22 Gen 5. Glock added mass to the slide and a better recoil spring and by all accounts I have seen, it shoots much like a 9MM. Looking to add one to my safe soon.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2022
  12. mokin

    mokin Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    Western Colorado
    I feel like I'm in a similar situation although because of the difference in grip shape and size I have to put my finger on the trigger differently. It seems like I need a little less finger on my autos and a little more on the revolvers. Inside seven yards it's hard to tell a difference, but by 25 yards there is an obvious difference where the groups print if I'm not paying attention.
  13. I6turbo

    I6turbo Member

    May 3, 2012
    The only small revolver I have is an LCR .38 Special. It has a very nice D/A trigger, smooth and not heavy, but I really think something is wrong with it because it literally will barely keep 5 rounds within the size of a dinner plate at 7-10 yards. I wouldn't still own the gun except that I figured it's more trouble to sell it than it's worth.

    All of my other revolvers shoot very well, probably a little better than all but the best semi-automatics, and perhaps tied with the best semi-automatics (I have a few very accurate semi-automatics). So, to answer Smaug's original question I believe I'd have to have a shoot-out.

    The smallest semi-autos I have are the CZ P-01 and PCR (definitely not sub-compacts). Here are the results of a magazine fired at 11 yards with the P-01. The LCR wouldn't shoot 14 rounds this tight if I put a thousand rounds through it trying. Even with a single bulls eye in the center of the target there would be targets where all of the rounds wouldn't even be on the paper at 10 yards with the LCR.

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