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Why no small viable DA revolver?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Onward Allusion, Apr 21, 2014.

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  1. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    Read a couple of reviews on the Taurus View in the past few days. For those who are not aware, the view is a super light (9 oz empty and ~13 oz - 14 oz loaded) and small 5-shot 38 Special 1.4" barreled snub with a gimmicky see-thru Lexan (Polycarbonate) side plate and a stub of a grip. By all accounts, recoil is "very snappy" by almost all reviewers and "actually hurts" by a few (guys).

    The View is probably the smallest & lightest modern production revolvers aside from the NAA's. The Airlite J-Frames are a close second, at 11 oz empty and ~ 15oz loaded. Then there were the S&W I-Frames and Rossi Lady Rossis, but neither is in current production.

    There's got to be demand out there for a smaller alternative to the J-Frames and the gimmicky and painful View. Perhaps a 5-Shot chambered for 32 S&W/L or 32 ACP? Light recoil, simple to operate, and dependable. Perfect for those with weaker hands or sensitivity to recoil and follow-up shots are a breeze.

    The reason I bring this up is that I bought a H&R Victor in 32 S&W a few weeks ago. Took it out to the range yesterday (dead as a doorknob due to Easter) and ran a couple of cylinders through it. Soft shooting, accurate for what it was meant for and above all, it is SMALL and LIGHT. Something like that could fit in the palm of a small size hand. Empty it weighs 9.2 oz. Fully loaded - 10.7 oz. That's the about the weight of an S&W Airlite empty but this H&R is smaller. About a good 1/3 smaller! I've attached a pic.

    I know there's got to be a market for a small 32 S&W or 32 S&W Long in these days of conceal carry, otherwise, people would not be carrying NAA's in 22LR & 22 Mags or semi's in 25 ACP & 32 ACP. By the postings and articles I've read, there are quite a few folks who carry these calibers.

    So, the question - Why did the manufacturers move away from these little revolvers? With modern steel and swing out cylinders, I think a double-action tiny revolver in 32 (32 SW, 32 SWL, or even 32 ACP) would be more than viable.
     

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  2. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    I'd say lack of potency of the cartridge has moved many revolver folks towards 38 special as a minimum. That means j frame or bigger. Also, many people who carry have a difficult time with the small size of j frame sized grips, and end up putting larger grips on. To be honest, I think you are an exception. That gun would be very small for a lot of people's hands.

    Personally, in an age of drug fueled criminals, I want something more potent. That's JMO so feel how you like about it. I carry a minimum of 38 special+p in a revolver because I just don't want to lug a 44 special around, or .45 acp in a semi. I'm sure there would be a bit of a market for what you suggest, but it would probably be limited. I'm sure others will have different opinions.

    I do actually think there are quite a few people who carry 32 H&R magnum revolvers, and some carry 327 fed, but the 32 S&W and longs are kind of poor choices I think.

    BUT! It is still certainly a deadly weapon with good shot placement, so if your happy, carry on brother......
     
  3. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I guess that's the real question. Is there?

    How many folks MUST have a revolver, but can't deal with the size of a J-frame? Let's face it, they're already almost too small to hold. The "View" is practically like wielding a disembodied big toe! Smaller? Ok...sure...I guess. Folks are easily convinced they need all sorts of things, so maybe there is a market, but none for me, thanks.

    How many folks are willing to drop down to some level of power markedly reduced below that of .38 Spc?

    I could see a dedicated 9mm wheelgun with shortened frame and cylinder, or just go with Taurus's M380:
    [​IMG]

    But neither of those would be an improvement to the most noticeable dimension -- the cylinder width.
     
  4. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    LOL!!!!!!! That is one of the best comparisons I've ever heard! Seriously have to to the bathroom now!
     
  5. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Taurus has a 380 revolver now that is quite small as well as that see through thing. Seems to be the same issues as with baby autos. Nothing wrong with them in actuality but they get the girly/wimpy/weakling stigma similar to 25acp and 32acp. They can go TINY. A naa guardian could take a 4 shot 25acp if they would do it, but due to the attached stigma the manufacturers look at them as a waste of resources. By a large margin the world has shifted to DAO autos for carry so the market is tiny, so to produce such a revolver we likely would see a 5-800 pricetag where we could buy multiple autos which are arguably better. I would love to see it though, or even a comeback of 38sw (380 rimmed) but resources are financially better used elsewhere. This coming from a guy planning to build a long barrel 25acp and who carries a 32 SWL
     
  6. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    It flashed into my mind the first time I picked one up.

    I asked the Taurus rep if they'd made him fire it. He said, "Not yet. :uhoh:"
     
  7. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    I suspect it's painful.

    I got rid of my 642 because I found the recoil unpleasant from the defense load I wanted to carry in it. I thought about putting a bigger grip on it, but that defeted the point of a small gun. I realized my hands were just not made for a j frame or smaller gun so why fight it, cuz I'm a large guy. My hands aren't going to shrink any. I picked up an XDs in.45 and never looked back. Even with a much sharper recoiling cartridge, it is more comfortable for me to shoot because it fits my hand proprerly. I get a more powerful cratridge, and 6 shots rather than 5. If I want to carry a revolver, I stick with my SP101 with a full sized grip. That has become more of an open carry gun for me though. The XDs carries better. BUT, back to the small revolver talk.
     
  8. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    the I frame S&Ws went out long ago.... they were passed by for bigger better cartridges. if people kept buying them they'd still be made... but profit is what drives the manufacturing market, not what a very few would like for themselves...

    the .32S&W long hand ejectors came with a 3" bbl and were noticeably smaller than the J frames. people preferred 5 rounds of J frame .38spl over 6 rounds of I frame .32Long. it is just that simple...
     
  9. Derry 1946

    Derry 1946 Member

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    Maybe I missed a post here. What niche is the putative gun supposed to fill that the 642 and/or the DS fail to fill? 642 is light and corrosion resistant, and somewhat snappy. DS is heavier, about equally concealable (IMO) and shoots 6 versus 5.
     
  10. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    Point?

    Perfect backup piece that's pretty much 100% reliable or like I'd said - good for those who don't have the hand strength to rack a slide or handle recoil effectively. It beats the crap out of a NAA Mini as a backup piece.

    I carry an Airlite 22LR or P11 on strong side with the H&R Victor in the front left pocket when I am not at the office. At the office I carry a LCP in the back pocket and a NAA 1 1/8 in the front.
     
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    SO a sub-back-up, back-up? Parsing a niche just a sliver more finely? Yeah, if enough folks decide they want such a thing, it will be made available.

    I've not heard that the world has beaten a path to Taurus' door to buy that M380, though, and that's darned close to what you're talking about. If that isn't it, and the "View" isn't it, and the .32Mag/.327 didn't become it either?

    Maybe it just isn't worth doing? Taurus is trying, nobody seems to be rewarding their efforts with sales...
     
  12. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Some had different length barrels. I have a 3rd model Hand Ejector in 32 S&W long that has a 6" barrel. I'm pretty sure there were a lot of 4" guns too.

    [​IMG]

    This is a 6 shooter. It looks large due to the barrel length, but if I hold it in my hand, the grip is barely visible, and my pincky wraps around the bottom. The frame size is very small, and I'd need a MUCH larger grip to make it any sort of a good defense gun. Again, it defeats the point of a small gun. I wear XL gloves, so I'm probably a tad over the average, but I think most people would find this gun inpractical. There is a reason the I frames were discontinued.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  13. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    I sincerely hope all gun manufacturers NOT make a handgun intended for S.D. In 32 S&W and 32 Long.

    O.A., if you would test fire these mouse cartridges you are fond of your view would change in a hurry. I once shot a couple of Remington factory 32 Longs from a old revolver with a 3" barrel into a 3/4" pine board. Both bullets completely penetrated the board. One bullet bounced off the 2x4 behind it and was in such perfect shape in could be reloaded. The other bullet made a dent in the 2x4 about 1/8 - 1/4" deep and the nose of the bullet was slightly bent.

    To be frank self-defense requires a commitment to proven tools and tactics. Peppermace and stun devices are proven to be be effective and would be a far better choice than what you are proposing.

    However if you are truly committed to the 32 there are plenty of S&W top break revolvers in very good condition that meet your criteria.
     
  14. hartcreek

    hartcreek member

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    My great nephew is six. He shoots a H&R 32 Magnum that I keep at the cabin by himself. How much of a firearms market do you really think that there is for a firearm that can be accurately shot by a six year old that weighs forty pounds?
     
  15. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Yeah, this thing is going to hurt with hot ammo and that tiny little grip.

    Figure around 15 ft/lbs maybe? Ouch.
     
  16. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I really don't think my 17 ounce unloaded M85 Ultralite is that hard to carry and it's +P rated. Mine is accurate and has many thousands of rounds through it. I bought it in 1996. The View has titanium in it and isn't +P rated. One could likely improve it with a boot grip or something, but I'll pass. It's pricey and really offers me nothing my current ultralite doesn't offer better except for a few ounces that don't really bother me.

    Before I'd go for a .32 S&W, heck, I'll carry my .22 mag NAA Black Widow with Hornady Critical Defense loads. It's a cannon by comparison...or at least AS potent. Energies are on the order of 100 ft lbs and it's amazingly accurate, one HECK of a muzzle blast. It has a folding grip on it, but even with that, it's quite light, 10 ounce range.
     
  17. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    BSA1 - Yes, I know what these mouse cartridges are capable of. I grew up in Chicago and spent a number of my adult years there. I know a thing or two about highly concealable handguns if you know what I mean. ;) People use 22LR for SD all the time and are usually successful against the BG. I think something a few steps up and in DA would not be a bad thing for grandma who can't rack a slide or handle recoil. Would you really take pepper spray over a 5 shot revolver chambered in 32 S&W? I would not.

    Are you saying that you would not be comfortable in having a revolver chambered in H&R 32 Mag to be used for SD??? 200 to 300 ft lbs is not enough, eh? Yet like I keep on saying - people use 22LR, 25 ACP, 32 ACP, & 380 for SD. BTW, the 380 throws around 200 - 225 ft lb. Not quite 300 with the +P rounds. H&R 32 Mag Buffalo Bore gets mid-to-hi 300's. Just the facts... :rolleyes:

    Yes. About the same energy for 32 S&W & 22 Mag from those kinds of barrel lengths. However, you're talking DA -vs- SA for SD. I would rather have DA. Yes, one heck of a muzzle blast with 22 Mag - which will blind you in darken settings.


    Gentlemen - I'm not advocating that all y'all trade in your S&W 500's, 10mm's, or even 357's for guns chambered in 32 S&W. All I am saying is that I would like to see more options in mouse guns. Guns that can be hidden almost anywhere on the person. Something more substantial than a 22LR or 25 ACP. Something more reliable than semi's chambered in 22LR, 25 ACP, or 32 ACP. Something that can allow those lacking physical strength to rack a slide to defend themselves without resorting to a 22LR.

    It cracks me up that the mention of an uncommon round to be used for SD strikes such a nerve. :confused:
     
  18. Nick Burkhardt

    Nick Burkhardt Member

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    What Ruger LCR .38 with a boot grip not small and light enough for you?
     
  19. scotjute

    scotjute Member

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    Charter Arms makes 5 shot revolvers in .32 H&R Magnum. They will weigh between 12-16 oz.
     
  20. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Well to be fair man, you originally asked....

    And I think a concise answer is that guns in the size you are talking about are easy to conceal, as you said. However, they are difficult for many people to shoot due to their small grips/size and recoil impulse. Sooooo, the market demand is not high enough for the major manufacturers to warrant spending the money to make them. On top of that, most people consider the pocket autos, LCR, and JFrame sized guns to be small enough, and they come in a more effective cartridge chamberings.

    So, if
    Then I guess we can't give you a good response other than, "Well..... Bummer man. Maybe someone will make one." Hope you get your wish.
     
  21. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Wanted: 2 inch Police Positive in .32-20. That's a serious .32 ;) Colt made a bunchof 4 and 6 inch guns but I haven't seen a factory snubby in that caliber. I'd love one, just because.
     
  22. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I'm with Onward Allusion on this one:

    First of all, cartridges such as the .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long and .38 S&W are intentionally downloaded because of the number of 19th and early 20th century pocket revolvers that are still in circulation. However in a more modern gun that can be changed – by hand loading if nothing else.

    Back in the day… before World War Two, Smith & Wesson advertised their little .32 Safety Hammerless with a 2” barrel as being a better choice then Colt’s .25 Vest Pocket Model. Both were what some call “mouse guns,” but the .32 S&W was much less of a mouse then the .25 ACP. On rare occasions I carried a .32 “Safety,” and I still might do so under some circumstances. One advantage of this 5-shot revolver is the much smaller diameter of the cylinder, that make a small revolver in the first place seem even smaller.

    Colt’s Police Positive had a short cylinder (1.25” long) and was chambered in Colt’s version of the S&W .32 Long or .38 S&W. These are found on the used market at sometimes very attractive prices because next too no one is interested in the cartridges they are chambered in. Because of its design one can shorten the butt substantially and set it up with the stocks Colt used to use on their Agent model. On the other end the barrel and ejector rod can be shortened to as little as 1 ¾ inches. The only real disadvantage is the weight of all-steel construction and the diameter of a 6-shot cylinder. On the other hand some may see these factors as not being any kind of a negative at all.

    I have two neighbors, both ladies, that would like to see S&W’s 1903 Hand Ejector (built on the I frame) back in production. Unfortunately collector prices on excellent condition original ones is more then they can handle.

    Last but not least, I am giving the Taurus 380 model some serious consideration, and if I were going to make something along the lines of the View (which I’m not) I would use the .380 for the platform. I would also jump very quickly if a quality manufacturer introduced a hand ejector with a .32/5-shot cylinder, approximately the same size as the 32 Safety Hammerless.

    Given the number of ordinary people that have a CCW license and aren’t particularly interested in being “tactically correct,” I think they’re would be a market.
     
  23. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Ah... Dr. Rob.

    With it's short cylinder the Police Positive was never chambered in .32-20 Win. What you are thinking of is the Police Positive Special.

    That said, Should you find a .32 Police Positive you can hand load the .32 S&W Long (.32 Colt New Police) to where it will duplicate the .32-20 when that round is used in a handgun. ;)
     
  24. PRM

    PRM Member

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    I've become quite fond of my NAA Black Widow .22 Magnum/.22LR.

    The magnum frame is larger than the standard NAA mini. It has a two inch heavy barrel, enhanced sights and over-sized grips.

    Pretty sweet and accurate little revolver. I originally bought one for myself. Before I got it in the door, my wife saw it and laid claim. I promptly went back and bought another :)
     

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  25. Vodoun da Vinci

    Vodoun da Vinci Member

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    I'm with Onward Allusion and Old Fuff on this....I know there is no market but there is nothing wrong with these older .32 revolvers or the .32 auto pistols. No one thinks they are competing with .38 Specials and .44's but a modern gun with modern ammunition could give an excellent accounting of itself for SD and be small enough to actually have on one's person.

    We won't see new guns in these configurations/calibers but I still think they'd sell if introduced *if* we didn't have the bigger-is-better macho thing rearing it's head every time the discussion comes up.

    There would be a market....maybe not huge but enough to make it profitable for a .32 revolver, well built, reliable, and modern.

    VooDoo
     
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