Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"What's the best gun for a _______?"

Breda kicked over a hornet's nest with a recent post dissecting the tired old saw that goes "This here Airweight snub-nosed revolver is the perfect gun for you, li'l lady!"

An Airweight revolver is a handy little gun. I've kept one in a coat or Shoot-Me vest pocket for years. It's light enough to not drag one side of the coat down noticeably, and I shoot it a lot more accurately than I do any of the dinky "credit card with a trigger" .32/.380 double-action autos. There are other advantages that I'm not going to bother with here, because they're immaterial to the point of this post which is that I shoot it well because I've done a lot of double-action revolver shooting.

And I do very little of that revolver shooting with that dinky Airweight snubbie. It hurts. The old-style hard plastic LaserGrips leave the backstrap exposed; the corner of the hump-back frame barks against the knuckle at the base of my thumb because I choke my grip up for better recoil control, so that after twenty-five or thirty rounds of full-house loads, I'm sporting a bruised knuckle.

"Put better grips on it! I put Hogues on mine, and..." I can hear someone typing it now. No, what's important about the gun is that it fits in my pocket and doesn't bind on the fabric inside, not whether or not it hurts my hand during long range sessions. I have an all-steel .22 Kit Gun that I can shoot for hours and get all the double-action J-frame trigger time I need; it's actually fun to shoot.

Why do people recommend Airweight J-frames to people, women or men, as a first, and possibly only, gun? It's about as narrow-purpose as a handgun can be, and tricky to shoot well: the sights are hard to see, not to mention the basic physics problem of trying to hold a sub-1lb. object steady with two fingers while pulling a 10+ lb. trigger, all the while knowing it's going to smack your hand like a ball bat when it does go off? I mean, if you were trying to frustrate a new shooter and turn them off on shooting as a pastime, could there be a better gun to give him or her?

69 comments:

Mike W. said...

I mean, if you were trying to frustrate a new shooter and turn them off on shooting as a pastime, could there be a better gun to give him or her?

Bingo! This is exactly the point. Airweight J-frames are great for a lot of things, but they're simply not fun range guns. Then again they aren't meant to be.

When it comes to newbie shooters (women or not) we want shooting to be a fun and enjoyable experience, right?

The Duck said...

I do not know I usually recommend the S&W M&P 9mm

I have found a lot of the ladies like this gun

Was helping an Instructor Saturday, and 2 of the ladies were trying to use a J-frame, and the other a 40 ruger.

I took both off to the other range and we worked with the M&P and both got pretty excited about it by the time they left, both perfered it to anything else they had tried

Ancient Woodsman said...

Mrs. AW hates revolvers. Her arm of choice is a rifle (.270 Remington Model 4), but for decades the carry gun is a well-worn S&W 6906, which she dearly enjoys.

We both worked for years at a very large gun store, she had her chance to try many pistols and that is the one that stuck with her. She, too, has never understood the 'little gun for a little lady' bit, preferring that the smaller the lady the bigger gun she should have and learn to use it well. Finally, since fun & not protection is her main purpose for a firearm, she enjoys & recommends the largest caliber one can get and shoot comfortably all day long.

North said...

I'll go to the trouble of loaning guns (or participating at the range) to a new female shooter so that she can get the experience to provide some good feedback.

So I might assume the 90 pound chick (!) can't rack a pistol, when she and I can try and see.

Go into this armed (sorry) with more real-life experience specific to the new shooter.

CTone said...

I'm with Duck - I had a lady ask me to help her buy her first gun, and we went to a gun show where she held about everything they had. She settled on the M&P 9mm compact, and was making hits right out of the box with no problem. So was my mother when she gave it a whirl. When I brought out my Taurus 85 Ultralight, all that changed.

Bob said...

Once upon a time I had to shoot a strong-arm robber in the back room at a hotel I worked front desk at. The deterrent effect of showing him the S&W 640-1 I had didn't impress him, as he made a grab for it. I twisted it out of his grip, pressed it against his abdomen, and fired once. That took most of the fight out of him, although he made a grab for it again when I was calling 911; I again twisted it out of his now-weak grasp, but didn't shoot him again, as I felt it unnecessary. Instead I pushed him down to the floor.

So in the circumstances in which I needed it, I didn't need the sights, either, and didn't feel any recoil at all!

And yah, I got fired from my job for having a gun in violation of company policy.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the heathen pigs that got his wife an S&W Model 642 as her underwear drawer gun. I have one as a shorts and T-shirt weather carry.

The rational was pretty simple. She does not want to practice; she just wants the firearm to go bang when she pulls the trigger. Any gunfight she will be in will be from 10 feet to contact distances. Yank the trigger all you want at that range. If she has a failure to fire, pull the trigger again. Reload? It’s not going to happen so a magazine fed weapon does not present any advantage for her.

My old Security Six was too heavy for her to hold for more than a few seconds, at least in her mind. She has no complaints about the S&W Airweight. The 642 has a set of laser grips because I doubt she’ll look at a front sight when stress out enough to need a gun to defend her life. The grips are small enough for her hands to be able to hold on to the gun. Small revolvers are also a bitch to take away from folks who want to cling to them.

I taught her to shoot with an MkII and she was a decent shot with a .22 pistol. She has shot the 642 with light loads and was fine for 20 rounds, keeping them centered on an IDPA target at 10 feet. That’s about she’ll ever need to do.

Gerry

North said...

"and didn't feel any recoil at all!"

That is a kick-@ss tactical move! Get the guy that you are shooting to hold the gun to keep the recoil to a minimum!

:-D

Blackwing1 said...

My wife's carry gun is a .357 Ruger SP101 with the 2.000006" (however long) barrel. She loves to shoot the thing with .38 Spl, not so much with the +P's with which it is loaded for social purposes.

Magnums? I put a cylinder through it for "fun"; she shot 5 rounds also, and we BOTH decided we didn't really enjoy the experience. We bought that instead of the .38+P just for the potentialy versatility of, in a pinch, being able to shoot either through it...but it wouldn't be by choice.

My only problem is that it's too darned heavy for her to carry regularly. We've been looking at some of the lighter .38's, but I've never tried shooting one. I can't believe it would be pleasant even with just the .38 Spl loads, much less with the +P's. So we'll probably just stick with the Ruger.

After all, if she shoots the cylinder plus her speed-loader, she can always beat somebody to death with that stubby little club, and do no damage to the Ruger. It's built like a tank.

WV: "whigrot" - what happens after the Tories get to them.

Murphy's Law said...

This is one of the benefits of having a reloading press. I can gin up .38 Special loads that have very little felt recoil and use those for practice, just to work on muscle memory and technique.

I also know from experience in an actual shooting that when the time comes to do it for real, muscle memory takes over, fine-motor coordination and actual thinking go out the window, and you won't notice any recoil or the sound of the shots--the mind under stress blocks that all out.

Bottom line is that if you've got the gross motor skills and muscle memory down through rote repetition, you'll get the job done when it needs to get done. But if you don't practice and get that repetition down, it's likely not going to work.

As for selection, when I help new shooters pick out guns for home defense, we start with the 4" K-frame like the Model 10, 15, 64, etc. and go from there. They are simple, reliable and heavy enough to absorb a lot of recoil when practicing.

The Raving Prophet said...

You're spot on, Tam.

My 642 is a great gun. It's just hard to shoot well and unpleasant while you try it. I've found 158gr. standard loads tend to be more controllable than the ubiquitous 125gr +P loads, but still, the trigger is long and heavy, the sights mediocre, and the grip too small to provide any control.

If you put on grips that are big enough to fill the hand to help with controlling it (and thereby help with the recoil), it's no longer concealable- may as well move up to a heavier and larger gun.

If someone has a hard time racking the slide of a semiauto, I might recommend that person investigate the Beretta Tomcat; it isn't an ideal weapon, but it is good for those with small hands, recoil is very manageable, and the tip up barrel makes it much easier to load. Sights are still so-so, but better than a J frame. The .32acp isn't a .38spl, but it's better than a sharp stick.

Anthony said...

The crux of this problem is that people are recommending snubbies to new shooters.

The things that make a good carry gun, and the things that make it a good gun for a newbie to learn on, are almost all exact opposites.

The best solution to this is two guns: a range/practice gun and a carry gun (ideally the two being somewhat similar to handle, load, and fire).

But I can see why the guy at the gun store doesn't try to talk all the newbies into two guns right off the bat. That's going to be a tough sell.

My wife's solution to this is a 6" 686 loaded with .38 spl at the range, and a snubbie to carry. I really like my 1911 with a Marvel Precision .22 kit on it for the range. Difficult to tell an anxious newbie that they need not one, but two guns, though.

Mulliga said...

The J-Frame is an expert's gun, no doubt about it. My very, very first time out with a S&W 642, I remember being unable to hit an 8" balloon at 7 yards, which didn't inspire much confidence.

Of the sub-one pound pocket guns, though, I think it's far and away the most reliable and durable choice, which is why it gets recommended so often.

IllTemperedCur said...

Besides the recoil/trigger pull thing, the "semiautos are too complex for women" thing really irks me.

Consider the consumer-level sewing machine. It's been around for around 150 years or so, marketed almost exclusively to women.

And even the simplest sewing machine is infinitely more complex in construction and operation than the most complex handgun.

Heather said...

"But I can see why the guy at the gun store doesn't try to talk all the newbies into two guns right off the bat. That's going to be a tough sell."

The guy at the store (in most situations I've experienced) isn't thinking about what gun to sell the new shooter. They're thinking about what gun to sell the little lady, and if it's pink, obviously that's the one.

It's hilarious to listen to how the salesperson changes at certain stores when talking to me vs my husband.

Caleb said...

Related to all of this, I'd like to applaud the people that are recommending the M&P 9mm as a good beginner's gun. For whatever reason, that is the gun the vast majority of newbies that I see gravitate to when presented with a bevy of centerfire options. The local range has a 9 Pro in their rental case that gets called up for newbie shooter detail a lot.

Homer said...

I'll go one better - based on very recent experience with almost 400 women, very few of them like shooting DA revolvers in DA mode, period, and much prefer a semi-auto, or a revolver in SA mode.

I've got two Model 10s I use as student guns, and they saw a lot of use last weekend. So did my 63 and 617. Both 10s are 8.5-9 lb greased-glass triggers, and it was a rare guest who could cycle them through DA and not scatter rounds all over the berm. Same was true with the 63 and 617. In SA mode, they were Annie Oakley.

It's very much a hand strength and practice issue. I always cringe when a student arrives at class with a nice, shiny 2 inch Smith in a pristine box. I usually wind up suggesting the "Walmart Hand Strength Improvement Tool" (a tennis ball) and loan them one of my 10s for the range session, and ask if they've considered adding a J-frame .22 to the arsenal for practice and technique development.

global village idiot said...

I don't recommend ANY gun to a new female shooter. Then again, I don't recommend ANY gun to ANY new shooter.

Rather, better to spend time to find out what the new shooter likes/can operate best. The older I get the more I realize that I am in no position to know what another person needs.

Best resource bar-none for the new female shooter is www.corneredcat.com.

gvi

tom-the-impaler said...

The most user-hostile weapon I've ever fired was a S&W 357 scandium frame hammerless. felt like a bomb going off in my hand.

I have owned and carried several similar models in stainless which were unpleasant but not unmanageable.

I figured that I could fire a hammerless from within a coat pocket without binding and that muggings routinely occur at 5 feet not 50, and accuracy is thus a moot point.

Robert Langham said...

Heavier guns shoot easier. Just saying.

Johnnyreb™ said...

Having fired a few of the S&W airweight .357's i totally agree that is not for a beginner. Unless of course they enjoy being cut up by a pistol that feels like your catching fastballs without a glove. But so far haven't found anyone that is into that kind of abuse.

Most of the ladies i've introduced to shooting seem to prefer either the poly framed 9mm's such as the Beretta PX4 or, believe it or not, the 1911.

Bubblehead Les. said...

If I remember my History, the First J-Frame was the S+W Model 36, the Chief's Special. Wasn't it designed to go around the spare tire,... err waist of Chair Bound PoPo Bureaucrats as a Badge of Office? Didn't the Undercover Cops seize upon it as something more useful than a Baby Browning when they went into Harm's Way? Didn't Rex Applegate carry its predecessor, the I-Frame Lemon Squeezer while doing Resistance Work behind Enemy Lines during WW2 because of its concealability? So it was designed to be a Specialist Tool from the Gitgo. My wife hates them, they're too small for my size 2XL hands, and are a pain to shoot well for me. But as a second level or 3rd level weapon, they're okay, IMHO. I prefer to carry my old Dan Wesson with its 2 inch barrel attached and some .38+P for social Purposes.

Just My 2¢ said...

Ya know... I have taught several women how to shoot pistols and revolvers. Universally, they do better with bigger guns.

They shoot my Ruger Mk1 better than a Charter Arms snubbie 22.

They shoot a full sized 4" .357 magnum loaded with .38 specials better.

My wife is the exception, but most of the ladies in my life shoot a 1911 just fine. Bigger weapons have better sights. They like that.

Boat Guy said...

Like Blackwing, I bought a SP101 in the "2+whatever" length. In my case it was after my younger son's girlfriend became daughter-in-law to-be. As "girlfriend" she had a loaner; my 4" Mod 10. She didn't like any of the self-loaders she tried and loved the wheelgun. She shoots the SP101 very well, albeit SA most of the time.
Last range session, I asked her to try my 4" XD (unscheduled session so all I had was my carry gun). Unlike ANY of the plethora of 9mms (including an XD) she'd tried, she really liked the XD in .45.
We (my son and I) are now eating a little crow. She won't ever give up on the SP, but it's high time she got a bigger - and better IMO - handgun. She'll never be able to hide an XD (it's all she can do to sorta hide the SP), but she'll still have one - very soon

Eric said...

Another reason the snubby is recommended to women is that most women carry a purse and the snubby fits right in. Just drop it in your purse and it will ward off evil!

Tango Juliet said...

I keep hearing "M&P." :)

perlhaqr said...

If I have to recommend a gun sight unseen, I usually say "Glock 19". If nothing else, they can always sell it for about what they've got in it.

But I warn them that I might be wrong, at least. :)

An Ordinary American said...

I recommend an Airweight as a carry gun, but not a practice or range or "fun gun."

The job of an Airweight is to get you out of a jam. That's it.

It's not to become proficient on. It's not a training or learning gun. It's not a beer-can plinker.

It's a short-range, lethal instrument that will save your life if you have it, and if you can shoot it.

Those "ifs" or completely within your control.

I trust a Smith & Wesson Airweight .38 Special to protect both my wife and my nineteen-year-old adopted daughter.

They have an advantage, though. I reload, as well as cast my own bullets. I cast a small, lightweight 105 grain SWC bullet, and load it with a light charge of Bullseye for them to shoot five rounds each from their Airweights at the range.

The rest of their practice shooting is done with a S&W Mod 19 with a two-inch barrel and a Taurus 85.

Both are a helluva lot more pleasant to shoot.

But I insist on five rounds with the mouseload rounds out of their Airweights so they will know the trigger pull, the feel, the grip, etc.

Having been in the military and in some interesting situations as well as having been a federal lawman and firearms instructor, I tell people--from experience--that they'll never feel the gun kick if they have to shoot it "for real" at someone.

For women, a small, lightweight gun is a good choice. It's job is to give you room to run, scream, or whatever.

If you want or need more than that, re-think your daily routines and purchase accordingly.

Stuart the Viking said...

On the somewhat rare occasion (maybe once or twice a year) that I get to introduce a lady to shooting, it usually starts in my dining room. I have practically the entire arsinal out on the table (double and triple checked to make sure none are loaded) and we start from smallest "boom" to biggest "boom". They get a quick familiarization with each and they get to decide which they find to be comfortable and want to take to the range. At the range, we start with the lowest powered gun and work our way up with the understanding that they are allowed to stop if the shooting becomes uncomfortable for them.

Of the last two I took to the range, one fired the .22 then the 9mm and quit after a couple of rounds (She now says that she wants to go back and do it again). The other started at .22 and went all the way up to the .44 mag and even went out front and bought a box of .44 mag because I only brought the end of a box thinking that it would probably be plenty.

The point being that it is better to let someone try a few and decide for themself what they like.

s

Will said...

I about fall on the floor laughing when I hear someone talk about shooting a snubbie single action. If you think you are going to do that in a serious social situation, guess again. If you have the time to do it, you are most likely on the offensive. If cocking it to impress the BG, you are a fool.
If you spend any real time practicing SA shooting a snubbie at the range, instead of DA, you are wasting your time.
Remove the hammer spur, unless your holster requires it for a thumb break retention strap. Actually, with a proper pocket hammer, it may still work with a thumb break. All mine do.
Putting bigger grips on it screws up concealment ability. Get boot grips for it, and toss the little bitty wood ones that a lot come with. Check holster fit, though. Some were designed to use the space behind the trigger guard that the boot grips fill.
I'd much rather carry my 45, but dress/activities at times will demand a more concealable snubbie in .38 or .44 instead.

Anonymous said...

"Credit card with a trigger" .32/.380 autos -- great description. I LOL'd.

(Lexicographers note: Google suggests it's a Marko Kloos coinage ca. 2005?)

Tam said...

I'm pretty sure Marko got it from me back in the day, when I was 'splaining to him why I preferred my Jetfire to the P32, but he definitely introduced it to the tubes.

staghounds said...

MasterBang?

My Seecamp .380 hurts like crazy to shoot. I would have to be in deadly peril to.

The credit card with trigger factories are missing a bet not making .22 versions.

Phelps said...

I recommend it to people I know are never going to be serious shooters.

We all know someone who wants a gun to carry, but not to shoot. This guy or gal wants a weapon they can drop in a pocket or purse and be done with. They aren't going to shoot more than 50 rounds a year (or ever) through any gun, they aren't going to buy a cleaning kit (they'll visit me to get it cleaned), and they aren't ever going to be buy another gun.

For those people, who just want a tool to have in case the SHTF, a concealed hammer .38 that will handle +P ammo is what they need, and $300 is the price that they will pay.

More than anything, it's me surrendering to reality.

Anonymous said...

SOP for me was to let the customer choose which handgun they were attracted to and let them hold it.

Almost invariably females loved the lightweight snubbies..."It fits my hand perfectly!...it's so light!...it's so pretty!"

So I would explain the 3-day wait which would start with them filling out a 4473, take a deposit, and send them to the range with a card good for a free 1/2 hour rental; the owner and I had a deal whereby the customer could try out three or four good representations of hardware, including something like a7fr Taurus 85UL.

Again almost invariably, if the gun was for at-home protection, they switched their deposit over to something like an SP-101 or a Glock. Amazing the effect that actual experience as opposed to prejudiced advice has on the decision process.

And the beauty of this method to me as a dealer was avoidance of responsibility for another's choices, plus many who bought a house gun later did want to consider concealed carry, and knew in advance what the difference in purpose and characteristics would be...and resulted in two sales rather than one. Win-win.

AT

Anonymous said...

My "hard to shoot" gun is a .38 special two shot single action derringer.

Recoil is indeed like Derrick Jeter whacking your hand with an aluminium bat. The second shot should be performed with your off hand (the strong side hand will still be recovering).

Classic "carry a lot shot once if you really really have to" and I think they make a similar toy in .45 Colt!

James Nelson said...

My Girlfriend carries an SP101 with .357s in it. She shoots mostly .38 specials in it at the range, but does enough .357s to keep her hand in.
She hates my 442 and won't shoot it at all.

Hobie said...

I have several J-frames. I shoot them to master them not to enjoy. I ENJOY shooting my Colt Official Police. I have fun even with my 13, 65, 19 or 66 with .38 Special but the little guns aren't fun guns. The little Colt Cobra pseudo-Agent is great to carry but whips about when shot. No, I NEVER recommend that a woman get a lightweight .38. I will recommend the SP101 3" or bigger revolver or a handfilling 9mm. I am about the only person in the shop to have this view of the world...

Phillip said...

Honestly, I wonder if the idea of a J-frame snubbie for a woman is one of those things that started out as one person's idea and spread, and then it became a "We've always done it this way" matter, where because it keeps getting repeated, it must be THE WAY to do things.

DirtCrashr said...

For Chrissakes what's wrong with a 4-inch Model-10?
Hasn't anybody see the size of Womens' purses/Zeppelin hangers today? Is it just too un-cool??

jimbob86 said...

"Just drop it in your purse and it will ward off evil!"

It ain't a Talisman, Missy: It's a tool, and pretty useless one if you are not proficient with it (and it's all jammed up with the crud it has collected from riding around in the bottom of your purse ... but at least when the purse snatcher grabs it, he'll have to clean the thing before he uses it to further his criminal career.....

benEzra said...

"For those people, who just want a tool to have in case the SHTF, a concealed hammer .38 that will handle +P ammo is what they need"

I understand the thought, but I would counter that it is precisely those people who need less recoil, more capacity, easier indexing, and better sights. As pax points out over at Cornered Cat, "The best and most reliable carry gun in the entire world won't do you a bit of good if you can't hit the broad side of a bad guy with it." She's right. Hits with a .32 (or even a .22LR) are more effective than misses from a .38 +P.

There's also the idea that a good fitting, easy-to-shoot handgun can build confidence and skill that will eventually lead to purchase of a more capable model. I've seen that happen quite a bit, with once-novice shooters of both genders (including me).

Even if one feels that the mechanical and conceptual simplicity of a revolver may be helpful to a novice gun owner, I would disagree with the idea that that revolver should be a lightweight .38 snubby. A 4" barrel .38 as a first defensive revolver makes more sense to me, or maybe even something like a 3" SP-101 in .32/.327 if ammo availability isn't a problem.

Anonymous said...

Gotta differ with you Tams.
I preach revolver to women and people that are not gun savy.
Because, they have trouble understanding magazines, controls, clearance drills, associated with semi autos.
Nothing makes me more pissed than a dealer trying to sell some woman a double stack 9mm and offers no clue whatsoever as to how it works.
More often than not, I will speak with her when she gets away from the salesman and explain.
SW 642 is the most popular revolver in the world for a reason.

Heather said...

"I preach revolver to women and people that are not gun savy."

And this is EXACTLY why this conversation is happening.

What's wrong with saying "I preach revolver to people that are not gun savvy?"

Why do you have to add "women" in there? Do you assume all women are not gun savvy? Or even if they are, they still can't understand mags?

Joe in PNG said...

A personal experience:
A few years ago, a lady friend of mine was given a nice 4" S&W Mod. 19- after which, she asked me if we could go shoot it. So, I went ahead and got the ammo- some nice low powered wadcutters. And she had a literal blast with her new gun.
I wonder if she would have enjoyed the experience as much if I had bought a box of full power .357 +P, or if she had been given a 442 airweight?

Roberta X said...

...I must admit that my universal response to people who haven't shot and want to is "Buy a .22 handgun. Go shoot it; you can always sell it and buy whatever you like later."

Because in my opinion, you need to start internalizing what it feels like to line up on a target and have a gun buck and holler in your hand, and there is no milder, cheaper way to do that than a .22. Learn to shoot, then go buy your choice of self-defense arm with a better idea of the basics. And in the meantime? A .22 might not be much but it beats the heck out of a sharp stick.

Joe in PNG said...

A good, basic pistol class with a good instructor may also be a better bit of advice for the novice.

Actual, proper instruction in how to hold and use a gun should better inform the new shooter as to what they should be looking for.

Anonymous said...

"Gotta differ with you Tams.
I preach revolver to women and people that are not gun savy.
Because, they have trouble understanding magazines, controls, clearance drills, associated with semi autos.
Nothing makes me more pissed than a dealer trying to sell some woman a double stack 9mm and offers no clue whatsoever as to how it works.
More often than not, I will speak with her when she gets away from the salesman and explain.
SW 642 is the most popular revolver in the world for a reason"

You don't know what you are talking about. Seriously. All guns have complexity. Even those that seem simple- revolver and break open shotgun, for example, are going to cause just as much frustration to new shooters as the supposedly more complex semiauto. A Glock or M&P has ONE more control than a revolver. You have to press a button on both to access the ammunition (cylinder release or mag release). Neither has a separate manual safety to worry about. The Glock has a slide release that doesn't even have to be used. Other than that, it's aim and pull the trigger for both.

What it comes down to is if you do not know your weapon, if you do not practice with the same loads you carry, if you do not put the effort into knowing how to use a defensive weapon...you are going to set yourself up for failure. "It's a gun that you carry a lot and shoot little" is a fallacy. Shooting light loads and carrying full power loads has proven to be a failure when it comes to police marksmanship.

J-frame revolvers are popular, but they are popular mostly for the wrong reasons, IMHO.

Firehand said...

There's an amount of 'what feels right', too. Of the people I've taught/helped teach to shoot, some cannot stand revolvers and love autoloaders, some the reverse. And for some, for some reason, they picked up on the revolver drill a lot faster & easier.

But for a beginner, a snubbie is not what I'd suggest for a first/only sidearm, reasons listed by Tam.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:09:

Don't forget that the Glock, should the chambered (or not) round fail to fire, the operator can't simply "rinse and repeat"; they have to 'cock' the thing to make the striker work again. It ain't just like a revolver at all.

jon

Anonymous said...

"Don't forget that the Glock, should the chambered (or not) round fail to fire, the operator can't simply "rinse and repeat"; they have to 'cock' the thing to make the striker work again. It ain't just like a revolver at all.
"

Tap. Rack. Bang. Is it really that hard? Of course, how likely is it that you are going to have a failure to fire with quality ammo in a Glock? Not very likely at all, just about as likely as you are to have an issue with a revolver in good working order firing quality ammo.

And an auto can usually be gotten running again after it's common malfs vs. where if a revolver has a problem, it's possibly one that ties the gun up until it can get some time at the gunsmith's bench.

Eric said...

@jimbob86 - I was being sarcastic, and don't call me Missy.

perlhaqr said...

Gotta differ with you Tams.
I preach revolver to women and people that are not gun savy.
Because, they have trouble understanding magazines, controls, clearance drills, associated with semi autos.
Nothing makes me more pissed than a dealer trying to sell some woman a double stack 9mm and offers no clue whatsoever as to how it works.
More often than not, I will speak with her when she gets away from the salesman and explain.
SW 642 is the most popular revolver in the world for a reason.


Yeah... If I was going to say something this stupid, I'd probably want to say it anonymously, too.

Frank W. James said...

Roberta X wins the thread...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Will said...

"/I trust a Smith & Wesson Airweight .38 Special to protect both my wife and my nineteen-year-old adopted daughter.

They have an advantage, though. I reload, as well as cast my own bullets. I cast a small, lightweight 105 grain SWC bullet, and load it with a light charge of Bullseye for them to shoot five rounds each from their Airweights at the range.

The rest of their practice shooting is done with a S&W Mod 19 with a two-inch barrel and a Taurus 85.

Both are a helluva lot more pleasant to shoot.

But I insist on five rounds with the mouseload rounds out of their Airweights so they will know the trigger pull, the feel, the grip, etc./"

Seems you learned nothing from the Newhall Incident, and you in law enforcement. Four CHP officers died making it clear that if your range training isn't comparable to your carry equipment, bad things will happen.
If your practice ammo is not equivalent to your carry ammo, FAIL.
If you are not using the carry gun, or an identical gun, for practice, FAIL.



And for those who state that you can just "yank the trigger" of a snubbie if the BG is within 10ft, guess again. Lots of people miss at arms length doing this in gun fights. I think too many are picking up some of their gun knowledge from tv/movies, and don't realize it.

staghounds said...

1. "I am about the only person in the shop to have this view of the world..."

What kind of store is it where customers get different recommendations depending on which clerk they draw?

2. "Tap. Rack. Bang. Is it really that hard? "

Yes it is. To test,

RIGHT NOW go reset the clock in your car. You have ten seconds once you get there, no manual reading. NOW, RIGHT NOW!!!!

The people we are talking about see their guns twice a year. They don't like their guns, any more than you like the clock in your car.

3. Roberta and Jeff Cooper agree.

Tam said...

"RIGHT NOW go reset the clock in your car. You have ten seconds once you get there, no manual reading. NOW, RIGHT NOW!!!!"

Heh.

I did that the other day in about two seconds while barely taking my eyes off the road. (It takes maybe five seconds in the autumn.)

Then again, I'll have had the same car for ten years coming up this September...

Boyd K said...

"I recommend it to people I know are never going to be serious shooters.
snip
More than anything, it's me surrendering to reality."

That's the thing. We don't know peoples futures. Over the years I've had several women come into basic pistol who are "returning" after a bad experience with a firearm that didn't fit. A couple times after ditching the guy that gave them the firearm.

So, for those few who overcame the guys that "knew" they'd never be shooters, how many gave up forever after one try at the tiny revolver? I'm not typing in reply to the one post here either, please don't take this personally. This mindset is very widely held IMO.

A LOT of people are initially intimidated by the power (real and media-imagined) of firearms and by the stupid (IMO) socialization of young ladies. -Many- newbies approach this as something they'll do "once" because they were asked. If -that- mindset is met with "well, looks like this one'll never be a shooter" then you have one vPowerful predetermined outcome. And you could end up with shooting sports dominated entirely by men. (Oh wait...)

For the men that like women that's not really a good thing. For the women, that truly SUCKS.

DirtCrashr said...

You car even has a clock? Golly! :-)
My wife will not Tap-rack-bang - not ever. Just forget about it. Seriously forget it. But she likes a .357 magnum better than a .38 spl. so go figure. But not out of a 2-inch Airweight. No f*ing way, she's not stupid and understands physics - girls aren't stupid, who can't grasp that?

Phelps said...

That's the thing. We don't know peoples futures. Over the years I've had several women come into basic pistol who are "returning" after a bad experience with a firearm that didn't fit. A couple times after ditching the guy that gave them the firearm.

To be clear, I'm not talking about saying this to people I don't know. I'm talking about friends and family, who I've known for a long time and have a good idea of what the future holds.

For people I don't know, I don't even give a recommendation. I tell them to go an NRA safety class, or offer to take them to the range myself, and start them with my little Berretta Neos ray gun .22, or my Glock 17. For people who I think might end up shooting, I invariably recommend a Glock, usually 9mm.

staghounds said...

I consider myself skewered.

Matt said...

"I mean, if you were trying to frustrate a new shooter and turn them off on shooting as a pastime, could there be a better gun to give him or her?"

An airweight 2" in a defense caliber is an expert's gun. I feel like a lot of people give them to newbies for the same reason that YouTube is packed with vidjos of stupid guys handing young neophytes (ESPECIALLY young women) firearms loaded with heavy Magnum loads, and make no effort to make suggestions as to grip and stance: They want to look tough in the eyes of the new shooter.

No wonder the antis and fence-sitters have such low opinions of us. :(

Phelps said...

An airweight 2" in a defense caliber is an expert's gun. I feel like a lot of people give them to newbies for the same reason that YouTube is packed with vidjos of stupid guys handing young neophytes (ESPECIALLY young women) firearms loaded with heavy Magnum loads, and make no effort to make suggestions as to grip and stance: They want to look tough in the eyes of the new shooter.

Not me. I don't recommend airweights to anyone, expert or not, but I recommend 2" revolvers because the gun that you have on you when you need it is infinitely better than the perfect gun 10 miles away. 2" revolvers are small enough that people who aren't enthusiasts will still carry them. That's my only real consideration -- will they carry the gun all the time, or not? (I don't recommend them for bedside guns, I recommend 20 gauge shotguns for that.)

John said...

.22 Mag lite-wt snubbie revolver.

Or the same in .32 mag, if the person takes to it

Good gun for newbie non-gun person,who is distinctly unlike the all previous contributors here -- who are distinctly gun people.

Just a thot there.

Oh,and read Fairbain's small book on how he trained the un-shooting Chinese recruits for his anti-gang team.

Sometimes we hobby types tend to over-complicate our world, because we love it so.

Anonymous said...

The subnose revolver is not for the casual shooter. The light weight makes the recoil from a decent round substantial. Most only hold five rounds so should only be considered by people who can actually shoot well.

Anonymous said...

Screw it. Get a model 29 in 44 mag with a barrel that reaches out to forever and be done with it. With the two calibers it's a perfect li'l ladies gun. I usually carry the smaller Glock 20, but then I'm not at all a lady ; )
-- Lyle

Paul said...

They pack snubbys cause:

a) Simple pull the trigger

b) Simple load the cylinder (at least for the first 5 or 6)

c) They can leave it loaded for YEARS and it still will go 'bang'.

d) They are small and stay out of the way.

Plus most SD is at very close range, almost spitten distance, so the snub is not all that bad.

And face it, most women don't like to practice as much as men. So a wheelgun, especially the snub, is easy for them in many ways.

Joseph said...

http://bit.ly/gxRhTx

Guess a 25yo beauty pageant winner qualifies as a hard-core gunny now huh? That or there's way to much hand wringing about snub-nose revolvers and their suitability for the weaker sex/new shooter.

I'm guessing that this lass doesn't have more than a couple of guns if more than just the pink .38 she offed the baddie with.

Mick said...

I use my Smith Model 38, the old hump-backed J-frame as my companion; my wife has qualified with it for FL CCW with it and works with 700 fps. 158 gr. reloads for practice; whe's all of 5 feet tall and broke both wrists last December. Best choice, maybe not, but it's her choice; she has a variety to choose from in calibers and systems.