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Old April 12, 2010, 10:34 AM   #1
LordTio3
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Boys... I need some help here.

I'm getting married in a couple of months. So, for all intents, this is my wife I'm talkin about.

When I met her, she was anti gun. It took her a little while... but only one real situation of "Man I'm glad you had your gun on you" to bring her around.

Now the Little Miss wants to carry too. I'm so proud.

After several conversations and trips to the store and range, she knows what she wants; a snub nosed revolver in .38 special. But there's a rub... She is all of 90 pounds soaking wet and she doesn't have a whole lot of upper body strenth to pull a heavy trigger. Now she'll be carrying in her purse mostly (I've already got that worked out: holster, reloads, draw and retention training), but I'm worried about what to get her after she's tried several different models.

She's tried Taurus models, Charter arms, Smith and Wessons, and even a Colt Python, just for kicks. And what she finds most comfortable is the Smith Airweight Chief's Special model 637. It's an aluminum frame with an external hammer.

My big question is, from your wealth of experiences, is that .38 special recoil going to be too much for her if it comes from such a small, and LIGHT weapon?
She's fired my Glock 9mm, and one .38 special out of a 6" steel barrel SA and handled it okay, but theres a big difference from my experience. She really needs something that she has the strength to pull the trigger on and still handle the recoil and stay on target.

Believe me, I've tried to take her to rent one somewhere, but the only place I can reasonably go will charge almost $80 for a half an hour and box of ammo. I'd really rather put that towards the weapon in the first place. I just don't want to waste a lot of money here. Any info would be helpful as I only own autos myself.

Thoughts?
Thanks in advance,
~LT

Last edited by LordTio3; April 12, 2010 at 10:47 AM.
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Old April 12, 2010, 10:45 AM   #2
azredhawk44
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At $80, I'd say to just buy the 637 instead of renting first.

If it's a bad choice, you can sell it for less of a loss than the $80 rental fee.

.38's come in a wide range of power levels. Start with WWB FMJ 130gr and go from there.
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Old April 12, 2010, 10:47 AM   #3
stargazer65
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Good question. My wife likes revolvers and really enjoyed shooting 22LR out of one, but the first time she shot 38 special out of an airweight snub nose she wasn't as big of a fan. Your fiance should probably shoot one beforehand if possible so she knows what she's getting into.
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Old April 12, 2010, 10:50 AM   #4
spacecoast
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Congrats on getting married.

The physics of the situation dictate that the most recoil is going to be felt in the lightest gun. Ruger seems to have managed that best with the LCR in the field of J-frame or similar class .38 snubs.

Another possibility is a steel J-frame like the S&W Model 64 or Model 640 (shrouded hammer). Those retain the very small size of a J frame with a little more weight that should be more comfortable for her to shoot. In a defensive situation, she probably isn't going to notice the recoil anyway, but she certainly will in practice sessions.

I have a 637-2 and find it rather easy to shoot, as does my petite daughter, who carries it in her purse. Her small hands and fingers may actually be an advantage as they allow a better grip, especially with the pinky finger.
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Old April 12, 2010, 10:54 AM   #5
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My wife and I both carry 642s, essentially the same as the 637 but with a concealed hammer. The recoil does get your attention, but neither of us considers it unacceptable. However, it's virtually impossible for one person to guess how another is going to react to a given recoil, so I'd second azredhawk44's advice. Too bad you're not closer to the S&W shooting center here in Springfield - you could rent one for far less than the $80 (!) you're looking at.
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Old April 12, 2010, 10:55 AM   #6
shafter
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If she's going to carry in a purse(which I don't recommend at all) try out something a little heavier. A Ruger Sp101 should do the trick. By the way, is that range that charges 80 bucks for a half hour the only place to shoot in your area?
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Old April 12, 2010, 10:56 AM   #7
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Forgot to mention, I've got quite a bit of experience with the 637 and have let several women shoot it. All were a bit more than 90lbs but they all liked it just fine. Tough to get good with though
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Old April 12, 2010, 10:56 AM   #8
LordTio3
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Quote:
Her small hands and fingers may actually be an advantage as they allow a better grip, especially with the pinky finger.
See, that's what I thought. But one really large problem is that she has very little strength in her forearms. So the trigger pull has to be smooth and relatively light. I'm going to buy her a pair of shooting gloves for practice sessions at the range, but I really wanted her to be able to shoot single action if she needed to. She tried countless triggers and the smoothest and lightest seemed to be in the Smith and Wesson's. A lot of the others, she couldn't even cycle.

~LT
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Old April 12, 2010, 10:59 AM   #9
spacecoast
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She should definitely try the LCR, which has a light and very smooth trigger, even smoother than comparable Smiths. I like "classic" revolvers and haven't been able to bring myself to pull the trigger on the LCR, but it's an excellent choice and I don't think I've seen a single bad review in the dozens I've read. Search for it here and do some reading.
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Old April 12, 2010, 11:04 AM   #10
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I gave my wife a Smith airweight snubbie this past week. She was very put off by the recoil and report. Granted, she is not an experienced shooter. I hope that some time and practice with a .22 pistol I have may prepare her for that revolver.
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Old April 12, 2010, 11:23 AM   #11
kraigwy
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Buy her the Smith if thats what she likes. If the recoil is too much for go get some Cowboy Action 38 loads, they are quite mild.

Don't let size fool you, My wife is small, so is my grandaughter, but they both shoot my Smith 642 with +p Loads.

One of the best Hard Ball 45 shooters I ever saw was Kim Deyer who shot for the Army Marksmanship Unit. She was about 90 lbs, and stood 5 foot nothing.

Its not size, its tecknique.

She will do more practice then SD shooting, just find her some light loads for the gun she likes. As she gains experence she can move up to the heavier loads.
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Old April 12, 2010, 11:29 AM   #12
LordTio3
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She will do more practice then SD shooting, just find her some light loads for the gun she likes. As she gains experence she can move up to the heavier loads.
That's some solid advice too. Does anyone know of some manufacturers that make milder reloads for this caliber weapon?
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Old April 12, 2010, 11:32 AM   #13
spacecoast
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Does anyone know of some manufacturers that make milder reloads for this caliber weapon?
There are a lot of target load manufacturers. Stay away from from the personal protection ammo at WalMart, it's loaded somewhat heavier. If you can find them (try Midway, Sportsman's Guide and Cabela's online) go for the .38 wadcutters, those are usually loaded very light.
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Old April 12, 2010, 11:35 AM   #14
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Another choice for .38 special revolver is to introduce the revolver to her with wadcutters ... they are very light loads and still do pretty good job in defensive situation
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Old April 12, 2010, 11:37 AM   #15
spacecoast
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Before I started reloading I used these S&Bs and liked them - they're $17.47 a box at SG and in stock -

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/c....aspx?a=148319

Search for WX2-85652 on that page...
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Old April 12, 2010, 11:37 AM   #16
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http://www.ammunitiontogo.com/catalo...wadcutter-ammo
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Old April 12, 2010, 11:39 AM   #17
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double beat by spacecoast
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Old April 12, 2010, 11:39 AM   #18
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Maybe look in to one of Beretta's pocket pistols. They have tip up barrels so you don't have to rack the slide for the first shot. Very manageable recoil too. Only thing I'd be worried about is that some might consider these underpowered, but if she shoots it well... You know what they say about how a .45 ACP doesn't do you any good if you can't hit anything, and how a few rounds out of a .22 to the torso will probably ruin a bad guy's day.
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Old April 12, 2010, 01:27 PM   #19
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Have you considered a M60 instead? It is the same size as the 637 but has a stainless steel frame rather than an aluminum one. Newer M60's are chambered in .357 Magnum, but can fire .38 Special without issue. The M60 would likely give the same feel and trigger as the 637 would, but it will be about 50% heavier which will help to dampen recoil.
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Old April 12, 2010, 01:33 PM   #20
johnwilliamson062
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My mom and sisters forget their purse someplace a couple times a year. I would hate for them to purse carry.

My GF doesn't seem to have that problem though. Just something to keep in mind.

The LCR is supposed to have the best DA trigger in a gun the size you are indicating. I have dry fired three now and was impressed with all of them. One day I will get one of my own...
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Old April 12, 2010, 01:41 PM   #21
spacecoast
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Have you considered a M60 instead? It is the same size as the 637 but has a stainless steel frame rather than an aluminum one.
I meant to say Model 60 (not 64) earlier. I have a 60-7 in .38 special that I just acquired, haven't had a chance to use it yet but am definitely looking forward to it.
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Old April 12, 2010, 01:41 PM   #22
Charles Ellis
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Since she is going to carry it in her purse a steel framed snub might be a better choice,but let her make it or you will just end up buying her another gun.(don't ask how i know)I routinely carry a S&W 649 an an iwb holster and find it comfortable to carry and shoot with non+p loads.I carry +p's but do most practice with standard loads.No matter what gun you buy,start her out on the lightest load you can find.
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Old April 12, 2010, 05:53 PM   #23
Daryl
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If that's what she likes, then I'd buy it for her and let her try it.

Try target wadcutters first; they're light loaded and low(er) recoiling.

I wouldn't worry TOO much about her size. I have a (female) friend who weighs about the same as your wife (ok, so she's maybe 110 lbs). She shoots my 7mm Rem mag without any trouble at all, and she shoots my 637 equally well.

Give her a chance. If you pursuade her to a different gun that she doesn't like, it's gonna be all your fault 'till she gets one she likes.

Trust me on that.

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Old April 12, 2010, 06:07 PM   #24
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+1
Give wadcutters and cowboy action target loads a whirl. While not great- they're still more of an immediate life saving measure than an undeterminable wait for the "Scream and dial 911" process to work.
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Old April 13, 2010, 08:45 AM   #25
LordTio3
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Without trying to sound like I'm bragging about her, she's a pretty smart lady. When I say, she picked this one out, I mean she researched it, felt it, and decided that the 637 had everything she wanted plus (the sexy factor). Who am I really to tell her she doesn't really want what she wants? The only real thing I've been worried about is the recoil shock of that first range session with it; which, Thanks you all of you for your wealth of help, I think I can handle now.

Wadcutters that are loaded lightly, cowboy loads if I can find them (the wax-tipped rounds?). Thanks to all who have contributed thus far. This has been very helpful.

Quote:
Have you considered a M60 instead?
I litterally laughed out loud when I read this. I realize what you really meant but, YES I WOULD LOVE HER TO CARRY AN M60... and an M249 Squad Assault Weapon under the other arm. She won't be fast, but who'll want to mess with THAT?!


~LT
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