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Old October 28, 2012, 07:08 PM   #1
SouthernMarine
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Revolver for self defense?

So my fiance and I were in a shop the other week and a revolver caught her eye. She really wants one so she can go out shooting with me and for self defense.

I was wondering what would be the best to get her for these purposes? I personally have a glock but she can't pull the slide back so she really wanted a revolver. Any ideas?

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Old October 28, 2012, 07:15 PM   #2
MLeake
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Have her check out corneredcat.com - a website run by one of our moderators, Pax, aka Kathy Jackson.

Kathy details methods for people with less hand/arm strength to cycle a slide.

(This assumes your fiance only wants a revolver because she has trouble operating the slide on an auto.)

Kathy also goes over considerations for first time buyers, and selecting handguns.
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Old October 28, 2012, 07:17 PM   #3
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Also, my standard recommendations:

1) Find an LGS that has both a range and a rental counter, and let her try a variety so she can find what she likes best;

2) Or, find a friend who has a decent assortment of types, who is willing to let her try them;

3) And, a lesson from a professional instructor is often a good idea.

Good luck.
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Old October 28, 2012, 08:15 PM   #4
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Look at used handguns, they are often "broken in", the actions are smoother.
I also recommend some sort of exercise program, strengthening the hands and the trigger finger is a good long term solution.

Last edited by SIGSHR; October 28, 2012 at 08:22 PM.
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Old October 28, 2012, 08:18 PM   #5
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Hey, if she likes the revolver, let her go with that. They are still an excellent option for defensive weapons, and the learning curve is a bit less steep than it is with an automatic.
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Old October 28, 2012, 08:39 PM   #6
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I am not knocking revolvers.

I am just saying not to think revolvers are the only viable option, due to initial problems with cycling a slide.
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Old October 28, 2012, 10:49 PM   #7
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Although there is no external safety on revolvers....they go bang when you pull the trigger without any hesitation. Just teach her properly and make sure she knows the basics of a snubby .38 or .357 (and I would vote for a hammerless snubby)

-finger off the trigger until its go-time
-purse carry is better with a hammerless trigger
-teach her how to grip it properly and keep her fingers far away from the cylinder gap

Good luck....let her practice with it like crazy and watch how fast it will grow on her. I am seriously INCHES from convincing my wife to have the confidence to assist me on a range shoot and practice with a snubby .38

She gets intimidated by the semi just like yours...
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Old October 28, 2012, 11:26 PM   #8
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My Ladyfriend loves my Model 10 and Pop's Model 66, nothing wrong with a wheelgun.

Use to be everybody in the country carried one.
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Old October 29, 2012, 01:15 AM   #9
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My wife has a 3" Model 65, but also likes CZ pistols.

She will shoot my J frame from time to time, but it is a distant third in her preference list.

Actually, it might be fourth. She likes the PX4 9mm better than the J frame, IIRC.

My mother likes the J frame better, and she and my father have a 442 with CrimsonTrace, but her hands are smaller than my wife's hands.

Edit: This goes back to my basic premise, though - rather than try to predict what a given woman (or person in general) will like, it is better to let them try things out and make an informed choice. The things they select may not be what conventional wisdom would have selected for them.
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Old October 29, 2012, 05:15 AM   #10
artoo
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I would suggest that this be done first by her and you.
Check these links out.
www.womenandguns.com
Cornered Cat
Babes with Bullets*|*Babes with Bullets firearms camps
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/ta...r-2-cents.html
NRA Women's Programs
Women In Shooting
Programs

Second Amendment Sisters - Self-Defense is a Basic Human Right

Pay attention to the 2nd and 4th link guys.

Go through these and then let her make up her mind what gun/cartridge combo fits her and her needs.
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Old October 29, 2012, 02:09 PM   #11
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IMO its important to consider the overall picture in terms of 'difficulty'. I'm a revolver fan. I have semi autos but, ( except for some 1911s), I see them as just a useful tool. (Not like revolvers !) That said, many people find it easier to shoot a semi-auto well versus a revolver. The revolver can take more time & effort to master. This is particularly true of J-frame revolvers which often seem to be recommended to new and women shooters. The revolver does have the advantage in terms of a misfire, however. You just pull the trigger again to line up another chamber of the cylinder.

Women (or men) should try numerous platforms to see what might work for them. Try to buy quality - if later your needs/preferences change you can trade or sell a quality firearm.

P.S. - - I don't own one, but checked several out at gunshops and I was impressed by the Ruger LCR. If someone wanted to go with a small revolver that might be worth checking out. Polymer frame guns seem to 'soak up' recoil in a way that makes them less punishing to shoot. I have a J-frame S&W, but the trigger on the LCR was much better IMO.

Last edited by Pointshoot; October 29, 2012 at 02:14 PM.
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Old October 29, 2012, 03:14 PM   #12
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I know several women that are far more competent with their J frame snubs, that some other women I know are with their tacticool auto their man insisted they had to get. And those J frame women actually carry their guns, as opposed to leaving their too big auto home or under the car seat.

Just sayin....
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Old October 29, 2012, 03:21 PM   #13
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My wife loves her J Frame. My attitude is just get started. Burn the "Four Rules" into your mind, get a reasonable gun, and go shooting. In the fullness of time you will probably gravitate one way or another but then you will have some experience and know much better what suits you. Applies to both men and women. Simple common sense.
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Old October 29, 2012, 03:42 PM   #14
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If she's comfortable with it and has some training, nothing at all wrong with it. Revolvers are fine, and comfort level is a must no matter what firearm she wants.
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Old October 29, 2012, 05:13 PM   #15
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I've said this before but the revolver is the best choice for anyone who is not willing to practice with their handgun at least once a month. Semi-autos have too much to think about and manipulate to get a shot off. A good double action is super reliable and you just need to point and shoot, no safety, no slide, no stovepiping.
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Old October 29, 2012, 06:34 PM   #16
SouthernMarine
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Wow, thanks for all the info and input guys. Aside from the issue with the slide she just really prefers revolvers. She's shot my auto before and just didn't like it.

As far as training goes she is very knowledgable in safley handling any form of firearm. I will have her look over all the info provided. I plan on taking her to a shop and find one that she likes and is comfortable with.

I know next to nothing on revolvers and mainly wanted to educate myself in order to help her make an informed decision. Plus it's always good to learn something new.

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Old October 29, 2012, 06:55 PM   #17
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Its an issue that came up at my local range yesterday...

In the S&W lineup of revolvers...
a. There are a lot of K frames around ( model 19's and 66's ) in .357 mag and since they're a little bit heavier than the J frames ....a lof of people find them easier to shoot ....and whether they shoot .38 spl's in them or .357 mag ..it gives them a choice. They're also very affordable. It comes down to what fits her hands the best ...and what barrel length she prefers... 2 1/2" or maybe a 4"....
------------------
In the semi-auto world...for young shooters...my grandaughters like 2 of my guns in semi-autos both in 9mm....a Sig 239 (single stack) or a 1911 in 9mm - again single stack ( I happen to have one of each / both alloy frames - Kimber tactical pro model 4" in the 1911 ) ......../ and both options will be less work to rack the slide. So it isn't that you should change her mind ...let her buy whatever she wants ...but not all semi-autos are created equally.

Couple shooting next to me yesterday ....he liked Glocks.../ turns out she hates them ....she shot my 1911 in 9mm ...and they rented a Sig 239 ...and a couple of K frame S&W revolvers ...and she liked the K frames and both the Sig and 1911 equally well. She may eventually like one of each....
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Old October 29, 2012, 07:18 PM   #18
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Short and sweet... A revolver is better than no gun at all. (IMHO)
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Old October 29, 2012, 07:54 PM   #19
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In my experience, many women instinctively try to manipulate the slide as a fine motor movement using the smaller, weaker muscles of their fingers, hands, and wrists and thus have difficulty racking the slide. As has been pointed out, however, once shown how to make the task into a gross motor movement by grasping the slide with their whole hand, locking their wrists and elbows, and using the larger, stronger muscles of their shoulders and backs to rack the slide, many women are surprised at how easily they can accomplish what previously seemed difficult or impossible.

That being said, if your lady still has trouble with the slide or simply wants a revolver, there's nothing wrong with that as revolvers can make excellent self-defense firearms as well. As to what, specifically, to look for, that depends on a few different factors. The first question that you need to ask is whether your fiancee will carry the gun concealed or simply keep it for home defense.

If the answer is the latter, that actually simplifies things a bit. For a home defense gun, there's very little reason to go particularly small or light. Medium and large frame revolvers with longer barrels generally recoil less, have better triggers, are easier to shoot accurately, and may offer more rounds. A medium or large frame revolver will usually have a better trigger because their hammers are often larger and heavier than those of small frame revolvers and thus do not require as heavy a spring to reliably detonate primers. The extra weight of these larger guns (particularly those with all-steel construction) dampens recoil considerably and the larger grips allow for a fuller, firmer, more secure, and more comfortable hold. Finally, longer barrels give you a longer sight radius which makes accurate shooting easier and also usually give somewhat higher velocity. That being said, too long a barrel probably isn't advisable as the gun may become cumbersome and difficult to maneuver in confined spaces and give more leverage for an attacker to wrench the gun from her hands in a struggle. IMHO, a 3-5" barrel is ideal for a home defense revolver with 6-6 1/2" being the maximum practical length.

If your fiancee plans to carry the gun concealed, that add another wrinkle to things. While medium and large frame revolvers are generally easier and more pleasant to shoot, they are also more cumbersome and inconvenient to carry due to their weight and bulk. What you must do at this point is find a revolver that offers an acceptable balance between ease and comfort of shooting and practicality and convenience of carry. The manner in which she chooses to carry will play a large role in what type of revolver is best. For example, carrying in a thigh or pocket holster requires a smaller, lighter gun than carrying in a belt holster or handbag. Just bear in mind that, for a given cartridge, the lighter the gun the harsher the recoil will be and the shorter the barrel, the more difficult it will be to shoot accurately.

Regardless of whether she plans to carry the gun or not, there are some universal concerns with choosing a revolver. First and foremost, you must ensure that she can manipulate the double action trigger without difficulty. This is of particular concern because many people who have trouble racking the slide of a semi-auto also have difficulty dealing with the double action trigger of a revolver. Secondly, ensure that the grips fit her hands well as the wrong grips can make an otherwise pleasant-shooting revolver downright painful and vice-versa. You want grips large enough for her to hold the gun firmly and securely but small enough that she isn't forced to take an uncomfortable or awkward grip in order to manipulate the trigger. Also, if the grips have finger grooves, make sure that they fit the size and shape of her hands in that she doesn't have to unnaturally spread her fingers apart nor squeeze them together. Finally, choose the most powerful cartridge that she can shoot comfortably. While a full-power .357 Magnum is a formidable defensive cartridge, it's recoil is usually too heavy for inexperienced shooters. Likewise, while a .22 Long Rifle is easy and pleasant to shoot, it's low level of power makes it a poor choice for those that can handle more recoil.

Insofar as specific recommendations go, it's difficult to do that without knowing a great deal of very personal information about your fiancee (much of it not the type of information that I would encourage you to share on the internet). However, I can recommend a couple of guns that seem to work well of large numbers of people.

I've yet to meet anyone who could not shoot a S&W K-Frame at least reasonably well. These guns have excellent triggers (some of the best available IMHO), are heavy enough to dampen recoil well without feeling clunky or cumbersome, and have a grip size which seems to fit a very broad cross-section of hand shapes and sizes. S&W K-Frames have been made in a variety of barrel length and come in several calibers the most common of which include .22 Long Rifle, .38 Special, and .357 Magnum.

If you need something smaller and lighter, the Ruger LCR is quite popular. While a small-frame lightweight gun, the LCR has an excellent trigger for a gun of that type and many come with the superb Hogue Tamer grip which does a great job of absorbing recoil. The LCR is available in .22 Long Rifle, .38 Special, and .357 Magnum with a 1 7/8" barrel as the only available length.

As far as caliber is concerned, that's another choice we can't make for you. However, .38 Special is a good place to start as, with careful load selection, it can deliver impressive terminal performance while, depending on the revolver, still producing only moderate recoil. Bear in mind as well that revolver chambered for .357 Magnum can also fire .38 Special and .38 Special +P ammunition and thus give you a great deal more versatility than a revolver chambered strictly for .38 Special.
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Old October 29, 2012, 08:50 PM   #20
Nathan
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A revolver is a fine place to start. I recently asked someone who I highly respect in the world of custom auto's and found out he carries a revolver.

J frames, like a model 640 are fine, but she might like the options a small 3" K frame would give her. Both would be 38/357mag. 38's are a fine place to start. Reduced recoil 357's would kind of be a long term goal.

IMO, first choice would be a 3" S&W 13. Something pre-1980's would be ideal. If there was money available, it would be nice to get the action slicked up with a 6 - 8 lb DAO weight, hammer bobbed, and maybe cerakoted in her favorite SD color. This could have a multitude grip sizes to fit her hand. K frames literally are sized from very small to really big. This is big enough that it would really be a belt or purse gun.

I have a J frame which would be a bit smaller and work well. Mine is a M640 in SS. J frames have grips from ultra tiny to just bearable in size! This could be belt or pocket carried quite easily. It has just enough weight to make 357 bearable to me. It might be a bit much for a smaller person.


The slide issue you speak of is rather common. It is probably not the force as much as how she is applying it. Likely she sees your habits and you likely use a lot of shoulder, arm and chest to manipulate the action. Try showing her the pure slingshot method where both arms are straight and you tiwst your back to work the slide.
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Old October 29, 2012, 11:53 PM   #21
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Elmer said,
Quote:
I know several women that are far more competent with their J frame snubs, that some other women I know are with their tacticool auto their man insisted they had to get. And those J frame women actually carry their guns, as opposed to leaving their too big auto home or under the car seat.

Just sayin....
I'm going to put my emphasis in his quote somewhere I don't think he intended, but I'd focus on: with their tacticool auto their man insisted they had to get.

The fault isn't with the auto, tacticool or no. The fault is with the man who insisted the female buy something she really wasn't into.

The same would be true if the woman really wanted an auto, but the man insisted on a revolver.

For new shooters, point them toward information, such as corneredcat.com . Expose them to different types of guns. Get them instruction if they would like it. Then let them make an informed choice. DO NOT SIMPLY CHOOSE somebody else's gun for them. If the choice isn't theirs, then the odds are they won't put nearly as much thought or effort into it.
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Old October 30, 2012, 12:07 AM   #22
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hammerless revolvers are great purse guns. nothing to get caught in the action to render it useless. might shoot a hole in their favorite purse but they'll be alive to buy another one.

that being said...... my wife bought an m85 taurus because she liked my rossi 68. turns out she didn't like it after all and i now have a taurus m85..... still lookin' for a gun she's comfortable with. it is a lengthy process with so many variables.
she says she'll leave the carrying up to me, but i tell her we ain't together 24/7.
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Old October 30, 2012, 12:39 AM   #23
Elmer
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MLeake said:

Quote:
I'm going to put my emphasis in his quote somewhere I don't think he intended, but I'd focus on: with their tacticool auto their man insisted they had to get.

The fault isn't with the auto, tacticool or no. The fault is with the man who insisted the female buy something she really wasn't into.

The same would be true if the woman really wanted an auto, but the man insisted on a revolver.

For new shooters, point them toward information, such as corneredcat.com . Expose them to different types of guns. Get them instruction if they would like it. Then let them make an informed choice. DO NOT SIMPLY CHOOSE somebody else's gun for them. If the choice isn't theirs, then the odds are they won't put nearly as much thought or effort into it.
Actually, that's exactly what I intended.

However, comma.....

Yes, a lot of women will shoot your 3.5 lb trigger 1911 better than they'll shoot a 10 lb DA trigger J frame on the range.

But
, if they don't spend the time learning the gun well enough to be competent manipulating it, yes, steering them towards something they do run better, is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

That's not gender specific. I see a lot of guys fumbling on the range with guns they aren't competent with too.
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Old October 30, 2012, 12:54 AM   #24
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i've seen that too. they bought the gun because they thought "it was cool" and they might as well be double left handed they're so clumsy with them. hand them the s&w .22 we use as a trainer and they shoot almost perfectly everytime. you need to fiddle with several guns before you find "THE ONE" you'll carry and feel comfortable shooting..... and being on paper, preferabley in the black.
but i think most of us would say there is no one gun to carry that covers every situation. revolvers have extreme reliability, but sem's offer capacity.

i like both, and carry both.
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Old October 30, 2012, 01:57 AM   #25
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Elmer and hiddenpiece,

That's where the education and information parts come into play.

When the new shooter learns that there are more things to know with regard to operating an auto, they can make an informed choice as to whether they want to put in the effort.

Pax points such things out on her website.

When my mother decided she liked a P239 I used to own the best of my guns, I gave it to her for a while. BUT for her birthday, I signed her up for a class with another instructor (not myself*), where on my advice she had him focus on stoppage clearing, instead of shooting. (She could already shoot acceptably well.)

After that, she eventually decided she liked my CTC 442 better, so that's what she has. The right decision, but it was HER decision.

OTOH, I know a woman who is quite competent with, and carries, a 1911. She's also a former US Army AH-64 pilot. Some females are very mechanically apt, you know. She and her husband (also Army) both prefer their Kimber .45s over the M9s the Army trained them on, so that's what they both chose for off-duty carry, HD, and competition.

It's not at all wrong to point out to a new shooter that the revolver is, generally, simpler. It's not wrong to point out that one doesn't have to worry about spring tension after leaving a revolver loaded for extended periods.

It is wrong, IMO, to choose the weapon for them.

* I will sometimes instruct family members, but I think most of us have found that sometimes a lesson will stick better, or encounter less mental resistance, when given by a professional, detached third party.

And hiddenpiece, I also like and have several of both. Again, I am not bashing revolvers. I am simply saying that it's better to help a person make an educated, informed choice, than to tell them what to buy or to buy the gun for them.
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