Time to make the "perfect" cold weather carry revolver
I love my S&W 65LS and have long thought the .357mag 3" K-frame the perfect carry revolver (at least for fall-early spring when clothing styles allow concealment of a bigger gun). However, .357mag has long been (always been) one of my favorite calibers, often my outright favorite, and my 65LS is my 1st .357mag. For sentimental reasons I want to keep it stock.
Stock is OK for CCW, but for my "perfect" CCW revolver, I want a bobbed hammer and probably the addition of a tritium dot night sight (at least the front dot, maybe both front and rears).
Since I don't want to cut up my 65LS, and I am carrying a lot more than I used to (I spend a lot more time in VA, WV and PA than I used to), I am considering buying a gun to take to a smith to do the transformation.
It would be nice if someone made a 3" K-frame .357mag as a base gun but that doesn't exist anymore. S&W stopped making K-frames a few years ago, the L-frame is noticeably beefier. Ruger stopped making a K-frame sized gun nearly 2 decades ago (the GP100 is more like the L-frame plus). Taurus makes K-frame sized (the "medium" frame) and even slightly smaller guns (the "compact" frame Tracker) in many calibers, but they start at 4". Used 3" Taurus revolvers are quite rare, and used 3" S&W revolvers are quite expensive.
So, unless I come across a great deal on a 3" used gun soon, I'll probably buy a new Taurus, which gives me a few options.
I like that the medium frame 65 and 66 and the compact frame 627 (the Tracker in .357mag) are set up for 7 rounds. That extra round gives it a little more firepower than my 6-shot J-frame sized Rossi 461, and the larger and heavier frame means I can use magnums without giving up as much control with quicker follow-up shots.
I don't like that the shortest barrel length is 4". This gives me two options: I can spend extra money (still well under what most used 3" S&Ws go for) and get it cut to 3", or I can put up with the extra unwanted inch and keep it at 4" and save that money for other mods or more ammo. Those of you who carry revolvers, how much will I actually notice that extra inch? I suspect it will make a big difference IWB (usually my favorite carry method), but now that I'm getting older I'm not as willing to put up with the relative discomfort of IWB with a larger gun. When I carry medium frame revolvers and the larger compact autos (like the SIG 229), I plan to usually go with a belt holster from now on. In that case, as long as the holster has an adequate cant, I suspect that the extra inch will pose little difference. However I have never carried this way to date so I am only guessing.
If I go with the 65 (fixed sights) or 66 (adjustable) it will be cheaper than the Tracker, but the Tracker is over 9oz lighter (28.8oz v. 38oz). The 65/66 will be easier to get aftermarket grips and it will be easier to find holsters that fit. One thing I don't like about the Tracker is the ports, not an issue if I cut down the barrel, but if I keep it at 4" I would have them and I don't like them in a defensive gun.
So, which way would you suggest? Also, does anyone have any carry suggestions when carrying a medium framed revolver (I haven't done it much, except around the house)? Last, any holster suggestions? What holster designs work better for belt carry with a medium frame revolver?
Last edited by chaim; September 26, 2012 at 09:31 PM.