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Old December 9, 2012, 12:37 PM   #26
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 7,478
I strongly recommend against choosing a lightweight, 5-shot snubby revolver for a beginning shooter.

Contrary to internet public opinion, snubbies are among the most difficult guns to shoot. Although they are excellent and a lot of fun for experienced shooters, the short sight radius, (often) vestigial sights, heavy trigger pull and strong recoil make them a poor choice for someone who hasn't already learned to shoot on more forgiving guns. The short barrel length also tends to get in the way of a newbie learning good muzzle control. The heavy DA trigger pull makes it difficult to hold the gun steadily on target while pulling the trigger, and the short sight radius magnifies minor sighting errors. The brisk recoil tends to create very stubborn flinch patterns in new shooters -- and yes, this stubborn flinch tends to happen even to those who enjoy the recoil sensation. Those who don't enjoy the sensation of brisk recoil from a light little gun often practice less than they should. All together, these factors tend to create a painfully steep learning curve that just doesn't encourage the beginner to do well or to keep practicing.

Also: after more than a decade on a busy range, I have never met a healthy adult woman who could not be taught how to rack a slide -- which is a matter of technique, not strength. I have met many women who could not be taught to pull a heavy DA trigger (or who couldn't do it while holding the gun steady) -- which is a matter of strength, not technique. This means that if hand strength is a genuine issue, a revolver may be a worse choice than an appropriately sized semi-auto.

If she has the hand strength to manage the heavy DA trigger pull and wants a revolver, I recommend she starts on a mid-size (not snubby!) steel revolver with .38 ammunition.

If she prefers a semi-auto, I recommend she starts on a mid-size, mid-weight 9mm with a consistent trigger pull (not DA/SA).

Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
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