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Old June 17, 2011, 06:45 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by MLeake
Any non-dress leather belt may work, but a lot of them won't work very well, no disrespect to Smaug intended.
None taken, M. It seems like you have a lot more experience carrying than I do.

Originally Posted by Garbock
I own a S&W 686 4 inch barrel - I shoot it a lot at the range, I really like this gun. It stays on my night table, loaded and ready to go. I own a S&W 686 3 inch barrel and I have used this as a carry weapon in the winter.
Just curious Gary: do you find the 3" is a lot easier to carry than the 4"? I've seen it written that a bit of barrel length here and there doesn't make much of a difference in carrying; it is mostly the cylinder or slide thickness and length of the grip.
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Old June 18, 2011, 09:48 AM   #27
Join Date: March 24, 2010
Location: Rochester, NY
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Yes - I do find it a lot easier to carry the 3 inch model instead of the 4 inch model. The 3 inch just seems to fit me better. I have only tried to carry the 4inch model 3 or 4 times. I'm relatively new to the handgun world - I owe 4 but for less than 2 years.
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Old June 18, 2011, 11:44 AM   #28
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3" vs 4"

I don't find much difference between the two, with regard to concealability and portability. That said, I haven't gone IWB with K, L-equivalent (GP100), or N frames, so I don't know if there's a difference there.

IWB, an inch of length typically makes little difference with autos, but sometimes it can - once you get to the point where any additional length starts affecting the break of your pants leg when you bend or sit. I'd imagine that would be true with revolvers, but I don't know where that cutoff would start for me.

OWB, an inch of barrel length will affect the length of the cover garment you will need, to keep the holster (or muzzle if using a slide type holster) out of view.

Grip and girth are usually more of a challenge, though. My usual OWB cover garments are long enough that the difference between a 3" or 4" barrel makes no difference.

Now, I do not even try to CCW my 6" 629. I could only do that with a 3/4 length or longer jacket, and it would make sitting down a challenge. For hunting, that's one of two reasons I like cross draw holsters for long-barreled revolvers. It's nice to be able to sit. It's also nice, if I'm carrying a slung rifle on my right shoulder, not to have the rifle banging into the revolver grip.

Going back to concealing a large, 3" or 4" revolver... I've done that using OWB holsters and either fairly heavily structured shirts in reasonably light fabrics (Hawaiian, Guayabara, etc) or else heavier shirts (Chamois, denim) or jackets. Again, I recommend pancake type holsters for revolvers larger than J frame, just because the additional leather fore and aft of the cylinder help blend its thickness into a smoother contour - kind of like the improved streamline of a longer boat hull.

Additional benefit of a pancake for a larger revolver is it spreads weight over more of the belt, and tends to pull down slightly less. This makes less difference with a higher grade of gun belt, but still could be a factor.

For concealment purposes, not unlike with autos, the grip contour and texture usually matters more than the barrel length. Square butts print more than round butts. Hogue type rubber tends to grab fabric more than does, say, a Pachmayr Presentation rubber, which grabs fabric more than does wood.

With a jacket, it makes little difference, unless it's a very light jacket. With a lightweight shirt, both contour and texture can make a huge difference.

Almost forgot, we haven't discussed shoulder holsters. I have one from that works pretty well at concealing a 4" N frame. With a vertical shoulder holster, the barrel length doesn't matter at all, until you get to the point that it's long enough to cause the holster end to bump the seat when you sit. The grip is a definite factor, though - too big or too square and it will poke into your shirt or jacket.

Well, that was long-winded... Sorry about that.
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Old June 26, 2011, 01:04 PM   #29
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IMHO, the absolutely most important piece of equipment in CCW (outside of the gun, of course) is a good stiff belt that is made for carrying a gun. It's stiff because of the lining - either extra layers of leather or some sort of plastic - and it distributes the weight of the holster around your entire waist so that you are not perpetually hiking your pants up. A sure giveaway that you're carrying!

A great place to buy such a belt is Galls in Lexington, KY. Do a search for "dress belts". They have a reinforced Blackhawk CQC belt on sale for $29.99.

I also am of the opinion that barrel length is less of a consideration than overall width of the pistol and the overall size of the grips. I found that revolvers any larger than a J-frame snubby were too thick through the cylinders to conceal well. Also most revolver have grips that are too big as well.

I nearly always use some sort of an IWB holster, as it conceals the handgun and holster better - it's inside the pants, of course, so the barrel part below the belt line is not exposed, which forces you to wear some sort of long shirt of jacket. But IWB carry seems to work better too because the gun is held tightly against your side, which keeps it from a tendency to slip down.

The one major problem with IWB or other strongside-waist carry is that it nearly impossible to access your weapon when riding in a car. If weather permits, a shoulder holster is good, but otherwise IWB crossdraw works well when seated in an automobile.

One more thing. When I started CCW I read all of the gun mags, and was convinced by all of the writers therein that if you weren't packin' a 1911 then you weren't really armed. So I spent a couple of years always hiking my pants up, so matter what kind of holster I used or how tight I pulled my belt. I finally realized that a .380 on my hip beat a .45 in my gun safe any day. I now carry a Bersa Firestorm .380. It's light and comfortable to carry, and it's been 100% reliable. It has a forged steel slide, and a frame made of the same aluminum alloy that was invented by the Japanese to make their Zero fighter in WWII - light weight but nearly as strong as steel. Better machining and assembly quality than a Walther PPK/S. Great little gun, and it will do it's part if you do yours.

Keep in mind that ANY handgun is a compromise as a defensive weapon. But it's like that old story when a lady asked the Texas Ranger, upon seeing that he was wearing his pistol, if he was expecting trouble. No, he said. If he was expecting trouble he would have been carrying his rifle.
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Old June 26, 2011, 04:18 PM   #30
Andy Taylor
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"For CC, any non-dress leather belt will work."

While technically true, a belt designed for carring a gun will be much more comfortable, and you will be more happy carrying your big gun and less likely to switch to a smaller one down the road.

My preferance is The Belt Man belts. combined with a Simply Rugged Sourdough Pancake.
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Old June 26, 2011, 05:47 PM   #31
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welcome to tfl btw.

I ccw a full size Glock in NV summers, you can certainly ccw any revolver in cooler weather.

I didn't read the whole thread as I've got to split, but if you're looking for a good concealable revolver, an SP101 .357 mag is pretty good imo
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ccw , revolver

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