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Old December 4, 2008, 07:51 PM   #51
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Accuracy out of a snub can be quite good

John is right about a snub being hard to shoot well, especially for a relatively inexperienced shooter. IMHO, I would recommend an XD 9mm Service (4" bbl.).
The .38s are actually easier to shoot well than a compact 9mm. They have better sights, actions and fixed barrels, adding to consistant accuracy. The .38 out of a quality snub like a 686 or 60 or SP101 in 2.2-3" is quite impressive, giving better groups than my 9 at both short and long-ranges. Plus you can use any bullet/powder combination you choose, making them very versatile. Check out a great snubby resource here

The .22 is just not versatile or powerful enough to be a serious defensive contender.
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Old December 4, 2008, 08:06 PM   #52
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Don't let the Bill Jordan worship get out of hand. He was an accomplished writer and apparently a quick draw, but the only shooting he was ever involved in was an accidental discharge where he killed the agent in the next office. He didn't tell that story much.

Any theory he had about 22 mag, 38 or 357 is just that, a theory no different than yours or mine.
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Old December 4, 2008, 08:23 PM   #53
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22 mag and 22's

The .22 is just not versatile or powerful enough to be a serious defensive contender.
I have to disagree with this statement. As always, just my opinion. there was also another name in the article I posted. It is Massad Ayoob. Guess we shouldn't take him seriously either. I certainly would NOT want to be shot with a 22 or 22mag. They sure do like to bounce around the inerds after hitting bone. Again just my opinion
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Old December 4, 2008, 10:29 PM   #54
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I vote for something in .32 H&R Mag
Oooh! I handled a S&W Airweight something-or-other in .32 H&R mag at the last gun show. If I hadn't been buying my G29 at that time, I think it would have followed me home. As it is, I might be looking for it the next time; it was beautiful. And only 400 bucks. Just could be my second revolver.
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Old December 4, 2008, 11:54 PM   #55
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My wife hates shooting my 38 specials. She is very sensitive to recoil. It's enough to make her not want to practice. She doesn't even like my super-light cowboy action loads from a heavy .357. They feel like a .22 to me. But her perception is everything. I will only buy what she would feel comfortable practicing with.
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Old December 5, 2008, 05:27 AM   #56
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If all a person can handle is a .22 Mag, then get one

They certainly can be used for defense, but I think there are many better choices out there that have low recoil. If the .22 is as much as she can handle, than that is obviously the best choice-better to hit with a .22 than miss with a .38, but I don't think too many people would have a problem with .38 target loads, for example.

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Old December 5, 2008, 05:30 AM   #57
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Air guns come to mind.
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Old December 26, 2008, 07:12 PM   #58
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Been on vacation - wanted to post the comparable velocities between a snub 22 mag and a 22 LR Semi-Auto. The S&W 351 PD has a 1 7/8 inch barrel. The Ruger Mark III has a 5 1/2 inch bull barrel:
351 PD
50 Grain Federal Game-Shok 850 FPS
40 Grain CCI Maxi-Mag HV TMJ 964 FPS
34 Grain Winchester Supreme HP 1135 FPS
30 Grain CCI Maxi-Mag HP+V 1214 FPS
30 Grain CCI Maxi-Mag TNT 1162 FPS
Mark III
36 Grain Federal HP 1052 FPS
36 Grain Remington Golden HP 1029 FPS
36 Grain CCI HP Mini Mag 1068 FPS
32 Grain CCI Stinger 1290 FPS
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Old December 26, 2008, 07:15 PM   #59
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I would take the 38 snub over either of the 22s.
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Old August 29, 2009, 10:52 AM   #60
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I just stumbled across this thread and I thought I would reignite the flame war. I am a 20 year LEO. One of my favorite carry guns is a light weight, J frame size revolver, but they all recoil horrifically with any +P loads. I recently purchased a Ruger LCR (and sold my S&W 340) since the LCR appreciably diminishes perceived recoil, though it is still rather stout.

I have also become convinced of the effectiveness of a 22WMR in a J frame size revolver for self defense purposes. The 22 WMR has near zero recoil which allows for quicker follow up shots. Additionally the the gun (S&W 351PD) carries seven rounds, as opposed to five.

One of the things I most like about the 351PD is that it allows the use of a a "lip grip", seen here.

Attempting to use a grip this small on any 38 is not only painful, but I have to readjust my hand after each round resulting in slow follow up shots.

Another benefit to the 22WMR is relatively less expensive ammo, and the ability to carry alot more of it...should that become necessary. To round out my "Bug Out" kit, I plan to buy one of these take down 22 Magnum rifles when they become available later this year:

I have no doubt that a .38 would be more effective, but I also feel that a 22WMR is effective enough. No one wants to get shot! And I think there are some positive advantages to 7 rounds of 22WMR as opposed to five rounds of .38 +P. I feel well armed with either.
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Old August 29, 2009, 01:12 PM   #61
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.22 vs .38

I have a walther P22 and use CCI stinger 30 grain HPs (1640fps) sometimes as my CCW piece. I like the relative power and low recoil. however, the sound is rather loud....

ALso, the light weight is a huge benefit....i feel that this gun is especialy popular with women due to the comfortable grip....recoil in my opinion is very controllable.

Last edited by Cougar 8000; August 29, 2009 at 01:27 PM.
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Old August 29, 2009, 01:25 PM   #62
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I also am of the opinion that a lady should carry what she has supreme confidence in using.
My GF has shot my large frame .40 some. She has also shot a 3" .38. Less than desirable COM groups with either. However, she can consistently place 7 shots in a 3" circle at 7 yds with her little .32 auto very quickly.
Our thinking on this is she's better off with 7 for sure. FWIW her backup is a .38 2 shot derringer.
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Old August 29, 2009, 01:50 PM   #63
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Funny I had a conversation with a person because I was carrying a 9mm adn they gave me so much hell saying that it wasn't powerful enough and it would probably just make the inturder mad if you shot him with it! I calmy replied in a joking manner but sternly that if its that bad then let me shoot them in the toe at 50 yrds cuz it probalby won't hurt! The point being not that i would actually shot at a innocent person but that if you are accurate with anything it is potentally lethal in your hands! I remember a while back that a 13 year old girl shot a ferrel hog out of a tree with a .177 caliber souped up bb gun! She killed it instantly with one shot! Now Im sure she had praticed alot with it, but the point being that you can't put down what someone carrys just because its small! I think personally You shoot best with what you pratice the most with! In my case this would probaly be my single six Ruger in .22 LR! cuz i can spend $15 dollars and get 500 rounds! Another reason i like to use this is cuz after practicing with the single six I move up to my SBH in .44 magnum and can shoot very good. Its very easy to practice with the same style gun and be very effecient when I move up to the Big calibers!
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Old August 29, 2009, 03:25 PM   #64
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Additionally the the gun (S&W 351PD) carries seven rounds, as opposed to five.
And the equivalent sized Taurus Model 941 carries eight rounds of .22 Magnum. It's the revolver I got for my recoil-shy daughter for self-defense in her home.
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Old August 29, 2009, 07:23 PM   #65
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My Wife is recoil sensitive...

.......due to back and neck problems. I got her a Taurus 605 and she did well with it, with .38s. At our first outing with it I had 1 .357 round left and let her try it to see what it felt like. She looked at me and said: " What? Only one?". If she's been around firearms before, she'll probably surprise you. My wife only likes revolvers and learned on a .357 when she was 12. I just had to change out those boot grips for a set of Pach Compacs so she had a full grip.
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Old August 29, 2009, 08:30 PM   #66
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Jeff Quinn of does not seem to agree with many opinions here about the .22 magnum handgun.

This is as good a time as any to address the .22 Magnum cartridge. Some regard the .22 Mag as a weak little cartridge, suitable only for ground squirrels and the like. That is a mistake. I have a very high regard for the little magnum. It offers very good penetration on flesh, and hits as hard as many larger calibers that are regarded as good choices to solve distasteful social encounters. I often recommend the .22 Magnum for a concealed carry or home protection gun for those who, for whatever reason, cannot handle the recoil of more powerful handguns. With very little recoil and muzzle rise, a good .22 Magnum can easily be used by most anyone to accurately place several shots rather quickly on target. Looking at the video demonstration by clicking the top picture to the right, the light recoil and easy controllability is readily apparent. In a fixed breach pistol such as the Automag II, the .22 Magnum really shines, giving higher velocities, and therefore more power, than revolvers of like size; this is attributable to the Automag's lack of the barrel/cylinder gap of the revolver design.

To illustrate this, I compared the velocities of the Automag II with those of two of my favorite .22 magnum revolvers; a Ruger Single Six Hunter with a seven and one-half inch barrel, and a Taurus Model 941 with a five inch barrel, using a few different .22 Magnum cartridges. The results are shown in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. The chronograph testing took place using a PACT chronograph, with an air temperature of 53 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Ruger 7-1/2 inch Taurus 5 inch AutoMag 6 inch
Winchester Supreme JHP 34 1506 1563 1650
CCI Maxi-Mag TNT 30 1519 1542 1671
CCI Maxi-Mag +V 30 1516 1596 1680
Winchester Dynapoint 45 1105 1204 1256
PMC Predator JHP 40 1215 1280 1412
Federal Game-Shok JHP 50 1035 1085 1235

As can be seen in the chart, the Automag II clearly displayed higher velocities than did the two revolvers, sometimes as much as a 200 fps advantage, with most loads giving about a 150 fps edge to the AMT over the long-barreled Ruger. The most impressive gains were shown with the heavier bullets. The chart shows higher velocities for the five inch Taurus than it does for the longer-barreled Ruger. This is no misprint, but is a clear indication of the relation between a good, tight barrel/cylinder gap and high velocity. Of course, the AMT with no barrel/cylinder gap outperformed both.

A little under 200 ft-lbs of energy in the Automag handgun. I think the 75 ft-lbs the .38 has on the .22 magnum might be offset by the ablity of the recoil sensative shooter to get off multiple rounds.

The big difficulty seems to be finding the .22 magnum autofeed handgun and wanting to carry a 5", or 6" barreled handgun. Short barrel ... I would think even the .38 is low level protection.

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Last edited by Hook686; August 29, 2009 at 08:44 PM.
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Old August 29, 2009, 08:34 PM   #67
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Dont underestimate the .22mag! Out of a rifle barrel it has the energy of a .45 ACP, out of a revolver its not a breeze either.
And boy, it does penetrate!

Thats from a 2'' revolver barrel, its a 40 grain JHP, penetrate 14''.


If you compare it with the .32 ACP I'll take the .22mag anyday.

.32ACP out of a pocket pistol:

.38 special also does not look oh-so good. (158 grain HP)

All pics and data from

Last edited by Moloch; August 29, 2009 at 08:41 PM.
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Old August 29, 2009, 08:40 PM   #68
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snubnose vs small semi-auto

I've owned snubnose revolvers (Ruger SP101 and LCR). I no longer own any snubbies. Currently, the only revolvers I own are 4", K-frame or bigger (S&W Models 18 and 29-8, and Ruger GP100).

However, I still own small semi-autos (Kahr PM-9, CZ75D PCR, SIG P239), along with full-size autos.

The reason I got rid of my snubnose revolvers is that I could never shoot them as well as I could shoot my small autos. This isn't to say I couldn't shoot them well; frankly, I shot the snubbies better than most people I'd see at the range. The problem is that I could shoot groups easily twice as tight with the small autos.

So, with a small auto, I get more hits, faster; I also have much faster reload capability.

The only advantage to the snub, IMO, is that its outline looks less "handgun-like" in a pocket hoster than does the outline of the small auto. Well, that and you have a wider range of ammo choices, without concern for cycling.

That said, my P239 and CZ PCR have never had a feed or ejection failure. The jury is still out on the Kahr.

However, for pure shootability, at least for me, the snubbie is far from optimal.

I haven't tried derringers, yet; I suspect snubbies are easier to shoot than those, at least.
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Old August 29, 2009, 08:45 PM   #69
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What about a Ruger SP101 DAO with a 3" barrel? No one will ever accuse it of being too light and when you get the DAO version the trigger is much better than the DA/SA version.

Here is a picture of one off GunsAmerica:

Edit: Just saw this thread was almost a year old. Oh well...
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Old August 29, 2009, 08:56 PM   #70
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38 special. What did she end up getting? Tim
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Old August 29, 2009, 08:59 PM   #71
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How did that hog get UP the tree in the first place?
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Old August 29, 2009, 09:06 PM   #72
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A lot of opinions here. I'll add mine. A S&W K or L frame DA revolver with 3-4" barrel loaded with 38+P personal defense loads is always a good choice.

For my money, it would be a model 65 (357), stainless steel, fixed sight revolver with (preferrably) 3" barrel and a set of CT Lasergrips. Concealable, manageable, and affordable. Quick almost nonexistant learning curve. Gotta remember, shooting on a regular basis aint cheap anymore. The Lasergrips are key!

Stoke it up/ stoke it down. Versatility personified .
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Old August 29, 2009, 09:08 PM   #73
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Lasergrips vs practice

I can tell you from experimentation, that while I really like some of the advantages lasers afford, it's very hard to see a laser in daylight conditions. I'm all for lasers, but don't neglect your iron sights or point-shooting skills.
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Old August 29, 2009, 09:46 PM   #74
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She doesn't need a gun....

If she can handle only the 22mag she might want to consider mace instead.
I'll readily admit that the mace will not be as effective as the 22mag however if the carrier is too timid to shoot a snub or a small 380 then she is probably better off with a cell phone or mace.

She'll just end up getting shot with her own 22 mag.

Last edited by MWark; August 30, 2009 at 12:50 AM.
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Old August 29, 2009, 11:39 PM   #75
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I suggested a snub nosed 38.
Hard guns to shoot well. Between the small size/light weight/short sight radius it's a lot of work (recoil & trigger pull & firm grip) & precious little payback (good, fast hits on target).

I HATE shooting small .38 revolvers, even with light loads. This is coming from a guy who has shot 200+ full power .44 Mag rounds in a single session and 1000 rounds of 10mm in a single day.

It continues to boggle my mind that people recommend these guns to new/novice shooters.
I too fail to understand people who have experience shooting S&W J-frames like the model 60 or the model 36 in .38 spl for a novice female shooter. Even with after market grips like Pachmayer grips to help control the gun, it is more difficult to control than a K-frame S&W .38spl with a 4" barrel.

Mlee's O.P. did not say whether this female was going to carry this proposed acquisition concealed or whether it would be a home defense weapon.

I would choose a handgun in .38spl over a handgun of about the same size in .22 magnum for personal defense.


I remember a while back that a 13 year old girl shot a ferrel hog out of a tree with a .177 caliber souped up bb gun! She killed it instantly with one shot!
I didn't know that hogs could climb trees!

Just noticed this is a ZOMBIE thread!

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