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Old August 16, 2017, 07:08 AM   #1
Lohman446
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LCRX vs Airweight

Due to nature my morning run has gotten to be noticeably before sunrise and as such, rather dark. I knew this was coming, it does every year, and knew it was getting close as I was watching the sunrise during it last month. Normally about this time of year I retreat inside for my run or adjust it to evening but neither of those are the preferred method - so I have resorted to a "head" light.

Normally I do not carry when I run. Its a pretty desolate area and I always figured anyone who was specifically targeting me at that time of day was going to be successful anyways. Of course I still cannot figure out why I would be targeted.

My wife has urged me for some time to carry on those runs. A few bear sightings in the area (rare and most bears around here are going to be small), an increase in coyote activity, and (probably most concerning) a few pictures of cougars on game cameras within 10 miles or so are leaning me towards the idea that something would be better then nothing. Tow legged threats are of course a concern but for the most part I can deal with that. My NAA mini-revolvers seem to be.. well too mini. My SP101 and G29 seem to be a bit bulky for the task at hand.

I am looking at various belly band style holsters. My wife sent me several links to various G36's yesterday so I think it's getting to the "select something or I will" portion of the conversation. While I appreciate the thought I am not certain a G36 is really suited to my needs.

I have looked at the Ruger LCRX and Smith and Wesson airweight in .38 special. I know that the .38 special is less than idea for what we are discussing but I'm not going to fool myself about my desire to maintain proficiency with .357 rounds out of such a light weapon. I think that I can avoid excessive recoil, fire hard cast ammo for penetration, and have something that is better than nothing with these choices. Yes I prefer an external hammer and will live with its cons. I had considered some of the choices in .327 but am not impressed with the price and am not certain this would be a better choice for the intended use.

So verbose reasoning out of the way what are the pros and cons of the LCRX vs the Airweight? I am expecting I won't get a lot of people in the revolver forum telling me to just go with the G36 but you are more than welcome to include it in the discussion.
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Old August 16, 2017, 07:25 AM   #2
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Sadly, Smith and Wesson has a history of frame cracking with their Airweight revolvers. Not a huge number, but more than enough to create a level of worry.
If I were you, I carry one of the following: S&W model 640 or S&W model 36. Neither is a lightweight revolver, but neither is so heavy to slow you down on your run.

Hope this helps, and best of luck.
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Old August 16, 2017, 07:27 AM   #3
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I use a S&W 360 and would not change. Choice of holsters would be a belly band for a cross draw.
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Old August 16, 2017, 07:59 AM   #4
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If going the S&W route I would choose the 638 airweight, it give you the option of single action while shielding the hammer so there are less worries with the draw/hammer snagging. I think the Ruger has the better trigger in these small guns but that can be subjective to the shooter. I do agree with your wife, you should be ready to defend your self weather it be a rabies mad coon or wild dog pack looking for an easy meal, you never know what you will run I to when out and about.
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Old August 16, 2017, 08:11 AM   #5
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I don't have any experience with the LCR or LCRx. I do like the S&W 342 and the S&W 642 for carry. I've had stainless guns rust when they get drenched with sweat but the Airweight and Airlight have held up fine.
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Old August 16, 2017, 09:10 AM   #6
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If you have any desire to shoot .357 I'd go for the LCRx, it's a little heavier than the S&W Airlite's and seems better at taming recoil.

But for .38 only, go handle both and see what you like. I love my j-frames, but the LCR's I've looked at are pretty nice too.
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Old August 16, 2017, 09:11 AM   #7
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I am going to note that I appreciate suggestions on holsters as well - I am thinking of going small of the back on this because of its limited use and actually toying with one of the various smaller "fanny" backs and sewing in a holster. Concealment is not paramount. The various belly bands do have some noticeable appeal as well - for these I am leaning towards the crossbreed though am not certain how well they are going to hold up in this use.

Last edited by Lohman446; August 16, 2017 at 09:19 AM.
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Old August 16, 2017, 09:37 AM   #8
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I had a 3" LCRX for a short time. My main gripe was the transfer bar safety that rattled terribly. I got it on a trade thinking that it would make a great carry gun while out running due to its light weight, but that rattle just drove me crazy. It seems to be normal ( all the LCRx's that I've handled have it), but its definitely a design flaw in my mind.

I run with a Desantis bellyband and overall I'm happy with it. When I purchase another though it will definitely be the Crossbreed. The Desantis is not at all sweat resistant and retention is rather poor.
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Old August 16, 2017, 09:46 AM   #9
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I've had the LCR .357 and LOVED it. Alas, it got traded for something. True, it's not a range gun. 15 rds at the range was plenty for me, BUT the gun is quite accurate due to the very good trigger. I'll get another one someday. Get the LCR .357. For what you're describing, it'll meet the need.
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Old August 16, 2017, 10:01 AM   #10
Lohman446
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My understanding out of a short barrel the difference between .357 and .38 is not as great as one is often led to expect. My further understanding is if we are discussing a 300LB bear or a cougar that the bullet construction will mean more than the velocity it is fired at - especially with minimal velocity differences. I own and have shot a .357 SP101 enough to know that I have no desire to maintain proficiency with an even lighter .357 revolver.
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Old August 16, 2017, 10:28 AM   #11
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Either one in 38Spl will be fine so I'd go with which-ever fits your hand better. Now if you're thinking of a .357 version, then I'd say no-way to the Ruger. It's just too light to handle Mag. rounds(IMHO). Shot my sons and we both agree that 1 cylinder full was more than enough. In .357, the Smith 640 is a much better option for that. With it's added 8oz or so weight, .357 are certainly do-able(for me). I've found that the Hornady 135gr. Critical Duty rounds are extremely accurate in my 640, and not punishing at all.
And yes, there is a sig. difference in performance between 38Spl and .357, even in the snubs.

Last edited by springer99; August 18, 2017 at 06:20 AM.
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Old August 17, 2017, 08:29 PM   #12
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I own both. As noted earlier the rattle in the LCRX is a big deal. It bothers me as well when I'm hiking.
The LCRx in 38 special will be a little bit lighter than an airweight. But if you really want lightweight you should probably go with a 340 PD. Even though the barrel on the LCRx is the same length as the Smith. The Smith is a smaller gun overall. The frame and especially the trigger guard are quite a bit smaller.
Trigger wise the LCR has a better trigger. I think the Smith is slightly more comfortable to carry. Hope that helps


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Old August 18, 2017, 01:19 PM   #13
Lohman446
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I'm somewhat disappointed (or maybe relieved) to here the report on that rattle because I was trying to convince myself I could live with the LCR and go to the .327. That rattle pretty much takes that option out
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Old August 18, 2017, 03:51 PM   #14
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I sold my LCR because of the rattle. I actually was banned on another forum for mentioning it, which I thought was strange.
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Old August 18, 2017, 04:42 PM   #15
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Subjectively, the Smith & Wesson is a nice, "traditional" looking revolver. The Ruger, in comparison, is downright ugly.

Objectively (but still subjectively), the Ruger has a much better da trigger pull than any J-frame Smith.
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Old August 18, 2017, 05:02 PM   #16
Jim Watson
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I would go with an LCR. I don't want a hammer on that class of gun (I actually have a S&W M38 and it has not been fired a box of ammo single action in the 40 years I have owned it.) The Ruger has a very good factory DA and good factory grips.
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Old August 18, 2017, 06:01 PM   #17
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I'd say either is good to go. Do you want a poly frame or a aluminum frame is the biggest difference.
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Old August 18, 2017, 08:44 PM   #18
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I tried wearing a belly-band once while doing yard work. I was sweating like a little piggy and it wasn't a really hot day. So, no belly-band for me while doing anything active. Also, the larger the gun, the more flopping around when running. The weight of the gun is the biggest factor. If you can spare the coin, get an AirLite. A couple of oz makes a big difference in running.
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Old August 18, 2017, 11:29 PM   #19
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I've got three LCRs in different calibers. I carry them OWB, IWB, pocket holster and bellyband.

NO RATTLE.
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Old August 19, 2017, 06:29 AM   #20
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J-Frame S&W....you're going to run with it/carry it a heck of a lot more than you'll ever need to shoot it. Every once counts. If you ever want to sell it or upgrade, you'll get your money out of the S&W, not so with the Ruger.
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Old August 19, 2017, 08:45 AM   #21
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Not a revolver, but I use a LCP in a kydex IWB holster as a sweat/yard work gun. Light, compact, easy to clean. Not a great choice for bears and coyotes, but the noise might scare them away.
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Old August 21, 2017, 03:49 AM   #22
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Quote:
I'm somewhat disappointed (or maybe relieved) to here the report on that rattle because I was trying to convince myself I could live with the LCR and go to the .327. That rattle pretty much takes that option out
I'm familiar with the regular LCR in a few different chamberings. A lot of guns will make noise when shaken about but I haven't had any specific problems carrying an LCR. Is this more of an LCRX issue?

If your hammer-requirement is flexible, then the .327 really should merit further consideration. For any of its supposed drawbacks, it's six shots on a five-shot frame, power levels between 9mm and .357 magnum, and recoil more on par with a .38 +p. Even without considering the other .32-caliber ammo it will fire, it is a versatile weapon that is well-suited to the circumstances you describe.

Versus a J-frame in general, I find the LCR more comfortable to carry and more comfortable to shoot with equal ammo. The Smith and Wesson family has a lot of options prettier than an LCR but new ones stifle that advantage with an ugly lock hole.
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Old August 22, 2017, 10:59 PM   #23
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Lohman446

"My understanding out of a short barrel the difference between .357 and .38 is not as great as one is often led to expect. My further understanding is if we are discussing a 300LB bear or a cougar that the bullet construction will mean more than the velocity it is fired at - especially with minimal velocity differences. I own and have shot a .357 SP101 enough to know that I have no desire to maintain proficiency with an even lighter .357 revolver. "

357 Magnum is 400 fps faster than a 38 special +P in a snubnose revolver. That's HUGE! Watch the vid below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27wDLjY5JSs
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Old August 22, 2017, 11:16 PM   #24
leo96150
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I don't run, but I walk both before and after dark due to the desert heat. I have both an LCR and S&W Mod 40 in .38. The Ruger gets the assignment based on the better trigger and sweat resistance. My LCR has no rattle and I don't miss the hammer due to the superb DA trigger pull.

Besides protection against coyotes, dogs, and javelinas, I like the ability to make some noise if I get hurt.
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Old August 23, 2017, 04:23 AM   #25
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The LCR in 357 is something like four ounces heavier than the LCR in 38. My friend has the 357. I have the 38.

Given the extra weight, the 357 is not hard to control four either one of us. I actually had trouble controlling the lighter 38, due to my extremely large hands, but putting the slightly larger LCRx grips on it solved that problem.

My LCR is what I carried this summer. The light weight and excellent trigger make it an excellent carry piece, IMHO.

My Airweight is my back-pocket piece for hiking. I prefer my LCR for most applications, but the Airweight sure does fit perfectly in the back pocket of jeans (which is a good method if you know you're not going to be sitting down).
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