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Thread: Self defense hand gun- revolver or semi auto?

  1. #1

    Self defense hand gun- revolver or semi auto?

    I'm looking to get a new hand gun, along with renewing my CCP.

    I liked my .380 because I could carry in my front pocket, very convenient. It just jams a lot, not reliable.

    I'll be taking it backpacking and things like that so I'm looking for the larger caliber.

    I've thought of a snub nosed revolver or a semi auto that carries 6 because of overall size.


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  3. #2
    While wheel guns are currently not the flavor of the month I'm a big fan... they are very reliable and extremely accurate. If we are punching holes in paper a revolver will out preform an automatic every time, which makes them really fun to target shoot. When backpacking I often carry a S&W Model 66 (.357).

  4. #3
    Yeah that is nice to have a gun you know won't jam and you can rely on when you need it

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  5. #4
    "six for sure", an old saying, is your answer

  6. #5
    Any recommendations on where you shop and buy your guns these days?

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  7. #6
    I'm a big fan of buying what you want off the internet and having it shipped. The fee is usually only $25 or so but you can and a ton on tax and retail.
    beefcake. BEEFCAKE!

  8. #7
    Also surprised to hear a revolver for a carry weapon. I've always found then too bulky for carry. At least the few I've tried. My Beretta 92fs never jams and I hardly ever clean it. I've recently been looking at some small, light weight pistols for a new carry.
    beefcake. BEEFCAKE!

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Sombeech View Post
    I liked my .380 because I could carry in my front pocket, very convenient. It just jams a lot, not reliable.
    FYI- if your gun jams something is not correct. About 90% of the time it's the clip. Often it's the ears at the top of the clip need to be bent in or out slightly so the bullet feeds properly.

  10. #9
    First of all, I personally prefer to carry a snub nose revolver. My personal and favorite carry gun is my S & W Model 442. It is ultra reliable and all the firepower that I hopefully will ever need.

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    But I realize that 5 wimpy rounds of 38 Special aren't cool for some and so I'll try to give you some things to consider.


    • Ultra Reliable--deferred maintenance is ok and will most likely not have any affect on reliability.

    • Can carry concealed without holster with the Barami Hip Grip and similar products. You simply slip your gun inside your waistband and hook it over your belt. No need for a holster, but that is always an option:

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    • Weight--Snub nosed revolvers weigh considerably less than a semi-auto. Ruger LCR 13.5 oz. VS. Glock 26 at 21.71 oz. May not seem like much, but if carried all day everyday, it can make a difference.

    • Simple to operate--There are no safeties to manipulate, the same trigger pull everytime (in double action) and no wondering if there is a round in the chamber or not. You simply aim (or point) and pull the trigger. That's it.

    • Is not picky with ammo--Revolvers are not picky about which brand of ammo or bullet you load into it. Sure, it might have some affect on accuracy, but will not affect functionality of gun whatsoever.

    • Reloading Ammo--If you like to reload ammo, it is more simple to reload for a rimmed case like the 38 Special than a non rimmed case such as 9mm or .40 cal.


    • Limited capacity. I personally feel that 5 rounds of 38 Special is plenty, but I realize there are many that will only feel comfortable with the ability to spray and pray with their high capacity mag loaded to the hilt.

    • Coolness factor. Stupid, I know, but for some it is an issue.

    Semi-Auto Pros:

    • Larger Capacity. Even the smallest carry guns will hold 6 or more. Most reasonable sized guns will hold 8 to 12.

    • Coolness Factor. They ARE really cool looking.

    Semi-Auto Cons:

    • Reliability. If your gun doesn't go bang every time you pull the trigger, you could compromise the safety of yourself and others. There are many factors involved with semi auto reliabilty, but the largest factor is the quality of the gun. You usually get what you pay for in a semi auto. Cleanliness, bullet shape, ammo velocity, the way you grip your gun, and many other reasons can keep your gun from going bang when you need it to.

    • More complex. Semi autos come in many varieties and configurations. You have Single Action, Double Action, Double Action Only, and Striker Fired (Glocks, et al) guns to choose from. And you have different "conditions" on how to carry the various configurations. Single actions (Colt 1911 style, et al) are meant to be carried in Condition 1 (cocked and locked) which is: round in chamber, loaded mag, hammer cocked, safety on. Most will not feel comfortable carrying a gun in condition 1 and with good reason. The other three configurations can be carried in Condition 2 which is: round in chamber, loaded mag, hammer down, which is recommended for most folks. Side note--Condition 3 is: chamber empty, loaded mag, hammer down (have to pull slide to chamber a round and cock gun)

    • More practice. Because of the various "conditions" and configurations of semi autos, it is recommended to practice more than with a revolver.

    • Picky with ammo. Some guns can be very finicky about which brand of ammo you buy for it.

    • Maintenance. Lint, dirt and other foreign material can affect the reliability of a semi auto.

    • Holster needed. Unless you have a handgun that you can carry in your pocket, you will need a good quality holster to carry it comfortably.

    A few things to consider before you buy:

    • Caliber. Big caliber bullets in small guns are unpleasant to shoot. If your gun is unpleasant to shoot you will likely not practice very much. 9mm's and 38's with the right bullets are plenty adequate.

    • Trigger Pull. Try to find a dealer that will let you dry fire the gun you are interested in a few times to test the trigger. If the gun has a horrible trigger pull, it will affect your accuracy and won't be as fun to shoot because you can't hit the target.

    • MOST IMPORTANT Quality. I would also NOT buy a cheap semi auto or revolver for a carry gun. Spend the extra money for quality, you'll never regret it.

    Like I said, I like revolvers. If I were in the market right now I would really consider this one:

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    Ruger LCR in 38 Special +P. Although I don't know if it has a hip grip available and Ruger's aren't known for their smooth triggers.

    You really can't go wrong with a Smith and Wesson revolver, they typically have the best trigger for the money.

    For semi autos, I really like Glock and Sigarms, but there are many quality gunmakers out there.

  11. #10
    Thanks Dave. I have been thinking of a snub nose revolver for some time.

    With those models shown, what is the safety mechanism, since I don't see the hammer?

  12. #11
    S and W makes three different configurations of snubbies.

    There is the traditional double action/single action exposed hammer that most are familiar with. You can either cock the hammer with your thumb and fire it with a short crisp trigger pull or with the hammer down, pull the trigger in a long, semi heavy, smooth (hopefully!) pull until the hammer falls and fires the round. This style is not really optimal for concealded carrry because the hammer could get caught on your clothes.

    They also make a snubbie (like the one on the left in the picture above with the two with hip grips) that the hammer is protected to keep from snagging on clothes but functions exactly like the one above.

    The third, and most popular style is the internal hammer design. There is no way to manipulate the hammer with your thumb. The only way to fire the gun is with a long semi hevi, smooth trigger pull every time.

    That is the only safety mechanism on a revolver. If you get a chance to dry/live fire one, you will see that it is very safe.

  13. #12
    I guess I should also mention that there are snubbies in 357 Mag, which could be more appealing for the backpacking aspect. You could still safely shoot 38 Special in it as well. The only downsides are they are slightly bigger and the 357 Mag round can be punishing to shoot in a snubbie...

    Also, nelson mentioned buying online. There are many stores selling online now, auctions too. They are a little more of a pain because you have to have it sent to an FFL dealer nearby and it usually takes a while to actually receive it. Not like ordering from for sure.

    I recently purchased a CZ 912 sort of online. I looked it up on and they have a list of local FFL dealers. I called one and he told me that he would gladly make the transfer from Cheaper Than Dirt, but he asked if I would mind if he could try to match the price. He was able to and so he made the profit which worked out excellent. Now I have someone that I know and trust.

  14. #13
    My daughters boyfriend, Sean, works at Impact Guns there in Ogden. Tell him you're a friend of mine and he'll take good care of you. 2710 South 1900 West, Ogden.

    Are we there yet?

  15. Likes Sombeech liked this post
  16. #14
    While I have my wife carry a hammerless revolver for her CCP, I carry a Taurus PT-145. It's dimensionally smaller than a 1911, has a 10 round double-stack magazine and feels so "right" in my hand that I'm very accurate when I aim reflexively. If you're considering a revolver, I'd go with a .357. .38's when you're looking for protection from 2-legged predators and the .357 option when you're more likely to encounter predators of the 4-legged variety.

  17. #15
    I (well, technically it's my wife's)have a nice Sig P238 .380 that feels and shoots just like a miniature 1911 that carries very well and is extremely light in a holster. Sig also makes the P938 which is nearly identical but is a 9mm and slightly longer barreled, both of these guns are quite accurate for such small frames. I also own a .357 snubbie that I carry sometimes, it is not nearly as accurate (in my hands) as my Sig but it has a low profile hammer and you can't beat the simplicity of a wheel gun. If you get a snubbie I would recommend a steel one because the superlight aluminum and titanium ones kick like a mother with .357 loads in them.

    As far as where to shop, I've gotten good deals at Smith and Edwards,,, and Kent's shooting supply in Ogden has even price matched online prices for me and they will let you fondle every gun in their case for free!

  18. #16
    Why would you ever get a permission slip from the government to carry a handgun? Our friend Curt Oda has reintroduced HB260 which will essentially allow conceal carry (Utah unloaded) for any non-felon and non-Superdell over 21. Hopefully the legislature will have the balls to override the lib governor Herbert's veto pen this time around.
    Just where is it I could find bear, beaver, and other critters worth cash money when skint?

  19. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Sombeech View Post
    I've thought of a snub nosed revolver or a semi auto that carries 6 because of overall size.

    Backpacking implies maybe for critters...

    My reccy is a 3" S&W in .357mag. Some of the ultra lights handle well in that size and carry 7 shots.

  20. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    While wheel guns are currently not the flavor of the month I'm a big fan... they are very reliable and extremely accurate. If we are punching holes in paper a revolver will out preform an automatic every time, which makes them really fun to target shoot. When backpacking I often carry a S&W Model 66 (.357).
    Every time?

    Olympic rapid fire shooters all use revolvers, eh? Ha ha.


    I'd be curious to know...when was the last time a revolver won a medal at the Olympics...

    Anywhoo....25 yards at the Armory. Bring your revolver. I'll bring my auto. Ha ha.

    I do need the trigger time...let's shoot!
    Last edited by Brian in SLC; 02-11-2015 at 08:02 PM. Reason: double guote

  21. #19
    Kinda late to the party for comments.
    I don't worry too much about the two legged kinds of problems. So my guns take on a little larger caliber. After many trips to Alaska and riding horses into remote area of Yellowstone and other Northern States, I'm mostly packing for Bear.

    I realize that most pistols are not going to stop a bear fast enough to save me. So I guess I've always been more about the noise and muzzle blast. The few times I've had to discharge a firearm. A good loud bang has been more effective at sending a bear scurrying.

    When I first started spending time in bear country, I was told to carry something that started with a 4 and ended with a Mag. Like many, I quickly grew tired of packing 10 lbs of 44 magnum. So I bought Tarus Titanium 41 Mag. The gun is 22 oz. Holds 5 shots. It has traveled a lot with me as my bear protection. Since that time others have come out with titanium 44s that are lighter.

    The downside is I can't stand to shoot it with out ear protection. It is downright painful to be near when I pull the trigger. Which I hope the bears find to also be too loud to close to. I only practice with it at the range with ear protection.

  22. #20
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    We're all here, because we ain't all there.
    When I bring a gun along on a ride, I use a shoulder holster, dropped over the pommel.
    Mule riding caliber of choice--44mag or 454 Casull.
    454 is an ear ringer, must wear hearing protection, barrel is ported.

    Back on track, I prefer a semi for personal defense.(1911 guy)
    Although, I'm guessing the percusion from shooting a 454 indoors, would kill everyone in the room
    I'm not Spartacus

    It'll come back.

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