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Old 02-15-2018, 06:51 PM
Whitwabit Whitwabit is offline
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Default My First Revolver For Carry

Ok .. looking at S&W and not interested in any other make .. so please limit remarks to S&W revolvers .. Thank You !!

Haven't owned a revolver in 30 some years .. have a group of autos most in 40S&W .. but no revolvers ..

So which one or two .. and why ?? What would you choose ??

Something in 357/38 +P .. DA/SA !!

So what are you carrying ??
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:21 PM
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I carry a 4" Model 29, and I highly recommend it both as a CCW and as a "fun at the range" gun.

My First Revolver For Carry-m29-3-jpg

EDIT: I just realized you wanted a 38/357. I have been very underwhelmed with my 686 Perf Center, so I don't know what I'd recommend. I'd probly keep my eyes peeled for a M19 snubby or a 3" M13. If you are buying a new gun, my recommendation would definitely not be a S&W.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:28 PM
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Can't beat the model 638. Lightweight, reasonable power and can easily conceal in both the pocket and inside the waist.
Model 638 | Smith & Wesson
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:28 PM
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I like the 640 Pro for everyday carry. I do have a 3" 686 as well but have not bought a holster for it yet.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:32 PM
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A current model 60 (2 or 3 inch) or 649 would give you .38/.357 in a steel j frame.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr. K View Post
A current model 60 (2 or 3 inch) or 649 would give you .38/.357 in a steel j frame.
Agreed......

Model 60-15....shoots like a laser and easy to carry IWB.

While I wouldn’t recommend a steady diet of .357, .38 and +p are absolutely no issue.

Many folks consider this a “mini”-686.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:48 PM
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My daily carry is a 640 Pro Series .357 magnum with .357 125 gr. Hormany Critical Defense. I have No issues shooting or practicing with .357 factory loads.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:49 PM
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On the assumption you want to carry an easily concealable revolver your choices are a J frame or...........nope, that's it. Under easily concealable that's all there is. After that you have to do some homework. I wouldn't own a .44 Magnum, never mind carry one, unless I stoked it with .44 Special cartridges but, even then, it's a tank. Not my idea of all day carry but, obviously, we have friends that disagree with me (see above).

Next is a short barreled M686 or M66. Or M986 is you want a 9mm revolver to accompany your 9mm pistols. The 686 is called Deluxe, I think, and has a 3" barrel. The 66 has a 2.75" and the 986 maybe a 2". I can't recall for sure offhand. But after J frames that is what I consider to be possible concealed carry revolvers.

Since you said "carrying" that's where I would go - except I really like older, 2" K frames for daily carry and that's what I am carrying today. I don't use .357 Magnum for self defense; over penetration is one reason. I think .38 Special will suffice. But if you get a .357 you can load .38s so you're good to go there, anyway.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:52 PM
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I carry a 642-1 and that's what I would recommend if you didn't want a SA capability. Inexpensive, readily available, and has carry versatility.

If you must have SA, then I'd suggest a 649 or 638. Snag-free carry, but you can cock the hammer. The 638 would be a good choice if you think pocket carry would be an option. Some people can pocket carry steel J-frames, but it's going to be easier with an airweight. If you can afford both, get one steel and one airweight. You can use the steel one for regular practice (or carry in a belt holster) and the airweight for carry and occasional practice.

Last edited by ContinentalOp; 02-15-2018 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:55 PM
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686 plus is a great choice as well
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:03 PM
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I don't care for the J frames. My choice is a 2 1/2" model 66. I load it with the Gold Dot .357 short barrel load or Winchester Silvertips. The Gold Dot .357 is just a touch faster than their +P .38 Special load.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:07 PM
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Most folks think J frame these days when it comes to a carry revolver. And if pocket carry is what you want, then a J frame makes sense.

But, back "in the day", men carried K frames concealed on belt holsters, and did so quite successfully. 6 shots instead of 5, more user friendly grip, better DA trigger pull, and overall better "shootability" were the benefits. .357's out of any J frame are a handful. Much more controllable in a K frame, and despite what some think, there is a real difference in stopping power between a 38spl and a full house .357. The extra slight increase in weight? Some are more sensitive than me I guess, but I have never considered the added weight of a K frame in a well designed holster / belt to be an issue. In a new gun, the 2 3/4 inch 66 looks good. Plenty of older, used choices out there as well. For years I carried a 4 inch 66, or a 4 inch 586 in both shoulder and belt holsters, concealed, without issue. I enjoyed the confidence they gave me to project reasonable power (357 mag) with better accuracy at distance and speed, compared to a J frame. Its not always just about the mythical 2.5 shots at 10 feet in 4 seconds that some base their carry choices on.

Just my opinion, of course..

Larry

Last edited by Fishinfool; 02-15-2018 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:18 PM
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Depending on your hand size and what grips fit you best, either a Model 19 or 66 with 2.5" barrel, or a Model 15 with 2" barrel. I prefer the 15 because a .38Spl is probably adequate, and Rogers/Safariland grips work very well for me even with the square butt of the 15. However, you clearly have a larger choice of grips with the RB 19 or 66, and a larger choice of ammo with the .357.

It appears to me from my tests with a chronograph that a .38Spl revolver gives slightly higher velocities with .38Spl ammo than a .357 revolver does, so if you're sure that you are going to use .38Spl ammo, you are probably better off with the 15.

Of course, if you can fit a 4" barrel revolver on or in your belt, all three revolvers are available that way, too, with some ballistic advantage.

Last edited by Model520Fan; 02-15-2018 at 08:20 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:51 PM
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Default My First Revolver For Carry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Backlighting View Post
Can't beat the model 638. Lightweight, reasonable power and can easily conceal in both the pocket and inside the waist.
Model 638 | Smith & Wesson
My vote would be for the 638 as well. Either the current 638-3, or if you're willing to do a little hunting; you could possibly find the older pre-lock 638-2, which is also Plus-P rated.

The photo below shows my personal 638-3, upper right; and my 638-2, lower left.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:21 PM
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If you are thinking about an Airweight, the 637 has both SA/DA capability and hasn't been mentioned.

Of course, you can't go wrong with a stainless steel Model 60 in either 2" or 3" as others have brought. Kinda hard to pocket carry the 3" though. LOL!

If I was going to buy a k frame for daily carry, I would get the new Model 66 with the 2.75" barrel. My reasoning is that it would be replaceable if I had to use it in a self defense situation and the gun was confiscated as evidence. I don't carry my older k frames for that reason.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:38 PM
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J-Frames are my favorite. While the all steel are most fun to shoot the Airweights are great for pocket carry. I carry Two 442 airwieghts most of the time and don’t mind shooting them. If you can try a few, that would be best. If your not worried about pocket carry the all steel would work. I don’t care about shooting single action so I like the DA only gun.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:40 PM
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I carry a 342PD. Mine is a first year of issue. Weighs in at 10.8oz unloaded and hides really well. Took a little time to get used to the recoil. You don't find many for sale.

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Old 02-15-2018, 09:45 PM
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I’ve been carrying some sort of J frame for almost 50 years. My current EDC is the 340PD loaded w/+P b/c .357 is too hot for accurate follow up shots, for me anyway. You can pocket carry these little guns, or put bigger grips on and belt carry if that is your preference.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:06 PM
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If you are looking for a .38/.357 with SA/DA capability I would suggest the 2.5" 19/66 or the 3" 13/65. A 3" 65-5 Ladysmith offers all the best features of the 65 and 66. The 2.5" 19 is probably the easiest to find for a reasonable price.

In a .38 only the 10/64 with a 2" or 3" barrel is a good choice. I carry a 2" 64-2 for work and like it a lot. The 2" 64 is much more accurate than you would expect for a snubnose.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitwabit View Post
Ok .. looking at S&W and not interested in any other make .. so please limit remarks to S&W revolvers .. Thank You !!

Haven't owned a revolver in 30 some years .. have a group of autos most in 40S&W .. but no revolvers ..

So which one or two .. and why ?? What would you choose ??

Something in 357/38 +P .. DA/SA !!

So what are you carrying ??
If it's been 30 years I would stay away from the Airweights. They're just not a lot of fun at the range. Any K/L frame snub is much easier to shoot. Get the light J-frame as your second revolver.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:44 PM
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Although it's DAO only, I'm never without my M&P 340. However, since Massad Ayoob has more credibility than I'll ever have, I'll pass along why he carries a M&P 340.

"S&W M&P340 revolver simply has a balance of attributes I can’t find in anything else, including the fact that its shape makes it come out of my pocket faster than any other type of backup gun.”

What impressed the hell out of me with the M&P340, however, were its sights. The front sight is the humongous, glowing night sight that XS Sight Systems calls “The Big Dot.” In fast, close work, even in the dark, it lets you get indexed on your target sooner than anything else you’ll find atop a J-frame revolver. And, what really sold me, the rear sight is an equally humongous square notch. This allows a proper sight picture if there’s time, and pretty much guarantees me 25-yard headshots. The best of both worlds"
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:46 PM
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[IMG][/IMG]I find that I carry my model 10 snub nose more than anything else. It’s super accurate. Pretty concealable. K frame fits my hand really great. Not too light. Not too heavy. I hope to find another one just like it... so I’ll have two. Then look for another.
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:57 PM
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Against which predators do you feel the greatest potential need to defend yourself?

In the summer when there are more reports of big four-legged critters nearby I have a 640 Pro in a pancake holster at 4 o'clock and an M&P 340 in my left front pocket. Both are filled with Barnes lead-free 140gr .357s because of all the ammo I've tried that's the one where POA and POI are the same from both Centennials, plus there are no hammers to snag on anything.

As an aside, and with a generous acknowledgment to Mr. Ayoob's talents, I don't ever plan to attempt head shots a quarter of a football field away.

This time of year I replace the 640 with a 940 full of Hornady 115gr Critical Defense, and if I'm going deep into the woods I'll also fill my 3" 547 with the same ammo and stuff it into a cross-draw rig (my winter garb takes away the pocket option).

Best of luck with your decision.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:11 AM
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I guess I will offer my 2 cents worth, Model 19/66 snub. I have carried them for 10+ years concealed in an Enhanced Pancake holster from Lobo.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:22 AM
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If I could have only one .357/.38 (or my first) it would be a...... a 4" L-frame 686; prefer round butt, and adj sights but would be ok with a fixed sighted 681..... Spegel grips. Wad-cutters and shot shells to full bore .357

In blue the 586/581 are GTG but stainless is easier to care for in a general purpose/utility/field gun.

A 4" L-frame can be carried concealed..... but.........for every day concealed carry;

I prefer a K-frame..... 3" 65/13 or 66 ( only a few hundred 3" 19 ever made) ..... but

That said a 2 1/2 inch 19 or 66 is also good and a 4" is doable
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:43 AM
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I always pocket carry my 442 with SGD +P 135gr
My First Revolver For Carry-dscf1725-jpg

But for .357 I love my 640-1!

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Old 02-16-2018, 11:45 AM
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And don't forget about the Kimber K6S - it's got 6 rounds in a gun that's pretty much the same size as the J-frame 640. 2" or 3" barrel, too.
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:18 PM
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He did specify S&W only; I prefer the 2.5-3" K's over the J's, they aren't as small but my ability to get hits is so much better with them I'll deal with the extra size.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:31 PM
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442 belly gun
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:51 PM
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My 2.1" Mod 60 is splendid. It has the XS tritium front sight in .357 Mag. My BUG for work is the rare bird 638 2.5" bbl, also with the same front sight as the 60.
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Old 02-16-2018, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitwabit View Post
Ok .. looking at S&W and not interested in any other make .. so please limit remarks to S&W revolvers .. Thank You !!

Haven't owned a revolver in 30 some years .. have a group of autos most in 40S&W .. but no revolvers ..

So which one or two .. and why ?? What would you choose ??

Something in 357/38 +P .. DA/SA !!

So what are you carrying ??
IMHO, THERE ARE TWO REVOLVERS THAT WOULD FIT YOUR CRITERIA, AND SERVE YOU VERY WELL. I OWN BOTH OF THEM, AND I CARRY EITHER ONE OF THEM, OR BOTH OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME, AS THE SITUATION WARRANTS...........

THE FIRST ONE IS A 2 1/2", M686+. IT CARRYS 7 ROUNDS OF .38 SPL / .357 MAG. THAT EXTRA ROUND COULD END UP SAVING YOUR LIFE, ONE DAY. THE WEAPON IS EASILY CONCEALED, AND I CARRY IT IN A CROSS DRAW BELT HOLSTER. IT IS A VERY VERSATILE WEAPON, THAT CAN SERVE IN A SD / HD ROLE, AS WELL AS ON THE RANGE--WHERE IT IS SURPRISINGLY ACCURATE. ITS VERY RELIABLE, AND WILL HANDLE EVEN A STEADY DIET, OF THE HOTTEST .357 FACTORY LOADS.....

THE SECOND ONE IS A M642-1. THIS IS ESSENTIALLY A POCKET PISTOL, DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR SELF DEFENSE. IT CARRIES 5 ROUNDS OF .38 SPL+P. THE M642-1, HAS NO INTERNAL LOCK, AND CAN STILL BE PURCHASED BRAND NEW. I CARRY IT IN A POCKET HOLSTER....

MINE IS EQUIPPED WITH A CRIMSON TRACE, LASER GRIP. THE MODEL THAT I FAVOR IS THE LG-405. THIS MODEL FEATURES A MOLDED IN AIR CHAMBER, HIGH ON THE COVERED BACK STRAP, THAT IS EFFECTIVE IN REDUCING FELT RECOIL. I LEARNED THE VALUE OF A LASER EQUIPPED J-FRAME, FROM MASSAD AYOOB, MANY TEARS AGO, IN A 2 DAY TRAINING SEMINAR......

I CARRY SPEER, GOLD DOT, 135 GR, .38SPL+P, FOR SHORT BARRELS, IN BOTH OF THESE WEAPONS. ITS A TRIED AND TESTED ROUND, WITH A PROVEN TRACK RECORD. TWO 6 ROUND BIANCHI SPEED STRIPS, AFFORD A TOTAL RELOAD OF BOTH WEAPONS, SHOULD THE NEED ARISE.......
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Old 02-16-2018, 03:38 PM
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Thanks to everyone with their suggestions !!

Have some investigating to do now .. and need to go to the range and see if they have any to rent and do some shooting ..
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:37 PM
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...

THE FIRST ONE IS A 2 1/2", M686+. IT CARRYS 7 ROUNDS OF .38 SPL / .357 MAG. THAT EXTRA ROUND COULD END UP SAVING YOUR LIFE, ONE DAY. THE WEAPON IS EASILY CONCEALED, AND I CARRY IT IN A CROSS DRAW BELT HOLSTER.

...
Which holster do you use for your 686?
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Old 02-16-2018, 08:02 PM
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Which holster do you use for your 686?
I DON'T REMEMBER THE MODEL NAME. IT'S A LEFT HAND, OWB, CROSS DRAW, BELT HOLSTER......

LEFTY, @ BELL CHARTER OAK CUSTOM HOLSTERS, MADE IT FOR ME. THE LEATHER, FIT, FINISH, AND WORKMANSHIP IS SUPERB......

HE'S ONE OF OUR FORUM MEMBERS, AND A GREAT GUY ! ! ! HE CAN MAKE YOU WHATEVER YOU NEED........
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Old 02-16-2018, 08:21 PM
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I guess I will offer my 2 cents worth, Model 19/66 snub. I have carried them for 10+ years concealed in an Enhanced Pancake holster from Lobo.
Attachment 325970
Iíve got a similar pair but donít carry them often.

Great shooters at the range though.

19-5 and 66-4
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:07 PM
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The 49 or 649 all steel J-frame meets my needs quite well when pocket carried in a Mika pocket holster. I do not find the weight bothersome.
I have tried some of the 'lighter' alloy version J-frames , and although I like the weight, I do not like the recoil that I experience. So, I stick with the steel versions.
Mine are .38 Spl. and provide SA/DA options. Both are deadly accurate and the choices of ammunition abound.
Best of luck in your search. Try renting a couple if that option is available to you.
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:37 PM
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I carry one of my model 60s everyday. For me they are a perfect carry gun.
Looks like we may live close to each other.
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:49 PM
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Just got back from a day at the range, and the time spent there has just solidified my carry gun. It's a model 19-3, 2Ĺ-inch barrel fitted with Hogue, Kingwood grips.

I have occasionally carried either a Ruger SP101 with a 3-inch barrel or a Ruger LCP as my daily carry guns...and I took both of them with me to the range along with the model 19.

No comparison. The model 19 won hands down, not only in superior accuracy, but also in comfort.

Just my two cents worth, but my model 19 will be seeing more daily carry from now on.
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:50 PM
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I would also recommend a 2.5 to 3 inch 19/66 as primary and a 442/642/340 as a secondary pocket gun.

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Old 02-16-2018, 10:59 PM
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Default Scandium j frame

I carry a 340PD all day long in a pocket..easiest pocketable, shoot able, firearm I have found. 11.4oz of fire breathing fantastic!
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:22 PM
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As soon as my permit comes, the 640 Pro will be on my right hip & the 60 3" will play backup in my purse. A 686+ 3" will be my hiking companion.

With a little range time, the J frames are great little shooters. For me, the ease of shooting the all steel models more than makes up for a few extra ounces in weight.
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:10 AM
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My first S&W revolver was a model 27 3 1/2".

My second S&W was a model 66 4"....

Life jest kept getting better and better from there on out.


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Old 02-17-2018, 01:40 AM
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Whatever you get, I would suggest having someone proficient give it a check up to make everything is kosher, especially if buying modern production for a conceal carry piece.

The reason I say this, and only one other person mentioned hesitancy towards modern production S&Ws, is because I would not personally bet my life on a new production S&W revolver I haven't examined for myself to make sure all the fitting/function is up to spec.

Now, this applies to any revolvers, including ones made in the last 60yrs, but is even more pertinent nowadays. An out of the box S&W made last month would not be instantly placed on my hip for duty. It would require a complete gunsmith inspection first, then actually shooting/testing of it. Older guns would be held to much less scrutiny but still inspected first too, that's just common sense.

To each their own though. That's just my opinion if life could be on the line, because way too many people just think revolvers are fail proof. Yeah, that's true, if they are built properly (perfectly) and tested.

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Old 02-17-2018, 02:03 AM
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Default Best carry gun

The model 60LS (Lady Smith) has the smoothest trigger pull of any of the Smith pistols. It meets your requirements of DA/SA and can handle the 38/357mag loads with ease.

It has a 2.1” and will conceal easily. A good holster and leather gun belt will take up any weight issues.

It was the best S&W revolver I have ever owned (2 mod 686’s, 2 mod 19’s, a 44 mag,a mod 642 with a trigger job and a 357 snub I don’t remember the Mod# of). I loaned the mod 60LS to my son when he was in the Navy and it was stolen. I sold all the other Smiths but really miss the Mod 60.

I carry a Taurus M85 because I don’t want to spend $700 plus on a carry gun, but if I ever purchased another Smith it would be the Mod 60LS.

There are some good suggestions posted, but after 50 plus years of shooting revolvers, the 60LS is the only Smith I would carry concealed JMO. Good luck in your search and be safe !!!

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Old 02-17-2018, 09:08 AM
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Some interesting suggestions. OP, you didn't give any info on your size/build so this is going to be general info. BTW, the "stopping power" issue is handled neatly by the signature line of a long time member: "Shot placement is king, adequate penetration is queen and all else is angels dancing on the head of pins."

If you're going to shoot the pistol enough to take care of the first consideration about effectiveness, go steel frame. Weight is your friend in recoil control. If you're looking for a fashion accessory, do what you want. If the S&W Performance Center is still doing trigger jobs, it's money well spent. You have factory blessing on the suitability of the trigger weight and factory warranty. BTW, you didn't ask, but double action capability only.

Frame size: the J frame requires full size (K frame) grips for maximum control. The factory banana grips are the gold standard here, there are others. A 3 inch barrel is much better for easy of use/ballistic delivery, but is a holster gun only (parka or overcoat pockets excepted).

The K/L frame guns hold more ammo, are both easier and more comfortable to shoot and can have much better triggers than the J frames. Given the frame size, anything shorter than a 3 inch barrel makes no sense*, a 4 inch isn't a problem to conceal. The grip frame is the part that can make concealment a problem.

*Concealment holster pioneer Chic Gaylord notes that with the weight of the gun generally above belt level, barrel contact with the body below the belt line helps stabilize the gun and prevent it from flopping about. Also, since the barrel is along the body, shortening below 3 inch for .38, 4 inch in .357 & larger, isn't either necessary or desirable.

Last edited by WR Moore; 02-17-2018 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:02 AM
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*Concealment holster pioneer Chic Gaylord notes that with the weight of the gun generally above belt level, barrel contact with the body below the belt line helps stabilize the gun and prevent it from flopping about. Also, since the barrel is along the body, shortening below 3 inch for .38, 4 inch in .357 & larger, isn't either necessary or desirable.
This is one of the reasons I prefer revolver belt holsters that carry the cylinder more-or-less in-line with the belt. The gun is stable with no risk of flopping over, even with a 2" barrel.
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:41 PM
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Whatever you get, I would suggest having someone proficient give it a check up to make everything is kosher, especially if buying modern production for a conceal carry piece.

The reason I say this, and only one other person mentioned hesitancy towards modern production S&Ws, is because I would not personally bet my life on a new production S&W revolver I haven't examined for myself to make sure all the fitting/function is up to spec.

Now, this applies to any revolvers, including ones made in the last 60yrs, but is even more pertinent nowadays. An out of the box S&W made last month would not be instantly placed on my hip for duty. It would require a complete gunsmith inspection first, then actually shooting/testing of it. Older guns would be held to much less scrutiny but still inspected first too, that's just common sense.

To each their own though. That's just my opinion if life could be on the line, because way too many people just think revolvers are fail proof. Yeah, that's true, if they are built properly (perfectly) and tested.
I couldn't agree more, and this is exactly why I said in my post that if I were buying a new gun, it wouldn't be a S&W. I certainly don't mean to say they are all junk, but their quality control has gotten iffy, even for top dollar guns like their Performance Center guns.

Meanwhile Ruger is doing killer work lately. I've been very seriously wrestling with whether to get a 2.5" 7 shot .357 GP100. I already have a Wiley Clapp GP100 that I love, which has been enough so far...
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:49 PM
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Ok .. looking at S&W and not interested in any other make .. What would you choose ??

Something in 357/38 +P .. DA/SA !!

So what are you carrying ??
I carry these because they're compact yet powerful and accurate.

They're .38s, and a little shooting will prove that the .357 is wrong for a small carry gun. The noise, flash and recoil are horrendous. Accuracy suffers.

The OLD Model 36 3-Inch Heavy Barrel is perfect. The lasers are essential if you have older eyes.

The Plus P ammo is plenty for short range and since body armor has become more common.....you probably will need a head shot anyway.


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Old 02-17-2018, 03:57 PM
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I couldn't agree more, and this is exactly why I said in my post that if I were buying a new gun, it wouldn't be a S&W. I certainly don't mean to say they are all junk, but their quality control has gotten iffy, even for top dollar guns like their Performance Center guns.
I solved that by buying OLD S&Ws.

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Old 02-17-2018, 04:22 PM
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First off, having seen a few head shots performed/attempted, they are neither as easy in the real world as they are on the range, nor as effective as everyone seems to believe they are.

About quality.....I used to smith. ALL the manufacturers have examples that shouldn't have left the factory. I've got a few stories about some guns made "back in the day" when all the supposedly perfect products, that are the stuff of legend, were made that would shock folks.

We'll let the product lines that spawned other product lines of tooling and parts to correct the factory production issues lay (Hint: not S&W).
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