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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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  #1  
Old 01-25-2020, 08:35 AM
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Default Ideal revolvers to replace Shield?

I own a Shield 9mm (PC 1.0) that is a great gun, but as i now am dealing with some arthritis issues in my left thumb it is getting more difficult to manipulate the slide. Wearing a brace is not helpful either. I often have read that if one has trouble with this, a revolver can be a good choice.
Iíll note that I have never owned or even shot a revolver, so while I dont want to run out and dump the Shield just yet I thought some early research could be helpful.
As there seems to be countless options for revolvers out there, what models could potentially make for ideal Shield replacements? Something that could be carried if desired, but also match the accuracy I get at the range now? Knowing all the variables involved, what sort of barrel length in a revolver could be similar in accuracy to its equivalent in semi auto?
I will add that I am one who enjoys shooting, so running 1-200+ rounds thru my 9ís when i hit the range is common. I believe if I cant enjoy a gun at the range then I have no interest in owning it. And I would never carry something I wasnt proficient with.

So if my short novel hasn't lost yíall yet lol, any basic feedback would of course be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-25-2020, 08:37 AM
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Have you considered the new Shield 9mm EZ?
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Old 01-25-2020, 08:47 AM
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Have you considered the new Shield 9mm EZ?
Yep, only at a store so far but not sold on it over my current Shield. I also have a full size MP and that is easy enough to still manage. Any change from my Shield isn't a ďtoday thingĒ, just figured if a revolver someday could be added to my collection then may as well ask the pros. Thx for the suggestion though
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Old 01-25-2020, 08:57 AM
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For a revolver, a 3" J frame will be similar in size and is capable of providing very good accuracy.
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:16 AM
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Most any J frame should work. I like the shrouded hammer ones to carry. I got a kinda issue with left trigger finger so makes sense. You can do the ol bite slide with teeth and rack if needed to like old school rack 1911s sorta thing or have a dovetail cut and add a nub to help
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:35 AM
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There are after market suppliers who furnish parts that add a racking aid to the rear of the Shield. You might want to check them out.

For a revolver, the j frames are very accurate but the short sight radius makes them hard to shoot with experienced eyes. The 3 inch barrel is not more accurate but makes for a much better sight radius. I own several 2 and 3 inch models some I have owned for over 40 years.. Try a 3 inch with Hornaday low recoil ammo. The J frames in 38+P are hard on us who are high mileage.
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:58 AM
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Maybe a 640 Pro?
Heavier than aluminum j frames (less felt recoil with hotter loads), good sights, internal hammer... plus, good looking revolver!
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:59 AM
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Shield .380EZ. Easier loading the magazine, far less recoil, and easier to rack than the Shield 9EZ. Ballistics are very close with the right ammo.
If you really want a revolver and are concerned about arthritis getting worse,
Both S&W and Ruger offer STEEL framed guns what have low recoil and great accuracy with practice. I would not go lower shorter than a 3" barrel.
Until you become experienced, I would avoid any alloy or polymer framed models.
my 2Ę
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:08 AM
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Try renting a few J frame models, if possible, to see how you like them. They’re great for EDC but the learning curve can be steep.
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:13 AM
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Personally, I'd look at a Kimber K6S snubbie or a Ruger LCR327. Both are easier to shoot than a S&W, and both give you six shots rather than five.
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:16 AM
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+1 for steel J frames.
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:34 AM
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Thx all.
Yep i know about accessories to help rack Shields, am actually working on one as well. I don't want to (or i tend to) give up my other semi autos, just figured at some point a revolver could be a nice addition. And getting some experienced feedback like listed above is a great way for me to start looking. Well frankly for anyone new to revolvers as with any gun it can be overwhelming.

Its appreciated, yíall have a great weekend.
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:34 AM
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I think a steel J-frame would be a good option. Not too light, not to heavy, still compact enough to carry with reasonable power. I've never been interested in the 3" barrel models so I don't know what kind of availability they have. I'm partial to the Bodyguard (shrouded hammer) or Centennial (enclosed hammer) models.

If arthritis is a concern, pulling the DA trigger on a revolver may be an issue, either now or later on down the line. Plus, you said you've never shot a revolver, so even if arthritis isn't a concern the heavier trigger pull may require an adjustment period for you to get used to it.

I'd also second dr. mordo's recommendation for the Kimber (I haven't handled one yet, mostly because I'm afraid it'll make me want one... ). I think that would be a good option. I, personally, don't like the LCR revolvers because I like a strong trigger reset, but its trigger pull may be closer to what you're used to, so that might be an option worth considering.

Like with any potential gun purchase, being able to handle and shoot the guns you're interested in can be very helpful, so a trip to a rental range would be strongly recommended, if possible.

In the meantime, the Shield EZ line may be worth considering, or possibly look at changing your technique for manipulating the slide to see if you can work around your limitation.
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:51 AM
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I used to carry my Shield daily. Now, Iíve moved on to carrying a bit bigger pistol (CZ 75 D PCR) most days ... But, occasionally Iíll slip my M36 or my M60 in a pocket holster instead. I can recommend both as being very good for CCW - the short sight radius does make it a little bit more difficult in the accuracy department, as does a revolverís trigger. Double action shooting takes some getting used to, but honestly itís made me better at shooting ALL handguns. The heavier trigger pull can magnify errors in your technique that you didnít notice before.
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:59 AM
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If you are carrying a revolver for self defense you arenít really planning on reloading it in the heat of battle. With that established. Racking the slide on a semi auto is a non issue. Load it and leave it, if you need it in a defensive situation shoot it till empty, same as a revolver only you have 2-3 more rounds to begin with. Find an easy gun to manipulate for range work.
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Old 01-25-2020, 11:03 AM
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I carry a S&W 360 in my rotation, but I wouldn't call a sub 1 pound 357 for everyone lol. I would recommend a 3" S&W 60 Pro, followed by a standard 3" 60.
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Old 01-25-2020, 11:40 AM
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I have recently become a fan of the Ruger LCR chambered for 327 Federal.
A family member who has bad wrists and bad fingers can not shoot 38 Special in any firearm that they can manipulate. (tried j-K-l frame)
They also had MUCH trouble with some of the factory triggers.

The little 6 shot LCR with 32 S&W Long wadcutter (Sellier Bellot or Buffalo Bore) or Black Hills 32 H&R magnum 85 grain is a capable self defense platform. Can be had in many calibers but .32 is 6 shot others are 5 shot.

Try the trigger on an LCR then a J frame. Ruger got this right.
That is my 3 cents

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Old 01-25-2020, 11:55 AM
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Speaking of .32, the new Charter Arms Professional, 7-shot .32Magnum is out there. Decent sights, I’m not impressed with the trigger though. The trigger feels heavy and clunky, but could smooth up with use. And the ammo is expensive.
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Old 01-25-2020, 12:09 PM
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There is a new Taurus out, a roundbutt 3" sixshooter; the configuration people are paying tons of money to convert a police tradein M&P to. Even available in a lightweight version. But it IS a Taurus. Oh, well.
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Old 01-25-2020, 12:19 PM
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Have you given thought to changing how you rack the slide? I have taught the "hold the slide" and "push the grip/frame forward" method. I find that a large number of shooters who have trouble and manage this better.
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Old 01-25-2020, 12:19 PM
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There is a new Taurus out, a roundbutt 3" sixshooter; the configuration people are paying tons of money to convert a police tradein M&P to. Even available in a lightweight version. But it IS a Taurus. Oh, well.
The 856 Defender? The 856 snubbie is pretty decent. Nice trigger. I might check this new one out.
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Old 01-25-2020, 12:57 PM
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Youíll have to shoot a snub a bit to get up to speed, but the practicality is great. Love my 637, but since no one has mentioned it Iíll put in a plug for the Ruger SP101. Convenient size, all steel, shoots 357ís comfortably, and affordable. With 38ís it should be a *****cat.

Any revolver, limited capacity and slow to reload.
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Old 01-25-2020, 01:02 PM
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I'd take a look at the LCR series from Ruger. The triggers on them are far superior to those found on J frames.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:49 PM
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Iíve got to join in on the Ruger LCR recommendations. Like stated above, the .327 Federal Magnum Model gives you six rounds and multiple choices on ammo selection. There are some very effective .32 H&R Magnum defense rounds available. Hoping Ruger decides to make a 3 inch barrel version at some point. Good luck!
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:12 PM
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Another vote for S&W J-Frame. 5 rounds really is enough for civilian use. You do not have to worry about a safety, cycling or magazines "in the heat of battle". They also carry VERY easy in a pocket holster, especially the "Airlite" weighted ones. My specific recommendation is the Model 340 PD. Pretty crisp recoil with 357 magnum, but 38 is just fine depending on which you want to use.
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Old 01-25-2020, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post
There is a new Taurus out, a roundbutt 3" sixshooter; the configuration people are paying tons of money to convert a police tradein M&P to. Even available in a lightweight version. But it IS a Taurus. Oh, well.
The OP said he likes to shoot. I would think this would be a better range/carry gun than a J frame.
When's the last time you shot a box of ammo or three out of your J frame? Especially if you have Arthur-itis. Ouch-chihuahua

Last edited by max503; 01-25-2020 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 01-25-2020, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max503 View Post
The OP said he likes to shoot. I would think this would be a better range/carry gun than a J frame.
When's the last time you shot a box of ammo or three out of your J frame? Especially if you have Arthur-itis. Ouch-chihuahua
Pretty often. My 640 is a joy to shoot, and accurate. No arhritis, though, so I canít vouch for that aspect.
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:02 PM
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Hey all, just a note of thanks again in all the suggestions and feedback. From racking form to EZís to the various revolver options, its all been appreciated.

In general, my issues are support (left) hand, pain when gripping or under pressure anywhere in thumb to wrist area. Wearing a brace to help minimize that also affects movement, grip etc when shooting. Sucks if Iím getting this and iím still in my 50ís; cant wait to see how it goes as I get older lol. Also hoping this doesn't bother my bow-fishing in summer but thats for another discussion.
So Iíll still work with my semi autos; as I do enjoy shooting them. This is a hobby for me so range-time isn't just for practice but for fun as well. I wont bother owning something that I don't enjoy shooting.
Whether i get a revolver this year or hold out, at least I have some direction to start with. After all, even if my thumb/wrist was fine, Iíd still like to add a revolver at some point.

Thx all!
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:11 PM
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Given the arthritis issue maybe an alloy frame gun would be unpleasant. My choices in a new all steel revolver would be the SP-101 or the new production Colt Cobra. I own both, and have carried the SP-101 for over ten years. The SP-101 is probably the better range gun, but the Colt holds six rounds instead of the Rugers five. Both can be had with bobbed hammers if you want something snag free.

If you donít mind used guns a 2Ē K frame (Model 10 or 64) or old Colt Detective Special are also good choices.
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:39 PM
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I too have arthritis in my left thumb (and the right one). Racking slides is difficult but I've found that I can rack my Sig P365 without problems. So, I bought a second one.
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:51 PM
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I sold my Shield 9mm 1.0 because of arthritis issues. I got a Colt
Cobra 38 for around $400. It is a 6 rounder with the best trigger I’ve shot
in many years. Accurate and a gun you can put a box of ammo through
and enjoy and carry all day. ( have owned 8 S&W revolvers over the years).
Also as mentioned, the Kimber would be my second choice ($200+ over Colt).

If you want a range gun or carry OWB, then there are many S&W’s or Rugers to choose from.
I just picked up a S&W 9mm EZ. It will replace my old Shield for concealed
carry (AIWB). I have NO problems racking the slide or loading the magazines. JMO
A lot of great suggestions posted! Good hunting!

Be SAFE and Shoot Often!

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Old 01-26-2020, 12:51 AM
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Get two j frames. You will never be able to reload in a "situation." The second gun is a New York reload. Save your life.
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:48 AM
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Unless you are shooting in USPSA or IDPA competition, you don't have to rack the slide very often at all.

At the range, grit your teeth and pull or bring the Vice grips and get the gun loaded to start. After that, you will either be shooting, paused with safety on (if any) or the gun empty with the slide back. Reload, close the slide and keep shooting.

Practice with the defensive weapon by exchanging the ammo in the magazine for econoball. Just shoot the hollowpoint in the chamber and carry on. You shouldn't cycle a round in and out of the chamber many times anyhow.

Field stripping for cleaning might be a challenge, but you can have tools for the purpose and no time limit.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:43 PM
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Well, I am sure you have gotten a lot of good suggestions, but if I were going t a revolver( not being a J frame lover) I would get a 2" model 15-3. second choice would be a nice 2" RB model M10-5
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:37 PM
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My best advise, although all mentioned is good, is to go to local shops and your range and ask to handle what ever catches your eye and see how it feels to you. Also, if you are considering your first revolver, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. If you find one that you feel comfortable with you may wonder what took you so long to buy one.
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:50 PM
Buckeye63 Buckeye63 is offline
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Ruger LCR357 and shoot 38spls ...
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Old 01-28-2020, 07:31 AM
bearman49709 bearman49709 is offline
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I have arthritis in every knuckle in every finger and both thumbs along with both wrist. At the age of 57 I had thumb replacement surgery on my left hand because of it.

My edc until selling it last October was a 2 1/2" 66ND with a Shield 9mm for times when I knew I would be getting lots of hugs.

The 66 is a k frame 6 shot that is much easier to shoot that any j frame and heavy enough when you use rubber grips to take the sting out of .357 magnums.
I had no problems carrying it all day iwb.
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:55 AM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 is offline
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IMO, shooting 200+ rounds in one range session through a j-frame, even a steel one, isn’t a lot of fun.

See if you can rent some different types and sizes of revolvers and put some rounds through them to see how your hands hold up.

There are some other semi-auto options too. The already mentioned S&W EZ’s. The SIG P250 gen2 subcompact has a very easy to rack slide. So does the Sig P238.
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Last edited by Ziggy2525; 01-28-2020 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:46 AM
Black Knight Black Knight is offline
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While a J frame is easier to carry I'm for the 6 shot K frame with a 2 - 3 inch barrel. They are slightly bulkier than the J frame but the trigger pulls are much better. The J frames I have tried in the last 20 years were terrible to say the least.
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:47 AM
bowzette bowzette is offline
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I have a LCR .357. I shoot .38 at the range and carry SGD 135gr Short Barrel in .357. This is around 70 ft lbs more than the .38+P SGD load. Very manageable and the LCR has a great trigger pull. However the reset has to be all the way forward-long and light. I have to train to fully release the trigger and not short stroke. Much easier to do when actually firing the gun due to recoil than in dry fire practice. I also have a LCR in .22lr as a trainer. Heavier trigger pull which makes it even better for practice especially dry firing. I recently bought a Kimber K6s. First time I took it to the range with the LCR my impressions were-"what a great gun the LCR is"-at 2/3 the price :-( The Kimber went back to the factory for trigger work and sight regulation. It is hitting where I aim but Kimber didn't do anything to the overly heavy and nochie trigger. So the Kimber is at my gunsmith getting a descent trigger job on a $700 gun. The upside to the Kimber is it appears to be very accurate even at 15 yds. I have no regrets about buying the LCR .357 and LCR .22lr. Love for the Kimber is still an open question. I also have a Smith model 65 three inch bull barrel and round butt. This was worked over by the Smith Custom Shop and sold as a Custom Shop gun. Hammer bobbed and double action to die for. But it is a heavy lump for me to carry and more of Safe Queen.
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:14 PM
jnichols2 jnichols2 is offline
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Ranger17,

I have arthritis in both thumbs, so I know what you mean.

I have both a Shield 380 EZ znd a Shield 9 EZ, but you already know about them.

Here's something that hasn't been mentioned, it's called the Handi-Racker. It's a plastic 2" x 4" x 1/2" block that fits over your slide. You hold it in your palm, with or without using the thumb, and use it to push back the slide. I have two sizes. Compact works with the Shield, Full is for the bigger guns. I have both. I keep them in my range bag.

You can find it on Handi-Racker.com, they are worth the reasonable cost. Right now, they are on sale for $19.95 each. The How-To says to put it against a wall and push the gun, it works better for me to hold it in my palm and push it against the gun.

Last edited by jnichols2; 01-28-2020 at 06:19 PM.
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  #42  
Old 01-28-2020, 07:01 PM
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Ranger17,

You are being given a lot of information, but I see very few questions. I have been disabled for almost 13 years now, and since I came out of the coma, I have blocked 99.9% of the pain. I don't know what issues you are having with arthritis in your thumbs, so I must ask.

Is the arthritis impairing your ability to grasp objects, or is it a dexterity issue?

If it is a dexterity issue, I would anticipate that you will have difficulty working the cylinder release. If it is a grasping issue, I would suspect that it is an issue with racking the slide.

If your arthritis is causing a dexterity issue, I would avoid a revolver like the plague, because your ability to reload in a self-defense situation could be extremely impaired. If it is a grasping issue, you can mount a racking aid on the slide, and you can grasp the aid with your index and middle finger, push with your firing hand, and your pistol is combat ready!
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Old 02-01-2020, 01:22 PM
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For a J-frame highly reccomend a 642, Wolff 13# rebound spring, Crimson Trace LG-350 grips, which besides offerring excellent targeting, really help reduce recoil.. Verify red dot accuracy once the grips are mounted, then good to go without need for a lot of range time.
I'm 70, shoot low round count each year(no ranges around, just woods) and every time I shoot it whatever that red dot pastes will get hit.
148 match wadcutters a very forgiving round on the hands, highly accurate, and two of those in the chest should discourage continued bad behavior.
Since giving up full size semi-auto carry a year ago, been my constant companion, either in pocket or waist. Like it so much, splurged on a Lobo offset AIWB holster that should be here on Monday.

With that said, when summer comes, a Kel-Tec P-32 will get some pocket time. Compact and light DAO pocket auto, highly reliable, soft shooter, and 8 rounds of .32 Fiocchi 73 gr FMJ is sufficient protection for a low threat environment.

Last edited by LCC; 02-01-2020 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 02-01-2020, 01:35 PM
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Currently I carry my Model 66-8 with 2.75" barrel and it is easy for me to carry. I also have a Colt Night Cobra that works well too although you can't shoot magnum loads in it. For that the Combat Magnum is great!
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Old 02-04-2020, 10:00 AM
remnard remnard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeppo View Post
Have you considered the new Shield 9mm EZ?
good alternative! 10 pounds less cycling force on the hand vs the shield! Im going to get one for my instructor class to show the difference. I haven't fired one yet but the LGS owner said it functioned with several different types of ammo. no issues!
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Old 02-04-2020, 10:18 AM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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MERWIN & HUBERT
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  #47  
Old 02-04-2020, 11:51 AM
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I replaced my Shield with a 2019 Colt Cobra. Very nice.
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Old 02-04-2020, 12:58 PM
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2.5" 686+
Yeah, it's going to be heavier than the Shield but with the correct grip and holster should carry fairly easy. It will be low recoil with the correct ammo. It will be a fun range gun. It won't give up much in capacity. The trigger pull should be reasonable. It should be accurate.
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Old 02-04-2020, 02:07 PM
Model520Fan Model520Fan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narragansett View Post
Well, I am sure you have gotten a lot of good suggestions, but if I were going t a revolver( not being a J frame lover) I would get a 2" model 15-3. second choice would be a nice 2" RB model M10-5
Agreed. Either gun has a wider choice of grips available than almost any other. For the Model 15, I find Rogers grips to be best, but that's for my hand. Pachmayr has a few different ones, also Hogue. Many people like factory, usually adding a Tyler to Magnas. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
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Old 02-04-2020, 02:42 PM
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Here's my choice-1982 66-2 2.5" with some older non-medallion Pachmayr grips. Carry it in a Galco Combat Master combined with a Beltman stiff leather belt. It rides a little high but this holster/belt combo holds it close, for me it disappears under a t-shirt worn untucked. I shoot it well and prefer .38+P short barrel Gold Dot ammo.

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