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Looking for handgun - questions

4684 Views 16 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  stmichps
Hi all,

I'm new to this forum, came over from Shotgun World. I'm looking into getting a handgun for home defense and target shooting. Yesterday I went out with hubby and mother in law. Shot her old S&W .357. Shot 357 & 38 in it. I also shot her Glock 19.

I'm leaning towards a revolver, hands aren't that strong and I had trouble racking the slide. But, I also had trouble with revolver doing single action. I'm not giving up, I've only tried 2 so far and there are Many more out there, but I was wondering if there were some suggestions for a good revolver with a lighter trigger pull. S&W doesn't appear to put their trigger pull weight on their site next to their guns. Could be I'm just used to my shotguns, and I need more practice, but....

Also, another thing that bothered me yesterday was muzzle flare, maybe because mom had factory reloads? ( I don't know how hot they were loaded, so can't answer that)

We're taking the shotguns out tomorrow, figured we'd hang out by the pistol range when done and see who's shooting what and if maybe they wouldn't mind me trying a few as I know I need to shoot as many as I can... I'd really like to find a S&W that's a fit for me, but open to any other quality made revolver. I've gotten some feedback on shotgun world, but figured I'd better move over here with my handgun questions....

Any and all advice is most welcome.
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The DA trigger pull is going to be pretty much the same on any revolver. Ruger revolvers have coil-type mainsprings rather than the leaf-type mainsprings found in Colt and S&W revolvers. You can get a lighter weight mainspring (and trigger return spring) from Wolff Gunsprings:


The only caveat with a lighter mainspring is that if you go too light, there may be an occasional FTF due to a light hammer strike, so order several different weights and only go as light as necessary. Also, in the event of an actual confrontation where you need to use the pistol in self-defense, adrenaline will render a heavy trigger pull a moot point.

Take a look at either a GP-100 or SP-101 from Ruger. The SP-101 is a smaller frame, making the "reach" to the trigger shorter, giving your finger more leverage. Even though the trigger pull weight may be the same, it will seem easier on the smaller frame. Should you decide to concealed carry in addition to home defense, the choice is a no-brainer.
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I recently picked up a S&W Model 10-8 for my wife. She had been using my S&W Model 640 and thought the double-action only trigger was a little too much for her aging hands.

She really likes the old model Smith and the double-action trigger pull is as smooth as you will find.....only in .38 Special . . .

You can pick up these oldies at gun shows for under $300 OTD.....
If you like the S&W revolvers then you might want to try looking for a Model 66. They made a gazillion of them (in 4" inch) for law enforcement before it was hip to go auto so it shouldn't be hard to find one used. The nice thing about the Mod 66 is that while you can get the defensive power of a .357 mag you can target shoot with .38 Spl. and not break the bank. A added feature is the popularity of S&W (especially the K-frame revolvers) and the aftermarket parts and accessories that are available for it.

I'm lucky enough to have several qualify gunsmiths in the area in which I live that can work on just about anything that I might consider owning. One in mind is particularly well verse in K-frame S&W and can get a trigger pull that you swear is much lighter then it actually is. His name is Bruce Warren and his business is BC Armory (http://www.bcarmory.com). Bruce has worked on a couple of my revolvers over the years and I've never had a complaint, if anything his work has far exceeded my expectations. He's very reasonable and practical on his approach to gunsmithing and won't try to get you to do something that doesn't make sense for what "you" state the intended purpose is for the gun.
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Hi all,

thought I would update. Been hanging out at the range a bit and shooting different guns. I Really like the Springfield XD 9mm, fits very nicely in my hand, so we went out and got me one. I haven't decided on a revolver yet, but I do plan on adding one, hubby said he'd get me one for Christmas, so. Just picked up the XD a few days ago, so taking it out to the range this weekend, and have a class later this month as well. For now, I've just been practicing racking the slide, locking the slide open, and loading and unloading the magazine. Oh and taking it apart and reassembling. All things hubby wants me proficient at before I even fire it which I think is great advice!
The absolute best advice! Know your pistol, how it works and why. Then know how to take care of it. Then go to the range. Practice a lot! Clean alot! Become proficient. Then get your CCW.
Hi Paul F. that's the plan! Its only bit me once pushing the slide lock and I learned that mistake fast! :) I sit and "listen" to TV at night with hubby and practice, doing everything over and over again. Its helping me to build up some hand strength too, something I was lacking. I like the manual too, goes over the 10 commandments in great detail. Whenever I get a gun, I read the manual, then read it again with the gun in front of me, so I can do things step by step, minus loading and firing it of course. That's for this weekend at the range. Grandpa was in town this past weekend, Vietnam Vet, ex Drill Sergeant and he was impressed with both my new guns, the Springfield and my Weatherby. I guess I showed him I'm responsible too because he's promised to leave me "baby" his little .380.
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It sounds to me like you are off and running and steady. Congrats and have a great time with your new collection. Always remember that the most dangerous aspect of your guns is you... not paying attention. I get the feeling that we'll never be talking about you, negatively, though!

Again, congratulations.
Hey Paul,

Took my handgun out today! Shot about 200 rounds, got a little better each time. Seems I'm very left eye dominant, so range master spent time with me and helped me learn how to train my eyes. I'll keep at it, and hopefully soon I can get a lot better! He came by as we were leaving and asked to see my targets, he seemed happy over the progress I made, and I am too. So, since ammo is on sale this week, we stopped on our way home and stocked up, LOL I'm impressed over how little fatigue there is, shot way more today than I did when we took my mother in laws guns out, but no soreness like before, so now I know I chose the right handgun for me! I could have stayed there all day, but ammo at the range is Very expensive, ouch!
Gal, in pistol shooting eye dominance shouldn't mean a thing. Keep both eyes open. Glad to have you out there as a responsible, armed citizen. Take care.
Gal, TMats is correct. With the pistol, train yourself to keep both eyes open and train your mind to use them both. Eventually, the mind will control the sight picture!

Yup, ammo has gone right thru the roof. If you have an interest, or hubby does, you can often pick up good ammo buys on http://www.AuctionArms.com Just check their prices and the S/H costs to compare. I rarely buy at the store, anymore.

It's now time to post a pic of you on the range actually shooting. Even with photos, we might have advice... or simply admiration.
My eye, I was closing my left eye every time I shot, with both open, things were blurry and I couldn't focus on sights and target... I will learn though, did with my shotgun! I figure a few more trips out and I should have a pretty good handle on it. been practicing at home too, unloaded of course, just trying to work on focusing, aiming, etc.... its amazing how much it helps when I'm aiming, to have someone just put their finger on the end sight, its really helping to train me.

I'll check out the ammo site, thank you! Brother in law in Vegas can get us factory reloads pretty cheap too, 1,000 rounds for $200. Saw in one of our catalogs where we can get 9mm for $219 for 1,000, so I'll check what you sent too. Especially since we'll have to get .40's for hubby too.

If I can figure out how to get pictures up, I will. Been trying to do that on shotgun world and well, I thought I was very computer literate, but the blonde in me must be coming out, LOL We'll have the camera next weekend because we're also taking Dad's cannon to the range that he built. We usually shoot it out in the desert outside of Vegas, but we have the honor of having it here with us for awhile!
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Paul F. said:
The absolute best advice! Know your pistol, how it works and why. Then know how to take care of it. Then go to the range. Practice a lot! Clean alot! Become proficient. Then get your CCW.
That depends on your state. In NY, one cannot legally handle a pistol without a permit.
I'm in CA so CCW is possible, especially since I'm not in L.A. County.....
I would recommend a S&W Model 10 with a 4 inch barrel. You should use 148gn Wadcutter target ammunition. It is light and easy to fire and has a full 0.358" meplat and is soft lead. May not be a .357 Mag, but it is better to hit with a .22 than to miss with a .44.
This is a round that you will have fun shooting and you can shoot it a lot.
If not that, then there is a 20 or 28 gauge shotgun, but most people are too intimidated to actually fire it when they need to. They imagine pellets going everywhere and destroying their valuables and such. You would want the smallest barrel shotgun you can get, so a nice little "coach gun" would be ideal.
You need to get what you are comfortable with and not what some inline tactical-ninja thinks you need.
Also, in CA, I would only keep factory ammo in the gun when it is acting as home protection.
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I'm really looking at the S&W 620 right now.

I have 2 12 gauge shotguns in the house that I'm comfortable with.

question, why do you recommend factory ammo only?
WeatherbyGal said:
question, why do you recommend factory ammo only?
Factories operate under strict quality control procedures which lowers greatly your chance of getting a round that either doesn't have any powder or to much. Unless you're doing your own reloads I wouldn't chance my life on someone elses ability to get it right.
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