S&W have many light weight revolvers for cc. I have a 442 with laser and love it.
My wife just shocked me with a request for a gun! She has not shot mine (stoeger cougar, kel tec p11, ruger lcp) and she wants something small for a purse. She struggles with racking a slide, so I figure that a revolver is the way to go. I know the standard line - take her & see what she likes, but I am looking for some thoughts & experiences that you may have had. I feel like I should strike while the iron is hot...
S&W have many light weight revolvers for cc. I have a 442 with laser and love it.
My wife has a 228 bed side that she shoots well and can manipulate. She does not carry. Purse carry a snub sounds reasonable. S&W 442/642 is proven and a safe bet. The LCR looks very interesting and is a little larger but in a purse the difference would be irelevant. Reportedly has a nice trigger pull on it and it's certainly light weight. With both I'd worry a little about recoil but only one way to find that out. SP101 would be another to think about if weight is not of paramount concern. 28 ounces if I recall correctly. If recoil is a concern that would be a good choice. Regarding the slide racking issue a couple examples to consider that are easy to rack are the HK and the PX4 storm. Both rather large even in compact forms but the slides are very easy to operate. I have both and it's like half the effort as a Sig for example. Just a thought not intending to complicate matters.
They are harder to shoot well than larger guns. The alloy and scandium frame guns are harder yet to shoot well. The double action only models (642/442) are harder yet to shoot well with a stock trigger.
So...if you hand a new shooter a light weight, DAO revolver and expect them to do well with it, think again.
In other words, don't you dare go buy her a LW DAO snub until she's got to shoot one. The trigger pull alone can be a HUGE turn off.
And yes, my wife who is an experienced shooter HATED my 642, but likes our 360 PD as it's had a trigger job for a smoother, lighter DAO trigger. Take your wife to a shop, find a 642 / 442 or other DAO revolver, see if she can pull the trigger 5 times witouh complaining.
Also, don't discount the autos, my wife is 5'4", 100lbs soakin wet with boots on and handles the 1911 in .45 better than most men. If your wife is looking to purse carry (the negatives of that is a topic for another thread) you can go larger. With a larger auto the recoil spring is longer and makes the slide easier to retract. I would suggest a Kahr CW9 as a possibility along with a G19. 9mm guns have relatively light springs, most of your larger .380s, Walther PPK and Sig 232 are fixed barreled models and have stiffer springs than some 9mms. The pocket .380s are poor choices for first guns as they like the snub revolover are harder to shoot well.
For a first time shooter, shooting well is important. No one likes doing something if they suck at it and a gun that's hard to shoot can give that impression.
If you are dead set on a snub, get one with a steel frame and one that can be shot single action if desired. IF you do decide to go with a DAO revolver, go with the SP101 from Ruger, they tend to have better DAO triggers out of the box than the Smith and Taurus models.
My wife settled on a S&W 360. Having only started shooting last fall, she's pretty good with it at @ 7yds.
I got a S&W 642 Airweight Centennial. And, soon put CT Laser grips on it. The short "LG_405" version. $219 off the Internet.
She got a Ruger LCR. Carries it in her purse all the time. Her's is 13 oz, mine is 15 oz. Nearly the same weight and price. She loves her LCR, doesn't like my 642.
I'd recommend the LCR. Nicer trigger than the S&W. Laser grips would make it MUCH easier to "learn a snubby". My 642 is OK, I won't be trading it soon.
Try the DeSantis Superfly pocket holster to protect the gun. I love mine. $30. Will work great in a purse too. It has a removable (Velcro) square flap.
The outside keeps it from slipping around, but does not attract dirt or lint. A "chemical miracle". I got mine off the Internet. It's much better than a cheap nylon job.
Try the "Federal Premium Personal Defense - Low Recoil" .38 Special 110 grain HYDRA-SHOK JHP.
This stuff is "tuned" for snubbies. Stay away from + P stuff in a 2 inch snubby for females. Or for wussies like me.
( OK, I did buy a Ruger .454 Casull Alaskan yesterday - it might be the ultimate 2 1/2 inch snubby ). But, it will NOT be my CCW gun.
Don't overlook Taurus, they have a comparable series of snubbies which work quite well. My wife likes hers.
I reccomend not purchasing the ultralights. I don't believe she will be willing to shoot an ultralight enough to learn how to shoot properly. They are simply not comfortable to shoot with useful loads.
...or an old one...practice is the key to good shooting/confidence...ain't gonna happen if the gun's smackin' her dainty paw...I'd buy her a steel or stainless snub, put some Packy Compac rubber grips on it...and let her shoot it till she could feel confident...I did this with my 2" M649 Bodyguard and my 12-year-old son...he outshot me the second day...it's fun if it's not beatin' you up...my first wife carried a Det Spl in her purse for 6 years...no problem...saved her bacon once...wimmen understand carryin' a little weight for a good reason...or we wouldn't be here...
I have both the S&W Bodyguard and the Ruger LCR. Love the S&W--but love the LCR more. The trigger is much better.
You may also want to consider the SP01 in Federal .327 Magnum. In addition to the .327 Magnum it also shoots the other .32 caliber cartridges.
I would recommend the S&W 642 or the Ruger LCR, with CT Laser grips. Buy some snap caps and have her practice dry-firing with the laser for about a week before going to the range.
Then, I would attempt to convince her to carry IWB, etc., rather than in her purse. If unable to convince her, I would insist on a shoulder-carry type purse with a strong, across the body strap, or maybe a fanny pack.
The laser grip can be such a useful trigger control training aid, especially with a revolver, because she can fire repeatedly without having to rack the slide. After checking and double-checking that the snap caps really are in place, she can shoot the characters on TV for hours, improving her trigger finger independence, while smoothing up the trigger.
First, let me try to talk you into a Ruger SP101.
Its almost as small as the Smith J frames, but is built like a tank and MUCH easier for most women to handle. They talked my mom into buying one of those really lightweight Smiths, and she hates it. Walks away from shooting it with a bruise on her hand. My wife hates shooting it just as much. I won't speak for everyone, but the women I know are more sensitive to recoil than men are. It gets into their head that the gun is going to hurt them every time it goes off, and they won't practice with it. Now you put this ruger in their hands, and any woman i've seen shoot it can practice all day long with it. Besides, how many women's purses have you tried to lift? Chances are a few more ounces ain't gonna make much difference
Now if we're going to stay on topic here and talk about the LCR or the Smith, I again would go with the ruger. They are really light, but they have a few little things designed into them to be less punishing under the recoil. Plus everybody says the triggers are better, but I'm not one to speak on that. I tend to prefer whatever I'm used to until i get enough practice with something else.
I really do like the lightweight smiths, and will probably have one of my own one day. But i've seen a whole bunch of women get talked into buying one for their purse and they end up really unhappy with it.
I still say a steel framed snub is probably the best bet. I have 5 snubs and 12 4- inch revolvers.....I carry my S&W Chief's Special way more than any of them due to overall convenience, and the fact I practice at the range and out in the boonies more with it. And if you are into reloading, the .38 special is one of the most user friendly cartridges out there. I reload more .38's than any other caliber I own.
This is an old thread. I will say that if I could trade my P3AT with ammo for a Smith or Ruger pocket weapon I would. At this point I would just prefer a revolver. I don't know why...
I like several of the new S&W revolvers for concealed carry that have been announced in the past 2 years.
I think she should rent and shoot several small revolvers at a range before she decides what to buy.
It's all been said above - short barreled revolvers can kick like hell and are pretty hard to shoot.
I'm sure she can master it, but she should practice before she buys.
Then she should take a good NRA or similar safety class .