Choosing a gun.
By Bob Walsh
Last time around I mentioned that I almost always recommend a small or medium frame .38 special revolver for newbies. I thought I would go into that a bit and some of the choices available out there.
I grant you that most people, once they get some training and experience, shoot a semi-auto better than they do a revolver. Both are perfectly reasonable defensive weapon in the proper caliber and both will do the job. I recommend the .38 special for a reason. The round has enough power to do the job if you can hit with it and it is fairly easy to control, even in a relatively small and light weapon. You can shoot .38 special rounds in a .357 revolver, but not the other way around, so if you happen to find a .357 that really appeals to you, go for it. Full power .357 rounds, especially fired in a small weapon, can be very intimidating and very unpleasant to shoot. Many people will be so intimidated by the full power rounds that they never learn to shoot the weapon well. This is especially true for the newer super light-weight alloy pistols.
Smith & Wesson makes over a dozen different revolvers in a small or medium frame with a 2” or 3” barrel. Some have hammers, some are hammerless (usually actually a concealed hammer). Colt is now again making a small double-action revolver. Kimber and Ruger make them as well. There are also the Taurus and Rossi imports out there which are not as nice as the domestic product but are not junk either.
If you have a buddy who has a fair number of handguns ask if you can come over some time and check them out. Offer to bring pizza and Dr. Pepper. You will find that some are clearly too big and heavy for you, and some simply don’t fit your hand. Some just won’t point well or “feel” right. Doing this can narrow down your search. Check out some of the larger gun stores that have a range. You can usually rent guns there and you can try out a couple that look like they might be reasonable choices and see how they fit when you are actually firing them. Spend a little time and a little money. I own, and shoot, guns that are older than I am. A good gun can outlast you.
Next time: “I want a semi-auto.”
Editors Note: I have a couple of pistols that outlasted my grandfather. They are prized possessions that I will hand down to my sons.