I am considering a .38 revolver for my wife,as she is just not comfortable with the .380 auto that i bought for her. I have been told that a 3" barrel much improves ballistics and accuracy with this round. Any thoughts on this?
While certainly not an expert, I feel the 3" barrel, particularly on a S&W sized K-frame size revolver, adds a longer sighting plane and can help to reduce the amount of felt recoil with a heavier barrel.
Smaller J-frame sized S&W's with the 1 7/8" barrel requires better dedication and practice for accurate proficiency. Many may agree that it is indeed an "experts" firearm.
I don't know whether or not you bought her the .380 for concealed carry or home defense. If concealability is not an issue, than I would recommend the 3" .38 special.
As I final suggestion, if you have access to a local shooting range that offers handgun rentals, a trip with her their may reveal what she is indeed comfortable shooting size/caliber wise. The individual ergonomics of a person has a great deal of "play" as to what folks are comfortable shooting.
I like a 3" barrel, as well, whether on a K- or a J-frame .38 Special. I feel that the gun carries just as easily in every mode except for pocket-carry, the longer sighting radius makes it easier to hit with, the heavier front end makes it easier to shoot, and the additional velocity is quite noticeable in the slowish .38 Special round.
J-frame 5-shot Smith & Wesson 36-1 Chiefs Special 3"
One more vote for the 3" barrel here. When my now ex wanted to learn to shoot, she started with a 3" heavy barrel model 36 I had. She found it very easy to control and I was amazed at how quickly she took to that revolver. On the way back from her first range session with me, she was already using the word "mine" when referring to the model 36, lol.
Even if she will be concealing it at times, I really don't think it is harder to hide a 3" vs a 2" revolver. In fact I have found the 3" barrel when carried inside the waistband, helped to keep my pistol in place better too.
Let us know what you end up buying and what your wife thinks of it. But I think Mr. Chris had an excellent suggestion too. It would be best if she could shoot a couple of different revolvers first, to see what felt and shot best for her. If shooting them will not be possible, at least let her handle and hold several, so she can at least decide which one feels the best for her.
Count me in on the 3" chorus. The weight differential is minimal and shootability is maximized. The 3" Model 60 was very much in demand back in my days as a LEO. However, I am not an advocate of the J-Frame for the novice. The trigger is much stiffer than the K-Frame. I am a fan of the 3" RB M13/65. My wife inherited a M19 2&3/4 and she can shoot it very well. I recommend the fixed sight model but any K-Frame 3 is recommended. Besides, the extra shot is not too shabby either!
I tend to agree with you that the 3" K frame does offer some advantages for some of us. But at the same time, at least for my now ex, she simply found it too big to be comfortable for her. I tried seeing how she would like a 3" m65 I had, and it was just too big and too heavy to suit her.
She was on the small side of things, being 5'1" and about 105 pounds, and had smallish hands. The J frame 3" m36 was very user friendly to her, and I could see how well she shot it. She never was recoil sensitive, but tended to prefer her handguns on the small side or they just did not fit her.
That is where I see the J frame offering a real advantage for females with smaller hands or even some males who find it more comfortable than a K frame. I had Pachmayrs on both revolvers, and too me there was not really much difference between to two grips. But my ex felt like there was to her, and that is really what it comes down to I reckon. How the person holding the weapon perceives how it feels in their hands.
I agree a J frame is not as inherently easy to shoot the a K frame too. But that is where I think the 3" barrel really helps out as well. I think it just tends to make the J frame more user friendly for folks learning to shoot it.
Personally if I were going to carry a revolver these days, it would be a Smith K or L frame. But since you ex always purse carried after we got her CCW permit, that was another advantage of a J frame. I could never understand how a female could find anything inside a purse to begin with, and a K frame would have been even harder for her to tote around.
Mr. Zadig39, please let us know what you end up finding and how your wife likes it.
I know this is an old thread, but I finally got around to buying that revolver. I got a good deal on a used Rossi 2" barrel .38 stainless with rubber grips. I went with the 2" for one reason. Its cute and shiny. If thats what it take to get her to shoot I will just have to compromise.
Although I carry a Smith bodyguard every day there is noting quite like a 3" model 36. It is definately my next "must have". I have been seeing more and more that women are attracted to the 3" model 36. If the truth be told the 3" model 36 was originally made for NYPD police women. They wanted something smaller than a 4" K frame model 10 but slightly bigger than a 1 7/8 model 36. There is an interesting read here;
The bottom line is simply whatever works sir. If that is what it takes to get her to shoot it, then so be it. When you have the chance to get her out and shooting it, please let us know how things go with her new handgun. Just a suggesion to consider - you might start her off with some light target type loads, and once she is more used to shooting it, move her up to what you want her to use for self-defense. Although some folks seem to think that a target load is more than adequate for that role if short distances are maintained.
That is an interesting read sir. Thanks for posting it here. I know alot of folks here will appreciate it too.
I have a soft spot for the 3" J & K frames, however, my wife prefers the 3" J frame but she doesn't like the service stocks on the J frame, so I got the banana stocks and the Uncle Mike's finger grips for her and now I can enjoy them too.
Well I took her and the new-used Rossi to the range today and she enjoyed shooting it. Now that I know that she likes the platform, I plan to save a few bucks and get her a new S&W mod 36 or maybe the "lady smith" sometime this summer. I still wish I could talk her into the 3" , but apparently its just not cute enough.
My wife has a Model 60 Stainless with the full underlug and adjustable sights. It's a earlier gun and hence chambered in .30 Special. She loves sit and shoots it extremely well. She's a statuesque 5'1" and it fits her well.
I can argue for the attributes of the 3-inch revolvers all day but favor the 2-inch. I know it's strictly a 'looks' thing with me.
Though this isn't a reason I keep 2-inch revolvers around here I read an article once whose author made an argument for the use of a 2-inch snub for close quarters self-defense because it was much more difficult for an assailant to grasp and wrest from one's hand.