Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Grand Experiment

One year ago today I began using only double action revolvers when I carried concealed. No doubt long time readers of this blog will know I am a fan of S&W revolvers. I have carried them for many years now, but never exclusively. I thought I would give it a try.

My two main carry choices (top two in photo) have been a Model 342PD (.38 Special) and a "Pre 27" (.357 Magnum) - two guns about as different as you can get and both still be revolvers. The 342PD is a 5-shot Airweight so light you easily forget it's on you; the .357 is ungainly hunk of steel that will fire heavy .357 loads like they're light .38 Specials. Also in the lineup was a M649 and Chiefs Special (both .38) and for a short while even a 686 (.357).

I don't have any grand revelations for you. Carrying these revolvers wasn't much more difficult than the autoloaders I have carried for years. Yes, the big Smith was a bit more cumbersome but nothing that couldn't be done regularly. In no way did I ever feel that I was somehow "undergunned" when carrying revolvers. I never felt I was short changing myself.

I found the main difference was in carrying the reloads. I always like at least one reload with my carry gun and that's where the disparities between autos and revolvers really started showing. Typically I will carry my reloads in a front pants pocket. I've found that even a large capacity magazine in your pocket isn't too difficult to deal with, on the other hand revolver speed loaders, if carried loose, can become quite the chore.

I used both speed strips and speed loaders. The strips are of course much easier to carry on you but slower to use. The speed loaders are much quicker for reloading but more of a hassle to carry. What did I do?

As the year progressed I found myself carrying speed strips more often and speed loaders less and less, especially the N-Frame ones that were the main problem. Eventually I got lazy and just started carrying an extra J-Frame revolver which, although heavier, didn't seem as bothersome as an N-Frame speed loader rolling around in my pocket.

Now that the year has ended I don't know if I will continue the experiment. I have several good carry autos that I would like to start using. The one thing I do know for sure is that if I carry revolver speed loaders again it will have to be with a good holder attached to the belt. Trying to carry them any other way is just too much of a headache.


The Displaced Louisiana Guy said...

Interesting experiment, Wilson. I have noticed more and more this summer, I have been carrying my 638 j-frame over autoloaders, mainly due to the ability to drop it in a pocket. Revolvers defiantly still have a niche in our lives, and for certain situations, a semi-auto just won't do.

Wilson said...

Revolvers to have their limitations but are still a viable defense tool. Even with modern pocket guns I still consider the S&W J-Frame a great option and still one of the best pocket guns ever!

Unknown said...

My grandfather also has a pre-model 27 in that exact format. I don't know the serial number on it though. Sweet wheelguns!