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Old 06-16-2012, 15:58   #1
LApm9
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The best all-around handgun

After a fair amount of fiddling around, I feel confident about making an absolute statement.

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The best all-around handgun is the Smith and Wesson K Frame revolver with the standard "Dymondwood" grips
By "all-around", I address a user group that includes persons that are "average". They are not going to go to the range once a month, much less strip down, clean, and lube a weapon on a monthly basis. They have average size hands and don't really like flash and recoil that much. They don't want to buy $100 worth of premium ammo to make sure their handgun functions well with it.

They want something that waits patiently for them to use it, and then works as intended.

Autoloaders are the BEST handgun in the hands of someone who practices regularly and likes fooling with handguns. They hold a lot of rounds and are fast, accurate, and fast and simple to reload. BUT, if you don't clean them enough they will not work. The modern ones are very reliable...but some weapons "don't like" certain brands of ammunition, so you have to spend about $100 ( :shock: )testing the ammunition you wish to use for defense. If the brand flunks the test...you spend $100 more!

With revolvers the cartridge brand and loading are almost irrelevant to function. You buy a box of the right caliber (match the words on the side of the barrel to the words on the box) cartridges and off you go. You can also, after giving them a modest oiling, leave them in a drawer for years and they will still be ready to go.

As the K Frame and the grips...they just feel right. This basic design has been around since 1899, when fit was as important as function and far more important than manufacturing efficiency. This design just feels "right"...and I think the "average person" wants a weapon that fits him/her rather than having to adapt to something that feels foreign.

The balance and size of the K frame is just better that that of the Rugers, the L frame S&W, and the J frame S&W. The K is narrower than the first two, above, and seems to better concentrate the felt weight in the center of the hand. The first two seem to concentrate the felt weight above the forward knuckles of the gripping hand...this about 3/4" different. IMHO, this centering of the weight, plus the narrower frame, makes the weapon "snuggle" right into the hand.

The J frame has the same beneficial weight properties, but it is just a little too small and cramps things up just a little too much. Good, but not quite right. Especially the trigger reach. The smaller frame also impedes the easy use of a speedloader.

Please note that the above is conditioned upon the use of the old-fashioned "Dymondwood" grips!

The Wheelhouse

I have experienced the modern rubber S&W grips, and high quality rubber after-market grips, and find them excellent. However, they fill the hand completely and seem to be made for man-sized hands. The same for the S&W "target" grips. The traditional style, seen above, seems to fit easily in the hand, and would accommodate a smaller hand better. I have large hands... and it still feels great...they just sort of "snuggle" right in there. The downside of the Dymondwood grips is that they will not absorb recoil as well. But, if you are going to be using .38 Specials in a steel framed weapon, recoil shouldn't be punishing.

The K frame handguns are only furnished in .38 Special caliber. This round, introduced in 1902, is "enough". The modern 9mm is more powerful, and the .40 S&W, 10 mm, and .45 ACP even more so. But the .38 is "enough". Less power means less kick (recoil), less noise (blast), and less flash. I LOVE shooting my .357 because I like the power and the flash, but I suspect the "average person" likes a minimum of that kind of thing! With a .38 Special, you can get a strong "+P" load, or the milder "regular" loads. If you STILL find that bothersome, one can get the tame "wadcutter" target loads...which have some surprisingly good ballistics.

Last edited by LApm9; 06-16-2012 at 16:05.. Reason: fumble fingers
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Old 06-17-2012, 06:34   #2
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I cant argue with a word you said about the S&W K Frame being the best all around. You can definitely make and justify this position. However, i feel the next guy can also make the same argument about the Glock 19, the 1911, the Ruger Blackhawk, etc. and it is hard to argue with him either. The best all around handgun is what works for YOU, not someone else.

I grew up on revolvers and was 40 years old before owning a semi-auto of any type, rifle, shotgun or handgun. I grew up on double barrel shotguns, lever and bolt rifles and revolvers. These were all traditional and seen as the most dependable.

But since i started with my ruger mark 2 in 22-45, and from there gradually acquired a couple of 10-22's, a couple 1911's, a glock 19 and 26, and a browning silver shotgun, i love semi-autos and realize they are a blast and can be extremely dependable.

Life is full of choices and options. There is a time, place and use for all my guns. I still have my older guns and they still see range time and use, but a good semi- auto is also a pleasure to shoot.
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Old 06-17-2012, 06:58   #3
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The best all around S&W revolver would also be a S&W Model 19 with a rounded butt. I have one in 4" I had custom made with hard chrome finish. Wouldn't mind finding it's 3" cousin though. I don't handgun hunt so for my needs the 4" works.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:24   #4
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I feel the same about my G26. It's sloppy clearances make it very forgiving of dirt or lack of maintenance when I get lazy. It's my EDC because if it's size and weight. So far it has proven reliable with the cheapest ammo and it's more accurate than my AK47 even at 50 yards. It's Tenifer finish and stainless innards make it forgiving of our salty atmosphere along the coast here in Florida. But I'll agree. The revolver is even more simple and easy to use. Definitely easier on the eyes.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:50   #5
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While I like my Glocks I truly miss my old Colt Python in 357. With Pachmeyer grips it felt perfect, was far more accurate than any autos I own and 357 allows a ton of ammo choices including 38.

For autos I do like the Glock 20SF. With 10mm round seems like you can put together a load for just about any situation and have 15 with you.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:10   #6
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By "all-around", I address a user group that includes persons that are "average". They are not going to go to the range once a month, much less strip down, clean, and lube a weapon on a monthly basis. They have average size hands and don't really like flash and recoil that much. They don't want to buy $100 worth of premium ammo to make sure their handgun functions well with it.


I'm definitely not one of those guys;

Other than the average sized hands, I go every week, maintain my stuff religiously, don't mind recoil and spend waaay too much on ammo.....Other than for needs where ammo capacity is a serious consideration, I'd still be just fine with a K frame S&W.
Besides, I can reload if I need to.
I have lots of auto pistols, incl 1911/Glock20 etc, but I can put lead on target just as quickly with my mod 10, 64NY1, 14, 15 for six rounds at least and hang with the majority of pistol shooters on the reload too.
There's more important things than which gun wins the most IPSC or IDPA shoots, it's the one that is going to work when things are far less than ideal....and K frames have established solid performance there for about a decade.
Also, don't underestimate .38sp. With the right loads, it will come right under .357mag and exceed 9mm+P with heavy bullets. It's flexible that way because it's a revolver round.
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:20   #7
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I agree with your assessment except for one thing. The way you use the term "average", I get the feeling that you think anyone who chooses to use a revolver is not as good as someone who chooses an auto. I have carried and used both revolvers and autos in my career and I choose revolvers because I like them, plain and simple. I know that I can out shoot most "average" auto shooters with my average K frame and I'm happy with that.
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Old 06-20-2012, 20:12   #8
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Old 06-20-2012, 21:06   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NMPOPS View Post
I agree with your assessment except for one thing. The way you use the term "average", I get the feeling that you think anyone who chooses to use a revolver is not as good as someone who chooses an auto. I have carried and used both revolvers and autos in my career and I choose revolvers because I like them, plain and simple. I know that I can out shoot most "average" auto shooters with my average K frame and I'm happy with that.
I meant to convey something slightly different, that a person who is not as involved with firearms might prefer a revolver. A revolver user may be of any level of competence.

"K" users are the Mensa of handgunners, though!
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Old 06-20-2012, 21:18   #10
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For the masses, it's hard to refute the Glock 19. Recoil is manageable. Maintenance is easy. Very reliable. Capacity is there, too. I have a Glock 23/27/30/36 and SA XDM 9mm compact.

Revolvers are great but for the average person, double action doesn't bring a lot of confidence to the average. I have the Ruger GP100, S&W Performance Center and Pro Series 627, a Colt Python, and a couple of snubbies. There is a lot of skill required to do a reload with a speed strip or speed loader.

Single action autos are great and are very accurate for the average but some can be finicky with ammunition. I have a few 1911s but they're not exactly affordable for the average and are a little more complex for maintenance.

Many people feel comfortable shooting an AR15 but maintenance and cost is not for the average person. Places to practice are limited, too.

Shotguns are a great firearm but places to practice and skill on doing reloads are limitations. Recoil and dispersion is specific to each load and each firearm.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:30   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LApm9 View Post
After a fair amount of fiddling around, I feel confident about making an absolute statement.



By "all-around", I address a user group that includes persons that are "average". They are not going to go to the range once a month, much less strip down, clean, and lube a weapon on a monthly basis. They have average size hands and don't really like flash and recoil that much. They don't want to buy $100 worth of premium ammo to make sure their handgun functions well with it.

They want something that waits patiently for them to use it, and then works as intended.

Autoloaders are the BEST handgun in the hands of someone who practices regularly and likes fooling with handguns. They hold a lot of rounds and are fast, accurate, and fast and simple to reload. BUT, if you don't clean them enough they will not work. The modern ones are very reliable...but some weapons "don't like" certain brands of ammunition, so you have to spend about $100 ( :shock: )testing the ammunition you wish to use for defense. If the brand flunks the test...you spend $100 more!

With revolvers the cartridge brand and loading are almost irrelevant to function. You buy a box of the right caliber (match the words on the side of the barrel to the words on the box) cartridges and off you go. You can also, after giving them a modest oiling, leave them in a drawer for years and they will still be ready to go.

As the K Frame and the grips...they just feel right. This is where I start to disagree with you. I like the heavier full lugged guns as they balance better for me. The K frame may be lighter to carry, but doesn't balance as well. This basic design has been around since 1899, when fit was as important as function and far more important than manufacturing efficiency. This design just feels "right"...and I think the "average person" wants a weapon that fits him/her rather than having to adapt to something that feels foreign. Again, right for you, does not mean right for everyone.

The balance and size of the K frame is just better that that of the Rugers, the L frame S&W, and the J frame S&W. The K is narrower than the first two, above, and seems to better concentrate the felt weight in the center of the hand. The first two seem to concentrate the felt weight above the forward knuckles of the gripping hand...this about 3/4" different. IMHO, this centering of the weight, plus the narrower frame, makes the weapon "snuggle" right into the hand. Again, all of this can be discarded as personal preference.

The J frame has the same beneficial weight properties, but it is just a little too small and cramps things up just a little too much. Good, but not quite right. Especially the trigger reach. The smaller frame also impedes the easy use of a speedloader.

Please note that the above is conditioned upon the use of the old-fashioned "Dymondwood" grips!

The Wheelhouse

I have experienced the modern rubber S&W grips, and high quality rubber after-market grips, and find them excellent. However, they fill the hand completely and seem to be made for man-sized hands. The same for the S&W "target" grips. The traditional style, seen above, seems to fit easily in the hand, and would accommodate a smaller hand better. I have large hands... and it still feels great...they just sort of "snuggle" right in there. The downside of the Dymondwood grips is that they will not absorb recoil as well. But, if you are going to be using .38 Specials in a steel framed weapon, recoil shouldn't be punishing.

One of my biggest gripes with revolvers is the older style grips. I can't shoot well with them at all. There is something in my hand geometry that does not work with having the middle finger directly behind the trigger finger when the gun is gripped. It's terribly unnatural feeling and gives me an awkward grip on the gun. This is fixed quite nicely by some of the aftermarket rubber grips you mentioned.

The K frame handguns are only furnished in .38 Special caliber. This round, introduced in 1902, is "enough". The modern 9mm is more powerful, and the .40 S&W, 10 mm, and .45 ACP even more so. But the .38 is "enough". Less power means less kick (recoil), less noise (blast), and less flash. I LOVE shooting my .357 because I like the power and the flash, but I suspect the "average person" likes a minimum of that kind of thing! With a .38 Special, you can get a strong "+P" load, or the milder "regular" loads. If you STILL find that bothersome, one can get the tame "wadcutter" target loads...which have some surprisingly good ballistics.
Most of what you are saying makes sense in regards to the whole "revolver because it can eat any ammo and is simple to use", but after that things really fall apart as most of the rest is all your personal preference.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LApm9 View Post
The K frame handguns are only furnished in .38 Special caliber.
Except for the Models 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 53, 65, 66, and 617.
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Old 03-06-2013, 00:18   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LApm9 View Post
After a fair amount of fiddling around, I feel confident about making an absolute statement.

As the K Frame and the grips...they just feel right. This basic design has been around since 1899, when fit was as important as function and far more important than manufacturing efficiency. This design just feels "right"...and I think the "average person" wants a weapon that fits him/her rather than having to adapt to something that feels foreign......I have experienced the modern rubber S&W grips, and high quality rubber after-market grips, and find them excellent. However, they fill the hand completely and seem to be made for man-sized hands. The same for the S&W "target" grips. The traditional style, seen above, seems to fit easily in the hand, and would accommodate a smaller hand better. I have large hands... and it still feels great...they just sort of "snuggle" right in there. The downside of the Dymondwood grips is that they will not absorb recoil as well. But, if you are going to be using .38 Specials in a steel framed weapon, recoil shouldn't be punishing.
For YOU that might be right. A lot of what you said is true but not for everyone. I prefer the Pachmyers on all my S&W Revolvers.

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Originally Posted by CDR_Glock View Post
For the masses, it's hard to refute the Glock 19......Revolvers are great but for the average person, double action doesn't bring a lot of confidence to the average......There is a lot of skill required to do a reload with a speed strip or speed loader.
Many people that I teach choose the G19 as the keeper.


As for me, I love the K Frame and wouldn't feel underarmed with one (I especially love my M14 Target Masterpiece) but it cannot compare to all of the firepower, speed and reliability of my 2nd Gen G17 who has been a constant companion since 1993.

Truly, to each his own.

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Old 03-06-2013, 15:35   #14
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A Glock 19 will be my choice!
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Old 03-12-2013, 17:36   #15
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The K frame handguns are only furnished in .38 Special caliber.
I'd say you need to check your sources, my friend.

There are many K frame models in 357mag. I have a Model 19 a few feet from me right now.
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Old 03-12-2013, 17:38   #16
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Old 03-12-2013, 17:39   #17
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Old 03-19-2013, 00:17   #18
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Since it doesn't mean I only have to have one brand, model, or size...
I definitely agree.
Revolvers are great, regardless of one's level of skill.

Made the mistake of selling my 686, some years ago...
But another, homeless Smitty, called my name from the gun case...
So, I adopted it!


The Wheelhouse


This one will remain part of our family, regardless of not being a primary carry!
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:22   #19
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It seems you answered most in your first post. Autoloaders (even Glocks) need a level of care, albeit minimal that a lot of folks just aren't going to want to do. You have to buy magazines and not loose them, replace springs etc. I've come across several people with an older handgun but had no idea where the magazines were.

I think for most a Stainless revolver is the clear choice in what ever size / manufacturer you choose. .38/.357 (some 9mm). You load a gun like this and literally forget about it for years until it is needed again. Revolvers aren't the easiest thing for people to shoot but they don't jam, rounds don't come dumping out of magazines etc..

I think the S&W Mod 686 2.5" is great example of this as is my Ruger SP101. Another option would be the blackhawk convertable that will run both .38.357 and 9mm with a cylinder swap. Only single action but gives you lots of ammo options. Basicilly with a high quality revolver you are pretty set from light target loads to heavy Buffalo Bore kickers. There are no wrong answers but I think wheelguns are comfortable just sitting lying in wait...
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Old 03-23-2013, 17:08   #20
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the best....(an arcane term)....Ruger Blackhawk in .44 Special. Those that "know" do not need to have it explained to them...
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Old 03-25-2013, 20:23   #21
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Ruger,S&W,any of these 2 will do you well. Even S&Ws with the ugly lock will do. So far my 2 S&Ws M64 2 inch and 681 4 inch are all doing well. also my 686+ 3+4 inch with lock is fine. My Rugers are a SPEED SIX in .357/.38 and also my SP101 in .357/38. Since I am disabled,I sold all of my Glocks because it is hard for me to load up.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:12   #22
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the best....(an arcane term)....Ruger Blackhawk in .44 Special. Those that "know" do not need to have it explained to them...
<---------knows.




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Old 03-27-2013, 02:30   #23
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the best....(an arcane term)....Ruger Blackhawk in .44 Special. Those that "know" do not need to have it explained to them...



The Wheelhouse
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:09   #24
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I guess I need it explained to me? As far as single actions go I would have thought a Stainless Blackhawk convertible in .38/.357/9mm would give you quite a bit of versatility. Especially when trying to scrounge ammo. Obviously not the same category of big game stopper but then I would go .44 mag anyway.
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Old 03-27-2013, 17:47   #25
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Nothing wrong with a good K frame, except for those awful factory grips.
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