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 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! 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.