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How I wound up with an N-frame

Discussion in 'GSSF' started by glock39, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. glock39

    glock39

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    First off, you have to understand that I'm very deliberate. I research guns on the Internet for months, then spend weeks weighing all the options before agonizingly narrowing everything down to a final decision. I never just buy a gun on the spur of the moment.

    Well, I was at a local Gun Show, actually looking to check out one of the new S&W Nightguard 396's. The show was smaller than I'd hoped, and the only Nightguard I'd seen was a used model 325. Now, I knew that an N-frame was too big for me. But I'd never handled one of the Nightguard series, and the dealer happened to have the glass case open so, what the heck, I figured I could at least check out the fancy Nightguard sights (great sights, by the way).

    I picked up the Nightguard 325. That's weird, it actually fit my hand. OK, it was right at the upper limit of a comfortable trigger reach, but it did fit. I wondered what was going on, as no N-frame that I'd ever picked up before fit my hand. There was a Model 625 in the case as well, with some semi-custom woods grips. I picked that one up and, sure enough, I couldn't quite reach the trigger properly. But I'd never handled an N-frame with a round butt before, and that apparently made the difference.

    But I knew I wouldn't like the trigger itself. I once had a rather nice K-frame 357 with the wide, grooved target trigger. Having learned on smooth, skinny revolver triggers, I never got used to the wide trigger and sold the K-frame. The N-frame Nightguards, according to every magazine review I've seen, have the same wide grooved triggers. Except that the 325 I picked up had a wide, smooth faced trigger. A very minor difference, but much more comfortable for me. I tried dry firing it. Now, that's even more weird. The longer trigger reach on the N-frame meant that the tip of my finger pulled the trigger straight back, with none of twisting that I've always gotten on other revolvers. Fast or slow, the trigger came straight back smooth as silk and the sights never wavered, twitched or even started to go off to one side. Well, the above is a slight exaggeration, :whistling: but still the trigger was easier to control than the small or medium frame revolvers I've owned.

    By now, I was already developing a definite liking for this giant snubbie. But, reality set in. This was an N-frame and, even with it's light weight, there's just no way to carry an N-frame concealed during a Texas Summer. I mean, even Clint Eastwood had to wear a sport coat throughout the entire movie "Dirty Harry"! So, obviously, if Hollywood says it can't be done....

    I was wearing my usual cargo pants, so I tried just dropping the 325 into my pocket. Definitely a little heavy, but it was entirely covered by the pocket, and the pleated pocket didn't even print! I mean, you could tell there was something bulky in the pocket, but there was no outline to show what it was. This was basically the method used with the old "Fitzgerald Specials", where the pocket itself becomes the holster. This doesn't work with a J-frame, as a small revolver can twist itself into all kinds of awkward to draw from positions. But that big ol' N-frame doesn't have room to go anywhere in a pants pocket. OK, that's one potential carry method, but that will only work with a limited variety of pants.

    Next, I tried shoving it behind my belt. Just to prove that it couldn't be carried that way, you understand. I normally carry an autoloader at the 3 o'clock position, but I knew that would bulge too much with that giant cylinder grinding against my hip bone. So, I tried it between 1 and 2 o'clock. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I lowered it a bit, until the cylinder was just barely below my belt. Something happened then that I still can't really explain, because that giant, impossible-to-conceal N-frame just sort of disappeared. There was a little bulge right below the belt, but the barrel, sights, everything else below the belt didn't print at all. The belt actually crossed over the narrow part of the frame between the rear of the cylinder and front of the handle. Most of the handle, of course, stuck up above the belt. But that was held in tightly against my gut, and the round butt stuck out far less than any double stack autoloader, or even a typical 1911. Most shirts could be tucked in over it, and just bloused out a tiny bit. Personally, I've never been a fan of tuck-able holsters, so I'd probably just wear an untucked shirt over it. And again, this is with slightly baggy cargo pants, so don't complain if it doesn't work with your fancy, tailored 3 piece suit.

    Now, I wouldn't trust this Mexican Carry method out in public. But I already had a "Smart Carry" holster at home, and adjusting the Smart Carry to the proper height would allow kind of an "Improved Mexican Carry". The Smart Carry prevents the gun from falling down, or shifting from side to side. As a side note, I had tried the Smart Carry with several Glocks and, for me at least, it always either had a horrible bulge where the butt clearly printed, or else it had a very unnatural line where the top of the slide showed through. Although the Nightguards are between Big and Giant Sized, they are still snubbies. And sometimes the rounded, organic lines of a revolver are easier to conceal than the blocky outline of an autoloader.

    Yep, the 325 followed me home (by now, you already knew it was going to, didn't you?). I still need to work out the best way to carry spare ammo for it, and I'm not sure if it will become a daily carry gun, but it turns out that it can be concealed. Would I recommend an N-frame as the first choice in a Concealed Carry gun? Err, no, probably not. But I was amazed at the number of things that I thought I knew, but that turned out to be different with some hands on experience and a willingness to experiment. Which is the real lesson I'm trying to convey here. Don't dismiss something as unworkable until you've tried it, because sometimes things aren't quite as they appear.
     
  2. moncoacp

    moncoacp

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    I am awaiting delivery of a 327. I had the same concerns about the size for carry and the trigger reach but got such a good price that I thought if I didn't like it, I could sell it for a little profit. I always carry IWB and have a holster that might work that sits well below the belt line. I really like the idea of 8 rounds of .357 for self defense. I don't know if speed loaders are available, but I do know that speed strips do.
     

  3. Bruce M

    Bruce M

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    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  4. glock39

    glock39

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    Do they make 8 round speed strips? Apparently Thunder Ranch does make 8 round speedloaders, although they're asking $60 for them.

    http://www.thunderranchinc.com/8shot.html

    I'm still trying to find a good way to carry the 6 round 45ACP moon clips myself, as that's definitely the quickest reload for me.
     
  5. ronin.45

    ronin.45

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    Wow, you don't hear much about "Fitz Specials" on GT. :cool:

    You got a great carry gun there. In my opinion the 325 is better than the 396 you were looking for. Moon clips are the fastest reload available and the .45 is obviously a proven defensive round. Good choice.
     
  6. moncoacp

    moncoacp

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    Speed strips at Midway

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productnumber=854684

    I am getting a a 327 Nightguard. Are all the 8 shoters set up for moonclips or just those from the Performance Center?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  7. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Only if he were to cut away the front of the trigger guard...
     
  8. Tommy Kelly

    Tommy Kelly

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    I have a nice little n frame 29 with a 3" bbl and round butt with unfluted cylinder. It's a great shooter.
     
  9. Range Rat

    Range Rat

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    Glock39, I really like big guns and have had an interest in the Night Guard. Your description of your new revolver has me motivated!
     
  10. Berto

    Berto woo woo

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    Recently picked up a 325 myself. So far no real issues other than bullet pull with some overpriced reloads.
     
  11. ronin.45

    ronin.45

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    Berto, you will get bullet pull with most rounds. I find that most brands of .45 will walk out during firing. They don't walk all the way out of the case so it's not really a problem unless you try the unfired ones in an auto later on, they don't feed too well. I just leave unfired rounds in the moon clips so they don't find their way into a magazine.