As you may recall, I started playing around with shooting an L-frame revolver in IDPA last year, just for the giggles of learning something new. I even carried the gun a time or two with .357 defensive rounds as a "woods/hike gun". I discovered that I LIKE revolver. It's a challenge, and it tweaks my inner history nut.
So, this spring when I started having some neighborhood dog problems, I wondered how I would do with a snub-nose revolver as a defensive gun. (My other concealed guns are all semi-auto). I understood the drawbacks of having only 5 rounds available, but I just wanted to try it and see.
I ended up buying myself a Ruger LCR for an early birthday present, and I bought an IWB holster from www.Gungoddess.com to go with it. I've also been playing around with how to mount that kydex on an elastic bellyband to wear under yoga tights when I go exercise walking. That part will be fodder for another post, once I make sure that it works well.
Though I had put a handful of shots downrange with the Ruger during the week I bought it, I was waiting for the holster to arrive so I could really blow the bugs out. Today was the day.
I used a standard IDPA target at about 7 yards/Tuller distance, shooting Armscor 158gr .38 special. The first few shots ran high. Turns out that this was a pretty consistent thing. The only time my shots got lower was when I was rapid firing, and I'm assuming, dipping the muzzle with the trigger pull. All shots remained on target (except the ten that I later launched at the fifty-yard steel just for giggles), but many did not land in the -0 ring. That's the first thing I discovered with this gun.
The second thing I discovered was that this gun is NOT a whole ton of fun to shoot (unlike my full-size revolver). This thing "hurts" to shoot after awhile, and I wasn't even using +P. I had planned to blow through 2 whole boxes of ammo, but I stopped at 75 rounds, because I'm not a masochist. Strong hand only was even worse - and I have fairly large hands for a woman.
The third thing I discovered about this gun is that it doesn't like to be short stroked (I think that's the proper term). I'm used to just letting the trigger out enough to reset on my semi-autos. My full size revolver doesn't really "let" me do that, so it hasn't been a problem. But this trigger, although it felt overall lighter in the store than other snubbies (which is one of the reasons I bought it), also kind of "allows" the short stroke, and then skips a chamber (at least that's what I think was happening). I don't think that would be a good thing in a defensive situation. I'll have to pick some revolver friends' brains about it to see if this can be adjusted, or if it is the nature of the beast.
So, I've learned some things. I can see where frame size and frame weight make a big difference. Maybe the heavier snubbies with heavier triggers might mitigate some of what I was experiencing - not sure. I knew the frame size issue to be true with semi-autos, but my Glock 43 is still manageable. Granted 9mm is not .38 special, but the differences seemed more pronounced with revolver.
I can definitely say that the Ruger LCR (at least in my experience) is NOT a gun for beginners. This is in reply to the old-timers (always men) who push "the little lady" toward snub nose revolvers for their first handgun. Granted that in an emergency you may not feel the pain, but to be ready for that emergency, you have to PRACTICE. If practice HURTS, then you aren't going to do it. "The little lady" is probably better off starting with a .380 or 9mm semiauto with somewhat larger frame to mitigate perceived recoil for her first gun.
Unless you find some .38 special defensive rounds that feel like bunny farts, the Ruger LCR is not that gun.