The Trials and Tribulations of the RevolverGuy

Like most of you, I anxiously await Mike’s posts. He writes better than me, knows more than I do, and despite being an officer (forgive me, John Basilone) is smarter than me. So naturally I look forward to seeing what comes out of his head and onto the screen. And, like most of you I really enjoyed his recent article on light training loads. But it got me thinking…

Hey, guys – sorry I got this out late today. I was at Greg’s outstanding Snubby Revolver class and apparently the WordPress scheduling function didn’t work for me. Stay tuned for a full review of the course!
~JC

Though we generally keep things pretty upbeat around here, there are any number of trials and tribulations associated with being a RevolverGuy. It ain’t easy being a round-gun shooter in a world that is optimized for the square-gun and its followers. It’s especially difficulty to those of us who try to carry wheelguns as a primary self-defense sidearm. I’m going to talk about a few of these problems today.

Bear with me – it’s might seem like I’m bashing revolvers. I like to add a touch of sanity every now and then, and I’d prefer people become RevolverGuys with eyes wide open.

Light Training Loads

As Mike mentioned last week, there is a world of difference between the “white box” loads most of us shoot at the range, and the hot stuff a lot of RevolverGuys thumb into their cylinders before heading home. This difference can be substantial, and the smaller revolver, the greater these graduations become. In the ultra-light guns, stepping up from a 148-grain to a mere “standard” .38 can be noticeable. The jump from standard .38s to .38 +P – and from anything at all to even mild .357 Magnums – can be amply felt in most revolvers that are appropriate for concealed carry.

I contend that this is mostly a revolver issue. As an example: as you guys will see shortly, I have fired over 5,000 rounds of 9mm through a single gun this year. The vast majority of that has been 124-grain ball. My carry load is a 124-grain +P JHP. Is there a difference in recoil? Yes, however… Even with the cheapest 124-grain ball I can find (usually Fiocchi and S&B) this difference is very small. If you loaded my gun and handed it to me, I’d have a hard time telling you what ammo you’d put in there just by firing it.

Big difference on the right, not much difference on the left.

Now, I’m not saying there’s zero difference between mild and hot 9mm loads. I’m also not saying that 9mm is a universally “light shooter.” In some guns it can be downright punishing to shoot.  What I am saying is that if you’re comfortable with 9mm ball, you’re probably going to be comfortable with any number of modern defensive hollowpoints.

Sight Regulation

Then there’s that pesky issue of sight regulation that Mike wrote about not too long ago. This most commonly rears its head with fixed-sight revolvers. Unfortunately, fixed-sighted revolvers are extremely common. As you guys know, I’ve had massive sight regulation issues in my 640 Pro Series. I’ve also had issues with some carry-sized guns that come from the factory regulated for 158-grain Magnum loads. Some of the readers here have mentioned that their guns are an inch – or two or three – off at single-digit yard lines. Not hitting where you’re aiming is a massive frustration and a potentially huge liability.

Anecdotally, this seems to be much less of an issue with semis. The reason(s)? I’m not sure, but I’ll take a stab. First, there’s the dual-caliber issue. Many of our “.38s” are .357s that we load with .38 Special. The Magnum loads are pushed at higher velocities, so naturally the sight regulation is different.

Perhaps there’s also institutional memory. Early .38 Special loads were of the slow, 158-grain persuasion. Are modern .38s still unwittingly manufactured around this bullet weight and its accompanying velocity, despite the fact that the most commonly carried bullets nowadays are in the 110 to 135-grain range? This could also have something to do with the mechanics of how a semi-auto recoils, but I’m not going to delve into that because…honestly, there’s not much I could offer.

Now, I’m not going to say that all semi-autos are dead-on out of the box. They aren’t. I’ve had to tinker with sights, but nowhere near the constant, ongoing struggle I’ve had with revolver sight regulation. With a semi-auto you can pick your ammo based on reliability, followed by bullet performance, and then verify that point-of-impact matches point-of-aim. With revolvers, it seems you have to try a bunch of ammo for POI/POA correlation. . . then pick your favorite load from a significantly narrowed field.

Carry Ammunition

Since I’m riffing on Mike’s posts, I might as well stay at it and hit one more: last week’s article on wadcutters for carry. The basic premise of the article was that it might be a good idea, at least for some shooters, to eschew the advances in bullet development of the last five or six decades in favor of a friendlier shooter. I don’t disagree – in fact I readily agree – but therein lies the compromise.

Over in Semi-Auto-Land almost any bullet, in a duty caliber (9mm/.40/.45), from a reputable manufacturer (Cor-Bon, Federal, Hornady, Remington, Speer, Winchester) within a normal weight-for-caliber, will probably penetrate adequately, expand, retain its weight, do all of this without additional recoil†, and have a pretty enviable track record in actual shootings.

Ammunition Cost

Mike also mentioned this in his article, but revolver ammo is expensive‡! I’ve written about this before, and it is a massive hidden cost of revolver ownership. The current going price for a case of 1,000 rounds of 9mm is around $170 (I’ve been buying them from SGAmmo.com). The going price – from the same site – for cheap .38 FMJ is $240/case – a $70 difference! And .357 Magnum? Forget about it! Believe it or not bulk.357 runs higher than the previously “exotic” 10mm and on par with the hipster .357 Sig.

Revolver Equation

These differentials assume bulk purchases; the retail markup makes this difference even more stark. Individuals who are most cost-sensitive are probably more prone to purchasing ammunition at retail cost, and this has some second- and third-order effects. Namely, that we practice less. When ammunition is more expensive, we – as a group – tend to use less of it. This impacts competence (though maybe not confidence) with a gun that requires more practice to master.

To be fair, there are also hidden costs with running a bottom feeder. Things like additional magazines can drive the cost up considerably. Averaged over a long term of ownership these costs end up being absorbed, but upfront they’re probably hit harder than a few boxes of ammo.

Reloading Devices

This is probably the one that bugs me more than any other. Depending on what revolver you buy, you may or may not be able to support it with your speedloader of choice. You might have to buy a speedloader made for another gun and be careful how you use it. Hell, there may not be a speedloader that works for it at all. Despite the recent proliferation of new reloading strip designs, similar energy hasn’t been expended making an awesome, inline, universal speedloader.

For that matter, there is the whole speedloader situation in general. The S.L. Variant is pretty much the undisputed king of the hill. However, I don’t think these have been available since well before I began this blog. Some manufacturers have introduced new speedloaders to the market, but they’ve all been a new takes on older, inferior designs. The JetLoader comes pretty close, but it only fits a limited range of guns, and has some problems of its own.

Ultimately, I guess that’s cool; statistics say we aren’t likely to reload in a fight. Even my perceptions of reloads are shifting in light of a lot of the research I’ve been doing into the various loading devices on the market. Still, something about having to accept a second-best solution because my revolver is a less-popular make/model rankles me. I absolutely love the ergonomics and accuracy of my Colt King Cobra. On the other hand, I loathe having to accept substitute speedloaders for it.

Carry Gear

There’s also the issue of carry gear. Since we just talked about reloading devices, let’s talk about carrying them. If I want to carry one in the best way possible – i.e. in a place that is readily accessible, and reliably there enough to index under stress – I need a pouch. I like the Second Six/Split Six design but guess what?

It doesn’t work with the S.L. Variant, Jetloader, or Speed Beez. That’s right, your favorite speedloader might not work with your favorite pouch. And while we’re at it, your favorite pouch might not work with your choice of the three major reloading styles. Fortunately for me, I’ve kind of solved the pouch equation with the Jox Loader Pouch. Assuming, of course, I’m working with a gun for which a speedloader is available. The Jox won’t work for all of you, and some will be left casting about in search of some other carry methodology.

The same goes for holsters. You want to carry a 1911, Glock, or M&P9? The world is your oyster, man – you can get every holster under the sun with options for RMRs, lights, lasers, light/lasers, bayonets, pasta-making attachments, and anything else you’d like to attach to your gun. You want to carry a Kimber K6S or a Ruger Speed Six? Ha!

You can probably find a holster for just about anything out there, and you can have it any way you want it as long as it’s OWB. Unfortunately, OWB doesn’t work for me when I’m “off the farm.” I’m just too skinny to hide much of anything outside the belt. Finding an IWB for a gun that hasn’t made its way into the mainstream – like the Colt King Cobra – is a chore. Looking for a high-quality, Kydex, AIWB rig for the Colt King Cobra is a fool’s errand. Even holsters for the older (and if we’re being honest, probably more popular) Kimber K6S are hard to find in a whole lot of variety.

Revolvers themselves

You thought we were almost through making compromises didn’t you? Not quite; now we come to guns, and picking one for carry. There are a lot more options now than there used to be, but there’s plenty of compromises to be made! I’m assuming we’re talking about a primary carry piece here – choosing and outfitting a BUG is easily doable. Without calling names and pointing fingers, let’s look at the options.

You could go with the big kid on the block, the big, blue one. They probably have the biggest selection and make the most revolvers. Unfortunately they’ve “fixed” some things that weren’t broke, and ignored some things that could probably use an update. Example of the former: the unsightly hole on the side of almost all of their revolvers (The one that isn’t there on their semis. Just sayin’.). Example of the latter: snubby revolvers with a coil-spring design that hasn’t changed in decades, causing them to have ridiculously heavy triggers. And by “hasn’t changed” I mean not by big blue. Other companies have figured it out.

Alternatively, you could go with the new kid on the block. It carries an extra round without being much bigger – or the same rounds and is quite a bit smaller – depending on where you’re coming from.  That one has some problems, too. There’s that nagging problem of breaking firing pins that have yet to be redesigned, and we’re deep into “Few Holsters, Fewer Loaders” territory.

Then there’s the new, new kid on the block, and the one that is my personal struggle. I believe one of their revolvers is the perfect size. It shoots exceptionally well. No one else makes a six-shot gun in that size, and it carries well. I mean, it probably would carry well if I could find an AIWB holster for it. Oh, and a reloader that fit it well. And, to tell the truth, it hasn’t been on the market that long and is rumored to have an inherently fragile action, and I’ve already encountered one minor issue with it.

What’s a RevolverGuy to do?

So…

At this point you may be asking, why bother with revolvers at all? There are some very good reasons.

Revolvers are perhaps the most appropriate choice for some users. For very low-skilled users, they are probably one of – if not THE – safest option. In the hands of very skilled users they can be highly effective. In this fifteen-minute YouTube video, Caleb Giddings describes the revolver’s “‘U’-shaped Utility Curve” far better than I ever could in writing. He describes why revolvers can be an excellent choice for beginners and for the very skilled. I’ve scratched the surface of this myself, but trust me – watch the video.

Revolvers also have some other very niche use-cases. Small revolvers are excellent in the “hideout” or deep concealment roles. They work magnificently as backup guns that may be subject to neglect. Revolvers are also popular in the backup role because – lacking a slide – they work well in very close contact.

Perhaps most importantly to me personally, there are millions of revolvers out there. Though it could happen, I don’t fancy myself doing a battlefield recovery anytime soon. However, as someone who aspires to be a well-rounded shooter, I’d be remiss if I didn’t learn the ubiquitous revolver. Being comfortable with wheel guns lets me help my less-skilled friends and handle revolvers safely. In fact, I think everyone who is serious about firearms should be proficient with revolvers.

The Bottom Line

Again, I know this probably rings to some of you as revolver bashing. But consider this: none of what I said is emotionally driven. It’s just purely logical. To be honest, most of it has almost nothing to do with the revolvers themselves, but with the lack of support for them (step it up, support industry!). There are a lot of frustrations inherent in being a dedicated, 100% RevolverGuy or RevolverGal. And to be honest, we make a lot of compromises.

And if you want to prove me wrong? Prove me wrong! You can find the elusive combination of revolver, holster, and support gear that works for you. Much more importantly, you can do the long, hard work of negating most of the problems you’ll encounter with skill. If you’re willing to dry practice, hit the range, dry practice, attend training, dry practice, read books, and dry practice some more, you’ll be good to go. Skill is the most important compliment to your revolver. Remember, the man who works with a stick will defeat the man who plays with a sword.


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†In full fairness, this also speaks to one of the weaknesses of the autoloading pistol. Generally, semi-autos only function within a certain “power envelope,” relying on energy produced by the cartridge to cycle the action. This precludes the ability to step up or down the power scale as one likes. Unlike a revolver whose recoil can easily be tailored, shooter to shooter, one must factor a given amount of recoil into the arithmetic of choosing his or her semi-auto handgun.

‡Someone is probably going to mention that reloading one’s own ammunition could negate the cost differential (because, well, it has been mentioned before), so let me go ahead and address that. I could reload, and for some people that might be an appropriate answer. There really isn’t a great value proposition in reloading for me right now, though. Reloading is inexpensive when it comes to money, but costly when measured in time. Nothing is more precious to me than time, and I simply don’t have a surplus of it to spend reloading. It’s also not a great answer for extremely price-sensitive shooters for whom the upfront cost may not be achievable. Reloading probably won’t work for someone who doesn’t have the space to reload or reload safely (you don’t want lead all over your dining table), lives in a shared space, etc. There are a lot of reasons reloading IS a good solution, but it’s not one-size-fits-all.

Author: Justin

Justin Carroll is a former MARSOC Marine and veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaving service after eight years in the U.S. Marines, Justin continues his involvement with a variety of government agencies to this day. Justin began RevolverGuy.com in late 2016 with an simple idea: provide an source of high-quality information for revolver enthusiasts.

50 thoughts on “The Trials and Tribulations of the RevolverGuy”

  1. I especially hear you on the holster front. I’ve made a number of holsters for myself, but I would really like to try a kydex dedicated AIWB holster because I think there are just some things commonly done with kydex that I can’t do with leather (I’m not saying they can’t be done with leather, just that I’m not confident in *my* ability to properly execute those techniques). My most recent gun purchase (a SIG P250) is a little bit of an add-ball, but I can find several AIWB kydex holsters for it with the features I want (tuckable with clips fore-and-aft and all kydex – not hybrid). For the SP101, on the other hand, if I find a holster that fits those criteria, it seems an almost universal truth that it will be offered for the 2.25″ gun rather than the 3″ one that I carry. The ones I can find are from makers whose reputations are not easily ascertained.

    1. I love my P250. It’s a shame they discontinued it. At least it has parts and holster commonality with the P320, but I would love for there to be high end varients like the 320 is getting.

    2. I have had good luck using PJ Holster for my oddball guns including a 3″ SP101. He does all of the normal attachment methods plus the TAC clip and UltiClip.

      1. Interesting. He doesn’t show any options with fore-and-aft clips, but it does seem like he is willing to vary his designs a bit. I might have to look into PJ Holsters. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Bravo, my friend. Bravo!

    I definitely feel your pain, brother. It’s an autoloader world that we’re living in.

    The RevolverGuys here might appreciate this story. A few years ago, I was on a personal campaign to convince a popular manufacturer of speedloaders to reintroduce a model which had been discontinued previously. Several new revolver designs had hit the market which would benefit from having this old size return to the catalog, so I put together a convincing argument and approached my contacts at the company with the idea of bringing it back to satisfy this new and quickly growing segment of the market.

    I eventually worked my way up the ladder to some top product managers, who remained unmoved. “We’ve already got a loader that fits,” they told me. “We tested it, and it works.” When I challenged them on this inaccuracy, they sheepishly admitted that the loader wasn’t a true, proper fit, and the cartridges would get a little jammed up, but it mostly worked . . . when the grips were removed from the test gun!

    Sigh.

    Here’s a company that doesn’t have to create anything new. No design work required, no engineering . . . they don’t even need to make new molds—just dust off the old ones and get back to work making them again, like they used to.

    Yet, they wouldn’t. The owners of these new guns would be thrilled to have a quality speedloader from this company, but they’ll have to do without, because . . . well, just because.

    It ain’t easy being a RevolverGuy!

  3. Hmm.. yes. The lack of speedloader specificity and appropriate holster is galling to me also. As well, when I started in on .38 it was dirt cheap ammo… not so much anymore since few police agencies issue the .38 now. As frustrating as this is I definitely shoot better and reload faster with the wheel. Wife calls me “difficult”. I just figure I’m Irish.

  4. A 9mm autoloader is certainly the most convenient choice of handgun today, for sure. Not that I’d be able to take advantage of one, since pocket carry is my only option for carry. Revolvers are what I really like, so they’ll continue to be preferred option. I’m not a frequent, high-volume shooter, so I can probably absorb ammo costs a bit better than most (who don’t reload).

    1. Axel,
      Great additional reason for revolvers: for some of us, it’s all we can carry. Grant and a few other voices of reason are slaying the sacred cow of “dressing around the gun” by pointing out that some of us have to hold real jobs. Believe me, I get it. After I got out of the military I spent five years working on a federal installation where I would have been thrilled if I could have carried even the smallest of revolvers!
      Justin

  5. Great article as usual guys! I have hardly ever owned any revolver that I did’nt need to try a minimum of 3 grips and 3 holsters for before I found the perfect combination. Therefore, when calculating the cost of any new revolver purchase I have to factor that in too. Additionally, if its a new frame size or a one off, I then need to add the cost of at least two speedloaders.

    As to the light load practice issue, I typically practictice with Magtech ammo, or Remington UMC. Both of these are typically loaded quite hot for cheap target ammo and have about the same recoil as a plus P load in my experience.

    Thanks!

  6. Full agreed. I will always have a soft spot for revolvers, and for the foreseeable future, my backwoods gun will continue to be a 4.2″ .357 loaded with 200gr Buffalo Bore LFNs.

    But for daily carry, I just can’t come up with a good reason any more, or at least not one that outweighs all the benefits of a good semi these days.

    If anyone missed it, Paul Harrell has been doing a good recent series on revolvers for self defense, and episode 1 has some pretty interesting shooting results – both in terms of shooting a number of different loads out of the same fixed-sight revolver and demonstrating how much variability in accuracy there can be, and also comparing a similar variety of ammo out of a 9mm semi, and how much (or rather, how little) variability there is in accuracy with the latter by comparison.

    The revolver can no doubt still be a formidable weapon, but as this article details, it takes a lot more work, experimentation and esp. these days – money, to get there.

    1. Hammer,
      I’m with you. There are some use-cases like that of Axel, above, who has to pocket carry where the revolver really shines. For my personal EDC I can’t find anything that outweighs the benefits of a 9mm semi-auto, though.
      I enjoy Paul’s videos but haven’t checked in on him in a while. You’re the second person to mention him in a couple of weeks – I’ll check him out when I’ve got some time.
      Justin

  7. As for holsters, Tony Mayer (JM Custom Kydex) recently crafted two AIWB rigs and two OWB RIGS for me. One set is for a custom Mod 64 with a 3.5” barrel…the other set for my primary carry revolvers, a pair of 3” barrel Mod 10-6s. Tony will take the time to discuss your requirements, and then provide you with exactly what you requested. As for loader carriers (I run HKS exclusively) Nick Jacques’s carriers work for me, whether J, K or N frame.

    1. Thanks, Mike! I just checked his gun list and unfortunately the Colt King Cobra (my new favorite revolver) and the Kimber K6S aren’t listed. Do you know if he is able to make a holster for models he doesn’t list?

      1. Not sure Justin as I only run S&W so that was not an issue. I recommend you give them a call…he’s in Sparks, NV near Reno. The quality of his AIWB holsters is Tier 1, and I run his for my Glocks and VP9s as well.

      2. I’ve an excellent K6S holster from Simply Rugged, though it’s OWB and a flap model. I bet Rob has a nice IWB one for the gun. In fact, mine is the same rig I ordered for my Taurus 85. It’s a perfect fit for the Kimber.

  8. Dead on. I like revolvers a lot, but I don’t shoot them more because they are a huge pain in the neck. I’m doing Givens’ Master Instructor class next year and I’d like to use the S&W model 28 that Karl Sokol worked over for me…but finding speed loaders for a 6 shot .357 N frame is no easy task. Such is life with the wheelgun.

    1. Tim, it’s great to see you here in these pages. Thanks for checking in! If you’re comfortable with the HKS loader, it’s usually not too hard to find one for an N-Frame. I just found some on Amazon (model 27) for $9.99, with free shipping if you’re a Prime Member. I know Justin isn’t fond of the twist-style loaders, but I grew up with them and they work well for me.

      1. Yeah, I was hoping I could find something besides the HKS because all my training on wheelgun reloads to this point has been with Safariland style loaders. I thought perhaps the Maxfire might be a good option but reading your review of that doesn’t leave me optimistic enough to give it a go.

        Given the ubiquity of the HKS speed loaders it would probably be a good idea for me to train with them anyway…

  9. Had some problems posting my first reply, so I’ll try again, more briefly.

    To me, the disadvantages of a revolver are outweighed by the pleasure I find in shooting them. I am not an EDC sort, limiting my carry to an occasional pocket-carry of my K6S, and I train for that. But it’s a rare need. I just do not like having a gun on my all the time. I have 6 rounds on board, one fewer thank many single-stack semis.

    In the home, it’s another matter. My wife and I locked up our one semi, a 1911, for range use. For personal defense in the house, we now have revolvers with 4″ barrels and a simple manual of arms. We both enjoy shooting them. I carry one on my hip when farming. We occasionally get yahoos causing trouble, something I’ve not encountered in the purportedly more dangerous city.

    I’ve tried many times and been tempted by the S&W M&P line in .45, but polymer semis bore me, and my wife does not like racking a slide, though she’s proficient at the 1911 and a good shot with it.

    Perhaps I might get a “modern” 9mm if I can find one in all steel. The Beretta 92 is tempting, but it’s not a carry gun. It too will go the range only.

    1. Pssst….. CZ 75 Compact. All metal, light enough for carry and it has a hammer. And CZs are just a joy to shoot. Most immediately ergonomic and accurate semis I’ve ever handled, and I’ve handled quite a few S&Ws, Sigs, Rugers, etc.

      😉

      1. Thanks! I always forget the CZ 75. It’s a fine weapon. I like full-sized guns…I got big mitts and find I do better with full-sized semis. I’m okay with small revolvers. I’ll keep an eye out. Bring on that steel!

      2. If they made a DAO CZ-75 compact, I would have bought that instead of my SIG P250. Those are easily the most comfortable double-stack nines as far as grip shape goes. The DAO full-size CZ-75 are pretty scarce, though, and I don’t think they ever made the compacts in DAO. For someone who is fine with DA/SA (or carrying cocked and locked for SAO), the CZ-75 guns are a real nice option.

        1. I think you’re correct, Grayson – CZ makes a 75 Compact that can be carried SAO, but not DAO.

          Personally, I’m pretty intrigued by the new Dan Wesson ‘DMX Compact’ due to come out in 2020 – a SAO double-stack 9mm with a 1911 Dan Wesson fire control group combined with CZ ergonomics, that uses CZ mags and he variety of CZ 75 Compact grips that are available.

          https://danwessonfirearms.com/product/dwx/

        2. You should look at the UK P30 with the LEM trigger. It operates more or less as your P250 but with a bit lighter trigger pull.
          Roger

  10. I was recently in one of the “outdoor stores” and a young salesperson kept asking could he help me. I politely declined but he was very persistent. I finally said, ” look, I’m left handed and my edc is a revolver.” His expression was priceless and he left me browse. I recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of my 21st birthday, may have had something to do with it.

    1. I wish that worked for me. Maybe it is because I am younger or because I am a righty who shoots left handed, but telling people I carry a revolver and shoot left handed mostly results in a lot of explanations about why I need a Glock (or worse yet, a S&W M&P).

  11. I am sorry to tell you but you cant not be considered a revolver guy or gal until your holster collection is at least 4 to 5 times larger than what the photo shows.

    For reloads for a snub if it is cold I stick a Safariland loader in a jacket pocket. Warmer temps buy and carry a 6 shot speed strip but load it this way……….2… skip one spot …2..skip the last. Easier to load that way Yes I know it is only 4 rounds but that gives you 9 or 10 shots and if you want carry a second speed strip.

    1. Haha! My “box-o-holsters” is actually 3 or 4 large boxes of holsters these days, Walt! I think you and Justin load your strips the same way—it’s a great technique. Always good to see you here in these pages.

  12. This article should be required reading for those considering the revolver for purely defensive work. That’s not a swipe at the idea of using a revolver for EDC (I’m a big fan), but those who are considering it need to be informed. The idea that the Snubbie is the “easy button” when it comes to a carry gun is only half true. If the measure of a carry gun is how convenient it is, then the revolver wins. Most people don’t consider the impact of training costs and skill development necessary to be proficient with wheelguns.
    Great article as usual, even though it reminds me why I carry a bottom feeder 95% of the time. That only motivates me continue to believe that one day I will disprove the realities of carrying a revolver!! I think being a little hard headed is a requirement for being a revolver guy!

    1. That’s a pretty big compliment and I appreciate it! I agree about being hard-headed. Part of the appeal of revolvers for me is the challenge of searching high and low for the perfect holster/speedloader/whatever, putting together an acceptable carry rig…though sometimes the easy-button semi appeals to me too (and in fairness, I carry a square gun).
      Thanks again!

    1. Yes. The first one S&W sent had a major manufacturing defect. I sent it back, but due to a move on my end it took a while to get another gun. Should be out soon.
      Worth mentioning: if you enjoy our gun reviews, PLEASE consider supporting us on Patreon. Ammunition is a huge expense for us; though I deeply appreciate the Patreon support we have, it’s not nearly enough to cover our costs. Thanks!

      1. Understood on the 610. Looking forward to it. I have a huge soft spot for 610s.

        Just read your Patreon article as well- will do ASAP.

  13. I typically carry a smith and Wesson shield in 9mm. Great gun for edc. Recently though I have toyed with the idea of switching to an lcr in 9mm. My reasons are 1) that I find myself pocket carrying more and more, a role the shield is not as well suited for. 2) I do a lot more dry practice now than I did a few years ago and it seems a revolver is a more convenient platform for dry fire, especially when compared to a striker fired pistol. As to why the lcr in 9mm, I have practiced caliber discipline and would like to continue to do so with the lcr. Also, the moon clips would seem to me to be a solution to the lack of speed loader issue Justin described. If anyone has any feedback on my thought process I would love to hear it. Thanks.

    1. Andrew,
      Just a couple thoughts: first, moon clips have some excellent advantages, but carrying moon clips is really difficult. If they get bent, even slightly, they will still go in your gun. However, a bent moon clip can bind a revolver up fairly hard – obviously no ideal. The only way I would really consider carrying them is with a belt-carried pouch that protected the clips.
      Next, both Mike and I have experienced bullet pulling in the LCR. I posted a pic on Patreon last week, and Mike has a pic in his review of the LCR (and have a least a few witnesses from the class). In the first and only cylinder I’ve ever fired through the 9mm LCR a bullet was pulled sufficiently to bind up the cylinder.
      Finally, recoil in the 9mm LCR is fairly brisk. That’s a “to each his own” question to answer, but with range-grade 115-grain FMJs I was surprised at how robust it was.
      Not trying to dissuade you, but also want to be perfectly up-front, in the spirit of the article.
      Justin

  14. Thanks Justin. I have read Mike’s field report as well as other reviews. To me, it seems to be a binary experience, either you get bullet pull frequently or you don’t experience it at all (Mike’s report being an exception to that trend). I would certainly test any carry ammo extensively before carrying it. My preferred ammo is hornady critical duty 135 gr or 115 gr. Both of these have had good reviews when shot through a lcr.

    As to the felt recoil issue. I believe in the use of weapon mounted lasers. That being said it sounds like the tamer grips are a must for the lcr 9mm. Allegedly, hogue is making a variant of tamer grips with a laser. I am watching to see when those come out. Knowing me, it will be an expensive week for me hogue releases them. Thanks again for your input.

    1. It’s not so much the “felt” in recoil that I’m concerned with, as it is the ability to shoot with equal rapidity and accuracy. The provided grip is comfortable and this isn’t a punisher to shoot, but there’s a lot of muzzle rise and it takes more time to get back on target.
      Again,though, that’s a to-each-his-own proposition.
      One other thought – a 9mm Shield magazine wouldn’t make an awful reload for a 9mm revolver.

      1. Andrew, I’m a fan of the 9mm LCR and would be comfortable carrying one, but they do have their idiosyncrasies, as previously discussed. Honestly, I’d much rather carry the 9mm than the .38 Special version (working on an article about that, as we speak).

        The only bullets that pulled completely free on me were cheap commercial reloads, where the taper crimp wasn’t aggressive. The heavyweight HST that I shot certainly pulled, but not far enough to bind things, and I suspect that most of the “duty grade” ammo will be similar. The Hornady products are excellent and manufactured to high standards, so I’m guessing they’ll be just fine (particularly the lighter weight, 115 grain Critical Defense), but you’ll want to test them to make sure.

        I’ve handled the Hogue lasergrips and you’ll see a picture of them in our 2019 SHOT coverage. They’re comfortable and look well made. The laser module is larger than the Crimson Trace setup, and sticks out a little more, so you’d want to evaluate potential holster interference before you bought them. I was promised a T&E sample at SHOT but they didn’t come through, so I’ll reengage with them this coming January. Stay tuned.

        I’ll second Justin’s evaluation that the 9mm Shield is easier to shoot with accuracy and speed, but if you’re going to pocket carry, then the LCR is the clear winner. The Shield excels at belt carry, but—like all autos—is a poor choice for a pocket gun. The mission drives the gear train, so if your situation calls for pocket carry, then the 9mm LCR will be a great companion for you.

        1. Justin – Now that is an interesting idea. If/when I get the 9mm lcr I will trying loading from the shield magazine. It would obviously take some practice and you would only get 1 reload, but that is a novel solution to the moon clip issue.

          Mike – thank you for your feedback. I can belt carry without issue. My usual attire is suite and tie, but I find myself more involved with projects where business casual is more appropriate/acceptable. Thus more pocket carry. I can pull it off with a shield, but as you said, not a role it was really made for. The other idea that I had was that a revolver is better suited for dry practice. If I dry practice more, then I will be more skilled which offsets the lower capacity.

          In any event. Thank you both again for your input.

          1. Now that I think about it the Shield might not be the best option because it’s a little tough to unload by hand, but I’m sure you can find a single-stack 9mm magazine that works well when only loaded with 5 rounds. Nice and flat, but obviously not super fast. I believe that was the idea behind the 9mm S&W Centennials – a certain state police agency (I want to say Indiana? Illinois?) bought backup revolvers that could be reloaded from duty gun magazines. I could be dead wrong on that…

          2. Yep, guys were doing this with 1911 magazines and 1917 revolvers BITD, and it’s not a bad way to go. I’ve even seen it done with single action revolvers, which works pretty slick.

            I was surprised to discover that even when the LCR 9mm chambers got dirty, or when I used +P+ ammo, that most of the empty cases fell free when I turned it upside down. It might not be a one trick pony after all.

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