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Hey folks,

One of my attorney's dragged me along to a gun-store this week to help her pick out a self-defense pistol. She ended up with a .38 hammerless 642 airweight +P rated. No. Not the laser model. (I was proud)

Here's the rub. She's 5' and weighs 105lbs at most. We are talking a little, little girl. I have prepared her for the fact that this pistol will kick.

She will be attending a CCW class at the end of the month. What is the lightest, weakest, puss factory .38 ammo on the market so she can get some trigger time?

Regards,
Greyson
 

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start out with 38 wadcutters and just move in power level as needed. I have shot a lot of the S & B wadcutters and I think it shoots pretty good
 

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standard 38 wc

Not only is it a soft shooter, it is actually a good SD performer - check around for some of Doc Roberts' writing on this. I recall reading somewhere that Jim Cirrillo would sometimes carry his .38 with plain old WC in it.
 

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Winchester match 148 grain HBWC are the softest shooting load I have ever shot. Magtech loads a soft shooting SWC FMJ that would probably work well too. Brass cased ( non-nickeled) Winchester NON +P Silvertips hoot well in my J frames if you can find them/ They now make a 135 grain Gold Dot designed to work well in short barrels. After she gets a little confidence and realizes that the gun will not hurt her then that would probably be the hot setup.
 

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Just about any factory loaded 148grn wad cutter "target" load.
My 14 year old can keep them all (Magtec 148grWC) inside a B27 8 ring from my 2" SP101DA in around 3-4 sec at 7-10 yds quite consistantly, he weighs about 100 lbs and basicly is built like a spider monkey(you should see him shoot my 1911s, he loves to shoot them most). I dont think you will find a easier .38 round to practice with.
 

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My congratulations to your attorney, glad to see a lady deciding to be able to defend herself, and, hopefully, to develop a real affinity for the shooting sports. I agree with the other recommendations regarding 148 grain wadcutter (target) loads, they will probably be the best "introduction" to her for her new gun.

From your description, I would venture to guess that she has not shot a handgun before. It may be advisable for you to take her to the range (formal or "informal") for some instruction, and to start out with a .22 revolver, then, after she develops some proficiency, move up to a 4" or 6" barreled .38 (using the wadcutters). When she is comfortable with that level, then introduce her to her new snubby. This will help her develop an appropriate sight picture, trigger control, grip, and other facets of the shooting basics, while minimizing the potential for her developing a flinch from the slightly greater recoil of the lightweight snubby right off the bat. In addition, it will show that she can be accurate with a handgun, and she will understand, with some explanation and demonstration, that she will be able to shoot the snubby accurately, but that it will take practice, practice and more practice. This may help to keep her from becoming discouraged, as few new shooters can do very well with a 2" barrel J-frame, especially if it is the first gun they fire, due to the short sighting radius (small apparent gun motion = large difference on the target).

One other comment: do not underrate a lady's ability to learn to shoot and/or handle recoil. Many years ago, I both shot on and coached Army rifle teams (using National Match M-14s). On one team (actually a college ROTC team), I had a lady shooter, who recruited a couple other young ladies. One of them was, as I recall, 4'8" or less, and weight no more than 85-90 pounds. She came along to the range one day, and decided to try it. She had never fired a firearm of any type before. I gave her some instruction, and she was hitting targets on the 100 and 200 yard ranges almost immediately - she was hooked, and joined the team. She was interested, dedicated and willing to take instruction, eventually becoming one of my top shooters. We practiced 3-4 times a week, typically expending 200-300 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ball and/or match ammo per shooter per day, and, although "Peanut," as we nicknamed her, became black and blue from bruising on her shoulder, she always hung in there and shot extremely well. Ladies can be tough, and can handle recoil as well as men, as long as they are introduced and trained properly.

My best wishes to your lady attorney friend, and I wish her well with her new weapon and, hopefully, a new-found enjoyable hobby in shooting.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks all for the replies. I am a 1911 guy and have no knowledge about 38 ammo.

148 WCs it is. I suspected WCs would be the choice anyway, but wanted to get a feel from the revolver crowd.

I have as of yet to determine her shooting experience. I will be taking her out to shoot in the next few weeks to see how it goes. I do recall renting a 38 lightweight revolver a few years ago for another female. Had to use the range ammo. But the kick was just ridiculous.

The main issue I have as of yet to determine is if her state's CCW permit is platform specific. I will call Monday. It's one thing to giver her a 1911 in 9mm to shoot the course only to find out it locks her into that pistol.

In reality, she is not ever going to be a gun person. She won't take up the shooting sports and this will never be a hobby. She is a professional with a need who will carry all the time and shoot little.

When we were discussing the possibility of her buying a pistol, one quote I gave her really made her feel better. "Beware the man to owns one gun. He probably knows how to use it".

This is how she sees herself.

Thanks all for your help.

Regards,
Greyson
 

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Another sleeper light load is the 130 gr FMJ. Federal makes it in their "American Eagle" brand generic. I think Remington loads it also.
 

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To tell you the truth I cant tell the difference between +p and regular:biglaugh: But as one guy suggested you might try some special made low recoil 38's.
 

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Another sleeper light load is the 130 gr FMJ. Federal makes it in their "American Eagle" brand generic. I think Remington loads it also.

Actually the store provided 130g Remington when I asked for the weakest load they had. I wasn't sure how it would go. I will keep an update on how this goes.

Do you think it is weaker than 148 WCs?

In the end, if it's too much for her to handle the alloy, we'll transfer it to me and buy her a steel revolver.

Regards,
Greyson
 

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To tell you the truth I cant tell the difference between +p and regular:biglaugh: But as one guy suggested you might try some special made low recoil 38's.

Constantine, I have been wondering if I would ever meet the man. And it must be you. :biglaugh:

Seriously, do they make a "special made low recoil 38" other than wadcutters?

Regards,
Greyson
 

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Find a scandium S&W snubbie and have her fire one round of 357 Magnum. After that, all other 38 loadings will seem tame.:biglaugh:

But seriously, I own the perfect gun for her. The S&W model 60 3" stainless J frame. The grip is perfect for small hands, the heft and longer bull barrel take the sting out of recoil, and the adjustable sights are better for aiming. You can shoot 38 +P with it comfortably all day, and it's rated for 357 Magnum. As a lawyer she should be able to afford two guns. She could use the M60 3" for 90% of her practice shooting. She would score higher with it in CCW training drills which would build her confidence.
 

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Grips/recoil

I'd "lose" the 642's boot grip in the beginning . Buy her the Hogue #60000 (pretty sure that's the number) $20 . It's a full length grip allowing all fingers to grip . Much better handling and will spread the recoil a little more . Later she can go back to the boot if she likes .

The 130 gr with their exposed bullet will be easier to load into the chambers than the wc if she opts for speed loaders . The 130 is pretty mild . Easy to clean up too .
 

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Constantine, I have been wondering if I would ever meet the man. And it must be you. :biglaugh:

Seriously, do they make a "special made low recoil 38" other than wadcutters?

Regards,
Greyson
Not that I know of, I misunderstood another poster above. I do know they have low recoil buckshot so I have no idea if they do or dont but ill take that as a no:biglaugh:
 

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Actually the store provided 130g Remington when I asked for the weakest load they had. I wasn't sure how it would go. I will keep an update on how this goes.
I have shot a lot of Remington/UMC 130 gr FMJ, cause that is what Dick's Sporting Goods features on their case lot sales. However, in the last year, I have experienced quality control issues, on at least 6 occasions I have encountered rounds where the brass rim is not quite fully turned down, resulting in a 'high' seating in the chamber, too high to use, have to throw the round away. Very disappointing, and if you closed the cylinder too forcefully, without noticing the high round, you could jam the thing up. Not good. If you use it, be watchful.:(
btw, it is quite soft....at least to my hand...
 

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Waaaay back in the early 80's, I was assigned (as an "additional duty") to be the weapons courier for our Air Force Medical squadron. At the time, the AF was still using S&W Model 15 revolvers. Great gun! Anyway, the load that we used for all our training and also carry (!) was good ol' 130gr ball ammo. Didn't pack much of a punch at all and the recoil was about the same as a "hot" .22 LR load . I do think that the 148 gr wadcutters kick more than this stuff does. But they are both good beginner loads.
 

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light 38 loads

check around and find some "Cowboy" loads. the average is about 700fps with a 125-150 grain lead bullet. very little recoil. fun to shoot i beleive several different companys make them.
 
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