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American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2011 - Page 106
THE Roy Huntington INSIDER Don’t let ‘em fool you — these are guns are for experts! Top to bottom: S&W Custom 640 by Gemini Customs, classic Colt Agent, Roy’s beater S&W 340 and an old cut-down Charter .44 Special. TM an exPerT’s GUn Y eah, I know, we all have one or more of them, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In experienced hands — and I mean near-expert hands — they are effective, accurate, reliable and highly concealable. But frankly, too many inexperienced shooters have them, and in most of their hands, the small revolver is an inadequate tool with the potential for being a real problem if called upon to be used. It’s been my experience most who carry a small-frame revolver can’t shoot it worth beans, and hardly ever (maybe never?) shoot it anyway. In their mind’s eye they have themselves whipping it out, engaging a bad guy, the bad guys does down with solid, centered hits, and the good guy is a hero. In reality most people shoot poorly with these little guns, don’t carry a reload, can’t manipulate them well and have little or no idea of the gun’s true abilities. They’re a potential danger to themselves and everyone around them. Why do we seem to think we can buy one of these guns, load it, and for some magical reason — suddenly know everything about it? it into your pocket. Much more. Don’t be fooled though — the guns are inherently accurate, and I’ve actually shot old-time PPC courses (a form of police target shooting out to 50 yards) and used a 2.5" Model 19 .357 K-frame. You’d be stunned at the groups possible at 50 yards, and a tuned gun in good hands can deliver 5" or 6" — and better! — easily at that range. The scary thing is so can some J-frames in good hands. Not long ago at Gunsite, with a crew from S&W, we shot 2" to 5" J-frame .38s out to 100 yards, making regular hits on man-sized steel. But these A S&W 6" Model 14 and a 5-screw 36 on the right. At a lasered 37 yards (I liked the shady spot for the target …), using Federal .38 Special148 gr. Match wadcutters the 14 gave 2.25" and the 36 about 3.6". Not bragging — just showing the little guns can shoot if you know what you’re doing. Astoundingly enough, the J-frame was spot-on (a rarity) and I favored the top of the red zone as I shot, dropping the shots right in. revolvers ActuAlly expert’s guns? Absolutely. “ Are smAll-frAme but tHey’re AllurIng becAuse tHey’re eAsy to cArry. ” were experienced shooters, and most importantly, everyone knew how to run a double action revolver, staging the trigger to get accuracy at the same level you can get shooting single action. And that’s the biggest secret to these little guns (or any gun) — trigger control. Are small-frame revolvers actually expert’s guns? Absolutely. But, they’re alluring because they’re easy to carry. Few are willing to compromise with comfort, and are drawn to the lightweight and small size of these appealing little shooters. But is that bad? It’s not — if you take the time to learn to run these tiny terrors. If a gun-store-counter-commando talks you into buying one for your wife or yourself, there’s more to the game than simply loading it and putting The Problem At Hand More Secrets Like anything small, a J-frame or equivalent can be fumbly so you have to train your fingers to work smaller grips, smaller triggers, harder actions, cylinder releases tending to be sticky and tiny cylinders. Not to mention those usually inadequate sights and short sight radius. But, if you seek the training you should, from people who understand these guns, you’ll find them to be elegant compromises when it comes to personal protection working guns. If you’re willing to work at it. insider As we’ve chatted about before in these pages, sight picture is important, but trigger control is paramount. It’s especially true with these little guns, as the slightest wobble can toss a round into the next county. If you gain control over the stagy-hard-gritty trigger on many of these guns, you’ll be rewarded with accuracy sure to surprise you. When I was a range officer for a short time on the police department, we would have detectives attempt to qualify with their various 2" guns. This was the very early 1980s and wheelguns were the backbone of police work. Plus, wearing a Colt Detective or Chief’s Special was the hallmark of a detective. Call it their badge of office. However it was the rare bird who could actually shoot one. Most would the insider Continues on page 104 106 WWW.AMERICAnhAnDGUnnER.COM • JAnUARY/FEBRUARY 2011