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I Need Gun Advice November 14, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Guns, Home.

Serious Yorling Business

Mom wants to buy my Dad a gun for Christmas and she’s asked me to do the shopping around and pick one out.  They want one for the home and he has no interest in carrying it, so that’s not a factor.  The upper limit price is $1200.  I really think that a revolver like my S & W 686 pretty much fits the bill, but there aren’t any available in the seven shot model like mine.  There is one in the six shot variety though.  It looks identical in every other respect.  They can order a seven shot 686 in a snub-nosed version though and have it in a few days.  Also, amazingly I found at the same place a Kimber Stainless II.  These are very hard to find as one store I went to can’t keep any Kimbers in stock at all.  It’s even priced slightly below MSRP.  That would be an AWESOME present for Christmas, but is it really the best option for home defense?  I’m almost thinking that it would be more gun than Dad would want to deal with.  But still, it’s a really really nice gun.  What do y’all think?

****Above the pic update****
OK. Thanks for the input everyone! I’ve decided on the ultimate win-win situation. Mom is buying the Kimber for Dad. I’m buying the 686 six-shooter for them both. The really nice thing about the 686 is that it can load the .38 caliber that Mom can handle. And of course it loads the magnificent .357 magnum rounds!

Russ brings up the Shotgun Gambit. That actually probably is the best overall home defense weapon, really. But he gave me his old shotgun and .22 rifle a while back. He used to hunt many years ago but he has no interest in it now. He really wants a handgun.


1. LC Aggie Sith - November 14, 2010

Hm…I would go with the Kimber, Mitchell. I’m not too savvy about guns, but I do know two things:

#1– You’re getting it at an awesome price, and

#2– Seven is always greater than six 😉

2. Steamboat McGoo - November 14, 2010

Whoa, Mitch. Tough choice. But a pleasant one!

– and, as an aside, thank Gooble that price is not too much of an issue! Getting just the right firearm for a loved one does not need to be further complicated by budgetary constraints – yes? 1.2 Bone$ is plenty.

Mitchell, you should solicit Cmblake6 and Drew458 for pro advice, but I’m still gonna give you my $0.02 worth!

You just can’t go wrong with a S&W crunchenticker. Be it a 6-shot or 7, things really don’t get much better. Personally, I would recommend a longer-than-2″ barrel.

But is Mssr. Yorl Sr. a type-A person? Is he aggressive and apt to take the lead in a tense situation? If so, I’d give him as much club as possible (The better to defend himself, Mama Yorl, and the Yorl estate with, my dear!), which dictates the auto-loader. If I didn’t already own a Sig 226, I’d own that Kimber.

You might consider the Sig in .40S&W. It’s a magnificent handful, thumps the recipient robustly, and is sweet to the touch, trigger-wise. It’s also easily within your budget (about $1 Bone).

But I would defer to Cmblake & Drews advice if I were you.

3. Pupster - November 14, 2010

Buy the Kimber, give dad the S & W.

Take the cannoli.

Revolvers are the best starter guns; simple, easy to operate, load, and clean.

You might take him out to the range and let him shoot a few to get a better idea what works for him.

4. Vmaximus - November 14, 2010

I have love the 357 and think it is the best. I carried a 2-1/2″ model 19 for years, but loved my 6″ 686. The 7 shot is a bonus, but 6 works.

I also love my 2 kimbers.

5. Retired Geezer - November 14, 2010

I think your dad would be happier with the Revolver.
He’s seen them all his life and has probably shot some.

He would understand it better and not freeze up if something went wrong with the auto.
Things happen… stovepipe… failure to eject… failure to go completely in battery… safety on… magazine not inserted all the way…

Revolvers just shoot.
And I would recommend a longer barrel than the snubby.


I know geezers and you don’t want to confuse them.
(since I’ve never met your dad, I’m not insulting him)

6. Steamboat McGoo - November 14, 2010


How’s that for input, Mitchell?

5 opinions telling you, “You’ve got a wonderful selection! Pick one!”.

7. Russ from Winterset - November 15, 2010

The Kimber is a nice gun, but the .357 revolver is like the Right Hand of God when it comes to dispensing kinetic energy.

I’ve got a Ruger GP100 in stainless with the 6″ heavy barrel, and the size really helps with the .357s extra energy. The weight helps soak up some of the recoil, and the longer barrel gives you a slightly better sight picture than a snubby, plus it doesn’t give off a flame that approximates a nighttime space shuttle launch like you get from snubbies.

But, ultimately, McGoo said it best. You’re not going to be undergunned with either one of them, so pick what you think your dad will like best and go with it.

8. cmblake6 - November 15, 2010

I’m going to agree with everybody here. But if you have a 7 shot S&W, give that to Dad and buy the Kimber for yourself. If it’s Moms money, and brand new is the ticket, have HER buy him the Smith. I’m a die hard 1911 man, but it takes a bit of larnin’ to operate one a them shootin’ irons.

9. cmblake6 - November 15, 2010

Oh, not to mention, if you want to take Dad out shooting sohe can learn how his revolver feels, fits, and functions, you can get some piddly target wadcutters for him to learn with, and some beastly home defense ammo for when it serves that function.

10. Russ from Winterset - November 15, 2010

You know what? I totally spaced off your $1200 budget. With that sort of money involved, you should get him a big .357 revolver (the Ruger is my choice, but Smith & Wessons are known for good triggers) AND a 12-gauge pump. Get a 20″ barrel for it with a bead sight and rig it up with a sling that has about 10 extra rounds. The precise make of the scattergun isn’t as critical (I would go with a good used Mossberg, Remington, Ithaca or Winchester), but I would avoid some of those current cheap imports you see out there retailing for around $300. Anything with a hunting pedigree should work good for home defense. If your dad is already a hunter, get something with a safety similar to the gun he’s used to, just so he doesn’t have to learn a new procedure.

Spend the rest of your budget on practice ammo, and he’ll be as well defended as you can be without anti-tank rockets and the ability to call in airstrikes.

11. drew458 - November 15, 2010

Did somebody call?

Hey, you’re getting good advice. My THREE Kimbers are all great guns (neener neener neener) though I wouldn’t think of the Gold Match as a house gun. The 686 is a fine revolver, but I would advise against a snubby for a house gun. 3″-4″ barrel is fine, and makes it a dandy club if necessary. It will be a cold day in hell before I sell my GP100; this is the toughest damn revolver ever made. But it weighs a ton.

Here are two things to think about:
1) if you’re putting a house gun in a house with no gun, then everyone in the house might use it. So don’t buy a revolver that’s too big for Mom to use. That means gun weight as well as grip size and trigger pull. And trigger pull distance too!

2) If you/they ever have to use it, the police will come and take it away, and you will never ever never get that gun back. So why invest a grand or more in what may be a throwaway shooter?

If Mom has tiny hands, the 3″ Ruger SP101 is the way to go. 5 shots, not 6 or 7, but it will fit small hands. It fits big hands too. And it’s half the cost of a GP100 or 686; and 1/3 the price of a Kimber. Pull trigger, go bang reliable, and you can make it S&W smooth by putting in 4 thin shim washers. Tell me what anyone is going to shoot in their bedroom that is gonna take 5 from a .357 and still keep coming? Nada!

Do not buy a S&W 642/Centennial or the Taurus knock off of that hammerless S&W snubby. The trigger pull is from the lower circles of hell, and without crazy amounts of practice you will be dead in an emergency before you make the thing fire. And then you will miss. Avoid this revolver.

In it’s day the .38 Special was a killer cartridge. A big old 158gr RN bullet at 850fps, probably paper jacketed, but it was SOFT lead. If you can’t find soft cast 130-158gr RNs or FPs, get the Remington FPHP half jacket 140, and load it up with Unique to about 1150fps. You do not need Full Whack .357 ammo for targets under 15 feet away.

So my advice is to find something they both can use, load it to the point of lethality but not beyond that, and try not to spend too much cash. Look at the used gun rack and see what’s there. Just don’t “save” money by buying a crap gun. At least the Ruger, Kimber, or Smith will always work, which can’t be said for some of the crap guns. Charter Arms Bulldog .44s are pretty reliable too, and cheap, but they don’t fit everyone and I personally hate how they feel. But they will fire, and a big fat soft .44 bullet makes an even bigger hole than a .38 bullet.

I would not recommend an automatic as a house gun for new shooters.

I would recommend stainless steel, but blued steel is fine too. Aluminum, titanium, plastic? Not for a house gun. Rubber grips? Fine, as long as they aren’t great big mongo things. Smooth wood grips don’t snag on the cloths in the drawer you hide the gun in. Rubber and checkered wood can. So can giant combat or target sights. Not worth it for a house gun. Plain, simple, strong, and not too expensive. That’s what you want. Easy enough for someone deep into panic mode to use without thinking. All this spells revolver. If mom can’t pull the DA trigger she can pull the hammer, so don’t get a bobbed hammer gun.

CM – it takes larnin’ to shoot a 1911? Well, it takes larnin’ and doin’ to shoot a 1911 goodish. But the only thing you need to remember in this scenario is “Don’t touch them with the muzzle”; the one and only shortcoming that pistol has.

Rats, I came by to give my 2 cents, and wound up donating at least a quarter’s worth. Good luck with your selection, buy something decent, and then get your folks to put cases of ammo through it.

12. drew458 - November 15, 2010

Hey Russ – try reloading some .357 ammo with WW296 and some 158 JFPs. God’s own little fireball, not matter how long the barrel is. AWESOME!! And nothing else even sounds like it. The boom knocks the air right out of your chest.

And the taste of the powder stays in your lungs for days afterwards as a pleasant reminder.

This is the ultimate .357 win-win experience.

13. Steamboat McGoo - November 15, 2010

WW296! My favorite .357 and .44mag powder! *queue symphonies and angels choirs* I would marry the shit if I could.

In home defense, the SOUND INTENSITY is often neglected.

Mitchell, The Bang Is Your Friend! Especially in close quarters. To the uninitiated, the thunder of a magnum load is a bowel-loosening, pant-wetting cataclysm that is completely unanticipated and totally wrecks concentration.

Also – RfromW added an important caveat to all the good advice: having a tool “choice” is a good thing. A 12-gauge pump brooks no argument from any even-half-sane home intruder.

It is a scientific fact (you can look it up!) that every time throughout recorded history an intruder has argued with a shotgun – he lost.

14. Lipstick - November 15, 2010

Hey, Mitchell, we have a Kimber Pro Raptor 2 with a 4″ barrel for sale. Just sayin’.

15. Lipstick - November 15, 2010
16. Lemur King - November 15, 2010

Two bits’ worth – Springfield XD. Pick any caliber other th.

As McGoo has said, a 12-gauge trumps all. I have a Moss 500 w/ pistol-grip and 18-1/2″ barrel. It makes a sound when racking that puts fear into the soul of a demon. Then people will either move really slowly or very very fast, but they won’t stay to dance by choice.

17. Lemur King - November 15, 2010

… other than 9mm, is what I meant to say. Darned phone distractions…

Patton - November 20, 2010


Why do you suggest avoiding the 9mm XD?

I have one, and really like it.

18. Russ from Winterset - November 15, 2010

Another point in favor of the 12 gauge pump? You can load the magazine so that the first round into the chamber is non-lethal. I’ve got a box of rubber buckshot that would be the first thing I go to in a home invasion situation. It gives the bad guys a hellacious scare (because they don’t KNOW that it’s a non-lethal round when it goes BANG right in their faces), and it just may allow you to defuse the situation without having to stand tall before the man later in court. And if the intruder is coming at you hard at the time, rubber buckshot can be lethal at close range. Anyway, it’s something to think about, and a lethal round is only one move of the slide away if you still need to “go there”.

19. Russ from Winterset - November 15, 2010

WW296? I’ll give it a shot. I’ve been using AA #9 to push 180 grain slugs downrange in my M92 replica. It’s slow enough that it lets you build up hellacious velocity with those big lead slugs, which is the best of both worlds.

20. Lipstick - November 15, 2010

Speaking as a chick, I like my S&W .38 revolver. It’s simple to use, no safety to remember how to undo in a time of stress and no pinched fingers from operating a slide.

21. cmblake6 - November 15, 2010

As stated, the 1911, while Gods gift to mankind through His prophet John MOSES Browning, does take some drill to learn well. A 4″ 686 is an exremely good choice. DA trigger too long to reach, cock the hammer. Accuracy, power, NOISE(!), reliability, .357. And again, you can buy piddly poop target loads for practice and some ODG ammo for home defense. The Rugers are absolutely SUPERB revolvers, this is agreed without hesitation. This is one of those “religious” arguments, but pragmatically you can’t screw up with a revolver. Middle of the night, sleep snot in your eyes, adrenalin pumping 15 to the dozen, revolver. Unless you have become one with your 1911, revolver.

22. cmblake6 - November 15, 2010

And THEN I read the update. Well chosen, Mitchell. You are a credit to your position in the family.

23. cmblake6 - November 15, 2010

“2) If you/they ever have to use it, the police will come and take it away, and you will never ever never get that gun back. So why invest a grand or more in what may be a throwaway shooter?”

Drew, you’re in the depths of Yankeeland. We, down in the land of the free, get them back almost immediately. If they’re taken away at all.

24. Steamboat McGoo - November 15, 2010

Yep. What Cmblake says. Here in MO (and in TX and AZ) the cops give your weapon back after they determine that you committed no crime in your own home.

25. Retired Geezer - November 16, 2010

Lipstick, email me if you still have the Kimber.

Whatever gun you get for Dad, make sure he watches this video.

The NUMBER ONE mistake most people make when shooting… even people who have been shooting for years:


26. Mitchell - November 16, 2010

Oh man I should have read this yesterday. Now RG is trying to swipe my Kimber Raptor!

27. Steamboat McGoo - November 16, 2010

RG – yep! One way to combat this other than to dry fire a lot (you should mix it up) is to play the “is there a round in the chamber” game with a revolver.

Have someone else load a few rounds in a revolver at random with random empty chambers.

Then try shooting all 6 (or 5 or 7) chambers without “jerking” the muzzle down. The muzzle movement on empty chambers will tell the tale!

Most folks are horrified when they see just how much they jerk down the muzzle.

28. Retired Geezer - November 16, 2010

What Steamboat said!

Preach it Brotha.

Mrs. Geezer and I do the Random Empty Chamber game on each other all the time. Even if you shoot a lot (like we used to), you will pick up a flinch if you’re not careful.

Most folks are horrified when they see just how much they jerk down the muzzle.

I could have quoted his whole comment. It was perfect.

29. Lipstick - November 16, 2010

Oh man I should have read this yesterday. Now RG is trying to swipe my Kimber Raptor!

Bidding War! Sweet! 😉

30. Mitchell - November 16, 2010

*Grits teeth*
*Checks bank account*
*Girds loin*

31. Russ from Winterset - November 16, 2010

If you go to an Appleseed Shoot, they do a 2-man trigger drill. One guy lays prone on the line with his rifle, averts his eyes, and the other guy either loads a live round OR an empty chamber in his gun. On the rangemaster’s command, the shooter sights on the target and pulls the trigger. Since he REALLY doesn’t know if it’s going to go BANG or not, it’s a good way to see if your trigger technique is throwing off your accuracy.

At least that’s how they did it at the Appleseed shoots a few years ago. I hear that they’ve gone to a format with less shooting now, so that drill might have gotten cut; which would be a shame, since it was a damn good training method.

32. Russ from Winterset - November 16, 2010

Oh, and now that you mention “girding your financial loins”, please allow me to tempt you further.


Swiss K31 rifles for $199.95? These are WICKED accurate and the bores are usually mirror bright even though most of them have faded finish and nicked stocks.

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