This one was too small for the caliber.
This one was too large for my hand. If you can’t reach the trigger with your finger, you might have a problem firing the pistol.
This one was juuuuuust right. And belonged to a very good friend, who also really likes the pistol and has no desire to get rid of it.
So I went out-of-town for the weekend, and part of the reason to go was to try to find a better-for-my-purposes handgun than the two I currently have. One is wonderful for target shooting and basic practice, but it is a .22 single-action and larger than is easily concealed. And it is not designed to be reloaded quickly. Really not designed to be reloaded quickly. It’s a sweet revolver, though.
Then there’s [cue movie announcer voice] The Snubbie. It is easier to conceal. At least, it is shorter than the .22. However it is rather fat, is a .38, and is a snub-nose. The lower weight/caliber ratio means that the recoil can be a little fierce. Not as fierce as some of the polymer-frame pistols – those are just too mighty for my small wrists, thank you.
And then there’s hand size. I have an average-sized palm and short fingers, with small wrists. A Desert Eagle is safe from me. A .45 with nice fat round grips is also safe from me, as I found out at the gun store. I could barely touch the trigger with my finger. Not an ideal situation, as you can imagine. “Hi Ms. Rabid Coyote. Please stay there while I get a tri-pod so I can fire my self-defense pistol. Thanks! ‘Preciate it.” Bang.
Ah, no, not ideal.
The .38 kinda-snubbie that I really wanted to try is a very nice gun with a good solid heft to it, so the recoil is not as bad as that from [announcer voice] The Snubbie. But the trigger pull was really heavy, and my grip did not work with the frame, so I managed to shoot high and right. But based on what I thought I was doing, I should have been pulling left. Score one for “Alma’s just gotta be different.” I tired out quite quickly, also not a good thing when you are trying to get very comfortable and pretty good with a handgun.
And then there was the Goldilocks Gun, a .357 revolver with nice rubber grips, a neon sight, that fit my hand, had tolerable recoil even with high-power self-defense loads… And belonged to someone who liked it as much as I did. Oops.
I’d also “played with” various semiautomatics the day before, and discovered that, while things have gotten better since I was first bested by a Glock twenty years or so ago, I’m still not quite strong enough to quickly, smoothly work the action on most semi-autos. And I really like revolvers. Really like.
So, now I know what works, what does not, what triggers and pull weights I like, which triggers don’t work for me, and that I also really, really like a different friend’s antique revolver that he has absolutely zero interest in letting me take home. And that is a wee titch bit too big for my hand. (OK, it is more than a little bit too big.)
This is major progress.
About my shooting skills? Ah, I’m safe, and my groups shrank from 8″ clusters to 4″ clusters. And they were clusters. My reloading technique is vastly improved, I now know some bad habits I’d picked up that I need to get rid of, and my stance… needs work. But I kept every shot within minute-of-berm, and there were no mutters of “Did that round even stay in the county?” And to my knowledge, neither of the very patient instructors needed adult libations to recover from the experience of working with me. To my knowledge.
In all seriousness, I needed the lessons, and both gentlemen are very good instructors. Our goal is a safe, proficient Alma with a firearm that works for my hands and that I can and will use if needed. Heaven forefend that I ever find myself in a situation where I need to use it. I think we are well on the way.
And I know what I need to work on. *SIGH*
Homework. Or rather, rangework.