Aunt is going to start carrying - did I miss anything?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by RangerEric, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. RangerEric

    Willamette Valley
    Active Member

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    Hello all -

    So, my Aunt up in Idaho got her carry permit about a month ago, and just picked up her first handgun today, a Ruger Sp101. Just finished writing her an email in which I attempted to impart my wealth of knowledge I've gleaned from spending way too much time on internet gun forums, and maybe a little bit of first hand experience too. How'd I do? Did I miss anything? :huh:

    Howdy! Congrats again on your pistol, that's a mighty cool little gun you got yourself. Just had a couple of thoughts of some accessories you may want to acquire for it eventually, as well as some ammo suggestions for you. I'm sure you're getting plenty of suggestions/input from your brothers and other nephews as well, so I don't mean for any of this to be taken as gospel, and you can feel free to ignore any of these suggestions as you see fit. :)

    First, even though it's a stainless gun, you definitely do still want to keep it clean, both after you shoot it and at least every now and then even if it hasn't been shot, as it will collect dust, lint, etc that can gum it up just being carried. You would be well served to acquire another bore snake like we got for your .22, but sized correctly for a .357/.38/9mm gun, Also, especially if you shoot .38 Specials through it, (which you will probably want to practice with primarily, as they're cheaper and softer recoiling), be sure and take special care to clean the rear face of the cylinder where the extractor star is, and the star itself, as .38's are slightly shorter overall length than .357's and will build up powder and residue in that area. See attached picture of the area I'm talking about.

    I see in your picture it came with a nylon Uncle Mikes holster. That will get you by for now certainly, and I carried my pistol in an almost identical holster for awhile, but ultimately you're going to want to invest a little money in a higher quality holster, that will be both quite a bit more comfortable and much more secure. If you're seeing yourself only really carrying when you're camping, out in the woods, etc, then you may want to look at an Outside Waistband (OWB) holster. It will be a little more comfortable, and a little to a lot less expensive, but will not conceal as well as the alternative, an Inside Waistband (IWB) holster. For OWB options, you may well just want to get a different Uncle Mikes nylon holster, like one of their Sidekick models with a solid belt loop and a thumb-break snap securing the gun in the holster. Will probably run $15-20, and can be purchased at places like Tri-State.

    Uncle Mike's - Sidekick Hip Holsters

    That will suit you just fine for hiking/camping stuff, just won't hug terribly close to your body, and will make more of a bulge, making it harder to conceal. A step up in the OWB options is something like a Bianchi Black Widow, a "pancake" style leather holster with thumb break strap. More money, but will conceal better, be more secure to your body, and help distribute the weight of the gun a little better, making it more comfortable. That is the model I've been using, and am very happy with it. These tend to be harder to find local, and you'll likely need to order online.

    Bianchi Black Widow Holsters for Ruger SP101 .375, size 08 FREE S&H 23842, 23843, 23844, 23845. Bianchi Holsters.

    If you see yourself carrying around people more often, or in need of something easier to conceal, than IWB is the way to go. That is how I carry most all of my pistols on a daily basis. If you go IWB, it will need to be custom ordered online. Again, this raises the price some, and some people find them less comfortable, but for me anyway, the right holster can make way bigger guns than our Rugers disappear. Two options you might consider are the Crossbreed Mini-tuck:


    and the UBG Canute:

    UBG Holsters.

    I have owned a couple of the Crossbreeds, and they were satisfactory, conceal very well, are the less expensive of the two, and arrive a little quicker. However, I have switched almost exclusively to using UBG Canutes for my carry pistols, as has Rick. They are in my opinion much more comfortable, look much better, and I think are a better value for the money, as it will easily last 10+ years of daily carry.

    One thing I put off buying for a long time but wish I'd gotten the day I got my Ruger is a front night sight. This replaces the entire front sight unit with a little green dot that glows in the dark. Not only does it make it possible to aim in low/no light scenarios, but I found that it improved the usability of the sights drastically even in daylight. Pretty easy to install, but the gun shops can install them for you as well for a small fee. Trijicon is what I used, but the brand doesn't really matter, as long as it is a tritium-based night sight. Sometimes good deals can be found on used ones on ebay too, just keep in mind they will only glow for about 8-12 years, so you don't want to get one that's more than a few years old.

    Trijicon Ruger SP101 Front Night Sight RR14F FREE S&H RR14F. Trijicon NightSights Tritium & Fiber Optic Night Sights, Trijicon Tritium & Fiber Optic Night Sights.

    Speaking of things you can get on eBay (or other places online), if you ever feel so inclined to personalize your pistol a bit, the hard plastic inserts in the rubber grips are removable, and there are scads of custom grip inserts you can get, from different colors of plastic, to fancy wood grain, to rattlesnake skin, to stag, and so on. I put stag ones on mine, really like the look. Doesn't effect the function or usability of the gun at all, just something kind of fun.

    Ruger sp101 grips items - Get great deals on Sporting Goods, ruger sp101 items on!

    I've never messed around with it myself, but a lot of people change out the springs in the gun to smooth and/or lighten the trigger pull, potentially making it easier to be accurate with the gun. Like I said, I've never felt the need to mess with it, but you should at least know the option is out there if you feel so inclined. Theoretically installable at home, but probably better to let a gunsmith do it if you ever did.

    Springs for RUGER SP-101 Revolvers

    Continued in next post...
  2. RangerEric

    Willamette Valley
    Active Member

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    Ammo is obviously an important part of this process as well, and it's pretty important to select the right ammo for the job. As I mentioned before, you'll probably want to practice and plink with cheap .38 Special ammo, whatever is cheap at Wal-mart or wherever is fine, usually Full Metal Jacket or Lead Round Nose rounds are what you'll find most inexpensive. You would not normally use Hollowpoint rounds for practice, just because they are more expensive. I would suggest however that you do run at least some of the more powerful .357 Magnum rounds through the gun while you're practicing as well, so that if you're ever in a defensive situation you are not totally taken off guard by the higher recoil.

    As I'm sure they mentioned in your class, it is very important to ensure you keep Hollowpoint rounds in the gun when you are carrying it, however. Not only are they more effective at stopping an attacker, but they are designed to not overpenetrate (both people and to a lesser extent walls), as well as have low-flash powder so as to not totally destroy your night vision if fired in low light, and have much higher quality control over practice rounds. Expect to spend a little money on carry ammo, $1-2 per round is not out of line. There are some conflicting opinions on this, but I normally carry .38 Special +P Hollowpoints (+P is important, hotter than standard .38 Special, lighter than .357 Mag) in my Ruger when I am only concerned about 2-legged threats and not 4-legged. Especially in our shorter barrel pistols, the recoil of full-power .357 is very stout, and very very loud, and I feel that .38 +P is a sufficient power level to handle the aforementioned 2-legged threats while allowing easier followup shots. I really like Winchester PDX1 ,38 Special +P hollowpoints, (which is the round the FBI issues for agents to use in back-up weapons), as it has great ballistics, and conveniently enough tends to be available at Wal-mart also.

    However, just about any reputable brand of .38 +P HP in the 110-130 grain bullet weight range that advertises itself as being "bonded" will do just fine.

    Now, for woods carry, when cougars, bears, moose, sasquatch, etc are a concern as well, no question about it, load the .357 Mags. In fact, this is one situation where I would potentially say it's ok to deviate from using hollowpoints, as with big animals, penetration is the name of the game. If you can find them, some heavy (160-180 grain bullet weight) hard cast lead rounds in .357 are ideal. Normally cannot be found local, but I have ordered ammo from before, and really like some of their products. Rounds you might consider having on hand include:

    .38 Special +P Hollowpoint - (This is the round we keep loaded in Jean's pistol - makes a great daily carry in the city round, as an alternative to the Winchester PDX1's):

    DoubleTap Ammunition

    .357 Mag Hollowpoint - (Daily carry alternative to .38 Special +P, or woods carry when not in big bear/moose country):

    DoubleTap Ammunition

    .357 Mag Hard Cast - (Kick the bubblegum out of a brown bear/moose/your hand round - about the hottest round that exists for your gun):

    DoubleTap Ammunition

    One last kind of ammo you mind consider acquiring are shotshell rounds. These are basically miniature shotgun shells filled will small birdshot, and are really handy for dispatching rattlesnakes and bunnies at close range. They're expensive as heck, but really handy to at least have a couple on hand. A lot of people, when hiking in snake country, will load their cylinder so that the first shot fired is a shotshell round, again for dispatching snakes, and the rest are standard rounds. Conveniently, these are made by CCI, so you may well just be able to get your brother to acquire some for you.

    CCI Shotshell Ammunition 38 Special, 357 Magnum 109 Grain #9 Shot Box of 10 - MidwayUSA

    Finally, you really ought to acquire at least two if not more speed loaders, and a possibly a cheap belt pouch to carry them in. These are very inexpensive, give you an easy way to carry extra ammo, and greatly increase speed of reloading a revolver. They do take a little practice getting used to, so ideally you'd want to incorporate their use into your practice sessions as well. They can probably be acquired at Tri-State, or can be ordered online.

    HKS Revolver Speedloader Charter Arms, Rossi 68, Ruger SP101, S&W 36, 37, 38, 40, 42, 49, 60 38 Special, 357 Magnum - MidwayUSA

    Uncle Mike's Universal Double Speedloader Pouch Nylon Black - MidwayUSA

    This is a ton of information, and I don't want to overwhelm you. The general cliff notes to my preceding rant are as follows:

    - Remember to clean your gun, and buy a bore snake for it.

    - Invest a little money on a more secure holster. With holsters, you get what you pay for.

    - Strongly consider putting a night sight on it.

    - You can swap out grips for something cool if you want to.

    - You can swap out springs to improve/lighten trigger pull if you want to.

    - Buy a couple of speedloaders, and practice with them.

    - Buy some quality hollowpoints, and carry your gun with them loaded.

    - Buy as much cheap practice ammo as you can, and shoot the bubblegum out of this gun, as often as you can. When you can shoot like Annie Oakley, go practice a little more. You can't wear it out, and you can't have too much practice!

    That is all..... Let's go shootin'!

  3. atypicalparkie

    sowfeast poetland, ohraygun

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    Hey Eric!
    That all sounds like pretty great advice to me, though I've only been shooting regularly for about 6 yrs-ish. So other peeps here might have stuff to add that didn't occur to me, but it looks like you've got it well covered. And it sounds like she sure knows her safety basics since she's owned other guns & taken classes. Funny I grew up not far from CCI myself on the Nez Perce rez, your post made me wonder again if I've any childhood friends who might work there now. You're a thoughtful neph :thumbup:
  4. mjbskwim

    Well-Known Member

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    The one thing I like to tell new CC people

    If you can't KILL SOMEONE DON'T CARRY,cause they will take the gun from you and kill you and your family.
    ( kill,stop the attack/threat,whatever you want to call it,it comes down to being able to take a life)

    All the gun and ammo info is great.

    But if your aunt is one of those that feels that pointing a gun at someone will stop them,all that information is for naught.

    May she never HAVE to use it.

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