I don't like revolvers. They don't balance right in my hands, they don't point naturally for me, and when I shot them I didn't enjoy the experience. The only ones I've had the opportunity to try had rudimentary sights at best and truly horrendous triggers compared to a good single-action semiauto.
So why did I just plop a hundred bucks down on one of these?
As a firm believer in "two is one, one is none," I've been thinking about a BUG for a long time. A nice, small no-excuses gun that can be concealed when a Commander 1911 is just too big. I'd considered a Springfield EMP on the theory that it's a good idea to stay with guns that have a similar manual of arms. I had a chance to fondle one but not shoot it, and I'm reluctant to spend over a thousand dollars without test-driving one first. I've heard nothing but good things about the EMP, but it just seems like going that small with a quasi-1911-pattern semiauto is maybe pushing the limits of the technology a bit too close.
Then there's the idea of a pocket gun, one that can be fired from within the pocket if absolutely necessary, or can make a contact shot in extremis without fear of being forced out of battery. A last-ditch "oh sh!t" gun.
My thoughts kept going back to the small size and light weight of the alloy J-frame. I like to try rental guns in the model I'm considering, if available. Rentals are dirty and heavily used, and if they work favorably in that condition a new one meticulously maintained will surely be even better.
Sure enough, my favorite range had a Smith & Wesson 442 for rent. With no small amount of trepidation I took the little gun and a box of standard pressure .38 Special out to my assigned lane, along with a couple of IPSC targets.
I dry-fired it several times to get a feel for the trigger. Okay, I dry-fired it several times to convince myself that I could operate the trigger without having to apply a mechanical advantage. The first shot was unpleasant but manageable. I proceeded to plod my way through the whole 50-round box. By the time I was done, my hands were very unhappy with me. An injury about ten or so years ago left me with reduced strength and range of motion in my dominant hand index finger, and it was never more obvious.
Nonetheless, for a first attempt at a snubby, my shots were all well inside the IPSC "A" zone. I wouldn't go so far as to call them groups. I think working to develop expertise with this gun will make me a better shooter overall, though. Shooting the rental gun, I'd get my sight picture and alignment but would pull the shot off my orange sticky dot when operating the heavy trigger. If I can learn to shoot this thing well, I'll be able to shoot anything.
Now I leave it to you wheelgun aficionados out there to recommend aftermarket grips, holsters, and helpful hints.
Hey, every geek needs a pocket protector, right?