Friday, February 5, 2010


I just finished reading and then re-reading the book I wrote about here CHIC GAYLORD PART THREE: THE HANDGUNNER'S GUIDE , and it was a very enjoyable read. Despite being written fifty years ago, I really found much of his opinions valid.

As I've mentioned, as a result of reading his book, I've had the hankering to do some kind of combat revolver customization to one of my stainless six-shooters, either a S&W M67 Combat Masterpiece or a Ruger Security Six in .357.

I'd prefer to modify the M67, as it has an excellent double and single action. Almost as if it had a trigger job, it's a lot closer to my 1981 Python action then it is to any of the J and N Frame Smiths I've owned that had pretty good actions themselves.

Since I've had trouble finding a 3" barrel for the M67, I've decided to do a couple of much lower cost mods to it first that would make it an effective carry pistol. It's one of the pistols Chic recommends for self-defense, and my Father would approve as well.

My Father gave me the M67, amongst other guns. One year for Christmas, around 1993 or so, somewhat unsettled over my recent fascination with a Glock 21 I had purchased and was shooting competitively, he got me a M67 because he thought that was a better gun.

Several decades before, when I became a Texas peace officer, a revolver was the only way to go. He was pleased with my choice of a Colt Python as a duty weapon. When my father had been a prosecutor who carried a commission as a peace officer, he always carried a revolver.

My dad had trained on both the 1911A1 and the S&W M15 in the Air Force, and did not like the .45 auto. But dearly loved the M15 for it's accuracy and good shooting. His love for revolvers remained unabated for the rest of his life, always preferring a "good revolver" to any automatic. Over the years, he was given presents by grateful clients, and on a few occasions these presents were guns. One of those guns, a gorgeous but pimpified Browning Hi-Power, featured hand made silver and gold stocks that were quite ostentatious. Over my loud protestations, he traded his good friend and old law school buddy John that pistol for some revolvers.

So I think my M67 needs some low profile sights and a set of Crimson Trace grips. A "drop in" nice low profile front sight with a rear low profile gutter sight would be ideal, even better if it had some sort of night sight or fiber optic illumination.

It's still a big gun to carry for a guy my size, and I'm not small. But I live in Texas, where often it is t-shirt or polo shirt weather. A big K frame is really gonna print on me, even in an IWB holster wearing a 3x t-shirt that looks like I'm wearing someone else's clothing.

But it would be a nice gun to carry on days where it is coat or jacket weather. It would also be a nice gun for home defense. For a guy my size, which I think I'm about average size (ok, well maybe a bit more girth than the average guy my age, but not much), the 1" reduction in barrel length and some nice compact Crimson Trace grips or Pachmayr Compact grips would aid concealability greatly.

I've been on a snubnose shooting kick again lately, and anyone with snubnose shooting experience knows that generally a heavier all metal snubnose is going to recoil less and thus be easier to control than any of the concealment snubbies that fall into the airweight catagory.

So yes, nowadays, revolvers are largely not "cool for carry" with many law enforcement officers or the hoi polloi of gun journalists. Yet, despite the popularity of semi-automatics and new calibers like the .357 Sig, the old standby snubnose Smith and Wesson is still one of the biggest selling handguns out there. Chic would be proud, I think, that some folks still recognize the revolver as a classic self defense weapon.

Although I've written recently about shooting several fine semi-automatics, particularly the Sig Sauer .239, the Kimber Ultra CDP and the Colt 1911A1 in .38 Super, one gun that could break my fascination with those three fine weapons would be a nice, pristine S&W Model 65 Ladysmith with a 3" barrel. I don't know why I didn't pay attention to this pistol when it was being sold new, but that's not a new phenomenon for me. Sometimes you don't know what is out there until it is out of production.

One blog I've been reading lately, and going back and reading his old posts about guns is the blog Xavier Thoughts. Xavier understands the cult of the revolver, and is often engaged in layaways and purchases of nice revolvers particularly suited to self-defense.

I recommend that if you are interested in revolvers that you spend some spare time over a few days reading some of the archives at X's site. In addition to lots of good information on 1911's and other great guns, he has good sense as to what makes a good combat revolver and tells some good stories about finding some of the gems in his collection.

Here's a nice article from X on his Model 65 Ladysmith find at a bargain price.

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