Originally Posted by nicksmom
My concern was speed & accuracy on a 7 yard target using my snub nose that I intend to carry in case of a close-contact attack or carjack.
I qualified with a S&W 649-2, with a 2" barrel (and an LC9 and a 1911-A1). Here are my thoughts on the snubby.
There is more to do with a revolver than an auto, but this isn't rocket science. Since you're a Mom, you're already over-qualified for the multi-tasking.
First, your pistol may be rated for +P ammo. Don't shoot it for qualification. Use standard, plain old .38 Special. It has less recoil and will be easier on you to shoot and recover for follow up shots. (You don't have to stop the paper target, you just have to hit it).
You will have to run a reload. You will need speed loaders to do this. There is more time than you need to do this. Slow down to speed up. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
Some speed loaders don't work well with specific snubbies and their grips. Sometimes the speed loader is too long or wide, and the distance between the cylinder face and the grips is too short for the loader to fit. You can either cut the grips back, change grips, get a different (shorter) loader, or get shorter ammunition (see below). Your shop can help you determine what will work best. You then need to understand how the loader works so you can easily release the shells. (Loading the shells into the speed loader is another interesting task you will need to learn).
Some ammunition is longer than others: round nose lead is longer than wad cutters, so wad cutters will have more clearance. However, because they are flat, wad cutters may be hard to line up in the cylinders. Round noses help in this. Semi-wad cutters and truncated nose ammunition are in between. Regardless of the ammo, you will need to "jiggle" the loader a little bit to align the shells and fully load the cylinder.
As part of your class, you will probably have some instruction on gun handling, and your instructor might be able to give you some pointers. Some classes allow time for practice fire; some don't.
Dry firing for practice now is good. Yanking on the trigger will mess up your shot. Think of pressing the trigger back. It's a long press, and you need to know about where the trigger will break the shot (release the hammer). You can press hard to start, then as you reach that point, check your sight picture and then finish the press. Your gun probably doesn't have rear sights or if it does, they are just a groove in the top strap. Focus on the front sight. Put it on the center of the target and press.
Two final thoughts: First, no quality instructor shows up to see a student fail. They want to show they have the ability to make every student successful.
Second, it'll be over before you know it.