First time posting in this forum. I inherited a 4 & 1/8" Model 15-4 a while back and I've recently decided to set it up for IDPA. I don't plan to carry it concealed (at least not yet). I'm looking for advice/suggestions for suitable belt slide holster (prefer leather but would use a quality polymer one), speed loaders, speed loader pouches, etc. I'd also like to know what modifications you guys (and gals) have made to your IDPA wheelguns (grips, springs, replacement parts, sights etc.) Thanks in advance.
ALL this is purely personal preference.
Grips: It's tough to beat Hogue's rubber Mono-Grip. It seems to "feel" better than any other to most shooters, and offers an excellent grip even with sweaty hands.
Sights: Either the standard sights, or replace the rear with a Millet unit.
Some people have the barrel rib milled for a pinned-in front sight, and put a plain black Patridge blade in.
If you do, be careful on holster choice to insure the sharp sight doesn't cut the holster and get obscuring globs of leather stuck on the blade.
Action job: Most people think lighter is better, but the exact opposite is true.
A lighter trigger pull actually slows you down.
A lighter trigger pull means the hammer drop is SLOWER. This means a reduced lock time.
Plus, with a lighter hammer drop, primer ignition can be compromised and you get mis-fires.
Most smart shooters pretty well keep the stock factory springs, and instead have a real pro do an action SMOOTHING job.
The intent is to give the absolutely smoothest trigger pull possible.
An excellent source of an action smoothing job is the S&W Performance Center who offer absolutely top quality work at good prices and fast turn-around.
Replacement parts: None really needed.
You get more "bang for your buck" by doing things like having the trigger rounded off and polished so there are no sharp edges, having the chamber mouths LIGHTLY beveled to speed reloads, and possibly having some of the sharper exterior edges and corners rounded off slightly.
Bottom line: There's really no difference between a good IDPA revolver, and the revolver you carry concealed day in and day out.
A really good defense revolver usually makes a really good Match gun, and vise versa.
In that regard, the "Less is More" and "KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid" principles hold very true.
The more modified and altered a revolver is, the less reliable and "practical" it is.
MOST revolver modifications are done for cosmetic reasons and to customize the gun to make it "Yours".
These modifications seldom really increase the usability or function of the revolver, and often actually degrade it.
Thanks dfariswheel. You've raised some interesting points. THE revolver guy at our IDPA matches (you know every IDPA match has at least one "THE revolver guy" ) did tell me that he had swapped the stock hammer spring for a slightly lighter one. He said that he had to switch to Federal primers (which he said were more sensitive) to ensure consistent ignition. I definitely didn't like the sound of that. You're also the second person to recommend the S&W Performace Center. I'll definitely give them a call. Thanks again.
BTW "THE revolver guy" told me that most commercial .38 spl loadings don't make minor regardless of what is published. Has this been your experience? I don't have a chrono.
The gun shouldn't need anything done to it to run IDPA. Find some grips you like (I prefer Uncle Mike's), clean and lube it (taking apart a Smith isn't to difficult), and then shoot the thing.
Holsters? Dozens out there, my usual source is gunshows. Typically will have two or three guys with a bunch of used ones laying around. Usually less than $20. sometimes less than $10. For that price buy a few and experiment.
Speedloaders. HKS is the most common and easiest to find and use. Safariland is arguably the better unit but they are getting hard to find.
Again DO NOT start throwing parts at this gun. Shoot it for a year and then you'll be able to figure out what you may need. I've owned Smiths for better than thirty years and other than grips have never put any parts into any of them.