Once the dominant choice of plainclothes and off-duty cops and armed citizens with concealed carry permits, the supposedly-obsolete short-barrel revolver remains the most likely “round gun” you’re likely to find in a gun shop display case of handguns that is crowded with polymer frame semiautomatic pistols these days.  Why has this particular revolver endured so well in a time when autoloaders are dominant?

Simply because they have certain real-world advantages.

Contrary to popular belief, they’re not just “short range weapons.” In one of my cases many years ago I had to prove that an armed robber with a stolen Charter Arms 2” barrel Undercover .38 Special would be a deadly threat at 100 yards. With a notary public present to record the whole thing, I took four snub-nose .38s to a one hundred yard range and emptied them at a man-size silhouette target. The exemplar Charter and a Smith & Wesson Chief Special delivered two out of five life-threatening hits each. A six-shot S&W snubby did so fifty percent, and my wife’s Colt Detective Special .38 went six for six.  Back in the day at Lethal Force Institute, when we shot handguns from 100 yards in the third-level class, two brothers from New Jersey shot the whole thing with the one-and-seven-eighths-inch barrel S&W Bodyguard .38s they both carried, and held their own.

The snubnose revolver fits the side pocket, the hip pocket, the coat pocket, and the chest pocket of overalls and I know people who carry them all those ways. A friend of mine is alive because when a larger, stronger man had him disadvantaged and was ripping his service revolver from its holster, my cop buddy drew a Model 38 Bodyguard snub from his off-side hip pocket and blew the would-be cop-killer’s brains out. 

This type of gun is ideal in an ankle holster. Two of my readers bought ankle rigs and .38 snubs after one of my articles recommended them for backup in Combat Handguns magazine. One, a black security guard, killed a white racist attacker who had disarmed him of his service revolver with the Charter .38 he snatched from his ankle. A cop in the Carolinas who couldn’t reach his duty weapon while seat-belted did pull his Colt Agent .38 snub from his ankle holster and blow away the ambusher who had shot him while in his patrol car.

My favorite backup gun has long been the “hammerless” S&W Centennial-style .38. No safety catch to release, no hammer to be cocked to dangerous-under-stress hair-trigger status, but five rounds of 135 grain Speer Gold Dot +P hollow points designed by Ernest Durham and his team at Speer for positive expansion from a snub-nose .38 Special back when almost all NYPD officers carried snub .38s for backup or off-duty.

45 COMMENTS

  1. The six-shot, short-barrel, compact revolvers in .327 Federal Magnum (plus several other compatible cartridges) compare very well with wheel-guns that hold only five shots in larger calibers. One big advantage of the .32 FM six-shot is that CCW qualification shoots are generally still configured around the heydays of traditional six-shot service revolvers. Somewhat more convenient during reloads than with five-shot cylinders. The Ruger LCR in .327 FM will be my next handgun purchase. With the deft LCR trigger, a perfect qual score will be a smooth-running no-brainer. And 130-grain Buffalo Bore Outdoorsman rounds will be available in .32 FM for those last-ditch, black swan predator-control occasions. All with a light-carrying, light-recoiling, reliable shooter. Mowgli the Jungle Boy should have had it so good with his .32. Man-eating Shere Khans slowed down with swollen right feet from Covid-19 (like me for almost ten months, and post 2-vac, too) beware!

    • @Strategic Steve,

      You won’t regret buying the Ruger. I’ve had an LCRx in .327 Federal for about 4 years now, and I can say enough good things about it.

      It’s a quality firearm that weighs only a tad more than 17 oz. unloaded, has an exceptionally smooth DA trigger pull, and the often-overlooked 32 caliber chambering makes it very versatile. Of course, I’m sure you are of it’s many positive features already.

      Aside from ammo being a bit on the pricey side (if you happen to reload .32, you’re all set, however), and the purchase price having climbed considerably, my only regret is not purchasing a second one, an LCR in .327 with no exposed hammer, at the time I purchased the LCRx. I considered doing so as a backup to the first and/or as an extra backup in general, but declined, convincing myself that purchasing two would be extravagant, even though the going market price was only $400 at the time. Was I ever wrong! (I’ve come very close to buying another, but haven’t allowed myself to do so mainly due to that nagging thought about having paid only $400 for my first one. Irrational, yes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day in the future I beat myself up yet again for not having secured one at current market prices.)

      I’ve since become a fan of the .32 for its versatility, accuracy, and its sixth-shot capability. There are some deals still out there on the elderly COLTS (the Police Positive and its related cousins) that are not viewed (yet) as particularly “sexy” by collectors, especially if one can use a longer barrel variety–not a snub and not a .327, but the .32 S&W Long is an impressive cartridge, in spite of what appear to be unimpressive ballistics by today’s standards.

      Best wishes!

      • To Everyone:

        Buy whatever you want NOW. Prices will only go higher in the future. If something is too expensive right now, buy a used one.

  2. I once struggled choosing between the ultra light bodyguard 38 and the heavy 640 .357 from S&W and ended up getting both hammerless snubbies. Both great bugs and sometimes primary.

  3. Mas,
    I’ve been with you for forty plus years! So disappointed to see you woke after a courageous career defending the 2nd. Why did you refer to the white attacker as racist? I’ll wait…..

      • I remember the incident you’re talking about Mas, one of the relatively few Ayoob Files where you used pseudonyms, which happened when I was too little to understand things like racism. That said, the guy the security man shot had a few screws loose for sure, and it was most certainly justifiable; I have wondered what happened to the good guy over the years.

    • I know which incident mentioned above got you to ask. The way I raed it, the attacker must have demonstrated clear reasons for Mas to use that term. They were not important for the point he was making, so he left them out. I am willing to take his words at face value. Accurate and significnt to that incident.

  4. I have 3 snubnose revolvers that I carried in an ankle holster over the years. Started with a smith & wesson model 36. I bought it from a deputy who carried it for many years. I carried it for a lot of years till I looked it up to see when it was made. It was made in 1957. The year I was born. So I soon upgraded to a smith & wesson 637 and 642. But the most beneficial thing for those guns was the addition of Crimson Trace lasers. They made those fighting guns much better. The laser is a much better sighting platform than the fixed sights allowing you to be much more precise.
    I have reluctantly retired those guns now in place of a sig p365 with a laser. But I just can’t get rid of them yet. Too many years and memories I guess…….

  5. After I came back from Nam in 69, the only job I could get was as a police officer in
    with the Metro DC Department. Issue was a S&W m19 four inch. Spare was a m36
    which I still have. I carried a Revolver until 92 when a more lenient Sheriff allowed me
    to carry a 1911. Back up then became a m38 nickel which I qualified with every year
    shooting a 300/300 for most of the time. I don’t have it now due to an ex-son-in-law.
    (long story) I carried a semi-auto on and off the job with a revolver back up until this
    day but I have found as my arthritic hands have made using a semi-auto more and
    more difficult, I find myself carrying a snub revolver more and more. My preference
    is a S&W m60-14 with 135gr Gold Dot .357 and/or a Ruger LCRx-38 with .38+P 135
    gr Gold Dots. Always carry a speed strip of CCI rat shot for poisonous snakes and rats
    around the farm. In an age of high cap mags, one can feel a little naked with a 6/5
    shot snub but my lifestyle keeps me on the farm and away from the rest of the
    world for the most part. For those times when I have to go to the city, depending on
    season, it’s a SIG P365 or a P220 with the LCRx as back up. I do my best to keep
    those times to a bare minimum.
    Dano

    • Daniel Redmon,

      Hand strength is a problem for many, and probably for nearly all of us if we live long enough. I am told those small semi-autos have particularly stiff slides to retract. Nothing wrong with old school, when old school works.

      To reload a revolver quickly there are speedloaders, speed strips, and simply carrying a second revolver (a.k.a. “New York reload”).

      Hmmm. I wonder. Would a NY reload with a revolver be quicker than a magazine change with a semi-auto? It probably would, but a semi-auto devotee may argue that hopefully, a semi-auto would not even need to be reloaded during most fights. Anything can happen.

  6. My 79 year old wife aced her MD concealed carry test with her preferred 2” revolver. You remember my geazzer performance at the MAG40 in Bridgeville a few years back? It was a lot of fun whipping those young whippersnappers. It’s costly, but a lot of practice will succeed almost always

    • Bill, please tell your wife congrats on nailing the quals, I’m happy that MD is now “shall issue” as well. Stay safe!

  7. Remembering Col. Cooper’s “two is one” theory, I carry an ankle-holstered S&W M49 in addition to the 4-o’clock Glock 19. A few times I’ve had my morning routine interrupted and left without the Glock and it was comforting to know the snubby was there.

    I began riding a motorcycle lately and I find the ankle-holster is accessible to a left-hand draw in a way that the crossdraw to the G19 is not ~ since the right hand must stay on the throttle. It would be unlikely to have to use a weapon from a motorcycle, but “it’s not the odds, it’s the stakes.”

    I find they both “disappear” into my daily activities and carrying two is not any inconvenience ~~ except when I go to the damned Post Office and have to strip down! And any minor inconvenience would be quickly dismissed if I ever had to reach for either in a situation.

  8. Speaking (above) of defensive use from a motorcycle, I have wondered about the logistics and legal defense argument on that platform…

    I’ve already decided that if confronted at say a gas station, I’ll drop the bike and try to escape as a first reaction. The aggressor will have his hands full trying to right the bike and escape, and won’t be able to work the bike AND watch me at the same time. But I also wonder how the “carjacking” rules would apply since it is much easier to dismount and retreat than it is from a car? And once I’m away from the bike (and theoretically the attack is now “just property”) would the “imminent threat” be over?

    • depends on whether the perp in question is playing the MasterCard jerk in the adverts, and asking “what’s in YOUR wallet?” and wanting to know badly enough to harm you just because you happen to be along the path he’s taking to GET to your wallet to see for himself. Besides, I believe one could make a solid argument along the lines of the attacker, in trying to eject you from the bike, will most certainly cause you immediate and serious bodily harm even if his true goal IS the bike. And that you could not determine whether his intended target was you and what is on your person, or the bike. Either way you believed your own person was at great risk of immediate and serious bodily harm or death.

  9. My wife is fond of her Ruger LCR 6-shot in .22 Magnum. The .38 version even with light loads was too heavy on the recoil for her.

    • Paul Oliver,

      An all-steel, Model 60, .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson revolver might soak up enough recoil from a standard .38 Special to be comfortable. That is, if she doesn’t mind the heavier gun. But then, you have probably already thought this through.

  10. I’ve carried a S&W Mod. 438 Airweight in my pocket for 20 years now. So far, never had to even think about pulling it out, thank God. But, I know it will work, and work very well if I ever need it.

  11. I had a Charter snubby at first. At less than 100 rounds the bridge was cut over halfway thru. IF you have one, inspect it!

    I have had two 642-1 & a 642-2 with that damned lock. The first one has more than 2000 thru it and no sign of cutting. The others haven”t been fired that much. S/W makes mighty fine guns.

    No doubt the alloy of metals used by these companies is different.
    “Be safe first, then have fun”

  12. Talk about timing. I bought a new S&W 442 from a coworker yesterday. He was kind enough to give me the buddy price ($50 less than most gun shops near me). I chose the 442 after reading Mas’s articles and trying my dad’s 638. They’re nice revolvers. I plan to pocket carry mine as a backup with 135gr Gold Dots. It seems to have a smaller profile than the CM9 I currently carry. Thanks Mas for sharing your knowledge with us on a continuing basis.

  13. I agree heartily. My Taurus 5-shot is my EDC. It has been the take-with-me gun since the 1990s. I’ll offer a word of caution about comfortable grips, though. I put a set of combat grips on my Model 15 trooper gun and it was rusted under the grips in a matter of weeks, even though it was adequately cleaned and lubed and stored in a dry environment with temperature control. I was upset, to say the least.

  14. 135gr Speer Gold Dot +P has probably been state of the art for a snubby .38 special for twenty years now.

    But I bet that if Defiant Munitions came up with a TCX load in .38 special that would really be something. As the .38 special was designed for black powder, there would probably still be ample room in the case even with a 135 to 158 grain all-copper bullet. And boy, would that expand into a nice, wide star shape.

  15. Over 50 years ago a good cop sat with me (a twelve year old) and explained that if I had to live with a gun I’d have a .38 snub and a .45 (1911).
    From other comments looks to be solid advice to this day.

  16. Revolvers are fine for distance if you aim.

    About 25 years ago when I was doing my annual qualification for security carry license in Australia. Yes, they exist. We had to do semi auto and revolver.

    The rules were we had to use the instructors weapons and for the revolver section he supplied ex police S&W 1 7/8 barrel with most shots at 5 to 15 metres.

    There were rounds left as someone had not arrived so we each had 5 rounds left. The silhouette shooters had left some steel chickens at the 100 yard line.

    I shot IPSC, police match and occasionally 25 metre target in those days.

    Instructor said try hit those it will show how inaccurate handguns are. I single actioned it and first shot hit the dirt at about 80 yards, then 95 then hit and dropped three steel with the last 3 shots. The 25 year old “instructor” made several disparaging remarks about sports shooters taking too long in real life etc. I tried to politely explain that fast misses do nothing. I was an old 38 at the time. In my 60’s now and accuracy still wins.

  17. An air weight J Frame would be my choice if I could only keep one handgun. Shot loads for venomous snakes, Buffalo Bore hard cast loads for hikes in the woods, hollow points for concealed carry. Ankle rig, pocket holster, IWB holster. Very versatile.

  18. For a long time, a S&W Performance Center Model 642-1 revolver was my standard carry handgun. This is in 38 Special +P caliber. I still carry it sometimes.

    Since I live in the South, I favor pocket carry as my favorite method. It is a quick and easy method of carry that does not require a cover garment. Ideal for the climate in the South where a cover garment to too hot to wear for much of the year. (My “spare tire” discourages Inside-the-belt carry methods and I don’t like ankle carry for a primary method although I will use it for a backup gun on occasion).

    The rounded shape of a stub-nose revolver conceals very well for pocket carry. It is amazing how well a small revolver just disappears in the pocket. Especially, when carried in a proper pocket holster.

    The compact 9mm semi-auto’s don’t do as well as the stub-nose revolvers under this method. Their angular shape tends to stand out more under pocket carry. At least, for most semi-auto’s that are large enough to handle 9mm.

    Recently, I have started to carry a Ruger LCP MAX in .380 caliber. It is slightly lighter in weight and smaller in size than my 642 and is small enough so that it does not stand out under pocket carry even with its angular shape. I mainly went to the LCP MAX for the capacity. It holds 10 rounds in its magazine. With one mag in the pistol and another in the pocket, that gives me 20 rounds. With the 642, I would carry five (5) rounds in the revolver plus ten (10) more rounds in two (2) speed strips for a total of 15 rounds.

    Reloading would be faster with the semi-auto, of course, although I can load from a speed strip fairly quickly.

    Overall, the Ruger carries well. My only complaint is that the magazine ejection button sometimes gets depressed (unintentionally) when carried in the pocket. This causes the magazine to pop out an eighth of an inch and would cause a malfunction in a defensive situation. I have developed the habit of reaching into my pocket (especially when I exit a vehicle) and manually checked to see if the magazine has popped out. If it has, I can discreetly push it back into place, until it clicks, so as to avoid FTF malfunctions.

    I never had this kind of problem when I carried my 642. Sometimes, I think that the Europeans had the right idea when they put the magazine release on the heel of the grip on their smaller pocket guns. The standard “American” magazine release, on the side of the pistol, has some downsides for small automatics although it works great on duty size pistols carried in holsters.

  19. If anyone is looking for better small revolver grips, check out Precision Gun Specialties in Michigan. I prefer their Hideout Combat grips with finger grooves.

  20. Another ammunition option for snub nosed revolvers that seems to be gaining wide acceptance is a 148gr wadcutter rated at 750 fps from Georgia Arms Ammunition. It was developed in collaboration with a couple of very knowledgeable snub nose aficionados, Rob Garrett and Mark Fricke, after their extensive ballistic testing has shown that popular .38 spl hollowpoint rounds don’t get enough velocity out of a 2″ barrel to consistently and reliably expand. The wadcutter makes a full caliber hole and the low recoil makes it easier to shoot accurately.
    GA Arms calls the round the .38 Special SNUB Nose 148gr Wadcutter, catalog number G38S. Note they also make a standard velocity wadcutter, so make sure you get the one for snubbies if shooting a short barrel. They have been very accurate and pleasant to shoot in my Model 12 and my 442.

    • One problem with wadcutters is that they are slow to reload. Whether you carry your reloading ammo in a speed loader or in a speed strip, feeding those flat-faced wadcutter rounds into a cylinder is difficult to do in a hurry. Wadcutters can be carried pre-loaded into the cylinder, for the first five or six shots, but some other type of ammo would be better for your reloading ammo.

      The Hornady Critical Defense 110 gr. rounds are pretty good for defensive use. They are available in both +P and standard pressure versions. Because of their flex-tip design, they won’t clog with fiber when shooting through heavy clothing. As you know, this is a fairly common method of failure especially for 38 special +P HP ammo. The HP’s get clogged and this prevents the bullet from expanding properly. The Critical Defense rounds seem immune from this particular failure mode.

      Also, the “Pointy-shape” of the Critical Defense rounds work well for fast reloads from a speed loader or speed strip.

      Lately, I have been using the 100 gr. Honey Badger 38 Special +P ammo sold by Black Hills. These use all-copper fluted bullets that deposit energy by rotational deceleration rather than by expanding like a conventional HP. From what I have seen of on-line gelatin tests, penetration and tissue disruption look good. These rounds tend to be “barrier blind” which is also good.

      I have tested these Honey Badger rounds out of the 1 7/8″ barrel of my S&W 642. With the chronograph set at a distance of 10 feet, the rounds average velocity is 1029 fps. This translates to a kinetic energy value, at 10 feet, of 235 ft-lbs. Your 148 wadcutters, at 750 fps, would only generate a kinetic energy value of 185 ft-lbs. That is a 27% energy increase for the Honey Badger over your wadcutter load.

      I will admit that recoil is likely greater with the Honey Badger. However, it is not as great as you would think given the lighter 100 gr. bullet weight versus the 148 gr. weight of the wadcutter.

      There are several good rounds out there for 38 special +P defensive ammo. For non +P ammo, the selection is more limited. The wadcutter is one option but, if a non +P round was desired, I would probably go with the non +P version of the 110 gr. Hornady Critical Defense.

  21. The J frame has a low bore centerline, really good reach to the trigger. A friend and I were once astounding some folks while ringing steel at a 100 yard rifle range. Did take a few ranging shots to get the proper sight picture.

    The first one I picked up was a 3 inch 36-1, I’d worked on it and when I found out it’d been traded in, I hied myself off to the LGS and bought it. Later had Armoloy hard chrome it. “Heavy barrel”, excellent sights, what’s not to love. Later picked up a model 60 with the 1 7/8 barrel and skinny sights (boo), but it fits in a pocket better. Not a fan of ankle holsters in general (the Safariland spandex legging might be an exception), but they do have a place while riding in a car.

    I’ve always lusted for a model 40/640 but can’t, at this late date, justify the price. I do have reservations about the alloy frame versions if you practice like you should. Cracked frames aren’t unknown even in the all steel versions.

    Factory defensive revolver ammo is hard to come by in central Virginia.

  22. I’ve always preferred my snub nose 38 over any of my other handguns for concealed carry. Slides comfortably in my right front pocket and I know it will fire without a doubt if it ever has to. Then again I’m the type that would rather use my lever gun and a side by side or pump than any of my bolt guns or semi’s for hunting too. Went through security at the courthouse a while back and informed the guard that I left my gun in the truck but still had a quick load which I put in the tray with my keys. He asked me kind of shocked “ you carry a revolver? I didn’t know anyone still carried those things “. I just smiled and said it’s plenty. He was probably mid 20s.

  23. When I got onto the NYC Housing Police the advice I received was “carry an S&W 642(hammerless/internal hammer) in an ankle holster and/or in your winter jacket in whatever your shooting hand side is so you can have your hand on the thing when you are talking to anyone and have it pointed at them and the hammer won’t snag on anything and it’s faster” ! Almost everyone I knew on “Howzin” carried a 38spl J-frame in an ankle holster and I still have no need to break this habit years later!

  24. Since I’m stuck in the lower 48 for another month I’m seldom without two S&W 442’s. The BUG is a Glock 10mm in my everyday carry backpack.

    Vince

  25. One thing that I think has gone unmentioned in this discussion so far is that some guns just feel good in the hand & a lot of snubnose revolvers are like that. Even though people have different preferences with regard to the features they want, there are so many variations of these guns that almost everyone should be able to find one that’s to their liking. I have a wide variety of snubnose revolvers of differing brands, calibers, weights, hammer types, finishes, & grips, but one thing that all of these guns have in common is that the moment I first held one in my hand, I knew that I had to buy it. They just felt right. My preference is for an all steel gun with an exposed hammer & a square butt like the Colt Detective Special, but for pocket carry a lightweight gun is much more comfortable.

    Just so you know, I’m not exclusively wedded to revolvers. For concealed carry I prefer to carry a semiauto, usually a Glock. However, the snubnose revolvers are so well balanced & so much fun to shoot that it is hard not to like them. There’s also the nostalgia of having a blast from the past in a strong side leather holster on my hip like the plainclothes LEO’s of my youth. Yet, despite what many young people seem to think, snubnose revolvers (both old & new) can be extremely effective self defense weapons & I would not hesitate to use one for that purpose. There’s always a good reason why classic guns became classic.

    • DAVE–VA,

      Well written! Not only does a snubnose fit well in the hand, it seems to conform to my hip well, too. That would be my left hip, at the 9 o’clock or 8 o’clock position. I am right-handed, but like cross-draw, because I happen to be seated a lot, especially in the car. Before firearms, men used to draw their swords cross draw, so even that feels natural to me.

      In a belly band, butt forward, in the summer, with only a T-shirt on top, I can conceal that revolver well. It’s best if the T-shirt is untucked, but even if I tuck it in, and just pull it up so that bulges in the shirt appear around my waist, the tiny butt of that gun sticking up over my belt just can’t be noticed.

      I’m hoping to buy a Glock 43, and see if I can hide that as well. We people have round bodies, and revolvers are round, so the two seem to go together well. Semi-autos are angular. I only have a Glock 30 semi-auto, and that is too wide to even try to conceal it in the same way as my S&W 60. Oh, well. It’s so nice to have choices.

      • Thanks Roger.

        Coincidentally, I also prefer to carry my handguns cross-draw. Not only are they quicker & easier to draw from that position, but also they are easier to conceal, easier to retain, & they can be drawn with either hand (right or left). Furthermore, cross-draw is way more comfortable than appendix carry.

        I also have a Glock 30 which I use for concealed carry, as well as a slightly smaller Glock 27. For me, they conceal very well under a large, loose fitting untucked shirt, & even better under a loose fitting hoodie or a jacket.

        Recently, I have begun carrying an early model (not Mod 2) Springfield Armory XD-S .45 ACP in hot weather. I also have one in 9mm. They conceal very easily in a belt holster, either inside the waistband or outside the waistband. In a bellyband or a pocket, they are completely invisible. I especially like carrying it in the right front pocket of my shorts in a pocket holster. It doesn’t print at all, but even if it did, it would just look like a wallet. In that position, I can have my hand on the gun ready for a very quick, snag free draw without anyone knowing it. It’s not uncomfortable to carry in my pocket either, because it’s thin, flat, & lightweight (polymer). I highly recommend these XD-S pistols in either .45 ACP or 9mm. They are very comfortable to shoot & you can get them with flush fitting or extended magazines.

        If you do get a Glock 43, you will be able to conceal it easily any way you choose to do it. They are true pocket guns, not much bigger than a .380 ACP.

        Also on the subject of concealed carry, I highly recommend the Rothco Concealed Carry Jacket. It’s a very nice 3 season jacket (for cooler weather) that has 2 large inner pockets (1 right & 1 left) designed for concealed carry so you can cross-draw with either hand or even carry two guns at once. It also has 4 magazine pockets (2 right & 2 left). It looks just like a normal jacket, but it will conceal almost any handgun, including a S&W Model 29 with a 6″ barrel or a full sized Glock 20/21. It would be a great way to carry your Glock 30, but I would cover the trigger guard with a good pocket holster if you do. You can find them on Amazon, at Optics Planet, or on Google.

      • DAVE–VA,

        Thanks! Great advice! I have carried the Glock 30 in a Kramer Confidante shirt holster. It goes under the left armpit, like a shoulder rig, except the barrel points at the ground, instead of to the rear.

  26. RE: Snub-nose revolvers for distance —

    It’s certainly not news around here, but a gun’s accuracy is determined not by barrel length, but by its ability to stabilize a bullet and send it consistently in the same direction.

    I watched an older gentleman take his carry gun — a pocket snubby (I don’t remember which model) with CrimsonTrace laser grips — and pop soda cans at ~20 yards, shooting with his forearm braced against his hip. He’d just “walk” the laser up to the soda can and squeeze the trigger. He knocked off about two dozen cans, zero misses.

    If you and your gun can reliably hit a soda can at 20 yards, a man-sized target at 100 is plenty doable.

    My personal preference isn’t for wheel-guns, but this experience taught me to not discount them as viable defense options, even at a distance.

  27. Moving to Alaska had me rethinking my firearm choices.

    My BUG is usually a J Frame in the lower 48 but now my BUG is a Glock 20. I’m likely to have a 45-70, 12 Gauge, or .375 Ruger in my hands unless I’m in town. Then I just go with the BUG and a second BUG.

    You guessed it. The second BUG is a J Frame 38 Special. While I personally favor revolvers I couldn’t disregard the 15 + 1 capacity of the Glock 20. It was a sad day for me when I relegated the S&W Model 58 to the safe. It’s been my constant companion for the last eight years.

    I don’t know who first said it but it’s definitely true, “Revolvers are the easiest to learn but the hardest to master.”

    Vince

  28. J frames for the wife and myself everyday..leather pocket holster and jeans are a match I can’t seem to beat..upside down under arm holster as a secondary or downtown setup makes for a easy seated draw..hers is a 642 that has one stellar trigger from the performance center and my setup, A pair of 340s one PD and one MP that now wears a titanium cylinder like the PD. 135gr Gold Dots for us both..mine are a little more peppy but not like the 125 barn burners. I don’t ever for see a need to ditch the wheelies for bottom feeders as my ever present carry system has run the full course of expensive pocket autos even tried Rohrbaughs R9 and eventually went back to my revolver roots..bedside is a Glock 26 and it serves its role there well..I just never have found the warm fuzzy reliability for pocket carry in a auto.

  29. I got my first CCW in 1994 (AZ). I qualified with a snub revolver (Ruger Speed Six). The instructor was a dedicated 1911 guy who criticized my choice of a revolver and said I would never carry it; I already did, openly. He insisted that revolvers were obsolete. I shrugged and passed the qualifier. My first EDC was a Taurus Model 85CH in a Bianchi pistol pocket. I put over 1,000 rounds through that gun in the next year (80-150 rounds per month for 12-15 months). Snub revolvers can be very accurate. I trained at 7, 10, 15 yards, occasionally at 25 and 50 yards just in case… I also read every article I could find about shooting snub revolvers. Mas Ayoob and Michael de Bethancourt (sp?) became my go-to authors for how to effectively shoot these little guns. I have several 380 and 9 mm semi autos, but their slides get harder to rack every year. I will always have a good snub revolver handy!

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