Carry an old model 38?


October 17, 2006, 06:03 PM
Can anyone offer any advice as to the pros or cons of carrying a early 1960's vintage Smith and Wesson model 38 as a concealed weapon? The gun is in mint condition, so I am leary to mar the finish, and I don't think it would be wise to shoot any +p ammo through the gun either. Is it wise to rely on a 40+ year old revolver for protection? Should I just save my pennies for a newer J-frame?
Thanks for any advice!

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October 17, 2006, 06:21 PM
For the past year, a late 50's/early 60's model 38 Airweight has been my warm-weather carry gun. As long as your gun is in solid functioning order, you of course can trust it. I agree that you should keep the +p stuff away from it. I found that the 110 gr Winchester Silver Tips performed pretty well in mine. As far as the finish condition, I've always subscribed to the idea that "if it's a shooter, it's a carrier." If you're concerned about resale, a little honest holster wear won't hurt you at all in that area.

October 17, 2006, 06:40 PM
I would take it to a gunsmith and have them check it just in case. Nothing wrong with being a bit on the careful side :). But if the option to buy a new gun is available to you, I would would go for a .357mag (if you really feel inclined towards a wheel gun.... Personally I would much rather go auto if I had the option to choose). .38's are pretty much obsolete...yes I said it! :banghead: even a .38 +p+ is not close to a .357 mag. There are just so much better calibers out there then a .38.

October 17, 2006, 06:58 PM
It was good 40 years ago and it will be good today. Don't shoot more than about 50,000 rounds or so of +P ammo. (That's sarcasm. IMO a Model 38 of any year will safely handle all the +P you care to shoot because +P loads are not hot... or warm. It's all marketing hype. See my other posts regarding +P and how wimpy it truly is.)

Any gun you carry will suffer wear to the finish. If you do not want to wear the gun's finish then don't carry it. Why do you own this gun, to look at it or to use it? You have to choose one.

October 17, 2006, 08:33 PM

True its not a .357 but its a long long way from obsolete

The newer rounds for .38 snubnose are better than ever and there are certainly enough out there to keep .38s around for a long time

October 17, 2006, 10:19 PM
Carry it. Shoot it. Enjoy it. those ole 36's are still great little carry guns and alot more durable than people give them credit for. And with the advances made in .38 ammo the last few years, the .38 is a viable defense gun.

I have an early flat latch 36 i bought a couple of years ago. It was one of those dresser drawer guns. Bought, fired very few times, and stuck away "just in case". It was alot cheaper than a new J frame, and belive me if it had been a valuable collectors gun, the very gun savy dealer wouldn't have sold it as cheap as he did.

I don't worry about it, i just go ahead and shoot +p's in mine. How many rounds you suppose it would take to shoot the ole girl loose? Probably more than i would care to pay for.

Old Fuff
October 17, 2006, 10:34 PM
Well it looks like the Old Fuff is in serious trouble ... again. :uhoh:

On occasion I carry handguns that were made in the 1920's, 30's, 40's and 50's. In my experiensed opinion they are better made than what's coming out of the factories today in many cases. These were the years before the gunmakers' decided that cost-cutting was more important then making a quality product - which of coure they had too do to keep their products affordable. But this doesn't change the fact that those older guns saw a lot more attention then is the case today. So long as I can hit what I'm shooting at the .38 Special will do.

Granted, if one of these older (and therefore collectable) guns was mint/like new I probably wouldn't carry it. But if they have a little (or a lot) of mileage I see no not to if they are tight and in good shape.

And ya' have to understand that the Old Fuff himself was made along time before the 1960s... :neener: But I'll admit he is a bit obsolete... :evil: :D

October 18, 2006, 02:01 AM
Lets see my J frame is 33 years old and I carry with +P still nice and tight. I also don't need to worry about my barrel falling of like the NEW S&W did in I belive was NC . Some times older is better.

October 18, 2006, 03:03 AM
Any steel K-frame Smith 38 special made after 1957 is fine with +P ammo. And that's based on what S&W have been saying for decades.

October 18, 2006, 04:56 AM
It's a piece of trash that'll blow up in your hand & kill or injure folks for 50 yards around you.The bullets probably come out of it sideways making it so inaccurate if you have to shoot at anyone you'd be a danger to innocent bystanders.You need to get rid of it at once so I'll give you.....

Seriously:sicario103's advice about having a good 'smith eyeball your piece is good.110-125gr standard .38Special's will do their part if you do yours.My questions would be are YOU comfortable carrying it? Does it ride well in your pocket or on your belt? Are you mentally comfortable packing a "mere" .38 snubby? Are you accurate with it? Will/do you practice with it? If the answers are yes go with it.

October 18, 2006, 05:04 AM
I would not mind carrying a 60's vintage S&W revolver, In fact, I often do.

I'd carry that long before I'd carry a 2000 vintage Smith....

shooting time
October 18, 2006, 07:38 AM
I got one and i use it as a truck carry gun still works fine

October 18, 2006, 07:57 AM
I often carry a vintage Mod. 12-2 airweight.

Just practice with standard pressure ammo and
carry with +p.

October 18, 2006, 08:23 AM
As I write this I have a flat latch, square butt, mdl 36 in my front pocket.

Bottom line: Shoot it, clean it, and carry it all you want. It will do the job....enjoy!

October 18, 2006, 10:43 AM
My No. 1 carry gun is a Model 38 made in 1968. I trust it more than any auto and more important than that is the fact that is is safer to load and unload in a crowded area (I go to lots of gun shows). I also like the fact that it will not fire unless the trigger is pulled. When my neighbor (an 82 year old man with no pistol experience) was getting his CCW, he asked me to keep an eye out for a small semi-auto for him. I told him that was the last gun he wanted to carry. I then pulled out my Model 38, showed him that it was loaded, pointed it in the air (we live out in the sticks) and tapped on the trigger with a pencil untill the hammer fell. It did not fire. I told him that he did not want to carry a gun in his pocket that he would blow his ba**s off with. He agreed and I picked him up a Model 38. I also like the aluminum frame and shrowded hammer. I carry Federal 129 grain +P Hydra-Shoks in it. I practice with lighter stuff.

October 18, 2006, 10:59 AM
Thanks to all who replied- I appreciate your time and thoughts!

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