Is a 357 mag snub worth it?


December 15, 2006, 04:31 PM
I tried a search and did not find an answer...

Is a 357 mag snub worth it for CCW? I'm referring to smaller, J-frame type revolvers loaded with 357 magnum ammo. So many threads mention how a magnum cartridge needs a longer barrel to achieve it's full potential and that 357 snubs kick like a mule and make a whole lot of noise and fireballs. For concealed carry purposes is .38 special +P adequate?

Please note, I am only questioning the value of a 357 in snub-nosed (>3" barrel) weapons. I fully realize and respect how capable it is when fired from a longer-barreled gun.

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December 15, 2006, 04:35 PM
I own a .357 Smith-Wesson Airweight.
The question really is.... Do you want a range gun? Or a CCW gun.
Bad range gun- Not pleasent to shoot.
Good CCW gun, Its so small and light, you wont mind carrying it at all.
I have read much on this topic, and since a vast majority of "gunfights" happen within 7 yards, and less than 3 shots fired....AND! since I will HOPEFULLY and PROBABLY never use the thing, seems a good tradeoff.

Ben Shepherd
December 15, 2006, 04:37 PM
Practice is the key.

I've carried a 2 1/4" Sp101 now for 7 years. The little thing has fired over 70,000 rounds.

Worth it? I think so. Others may not. How much recoil tolerance do you have?

If a 9mm in a full size semi auto bothers you, then a 357 snubbie isn't a good idea. If you favorite thing is blowing over barn walls with a 454 then the little snubbie isn't bad at all.

December 15, 2006, 04:41 PM
if anybody has some ballistics where <3" 357s were used with various loadings, and see how much velocity is lost, that would be helpful.
I am also curious about getting a 357 snubbie.

December 15, 2006, 04:46 PM
I've come to the conclusion that the smallest practical .357 Magnum is the SP101. The J frame smiths, esp. the ultralights and titanium models, are sold on the theory that you can practice with .38 Special and just load magnums for defense. The idea is that you won't notice recoil in times of stress. This notion is dangerous hogwash. Not only does flinch remain during periods of intense emotion, it gets worse. And your overall accuracy gets MUCH worse. Think about it for a second. Your heart rate skyrockets, your hands shake and sweat, and your instinct is to get out of there, esp if you're getting shot at. You need EVERY POSSIBLE EDGE in such a situation. So you certainly do NOT want a hard-to-aim sidearm that punches you with every shot.

To replicate some of these elements, go to a patch of squirrel hunting ground and run around until you're bruised, winded and sweaty. Then try to hit Mr. Squirrel with your sidearm as it would be loaded for CCW.

I would get an SP-101 at the minimum and practice long and hard with .357's. Fiocchi sells some FMJ loads that are nice and stiff. Do it until it's totally natural. DO NOT practice with pea loads and expect to be able to operate with full power self defense magnums when it hits the fan.

P. Plainsman
December 15, 2006, 04:48 PM
I've come to the conclusion that the smallest practical .357 Magnum is the SP101.

I tend to agree. It's certainly the smallest .357 I can imagine purchasing and packing.

Old Fuff
December 15, 2006, 04:51 PM
A good defensive handgun is one that:

1. You can hit what you're shooting at. I don't mean the whole silhouette, or the whole center of mass, but the places within where the vital organs are. Making a hit that doesn't instantly disable an attacker can get you killed, and a draw between shooters doesn't count.

2. You can make rapid, accurate repeat shots with.

3 You can make accurate hits out to at least 15 yards. 25 yards is better, and 50 to 100 yards is not impossible.

4. Can be fired in low light without negative effects on your vison.

Now if you can do this with a lightweight, small .357 Magnum with a 2" or under barrel you're good to go. :uhoh:

December 15, 2006, 05:00 PM
What Cosmoline seems to forget is that MOST defensive ammo is "reduced recoil"...
What do you think that means????
Secondly, you do have to practice with what you are going to shoot....OF COURSE, thats like running out and practicing with your BB gun and sayin your ready...:scrutiny:

Old Fluff - How long have you carried??? And since you have been carrying... how many 25 yard shots have you taken on a MOVING PERSON. Sometimes people fail to realize STATISTICS are KING. Roll all day with your 2.5lb gun, more power to you! Mine weighs less than a pound, and is so small it fits in my LIGHT JACKET POCKET!

Ben Shepherd
December 15, 2006, 05:03 PM
Many many threads on short barreled 357 ballistics. If you use the search function you'll be reading for hours.

Roughly 50fps lost per inch of barrel.

Old Fuff-
I can. But practice rules. Practice is the be-all, end all with a snubbie, IMO. My sp101 has fired 10s of thousands of rounds over the last seven years. I've wore out 3 sets of rubber houge mono-grips on the little girl.

December 15, 2006, 05:05 PM
One of my carry guns that finds its way into the regular rotation is my Taurus 651B....It's small, easily conceable and packs 5 rounds of .357. Is it a pleasure to shoot at the range? No, not really. I have some light .357 target loads that aren't painful to shoot but the carry rounds I use ARE. However, I have no doubt that if I needed it it would perform flawlessly in the type of situation where I felt the need to clear leather.

I consider it one of my top 3 CCW's.

December 15, 2006, 05:21 PM
The S&W Model 19/66 with the 2.5" barrel just looks cool. So does the Colt Python with the 2" barrel and the S&W Model 13 with the 3" barrel. Forget being practical - it's all about the looks.;)

Old Fuff
December 15, 2006, 05:40 PM
Ben Shepherd:

I agree with your observations about the value of practice, but I don't consider Ruger's excellent SP-101 to be either "small" or "lightweight" when you compare it to the competition from Smith & Wesson and Taurus. Colt has withdrawn from the market, and I don't see anything else that's worth spit.

I also question if the aditional FPS that a .357 Magnum offers over a Plus-P .38 Special when both are fired through a 2" barrel and used within 15 yards is meaningful in the real world. If Magnum performance is really that important, get a revolver with a longer barrel and get enough to make it worthwhile. Or follow my example and use a .44 Special, where the bullet is already big when it leave the bore.

So called "high performance" ammunition is hyped way too much - unless precise hits are made. Witness the recent incident in New York City where one party absorbed 11 hits, and is still with us and getting better. :uhoh:

December 15, 2006, 05:56 PM
A good defensive handgun is one that:
1. You can hit what you're shooting at....
2. You can make rapid, accurate repeat shots with.
3 You can make accurate hits out to at least 15 yards. 25 yards is better, and 50 to 100 yards is not impossible.

So you are saying, we should only carry rifles or carbines?

The pocket pistol is not intended to make 100, 50, 25 or even 15 yard shots. It is intended for under 10-yard shots, where the miss is not as likely but the stopping power is essential.

357 from a snub may be a lousy performer but it still is 30-50% more powerful than 38 +P.

The most important quality of my 340 is it's always with me. Even when I have another gun on me or few - say a 3" 66 underarm and P2000 in a pancake holster behind my hip and maybe a 3" model 60 in the small of my back and 4" 686 in my shoulderbag - not a realistic situation but humor me - there will still be the 340 in my khaki pants pocket.

Shooting 357 from it smarts a whole lot. Still, if I am more afraid to take a shot than I am afraid of a bad guy, then maybe I should not take that shot.


December 15, 2006, 06:03 PM
You can make accurate hits out to at least 15 yards. 25 yards is better, and 50 to 100 yards is not impossible. Thats funny, but i like the one about the priest, the rabbi, and the baptist minister better.....:neener:

December 15, 2006, 06:05 PM
I posted some chronograph data yesterday concerning 3", 4", 61/2" guns. I saw about 100 ft lbs drop from 4" to 3" and I'd expect a little more drop than that from the 2", say about 380-400 ft lbs for a really hot load. Again, I don't have a 2" gun to fire over the chrony, so I'm extrapolating here from my other guns.

Okay, you have equal bullets here with the 9mm. You can shoot a 9mm +P in a gun smaller than the J frame and get just as much energy/velocity with equal bullet weights as the .357, plus the 9mm is much more efficient in the short barrel producing less flash/bang and more controllable recoil. My 3" Kel Tec P11 makes 410 ft lbs with a 115 grain hot load. I don't think a 2" .357 could top that with a 125 grain bullet. There are also good 124 grain +P loads for the 9 if you prefer a little more bullet weight that will do the same energy levels.

In my revolver, I'm plenty happy with .38+P 158 grain, the FBI load AKA "treasury load". It puts up about 270 ft lbs, but more importantly has a good track record in actual service. I don't see why I'd want to put up with the flash/bang of the magnum in such a short tube when the .38 is plenty good enough. I have been carrying my new-to-me medium frame 3" .357 IWB (how I'd carry a SP101 and with the 3" tube), but for pocket carry, I'll stick with the UltraLite .38 using +Ps, thanks, or carry my 9mm. I don't consider the .357 the best deal in small, pocket size J frames. Sure, they'll work, but if I had one I'd load it with +Ps and be happy.

Vern Humphrey
December 15, 2006, 06:07 PM
Is a 357 mag snub worth it for CCW?

In the case of the Ruger SP 101, yes. I prefer the 3" barrel version. In my experience, anything smaller and lighter is downright painful to shoot with full charge .357s.

Now there are those who say, "When the chips are down, you won't notice the recoil." And that's true. But you will notice the recoil when practicing. And that generally results in two bad things -- either you won't practice enough, or you will develop bad habits when shooting. This is borne out by the fact that all my friends who have these light-weight snubbies (the SP 101 excepted as I said) and actually practice seriously with them wind up shooting .38 Special ammo in them.

Now there may be people who put thousands of rounds through those scandium wonders without every flinching or jerking -- but I don't personally know any.

As for the performance of .357s in a short barrel, yes -- they will generate less velocity and energy than in a longer barrel. But that doesn't mean that .38 Specials will surpass them in the same barrel length -- or even come very close to the .357's performance.

December 15, 2006, 06:30 PM
A Ruger .357 DAO 2 1/4" SP101 IWB with 5 rounds of Speer GDHP Short Barrel is enough for any civilian SD situation...It's worth it to me.

December 15, 2006, 06:37 PM
Good replies so far, thanks guys. Some comments:

up_onus: CCW guns and range guns are not mutually exclusive, as I am sure you know. If I take a 357 to the range and only fire half a box of ammo because it kills my hand, I don't consider that much practice. Also, my definition of defense ammo differs from yours... when I think defense ammo, I think full-pony loads: +P, +P+ etc. I can appreciate the size of a J-Frame, and the mass of an Airweight/Ultralite, but if the gun is useless in my hands, I may as well carry rocks.

Ben Shepherd: How may of those 70,000 rounds were 38 and how many were 357? If they were all 357, I don't want to shake your hand because you'd probably crush mine. :)

Checkman: I agree, Colt Pythons look sweet. Maybe I need to start a bling gun collection. It would not be complete without Pythons (one of each, please), 1911, Hi-Power, and a Desert Eagle - all nice and shiny. I can mount them on the wall with a Flava-Flav clock. :D

Vern Humphrey: Your comments about practice are my biggest concerns. I don't expect 38s (+p or not) to rival a 357, but the trade-off would be reduced accuracy from increased recoil.

As nice as the SP101 is (or so I've heard), I'd rather not step up to a (marginally) larger weapon. If I did, I'd probably get a steel-frame auto like a CZ 2075 RAMI.

Maybe some more info is required: I'm considering a revo for ankle-carry and it will probably be a lightweight model. I know ankle-carry is pretty much the worst way to carry, but my dress code at work eliminates most other forms and I sit 90% of the day anyway. I may carry my nightstand auto on my hip if I'm wearing jeans or something outside of work.

December 15, 2006, 06:43 PM
You're right that a short barrel limits the effectiveness of the .357 round but Speer makes a 135 gr Short Barrel round for the .357 Mag in thier Gold Dot line. A magnum sbub nose is not pleasnat to shoot in a ultra light frame. If you buy a .357 I suggest you buy a SS Model like the S&W 640 or 649. You might want to change the stock Uncle Mike's boot grips for something a little better like Pachmayr Compac grips or something from Hogue.

BTW, S&W's J frame Mag's are not their Airweight line, thay are the AirLite line.

Airweight = 15 oz = .38 Spl & .38 Spl +P
AirLite = 12 oz = .357 Mag, .38 Spl & .38 Spl +p

December 15, 2006, 06:57 PM
Airweight, airlite, airframe, nightlight... Whatever! :D

Old Fuff
December 15, 2006, 07:09 PM
I don’t think that anyone with any experience would claim that the Plus-P .38 Special’s performance is on par with the .357 Magnums’ regardless of barrel length. The question should be, “is the performance difference in lightweight snubbies compelling enough to offset some negatives it may cause?” Now if you’re a slave to velocity and energy tables it probably is, but there are other issues to look at.

Under the most accepted rules of engagement a person is not allowed to use deadly force, except to resist a lethal attack. If you are the good guy that means the “other” party gets in the first blow, stab, shot or whatever. You are placed in the position of being reactive, and under the circumstances any delay might be fatal. Obviously the accurate placement of the first shot is critical, and if that doesn’t instantly disable the attacker the accuracy of your following shots might determine if you live or die. Never in any encounter, does a fast miss count.

If you are using .357 Magnum cartridges in a very light, small revolver the unavoidable recoil is going to effect your shot-to-shot recovery and the ability to keep making fast, but accurate shots. For some this may be more so then others, but I haven’t yet met anyone who can shoot a small revolver faster and with equal accurately when using .357 Magnum cartridges then they can with the chambers loaded with .38 Special’s. As you move to a heavier gun the ease of control gets better, and this is well proven by those that who chose the Ruger SP-101, which shouldn’t be questioned as the leader of the pack when it comes to downsized .357’s. If you stick to the hotter cartridge, but substitute an ultra-light J-frame Smith & Wesson or equivalent Taurus, what were acceptable results on the target may no longer be so. If you loose the ability to precisely place bullets the additional velocity of the Magnum, regardless of what it is, may be relatively worthless.

Old Fuff
December 15, 2006, 07:21 PM

You can make accurate hits out to at least 15 yards. 25 yards is better, and 50 to 100 yards is not impossible.

It wouldn't be funny if your neck depended on it... ;)

The idea that a snub-nosed revolver isn't effective beyond card table distances is a myth, and has often been proven so. But it is widely believed by those that can't hit the broad side of a barn if they're inside and the doors closed. :D

December 15, 2006, 07:24 PM
What Cosmoline seems to forget is that MOST defensive ammo is "reduced recoil"...

Most SP and defensive ammo for the .357 is *NOT* reduced recoil. I don't know where you got that idea. In fact, most of it is as cranked up as possible.

I seriously encourage everyone to go do some close range (inside 25 yards) small game hunting in rough conditions with your CCW piece. If you can get good enough to hit a moving, chittering squirrel with your sidearm you should be good to go. But it ain't easy! Also, keep in mind that you're not likely to get a nice square shot at a stationary target. It's going to happen fast and you may only have part of a COM to hit--perhaps not much larger than a small animal.

December 15, 2006, 07:25 PM
And, you said nothing of a night encounter and the added flash/bang indoors and or in the dark of a .357. The fireball of a hot load in a short barrel has to be seen to be believed. Even the special short barrel loads, which optimize bullet expansion at lower velocities AND minimize flash/bang, aren't very nice to the eyes and ears. To me, moving to the .357 requires a 3" or longer barrel. Even then, the hot stuff can singe your eyebrows.

December 15, 2006, 08:08 PM
You can make accurate hits out to at least 15 yards. 25 yards is better, and 50 to 100 yards is not impossible.
It wouldn't be funny if your neck depended on it...

The idea that a snub-nosed revolver isn't effective beyond card table distances is a myth, and has often been proven so.

I would be very interested in seeing information to back-up the often use of snub-nose .357 used for either defense or offense at 25-100 yards.:confused: Given your resume, you should be able to provide a wealth of evidence to make me eat a murder of crows!

Standing Wolf
December 15, 2006, 09:40 PM
I don't always carry a .357 magnum snub-nosed revolver. Some days, I carry a .44 magnum snub-nosed revolver.

Ben Shepherd
December 16, 2006, 09:27 AM
Old Fuff and others interested- I carry the *heavy lightweight* specifically becuase I want magnum preformance in a snubby package that's controllable, and durable. The sp101 has not dissapointed me. That's also why I use the houge grips, so all three fingers fit around the grip, rather than 2 on, 1 under.

I've fired one of those ultralights with full-snort 158grain ammo. Won't do it again, recoil is atrocious. Follow-up shots, or a decent double tap? Yeah, right.

George Hill put it best in a CCW magazine review article last year:

"Want to know what it's like? Go slam your hand in the hood of Your car. HARD! Then you'll know."

December 16, 2006, 09:48 AM
I like the SP101 specifically the 3" model. I found this at a gun show, though, and figure it's a suitable substitute. It's a little over 30 ounces, outweighs the SP by some ounces, but it sure shoots sweet even with full power eyelash burners. :D And, I picked it up for $180. I can carry it IWB under just a loose T shirt. Holds an extra round, too, at the expense of being a little thicker. But, it's my answer to the question of what to shoot the .357 out of and it fit the budget.:D I've toted it all day and it does get a little heavy at the end of the day, but it's no worse than my Ruger P90 or my old Ruger P95, really. That P95 was a little lighter, about the same weight as the SP101 unloaded, but when you stuck a 15 round magazine in it, it caught up to the weight of this Taurus pretty quick, LOL.

The Lone Haranguer
December 16, 2006, 10:25 AM
Originally posted by Cosmoline:
I've come to the conclusion that the smallest practical .357 Magnum is the SP101.
Agreed, if you're going to shoot magnums out of it. I have had another magnum snubnose in the past, a S&W 640-1, and found it intolerable with magnums. The Ruger is much better due to its weight and larger cushioned grip, although some magnum loads are real fire-breathers, blowing the target around with the blast from 15 feet away. I still have and shoot my Ruger, but I find myself preferring subcompact autoloaders to any small-frame revolver - a topic for another discussion.

December 16, 2006, 11:11 AM
but I find myself preferring subcompact autoloaders to any small-frame revolver - a topic for another discussion.

I've made that point before.:D

December 16, 2006, 06:14 PM
I have 3 357 Snubs that I carry. 617 Taurus, 605 Taurus, and Ruger's SP101. The 617 is a 7 shot, kinda big, and easy to shoot. the SP is a little smaller and not bad to shoot. The 605 is about the size of a J frame. When you pull the triger on this one, you know what full house 357 means. I shot 150 rounds of American Eagle 158grn. at the range yesterday. It's like a little cannon in your hand. I would not whant to shoot a gun any lighter in 357. In self defence I use 125grn. This is a bit easyer to control for follow up shots and recoil is more mild. I carry Corbon 125grn. 357 and feel I can handle it and it will do the job.

December 16, 2006, 06:32 PM
You seem to forget one thing... If you carry a snubbie .357 and you actually have to fire it, the flame-thrower/fireball effect will probably scare the bad guy, alert the astronauts on the space station and light the area up like the surface of the sun...

I have to say, I would be impressed.

December 16, 2006, 07:20 PM
If I want to shoot .357 Magnum ammunition in a 5-shot short-barreled revolver, I use my 2.25" SP-101 DAO. Yes, it weighs more than an Airlite Magnum, and it's not ever going to replace my Airweights as 'pocket holstered' off-duty weapons. Aside from fitting into the exterior cargo pocket of an insulated vest, it's almost always a 'belt gun' for me.

It's also been Quad-Ported, which introduces some considerations when it comes to defensive application ... the vented gasses and potential shaved jacket fragments can present a safety hazard ... but which also makes it very controllable and makes for fast recovery between shots. The felt recoil is still present, delivered into the palm of my hand, but the muzzle rise is virtually nil, allowing me to keep the sight picture on target and cycle the trigger as fast as necessary.

FWIW, when running it through the qualification course (designed around service pistols) during night sessions, passing in & out of light & shadow, the muzzle flash directed upward through the vents, from the full power Remington 125gr SJHP Magnum rounds I generally use, occurs so quickly I barely see it. The combination of the back lighting and directed light sources seem to mitigate, for me, any potential night vision disadvantages ... while negotiating and completing the course of fire. Might be different if I were expected to suddenly test my vision in near darkness ... but so would it likely also be if I'd simply exposed my eyes to a bright light source, like any of my flashlights.

Anyway, there are a number of considerations involved in the use of short-barreled revolvers for lawful defensive carry and usage, of which overall weight and felt recoil are only a couple. Important ones, obviously, but there are others ...

Regardless of caliber, most of the attributes often considered as advantages in short-barreled revolvers are also potential disadvantages.

Short barrel? Ease of concealment carry, draw and presentation ... but short sight radius and difficult to discern and see rudimentary fixed sights.

Small grip? Again, ease of carry & lawful concealment ... but difficult to consistently grasp, especially depending on mode of carry, and it can make for some controllability issues for folks with larger hands.

"Safer" DAO trigger? Sure, the trigger stroke is heavier and longer than some other handguns, and it's often mentioned by some folks as being inherently less likely to be involved in a negligent/unintentional discharge situation ... but it also makes for a potentially more difficult intentional trigger stroke when needed.

I've often felt that safely, accurately and effectively shooting a short-barreled revolver requires some refined revolver skills. Developing such skills is one thing, and maintaining them through proper, frequent training and practice is another ...

Over the years I've seen enough results from various chronograph testing to be confident that many .357 Magnum loads offer increased velocities over .38 Spl +P loadings. Velocity is only part of the story, though, and bullet design and construction is perhaps even more important from some perspectives. I happen to prefer Remington's excellent 125gr SJHP, as well as their more difficult to find 140gr SJHP and the excellent Winchester 145gr STHP (which is more of mid-range load, velocity-wise, anyway, but which offers a nicely done cavity design).

That being said, however ... I don't often carry my SP-101 anymore. Why? Simple. My 642-1 & 37-2 Airweights are more convenient to carry, and they offer me the overall balance of features I desire in a diminutive off-duty revolver ... as long as I maintain my skills and do my part. They aren't 'easy' to accurately and effective use. Never said or meant to imply that they were. Takes a reasonable amount of range time to keep my skills sharp enough for me to feel confident carrying them ... but I've spent a fair number of years developing DA revolver skills, and carried a DA .357 as an issued revolver for a number of years, as well.

The bright orange paint I keep on my J-frame front sights seems to make it much easier for me to acquire them under various light conditions, even when moving in & out of shadow and in some reduced light conditions, as long as enough light is available to reflect off them. Practicing to pick them up in reduced light situations involving silhouetted/back-lighting (of threat target) helps, too.

I've handled and fired several of the S&W Airlite J-frame Magnums, too. I've demonstrated I can perform accurate, fast doubles & triples out to 10 yards, using full power Magnum ammunition ... but's never going to be anything I'd consider enjoyable, that's for sure. I have no desire to personally own an Airlite Magnum J-frame for the exclusive use of Magnum ammunition, either. (Aside from the felt recoil & controllability issues involved, I also happen to dislike titanium cylinders because of the potential for increased erosion from hot gasses in some loads, and maintenance issues revolving around taking care not to damage the surface hardening, but those are other issues.)

After dancing all around the issue ...

Yes, I'd say that depending on someone's specific preferences, anticipated needs and desires ... a snub-nosed revolver chambered in .357 magnum can 'be worth it'.

For some folks this may mean going from ultra-light frames to steel frames, and/or from 5-shot platforms to 6-shot platforms.

Being able to safely, accurately, consistently and effectively shoot whatever platform is involved is important, after all ... right?

If I had it to do over again, I'd opt for the 3" SP-101 in traditional DA (for the benefit of the 3" tube's advantages), and/or a 3" GP-100 ... since they quit making the Speed-Six.;)

I know another instructor who's been involved in a couple of lawful shooting situations, using semiauto pistols, and his favored off-duty weapon is a vintage 2 ½" model 19 revolver ... although he's expressed more than a little interest in picking up a basic .38Spl caliber J-frame after watching me run through our courses of fire with my J-frames, and trying one of mine.;)

Practice, practice, practice ...

But they aren’t for everybody ...

December 16, 2006, 11:22 PM
It's worth it, just for the coolness factor. What can be cooler than a stainless steel .357 Magnum 5 shot J frame snub nose revolver?

+1 on the flash. If you don't kill 'em you'll at least blind 'em.

If you only get one snub in your life, make it an S&W 640.

Old Fuff
December 16, 2006, 11:25 PM
Well it may be cool, but I don't know that "coolness" will save your butt in a fight. Only well placed hits will do that. :scrutiny: ;)

December 16, 2006, 11:41 PM
Good point, Old Fluff. It does take a LOT of practice with a snub to be accurate. This ain't a 9mm.

PS - I actually went back and reread this thread. Lets all remember one thing: a snub is not a sniper rifle. I would NEVER attempt to shoot it in a defensive situation at 100 yards. Too much risk for everything near the target.

A snub is a belly gun, probably most effective at 7 yards, up to maybe 25. I'm sure there are some of you that will argue otherwise, but for me, a snub means close up self defense, ccw, probably should be a BUG, not a primary gun.

December 17, 2006, 02:17 AM
Great post, fastbolt. Thorough, to say the least.

Old Fuff
December 17, 2006, 10:20 AM

I wouldn't argue with you, but the fact is that there are a fair number of folks that can keep their shots in the K-zone of a B-27 silhouette target at 100 yards using a snubby. And they can do it consistently. In my younger days I was one of them, and I'd often demonstrate just to put the myth to rest that a snubby wasn't anything but a belly gun.

There are a lot more who used to shoot the FBI's old qualification course with a snubby, and it ran from 7 to 50 yards.

So why was it that others and I had what some thought was such a remarkable skill? The answer is simple - it was because they dared to try it and practiced. You've decided on a 25-yard limit so that's likely to determine the extent of what you can do.

I don't often carry a backup gun on my person. Therefore whatever I am carrying becomes a default primary one. I think most civilians with a carry permit match this description. Anyway I believe in being able to use whatever is being carried to its maximum limits. Avoid self-imposed limits unless you're willing to live with nothing better. ;)

Essex County
December 17, 2006, 11:17 AM
I own two snubs Model 60 with 38+p's and a model 66 21-2" with .357s. Can't imagine a .357 J-Frame.......Essex

December 17, 2006, 11:31 AM
I regularly shoot this Security Six out to 50 and 100 yards at a 12" gong and hit with regularity.

The same goes for this snubbie which has taken deer and hogs out past 50 yards. Practice, practice, practice....

December 17, 2006, 12:09 PM
I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of someone shooting at me at 100 yards with a snubby..

I went to a SWAT school and just for giggles and grins the instructor put on a shooting exhibition.. A 24 inch gong at 150 yds.. First out M-14 with a scope
2 shots two hits.. next a Winchester Mdl 94 30-30 same thing.. next a 1911 45.
again the same results.. Then a 38 snubby.. You barely hear the two little plinks, but they were there..

Now it is obvious, this guy did this continually and knew exactly how much hold over was required, but the bottom line is he hit the target with each firearm.

You may need to use that handgun in a defensive situation at more than 15 yards, and you better know what that gun and you can do.

December 17, 2006, 11:59 PM
Here is a screen shot of my velocity readings for my 2 inch Rossi 357. The numbers are diameter, grain, velocity, and energy.

The blast and concusion is very intense with the 125 grain 357 rounds.

December 18, 2006, 12:14 AM
I would not mind carrying my S&W model 19-4 with a 2.5" bbl if I had to, either that or some kind of 1911. The 19 is my oldest pistol, and it has served me well. It kicks like a jack hammer, the muzzle bloom is awesome in the dark, and the sound is devestating. I've fired thousands of rounds through it. If I don't hit the bad guy on the first shot, the sound will deafen him, and the flash will leave him sightless. Then, I could just saunter up and punch him in the nose :) , thus avoiding serious blood shed.

Additionally, the terrific kick and noise makes most other short arms tame by comparison. I fired a friends .44 magnum with both target loads and hot ones, but it was a heavier weapon, seeming not so bad to me after the short .357. He warned me it really kicks with the hot loads, but being macho and young, I launched a full wheel one handed rapid fire (about 1 per 2 seconds with his Ruger SA) with no trouble one handed, killing the sillouette BG six times over. Piece of cake! It was a 6" bbl, I think (this was decades ago).

But, to each their own. Carry what you are comfortable with, and make the first shot count.


December 18, 2006, 12:31 AM
It is worth it? I carry a S&W Model 60 under my from seat and I have a Model 360 for my CCW.

When I am in a store I think about shoot, don't shoot situations because of the penetration a .357 magnum has. If you get the medium size Hogue grips, both revolvers are not horrible to shoot. I can hit a man-size target at 100 yards because I have shot an empty antifreeze container at that distance before.

I will say the noise will get everyones attention causing people's bladders to empty and women to pass out. That said, if you are going to kill something, then kill it. I hope I never have to find out. I use the new 158 grain Fusion Ammo ( in both of mine. MV out!

Fusion Ammo Home (

December 18, 2006, 01:01 AM
I once had access (through a person with a key) to a private range near the mouth of the Carmel Valley, south of Carmel, California. You drove in on a private road to an informal outdoor setting - a primitive weather shelter at the end of a meadow, perhaps half again the size if a football field, backed by the steep terrain typically found in coastal California. Long story short. At the opposite end stood a 3 x 6 foot steel plate, some 100 yards off. With my little .357 stubby, I could ring that thing all day, if someone supplied the ammo. Two hand, one hand, bench rest, whatever - don't make anyone with a so-called "snubby" angry.


December 19, 2006, 01:56 AM
What is the hardest kicking handgun you have ever shot? How much practice and training are you going to get? I personally only know one person who carries a scandium 357, he played college football as a center & still lifts wts 5 or 6 times a week, he didn't listen to my advice before he bought his. First time he shot it it drew blood from two different locations on his hand. He called me & said he should have listened to my advice. He still carries it but he doesn't shoot it except with a PAST glove. And he doesn't shoot many round at a time thru it.

BTW this is a guy who can shoot Federal Cast cores out of my 4" S&W 629 DA in comfort. Or shoot his brothers 460 S&W.

The 357 in guns under 20 oz are probably the worst gun your going to find for recoil with magnum loads. There are plenty of people who don't mind shooting 460 S&W or 454 Casull that don't want to ever shoot a scandium j frame snub again.

Now if you go to a 20 oz steel j frame or the Ruger SP101 it is a different story.

You said this was for ankle carry. Have you ever used ankle carry before?

Have you considered pocket carry yet? With a good setup you can carry a 20 oz snub all day in a front pocket holster with fair comfort.

Honestly 38+P or 9x19mm is a lot better choice for most people if they need a gun under 20 ozs. Or step down to a P3AT in 380.

December 19, 2006, 06:29 AM
The Colt Magnum Carry is a dandy lil alll steel 6 shot wheel gun but loaded up with those Remington 125's its downright unpleasant to shoot... and according to the chrono... that's a 125 gr bullet at about 1200 fps, pretty much the same as a full sized 9mm. But the difference in flash and bang and recoil is amazing. I still have 10 rounds out of the box I bought laying around, don't plan on buying more.

I prefer to hand-load it with heavier lead bullets.. like a 158 SWC HP and drive them around 900 fps. Federal's 158 gr Hydra shock would be my 'off the shelf' load of choice.

Botton line for me, a 357 snubby loaded 'hot' is about the eq. of a 9mm loaded warm. You can make the snubby better with heavier bullets, less flash and recoil. I think the optimum is a 158 @ 900-1000 fps, depending on your pain threshold.

December 19, 2006, 10:19 AM
You seem to forget one thing... If you carry a snubbie .357 and you actually have to fire it, the flame-thrower/fireball effect will probably scare the bad guy, alert the astronauts on the space station and light the area up like the surface of the sun...

I have to say, I would be impressed.

Well, I was at the range the other day shooting my 3" Taurus and my Ruger P90 in .45 (which is no slouch for horsepower in .45ACP) and I'm thinkin', ya know, why do people think this .45 is so bloomin' powerful? LOL! I mean, the old lunk just kinda pops, the steel falls. But, the .357 go WHAAAAM, fireball from HELL, the steel SLAMS down. Grows hair on your chest, gives you that Tim the tool man Taylor syndrome, knuckles start draggin' the ground. :D It's kind of addicting, but I'll admit the .45 is more practical in a dark room at 2am.

December 19, 2006, 03:29 PM

If you haven't seen one, they are hard to find these days.

December 19, 2006, 04:19 PM
I had a 340pd for a short time and loved the light weight, feel, etc. I could NOT hit a barn with it though, and practicing enough to where I could get good with it seemed like a long and painful prospect, so I traded it at a loss. I don't like getting rid of guns, I usually regret it, but not in this case. The only way to know if you'll like one is to shoot one. They work for some, but not others.

December 19, 2006, 07:20 PM
Old Fuff says:


I wouldn't argue with you, but the fact is that there are a fair number of folks that can keep their shots in the K-zone of a B-27 silhouette target at 100 yards using a snubby. And they can do it consistently. In my younger days I was one of them, and I'd often demonstrate just to put the myth to rest that a snubby wasn't anything but a belly gun.

Yep, can do some amazing shooting with a J frame snubby. Helps to have either a really smooth DA or the ability to COCK the thing for a good SA shot, something tough for a 640 to accomplish. :D I prefer a hammer on my snubby, even pocket carried. I ain't gonna shoot in a pocket, too close to my family's jewels down there, and I put my thumb over the hammer on the draw instinctively which eliminates snags. I probably get that habit from all my years with a single action revolver.

December 19, 2006, 08:09 PM
Grips matter. Only Godzilla could shoot .357's regularly from a J frame wearing wood boot grips. Pachmayr Compacs make a huge difference, at least on a steel 2" Model 60. They're also bigger and weigh more.

Triggers matter, too. J frame DA pulls (and who shoots SA during a close-in surprise attack from a predator?) are generally inferior to DA pulls from a K frame. Colt and Ruger DA triggers feel inferior to both, for me.

Dress matters. While K frames are more shootable, they require holsters. With winter clothing, that makes them hard to access in an emergency. Steel J frames, on the other hand, can ride in a coat pocket, making them quicker to get at in cold climes.

The upshot, since I think .357's make a big difference for defense: a steel 2" 60-14 goes with me in winter, unless I'm in a jacket that lets me get at a concealable shoulder or IWB rig quickly and efficiently. Then I'll take a snub 66.

People who carry all day have different issues. After six or eight hours, the weight of a K frame probably gets really old, regardless of holster quality.

December 20, 2006, 12:10 PM
I carry a S&W 36 using .38 special +P 135 grain Gold Dot HPs, especially made for short barrels. While I have a 4" 686 I shoot full house rounds through, and a Ruger Police Service 4" I equate to a "K" frame, I use rubber grips on both to absorb recoil. I'm not a real fan of shooting .357 mags through "J" frames. I'm comfortable using the 36 and my choice of ammo if I need to "get the job done". :)

December 20, 2006, 12:20 PM
I know there's few if any actual gun fights at extended range in the CCW scenario, but hey, the guns are capable. If someone tells me the gun is not intended to be accurate more'n a few feet, the classic "belly gun", I just figure they can't shoot. I know that most snubs will put 5 rounds into 3" at 25 yards for my old worn out eyes, that's 12 MOA for ME. Hitting a 12" gong at a hundred yards should be no problem so long as I figure out the proper elevation and a really good shooter with better eyes could, no doubt, to a lot better. Whether this sort of accuracy is necessary with a snub is arguable, but there's no doubt the guns are capable of it. For me, personally, this sort of accuracy means I can hit a rabbit at 20 yards. My 3" Rossi M68 shoots 2" groups at 25 yards, an inch more sight radius, and my 3" .357 Taurus M66 will shoot near 1" at that range, better sights, maybe just slightly better accuracy. It'll put 5 rounds of 140 grain Speer .357 into 1.5" which translates to 6 MOA, pretty useful in the field if not the concrete jungle. That matters probably only to me, though.

People who carry all day have different issues. After six or eight hours, the weight of a K frame probably gets really old, regardless of holster quality.

About 8 hours is my limit. The smaller gun in a pocket can ride there forever and doesn't bother me. :D Good point about getting to the gun through winter wear, though it ain't often all that cold down here. I like pocket carry because I can walk along with my hand on my gun, MUCH faster on the draw than from IWB even with just a T shirt on. Pocket carry is just SO much more practical for me. Even on my off days when I can carry IWB, when I get home I often find myself taking it off for a break. The pocket gun stays there, no problem. The whole idea is to have it with you 24/7 if you're going to rely on it for defense. I ain't likely to need it at home, but you just never know.

Personally, though, I have a preference for my little compact 9mm auto to a .38 or .357 snub for pocket carry. It spits a 115 grain Hornady XTP JHP out at 1260 fps, pretty respectable even in .357 magnum company when that .357 has a 2" tube. It's about as powerful as a .357 2" gun, yet it's much more controllable and has none of the gigantic muzzle flash of the magnum round in a short tube. It's DAO, so it's basically a small, flat, hammerless 14 ounce revolver with 11 rounds on tap. It's pretty danged accurate, too, for self defense out to about 50 yards. It's not quite as accurate, about 3.5" groups at 25 yards, compared to my snub, but I ain't sweatin' a half inch. The little gun rides in the front pocket of my jeans. I can draw and fire on a 3 yard target with a center mass hit in under a second. I can't do that from IWB.

December 20, 2006, 03:15 PM
When I do carry I carry my Taurus 605. I realize the short barrel keeps the .357 round from reaching full speed, but there's still more energy there than with a .38.
First of all it is not fun to shoot, but that's not why I own it. The recoil is pretty intense, but it's still controllable. My wrist usually hurts the next day after practicing with it.
I'd suggest you borrow or rent a .357 snub and try it for yourself. That way if you buy one you'll know exactly what you're getting into.

December 21, 2006, 10:55 PM
Another vote for the SP101. I had mine worked over by Marc at Gemini. I shoot it better than my Sig 226 on some days. Getting the draw clip for it since it's most comfy Mexican style in the small of the back. Absolutely worth it. It only took 4 holsters to make the decision. That was not worth it. Merry Christmas Doc

December 21, 2006, 11:12 PM
I think this weapon seriously outperforms and conceals better than a snub-nose .357. You will get more MV and ME and nearly twice the rounds. The little subcompact .357 sig definetely has a nice little pop,........more like BOOM to it.

Don't shoot it without earplugs!

December 21, 2006, 11:18 PM
I have an airlite in .357. I love it. Thing is I knew buying it that I would carry it with plus p. and a .357 last. I've read that a .357 loaded with 38s isn't as accurate as a 38 with 38. Don't think I shoot good enough to worry about that. I also opt for saftey slugs or mag safe ammo. They don't kick as much in the light guns.
I rack my brain trying to think of senarios where i would have to shoot
further than 25 ft. The senarios that go through my mind are always close up and I want the gun in my pocket so it doeant as easily end up in someone elses hand. I've seen and heard of too many poeple having there guns taken off of them. If I have enough distance, Im outta there.
Does anyone know if there is a thread on senerios? or even how to spell it?

Gary A
December 22, 2006, 06:59 AM
Greg8098 - wouldn't the time it takes to put in your earplugs seriously slow down any self-defense response?

December 22, 2006, 07:06 AM
Yes it would, but why would you worry about your hearing when your butt is on the line :rolleyes: . The average self - defense scenario consists of an average of 3 to 5 rounds, so I seriously doubt that would be enough to destroy your eardrums. On the other hand 50 - 100 rounds in an indoor range, or even outdoors for that matter, could have some lasting affect.

December 26, 2006, 12:48 PM
Most people seem to forget...
and thats WHEN there is a GUNFIGHT.
And, I can Hit my target within 7 yards! At least while I am moving...
and I cant say for a moving target.

but, the first rule of a gunfight is "bring a gun". Mine goes EVERYWHERE without fail - even indoors...why??? because I forget its there, and I dont need to take it out of my holster when I get home....How many of you can say that...?

Cosmoline - Just because you can only shoot 25 rounds a day...lets see...thats 100 rounds a week...5200 rounds a year...hmmm, I HOPE thats enough practice.

This is a personal preference - and YES, ONCE AGAIN BIGGER IS BETTER, there is no arguing that fact, but having a gun is MOST important, I dont care if its a 22, sure as hell beats my pocket knife.

December 28, 2007, 10:07 AM
Cosmoline - Just because you can only shoot 25 rounds a day...lets see...thats 100 rounds a week...5200 rounds a year...hmmm, I HOPE thats enough practice.

I didn't know Reno had gone to a four day week! : )

December 28, 2007, 12:56 PM
I have two S&W .357 Magnums.

Model 60-15 3" Bbl. Len. ( full len. ejector rod)
Stainless Steel frame, Cyl. & Bbl.
Plain Ramp Front/Adj. Rear
Stock Grips which are full grips
for 3 finger - copy of uncle Mike's?

It's a bedside gun at present with
a waffle cooking on carry lether. I like
the linear DA trigger pull. I plan to use
Sub-Sonic loads.

.38 Spcl +P 125 gr. Speer Gold JHP
( I saw a review - Vel. = 1,000 FPS 4" Bbl.

Some Muzzle Flash, controllable recoil,
for repeat shots

.38 SPcl. 125 gr. Hornady XTP JHP
( rated @ 1,000 FPS as well.)
Have yet to test these but much
better price than Speer GD

I am shopping for the new offer for
SHort Barreled revos. marked SB
.38 Spcl +P 135 gr. Speer Gold DOt
on the CCI/Speer webiste there's a
ballistic test where the 1 7/8ths = 865 FPS
2 1/4ths, = 910 FPS & 3" = 985 fps

I also have the
S&W 686P 4" Bbl. LEn. at 39 oz.

I am getting used to the recoil, muzzle
flash, etc. First time at the range I had
some Guy Hogue un-checkered grips
on it that didn't work with

WW 125 gr. JHP

I also have
Federal Hi-Shok @ 1,500 FPS
hornady 140 gr., 157 gr. & 180 gr. XTP JHP
PMC 158 gr. JSP @ 1,250 FPS

Next time, at the range I'll have the
new grips Guy Hogue Compact K/L with
FInger grooves & checkered Rosewood.

I am happy with the stock MOdel 60 grips
I chose the 60 so that I can always have
the option for the occaisional Mag loads
by choice or heat of the moment.

That said, My fav. Revolver is my 625
with a 5" Bbl. - The Lew Horton Model
25 with a 3" Bbl. Len. with wood grips on
the square butt frame is tempting & probably
in my top three for next gun to get. I also
shoot the 625 the best.

December 28, 2007, 01:23 PM
I don't want to type a book, but the .357 is worth it to me, in my SP101 snubbies. Unlike some, who have set aside the heavier weapons in favor of light weight, my S&W M430, a Performance Center variant of the M642, sits in the safe most of the time, and my M342 was sold off, while I have one or more SP101 snubbies with me virtually all the time, 24/7. I also usually have a larger .357 sixgun with me when outside the house, so ammo compatibilty is certainly a major reason for the little guns to be .357, but not the only reason.

December 28, 2007, 02:10 PM
Proper grip selection makes a BIG difference for J frames. Boot grips are fine for carry but a literal pain to shoot. Rubber grips are fine for outdoors types with tough skin but office types could do better with smooth wood grips. They don't abrade the skin like rubber. Especially with magnum loads.
My choice is S&W round butt combat grips. They're a little large for carry but still better than an SP101. They don't drag on clothing as much either. They're discontinued but still available new if you look around. My wife can handle my model 60 with 125gr hp's with little difficulty, though we usually keep Speer 135 gr 38 specials loaded in it.
Here's a slightly fuzzy picture:

December 28, 2007, 02:38 PM
Well, a few things have changed since I last posted in this (resurrected) thread ...

I picked up a M&P 340 Centennial and 2 1/2" K-frame Magnum.

I tried several different Magnum loads in the M&P 340. I discovered a couple that exhibited indications of bullet-jump in my gun, in my hands, and a couple that didn't.

Long & short of it? While I could consistently qualify with Magnum ammunition in the little J-frame, I'm carrying .38 Spl +P in it, anyway. I simply shoot it faster and more controllably with .38 Spl +P loads.

The short-barreled K-frame? Well, after doing so much practicing with the J-frames, it made full-power Magnum loads seem downright pleasant. It made me remember why I enjoyed carrying .357 magnum revolvers for so many years as off-duty weapons ... notwithstanding the weight factor, that is. ;)

My Ruger SP-101 DAO has enjoyed more time out of the safe, being used for practice with Magnum loads. The practical accuracy of the little Magnum snub turned the heads of a couple of the other instructors, too. It's weight still gets it sidelined and left in the safe, in favor of lighter guns, however. My lighter J-frames simply offer me a better compromise, especially when I'm out and about for the entire day and evening.

Now, I'm thinking about ordering one of the new S&W M40's. Although I've been considering adding a 640 or 649 to my collection, simply because they're chambered in .357 Magnum, I'd likely end up carrying +P ammunition, anyway. Might as well succumb to the desire to own one of the new lemon-squeezers. The nickel looks good. ;)


The thing is that while I appreciate the balance, heft, controllability & inherent accuracy of the K-frame Magnums, the balance of the 'compromise' I find most useful, for me, is having a defensive revolver that's light to carry, able to be slipped into the zippered pocket of my motorcycle jacket, or one of my 'smoking jackets' for a trip to the cigar lounge.

When I consider carrying my SP-101 on my hip, I generally instead just 'bump up' to one of my compact semiauto pistols.

I spent a number of years lugging around full-size Magnum revolvers as off-duty weapons, and I have little desire to do so again ... but that's just me.

Vern Humphrey
December 28, 2007, 03:11 PM
I've never shot a man in civilian life, but I have in combat.

My rule of thumb, is "Expect a 90% performance degradation in combat." And if you look at statistics on police shooting, that seems to be about right -- cops who can put every shot in the kill zone on the range seem to miss a lot when the chips are down.

So I say, shoot a lot. Shoot under realistic conditions -- using the ammo you carry. And expect to get about 10% effectiveness.

I find many people can't shoot full-house .357 loads in snubbies -- they start developing bad habits like flinching and jerking. With practice, they get worse, not better.

December 29, 2007, 02:25 PM
Sounds like excellent advice to me...I'll take it to heart...pun intended.

December 29, 2007, 02:54 PM
I have an M&P340 13.3oz .357 with Crimson Trace grips - love it, pocket carry it effortlessly every day. YMMV, but don't listen to the naysayers - I've had this debate too many times, and many that criticize it have never shot (or carried) one.

I've never heard of a 50 yard self-defense shot, let alone 100yds... I can't imagine a scenario where I couldn't bug outta there at that distance!

Vern Humphrey
December 29, 2007, 02:58 PM
I've never heard of a 50 yard self-defense shot, let alone 100yds...
The issue is not making a 50 or 100-yard self-defense shot. The issue is making a 5-yard self-defense shot, for real, when the chips are down. When you look at actual police shootings, you see they miss a lot more than they hit under those circumstances.

As I have said, expect a 90% performance degradation in actual combat -- those easy groups you made in the kill zone on the range are not going to be repeated when you are under extreme pressure.

Pistol Toter
December 29, 2007, 03:05 PM
Is a 357 mag snub worth it?

In a word YES !!

Anonymous Coward
December 29, 2007, 03:37 PM
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor have I shot a snubby .357. J-Frame.

However...I would prefer a .357 over a .38 special for two reasons:

1) The longer barrel (2 1/8" vs. 1 7/8") comes with a longer ejector rod, which makes for more reliable case extraction.

2) In the unlikely event I can't find any .38 special ammunition (TEOTAWKI, heh), I know I can load .357 mag in it.

Those are minor considerations, but hey.

More to the point, would I want to shoot .357 out of a J-Frame? No, and heck no. It's bad enough in a K-frame.

December 29, 2007, 03:44 PM
Sure like my 2 1/2" 686. It shoots very well. It is a bit harder to shoot well than my 4" 686 or my GP-100, but what do you expect.

December 29, 2007, 03:48 PM
The issue is not making a 50 or 100-yard self-defense shot. The issue is making a 5-yard self-defense shot, for real, when the chips are down.

I totally agree. I don't remember who, but somebody above was saying you need to be able to make those long, windage and drop adjusted shots with your CCW piece (or almost as silly - hit a running squirrel). I was just pointing out that neither of those shots are self-defense shots. If the BG is running away like a squirrel, you aren't allowed to shoot him in the back, and if he's 100yds away, you also probably couldn't justify the shot in any but the most contrived scenario. Practicing like that might be fun, but I would not consider it self-defense practice. If you want to practice under pressure, enter a shooting competition, or better yet, take a boxing class - Learning to keep your cool with someone trying to drill you in the melon is good for you!

That's my only point...

December 29, 2007, 04:01 PM
I have a 3" M60 357. I like the DPX 38 in it. I don't know how much velocity I lose in it compared to firing out of a 38 chambered M60. This load does close to 1100 fps in my M638. I was hoping to get another 50-100fps out of the extra barrel length. I love the J's in all shapes and sizes. I think they are some of the most useful self defense guns for civilians.

Vern Humphrey
December 29, 2007, 04:05 PM
If the BG is running away like a squirrel, you aren't allowed to shoot him in the back, and if he's 100yds away, you also probably couldn't justify the shot in any but the most contrived scenario.
Unless, of course, he was going to get his rifle, or tactically re-postioning himself to continue his attack.;)

I agree, long shots with handguns are probably not legitimately part of self-defense training.

But fast, accurate shooting, including drawing from concealment at close range are -- and you should consider a 90% degradation in performance when the chips are down. If you routinely draw and put 5 full-charge .357s in the kill zone in 2 seconds or less, consider you will be doing well to put one in the torso in a real fight. And that is why practice is essential -- the standard achieved in training has to be much higher than the minimum acceptable in a real fight.

December 29, 2007, 04:08 PM
it's more powerful beyond a doubt.

I think follow-up shots are more important, and I can do those faster with a .38.

Out of a full size revolver, .357 no question.

December 29, 2007, 05:07 PM
I think the answer to the original question is yes. I dont have any problem getting off a quick accurate follow up shot, so I will take the extra energy anytime.

December 29, 2007, 07:11 PM
I, too, have a Colt Magnum Carry .357 two-inch. Having tried other handles on it, the original Hogue rubbers are by far the best when it comes to performance.
In response to the velocity question, I recall my Speer 158gr Gold Dots departing at just about 1100fps from the MC. That's a lot.
I once challenged a serious Glock 17-shooting cohort to an impromptu IDPA match that we arranged to be six-shot neutral. (Twelve- or six-shot setups, mostly, so that the number of reloads was equal.) Since it was IDPA, I shot +P .38s, 158s at 820. Hey, it's a game.
Astonishingly, I actually beat him by a small margin, which made it my best day ever with a snub.
I actually did a no movement five-yard "Bill Drill" (still hate that name) out of the holster, 2.61 seconds, down one (point, in the IDPA parlance).
Way the best snub-shooting I'll ever, ever do.
I'm pretty crazy about snubs. I have a lot, mostly Colts. I shoot them a lot, and practice pretty hard. I have an older Detective Special that truly deserves the description "awesome". Fifty-yard ringers are not safe when it's around.
I've never bothered carrying the Magnum Carry (when I'm in carry-legal places, of course). The flash and blast are indeed incredible. The joke about knocking the bad guy senseless has a bit of truth to it.
Here's what I know, by actually testing myself:
If I do a six-shot IDPA-style scenario or drill with both the MC and a Kahr MK40, I will do far better with the Kahr. Not so much faster, as my time will be only moderately better. But the hits will be much better.
Hits count. Plus, the Kahr's a .40 cal, and I do prefer bigger bullets as having a better chance of getting somewhere and doing something.
Yeah, I know this is the Revolver Forum. And really, more than half of my short guns are sixguns. I shoot them a real lot, including in competition (USPSA, IPDA, steel). Competition isn't a fight, but it's stressful and so offers a taste of pressure-testing.
I can't touch my 1911 scores with any sixgun, and I can't touch my Kahr scores with my Magnum Carry.
Believe me, it hurts to type that. Bad.
Bill (Not the drill)

December 29, 2007, 07:32 PM
I have a Taurus 605 with a 3" barrel and factory Hogue grips. It shoots fine and the recoil is moderate.

I think people make a mistake wanting the lightweight .357s. The all steel 605 is a very comfortable weight for carrying and shooting. I think the 3" helps the velocity somewhat and probably reduces the recoil a bit too.

Normally I carry a .45 but in summer when I want something light and more easily concealed, the 605 gets the nod.

My wife has a Ladysmith .38 special with wood grips. It has more felt recoil than the Taurus with the rubber grips.


December 29, 2007, 09:15 PM
I have a Smith 640-1. Carrying an airweight in .357 is an act of masochism. I have carried mine since about 1996. The recoil is pretty punishing. I've used a variety of grips, but I always resort to the smallest one, which has been the Hogue two finger grip. I'm willing to compromise to keep the size down. What I do have to keep in mind though is when I shoot it, after the first round, the gun shifts back in my hand, pointing the muzzle up, and subsequent shots require me to point the muzzle further down, because I don't have that pinky wrapped around the bottom, as I would on a three finger grip.

I'm accurate enough with it. I practice with it. And my favorite round is the 145 grain Winchester Silvertip.

December 30, 2007, 11:52 AM
I am sure good 38spl +p round is plenty sufficient for most sd scenarios.

But to answer you original question "Is a 357 mag snub worth it?" - Hell, yes! The buck, the roar and the fireball of 5 full house 357 magnums fired rapidly from 640 or sp101 will get bg's full attention in a hurry. :eek:


December 31, 2007, 01:29 PM
Funny someone should ask about this....quite a while back (March 28, 2006 to be exact) The Geek With a .45 and I got into a discussion over 38 Special velocities, specifically Speer Short Barrel 38 Special loads, and I did some testing with both 38 Special and 357 magnum loads in various revolvers If anyone's interested, here's the link to the results:

December 31, 2007, 01:32 PM
yes it is

December 31, 2007, 02:06 PM
In a pocket gun, get a .38 and save some money. Lots of good .38 out there and it's plenty effective as a CCW. I have an SP101, but I find myself carrying a M85UL Taurus most of the time. I have plenty of confidence that the .38 is enough. It shoots straight, the main thing, and I have confidence in its penetration with 158 HP +Ps. .357, for me, is just too much in a 12 ounce gun.

December 31, 2007, 04:47 PM
If you are buying a new gun, the price is the same for a .38 or a .357. Might as well get the .357 and give yourself more options and a higher resale price if you eventually want to sell it.

I agree that 12 ounce gun is too light for serious ammo. I'd much rather have another 8-10 ounces.


Steel Talon
December 31, 2007, 05:34 PM
I also have the 605 Tarus. Excellent ccw. I placed a set of Crimson Trace laser grips on it. Very effective cc platform. I perfer to run 125grain bullets through it.

.357 snubby worth it? In my book it is.


January 1, 2008, 03:42 PM
Depends on how much pain you like. I have shoot full load 357s out of an SP101, and it was painful. I would hate to think what a 13oz gun would fell like.

It really boils down to this: If you can reliably hit your target in a vital area with whatever you are shooting, then you have a good CCW gun. If you can't, it doesn't matter what you are shooting.

January 1, 2008, 06:34 PM
Pain is relative, and it can depend on how a gun fits the hand. I have skinny hands. I would rather fire a 180-grain Federal Castcore .357 from an SP101 than a standard velocity .38 from an Airlite Ti J-frame. The J concentrates recoil in the base joint of my thumb; the SP101 does not. The J leaves an injury that last several weeks; the SP101 only causes minor discomfort at the moment of shooting, then everything is OK. The only cure for the J-frame is a huge rubber grip that covers the backstrap, but then I have a huge snubby that sticks to my clothes, making it difficult to conceal. I sold the Airlite, though I kept my Airweight. Obviously, your results may vary. One factor: hold the snubby HIGH on the backstrap. Most people who try my revolvers hold too low on the grip, which increases muzzle flip, and therefore hurts more.

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