Well, I decided on the new .38 Special!


Kentucky Rifle
December 24, 2002, 09:27 PM
I caught my regular gun shop owner just as he was closing up his shop today and put a deposit down on one of the new 638 Airweights that will be in next week. I put a lot of thought into it, went back and forth, but ended up with the 638. It doesn't look like any other .38 Special snub in my safe. I'm one happy, lucky, grateful guy this Christmas Eve. It is nice to be here telling you.:cool:

Kentucky Rifle

If you enjoyed reading about "Well, I decided on the new .38 Special!" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Stephen A. Camp
December 24, 2002, 09:43 PM
Hello. Thanks for posting; let us know how it shoots.


December 24, 2002, 10:05 PM
Hey KR - Good to see ya here. BTW, I forgot to mention over on TFL post that my perception of the little 638 that you are buyin' is that it's just about the most butt-ugly j-frame made! :D I think tho, it was what they used on Charlie's Angels. Doe that make ya feel better? ;) That cockable hammer for single action shots can be a nice option ... You will give us a range report, won't ya?

December 24, 2002, 10:09 PM
I'm looking forward to a range report to, KR! :D

December 24, 2002, 10:40 PM
I'll wait for the first range report too.

December 24, 2002, 10:43 PM
Rico Tubbs used a blue model similar to that on Miami Vice. Let us know how it shoots! :)

December 24, 2002, 11:51 PM
A 638, good choice.

Good to see some familiar names.

December 24, 2002, 11:57 PM
Hard to go wrong with a lightweight j-frame in .38!

Kentucky Rifle
December 25, 2002, 07:51 AM
In 1998, that was what people called my Glock 27! Butt-ugly is in the eye of the beholder. I admit, my safe contains "prettier" J-frames, however for me, the 638 had a certain appeal that finally won me over. If I had to reach in my safe in the dark, I wouldn't have any trouble telling which J was the 638!

Greybeard??? Mine has gone directly from dark brown to bright white. Grey/gray was skipped entirely!:)

December 25, 2002, 07:56 AM
Bodyguard Airweight... schweet!

You have excellent taste in wheelguns, KR. :)

Kentucky Rifle
December 25, 2002, 08:54 AM
That is quite a compliment indeed!


December 25, 2002, 09:19 AM
Kinda cute, if you go for the pregnant guppy look... :D

December 25, 2002, 10:57 AM
Good choice! ;)

December 25, 2002, 11:10 PM
i have a 642 airweight and love it! it's perfect in a pocket holster, so comfortable and lightweight i forget i have it.

congrats! j-frames are sweet, the only problem i had to fix right away was a trigger job. stock is awwwwwwful.

December 26, 2002, 02:20 AM
cool beans man!

I am trading my 1965 Model 14 for a 638 next week!

I can't wait!

Are all 638s "Airweight" ?

December 26, 2002, 09:06 AM
Are all 638s "Airweight" ?

Yup. Remember that the "6" signifies stainless in Smithspeak.
The Model 49 was the Bodyguard, and the Model 38 was the Bodyguard Airweight.

Texas Bob
December 26, 2002, 11:05 PM
Sweet choice, it can be used as a belt or pocket or shoulder holster gun depending on the size grips you use, which is why I have two. :D

December 26, 2002, 11:09 PM
Excellent choice, KR, but then you already knew that didn't you? ;)

December 27, 2002, 03:30 AM
I'll join the chorus - excellent choice.
My all-the-time is an Airweight Centennial. Not a single problem in almost eight years. I’m considering it’s backup/replacement, and the stainless Airweight J frames look really good.

December 27, 2002, 04:17 AM
I'm starting to think about a lightweight J-frame (or equivelent) .38, and hey they'll all still be available here (since only S&W and Taurus makes them). I'm looking foward to your range report and pictures to help me decide.

December 27, 2002, 08:55 AM
My daily carry piece is a model 642 Centennial Airweight. It has acceptable power and is an almost perfect (for me) size for pocket carry. It's belly gun accurate w/ Hyra-Shoks and fairly quickly drawn from an Uncle Mikes pocket holster. The weather around here is generally hot and humid, so pocket carry is my best option most days. Besides, everybody needs a J-frame.

Kentucky Rifle
December 27, 2002, 09:39 AM
Roscoe doesn't make RBCD in my regular carry. (.32 H&R mag.) But he makes PLENTY in .38 special.:)
I "NEEDED" a light weight .38 Special. (15oz. is lightweight, isn't it?:cool: )


December 27, 2002, 10:10 AM
In my view, 15-ounce 638 is a "lightweight". 11 and 12 ouncers are "ultralights".

Earlier this year when I had access to both a 638 and 340, the 3 ounces of difference was definitely noticeable comfortwise when carried all day every day on ankle or draw string shorts ... But, the same 3 ounces was also noticeable when time to light off 38+Ps ... Aftermarket grips negated most of that. :D

KR, since you keep talking about that high-dollar ammo that you like so well, I may have to break down and get some of it to try in 340 ...

December 27, 2002, 10:32 AM
The RBCD does make by 342 MUCH more managable when shooting. I had always used 158 gr LSWHP +P's, but dropped to Glasers and MagSafes for carry. When I got the 342 I found that the 125gr Winclean target ammo was the lightest recoiling available so that is what I practice with. RBCD is cheap compared to the Glaser and MagSafes I once carried. Cost went from $3 per shot to about $1.50 per shot. Still not .11 per shot target ammo but it doesn't cost $15 to fill a J-frame cylinder either.

December 27, 2002, 10:47 AM
KR, you are going to love your 638. I bought Greybeards 638 from him and I love it.

My ugly humpback 638 looks just fine next to my ugly Glock 26.

Congratulations on your new toy!

December 27, 2002, 11:02 AM
Say Hey Stephen - Glad to see ya here! :)

Mark IV Series 80
December 29, 2002, 12:40 AM
Originally posted by Pendragon
I am trading my 1965 Model 14 for a 638 next week!Don't do it!

I would find another way to afford the M638.

IMO, the M638 is the best snubbie made today..... but it would be difficult (and expensive) to replace your Model 14.

rock jock
December 29, 2002, 12:48 AM
The 638 is a great snubbie. It has been one my two favorites snub-nosed carry guns for about 3 years. (the other is a 331)

Kentucky Rifle
December 29, 2002, 12:14 PM
Great minds think alike!!
My own favorite carry snub has been a model 331 for almost a year! I expect that the 638 will become a favorite too.
Yesterday, I purchased a Galco "Ankle Glove" for either the 331 or the 638. Both are listed as fitting.
The retired LEO who now works at the gun shop had a Kimber "Eclipse" on his hip, but he pulled up his pants leg and exposed a Galco ankle glove that held his own 638. He told me that the 638 had been his back-up pistol for about a year until he retired. Never having had an ankle holster that didn't hurt my leg after a couple of hours, I bought the Galco with a little trepidation. However, I wore it all day long yesterday and actually FORGOT that I had it on! Oh yes, I think the Galco "Ankle Glove" will be the one for me! (However, with my back, actually BENDING over to draw will be the problem.:D


December 29, 2002, 12:18 PM
Those Smith snub noses are sweet. I'm thinking about buying a 36 sb.

rock jock
December 29, 2002, 12:37 PM
Interesting, KR. I have never considered the use of an ankle holster. Let me know how you like it.

December 29, 2002, 02:07 PM
Congrats on the new 638 ...

I have one of the older 649's, and although it required repair right out of the box ... cylinder fitting and rebound slide problems ... that was back when S&W was having their spotty quality control problems in their revolvers in the 80's and early 90's ... After the head armorer corrected the problems it's been a terrific little snub gun. Just "heavy" ...

So, I bought one of the 642-1 Centennials, and it's a VERY good little snub gun. I especially like that the latest aluminum guns are rated for a lifetime of +P use ...

My 642-1 "required" some minor attention by the head armorer, who's a S&W revolver armorer (I'm not, only on pistols) to remove some "burrs" ;) in some engagement surfaces, and we tested a couple of different weights of Wolff rebound slide springs to find one that reliably returned the trigger as fast as I wanted to be able to shoot ... and then all it required was some of the bright neon orange day-glow sight paint, so my aging eyes could see the front post in the early morning sun ...

And I simply love this little revolver ... It slips into almost any pocket, and can be taken places ... comfortably ... that my other off duty weapons aren't easily carried.

I think you'll find an ankle holster a very easy way to carry your snub within easy reach while behind the wheel, by the way ... I don't favor them for anything else, but when behind the wheel, they're easily reached by simply moving your weak side leg back toward the seat. They do, however, subject the guns to more debris, depending on your pant cuffs ...

By the way, when I used the exposed hammer of the 649 to make SA shots, I often surprised a lot of the newer folks with how accurate the little J-frames can be. These are very underestimated guns when it comes to accuracy.

Enjoy ...

guy sajer
December 29, 2002, 02:20 PM
Congrats on a fine choice . Hard to beat a "J" . I have a 37 that I carry at work . Sold my 649 several years back and miss it .

I inherited my Dad's like new M-42 "squeezer" a couple years ago . He bought it new in '73 and it still has the original box . I always admired it as a kid back then . It makes a good drawer gun but it's too choice to carry . I want to keep it like new . I have shot it though .

December 29, 2002, 03:57 PM
You beat me to it Kentucky Rifle. The 638 will probably be my next purchase. I have to wait a bit as I am still reeling from the 800 clams I paid for my Bushmaster. So many guns, so little money.

Curious if you don't mind, what did your 638 go for?

Kentucky Rifle
December 29, 2002, 04:35 PM
$419.00--I have three J-frames. However only one is an "AirLite Ti".
(The model 331 .32 H&R magnum.)
A fellow in the gun shop has an AirLite Ti in .357 magnum. However, he said you couldn't pay him to shoot a full house .357 from it. By buying the "Airweight" instead of the "AirLite" I get a stainless cylinder and only three more ounces of weight. It's also about $150.00 less expensive!


December 29, 2002, 04:51 PM
The S&W snubs are really nice. IMHO, Colt needs to find a way to update and reintroduce the Dick Special again.

Also, re: ankle holsters, Renegade out of Phoenix makes at least two models (#50 & #500 I think) that work really well, they stay put and are secure: Renegade, PO Box 31546, Phoenix, AZ 85046(602) 482-6777.

December 30, 2002, 06:45 AM
I swapped my 649 for a 638 some years ago.

I do believe the body guard series is the best of the J's.

I carry 158 Lswchp +p winchester, just an old fashioned guy.

And for the fellow talking about swapping his model 14


I traded mine about 7 years ago, and I am still kicking myself!

Hang on to that 14! That is one gun you really can't replace.

In my earlier years I had a J frame 60 right when Smith came out with it to replace my 36.

I do prefer the airweights to the Ultra's. 38+p is more than enough in the little J's.

If you want more omph go to Rugers 101, little bigger and heavier but handles 357 much better. And I rcommend the 3" barrel.

Personally the model 10 2" guns were great CCW weapons. My own primary CCW before my conversion to semi Auto's was a model 66 3" with Night sights. SWEEEEEEET!

Now I carry SIG's the only Auto I trust to go bang every time. There may be others, but Glock failed, Baretta failed, 1911 was never in the running, and most of the other guns didn't exist at the time I was withdrawing from wheel guns.

Even carried a Smith by choice in Nam, literally threw the 1911 away! Never trusted the damn things, and 38 years later have yet to see any reason to change my mind! I don't mind 45 at all it is the damn 1911. There was a reason the cops didn't go to semi auto pistols untill reliable auto's were introduced.

The 1911 crowd will argue that it was other reasons, nope, Jammatic. Look at your IPSC production and IDPA matches. Most common non firing weapon, yup 1911! And most of them are modified against the rules. No body minds cause most of them will jam and break anyway!

IPSC hotshots shoot 38 super any way.

Standing by for flames!

Kahr carrier
December 30, 2002, 06:51 AM
Just cant beat the J frame ,Ill second that.:)

January 1, 2003, 01:30 PM
Well (grins), my personal favorite J frame is the 640. but I won't say any of them are bad. And my wife's choice was the standard M60 with UM combat grips.

And the 2" K frames are nice; I passed up on a buddy's adjustable sighted model years ago. It would be nice to have now.

And the 3" models are nice too, in all the frame sizes.

January 1, 2003, 01:45 PM
As far as I am concerned, the 638 is the best pocket revolver ever made. Have two of them, and would buy a third if I saw one at the right price.

If you enjoyed reading about "Well, I decided on the new .38 Special!" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!