In search of - CCW snubbie


March 19, 2007, 04:02 PM
Ok folks, looking for some names and model numbers here. I'm going with a revolver for a CCW weapon, .38 special caliber, and a steel frame. Trying to narrow searches by make/model but there is just WAY to much to look through.

So from your experience, what is a good reliable .38 special snubbie that you'd trust to use as a CCW. Does it shoot only .38 or .38 +P or +P+ or???

My only revolver thus far is my Colt Official Police .38 with a 4" barrel and it is close to being a good carry, but need to find a snubbie, 2" or near-a-bouts. I love the solid lockup of the Colt, and it is a fine weapon for a 1947 gun, but she is going to be taken to the range once a month and kept clean and pretty.

So throw out some names here folks, Maker/Model/cal and why it is a good gun (or why it is different/better than another similar model).

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March 19, 2007, 04:34 PM
If you don't mind the weight and size I would suggest a Ruger SP-101, stainless, 2 1/4" barrel I believe. S&W and Taurus make revolvers in the size you are looking for also. I would also go 357 mag, shoot 38 spl, 38 spl +P, 38 spl +P+ and 357 mag.
Just my opinion and I think the Ruger is a beefier built revolver.
Also for you to check out is the Ruger GP-100 with 3" barrel, bit larger and more weight but will last until the next ice age.
Check out web sites for Ruger, S&W and Taurus.

Steve C
March 19, 2007, 05:00 PM
Colt Detective Special, S&W M10 2", S&W M60. Advantage of the Colt DS is 6 shots and a little more compact than the S&W M10 2". S&W M60 new ones are chambered for the .357 mag, is Stainless Steel so its corrosion resistant which is important with IWB carry. The 60 is smaller than the Colt DS by a little but is only has 5 rounds in its cylinder.

March 19, 2007, 05:02 PM
I am in love with my Ruger SP101 in .357 mag with 3 inch bbl.

I would have no qualms about recommending one in .38 spl. Although it may be overbuilt for the relatively easy shooting .38, even in +p+.

Otherwise, as the previous poster said, look around the websites for Ruger, S&W and Taurus.

March 19, 2007, 05:13 PM
I'm a fan of the short barrel Ruger Security Sixes, and then there's the Colt Agent series, which are basically Detective Specials with shrouded ejector rods and much less pretty finishes (my Agent is parked with fugly pachmayrs.) S&W K frame snubs are a great buy, and the J frame snubs are the classic solution, although I find them too small for my hand, and have to order a Tyler T grip by surface mail or resort to aftermarket stocks. There are a lot of good options, so to narrow it down, how do you intend to carry whatever you get? Coat pocket? IWB?

March 19, 2007, 05:15 PM
I asked the same question about two weeks ago, and 80% of the post came back saying S&W 642. That is what i'm going to get, hoping to find a good used one. Its light weight and .38spl +p rated.

March 19, 2007, 05:51 PM
He said that he wanted a steel revolver, so that would rule out the 642. However, the 642 is probably the finest .38 Special CCW revolver.

There are plenty of steel .38 revolvers from S&W, Ruger, Taurus, even discontinued models from Colt. Even so, the 642 really shines.

Steve H
March 19, 2007, 05:54 PM
Taraus M85...steel frame .38 only. You should be able to find one of the older used ones without too much looking.

Vern Humphrey
March 19, 2007, 06:03 PM
If you want a new revolver, the SP 101 is a superb choice. It is the only .357 snubbie that will let you practice with full charge loads without developing more problems than you had when you started.

March 19, 2007, 06:06 PM
I'll stick my neck out and say the S&W 642 38 Special +P is the most popular choice for pocket carry, but is not a steel frame. Consider Gold Dot .38 Special Short Barrel +P ammo.

If you could belt or IWB carry, then an excellent choice would be the heavy steel Ruger SP101 2 1/4 or 3 1/16 inch barrel .357 Magnum. Again, you could use Gold Dot Short Barrel .357 ammo. I was astonished to see how the SP101 seemed glued to my 4 o'clock position. No one will know.

Meanwhile, for all practical purposes, you would have to leave your shirt out and not tucked. Then, the rules change. You can carry almost anything.


March 19, 2007, 07:59 PM
Another vote for the SP101. It's a very rugged gun, light to carry all day and surprisingly mild shooting even with full house magnum loads. It's been my main daily carry weapon for 3 years. And it will stand up to lots of practice without worrying about wearing it out. I think I could even drive nails with it in a pinch.:D

March 19, 2007, 08:41 PM
642 / 442 are very popular. I love mine. See the 642 Club thread ( - lots of good info there.

March 19, 2007, 08:41 PM
have carried a Taurus 85 or 85CH for years.use +P+ as carry ammo.have ask Taurus,S&W,Ruger,Colt about the +P+ ammo. all said ok for every once in a while use.wouldn't suggest a steady diet of it. jwr

March 19, 2007, 08:57 PM
Another vote for the S&W 642 (I know you said steel frame). I bought mine after reading the 642 Thread - took a total of about 3 hours! I carry mine almost daily. Its so easy to slip in your pocket - you forget its there. You can't forget you have a steel J-frame unless its on your belt and even then you'll feel it. I carried a S&W 640 .357 - steel J-frame before I bought the 642, and now it doesn't get much anymore. With the Speer short barrel 135gr 38spl +P, it's a good CCW with good stopping power. Put a set of Crimsno Trace Laser grips on it and you'll be good to go.

S&W 640 on the left, S&W 642 on the right

Good luck with your choice!

March 19, 2007, 09:37 PM
S&W 640-1.That way you have your choice of .38 or.357,no lock,no MIM parts.:)

March 20, 2007, 06:47 AM
Ruger SP101 would be my choice for a steel gun (if I were young and strong).

I had one that I sold to my best friend when I switched to an AirLite S&W because of the concealed carry weight factor (for a frail old man).

March 20, 2007, 09:08 AM
Thanks for the responses folks, food for thought no doubt.

Ok to answer a few of the questions posed:

CCW method - Planning in the colder months to carry in a jacket pocket:
SigTac Concealed Jacket (

During warmer times carry will be in either an IWB or OWB depending on dress for the day (I hardly go without jeans even in dead nuts summer)

S&W 642 - yep I said steel :D Nothing against them, just a young guy with a mindset of the steel & wood guns that will outlast me.

I'm about sold on going with +P ammo and not needing to use +P+ and the schedule of practice is at least once a week at the range.

As for me - 6'2" 225 and big paw mitts, if that impacts choices folks have suggested :D

March 20, 2007, 01:04 PM
Colt Detective Special, Post '71 with small grip and shrouded ejector rod.

Check this one out:

At this price you could afford a blue or nickel job if you wanted it to look shiny/new. I don't mind some honest wear on my "field" guns so I would probably leave it "as is".

I have tried out lots of different revolvers through the years but I always come back to my Detective Special. It is size efficient, has a nice action and is accurate.

Vern Humphrey
March 20, 2007, 01:19 PM
The Detective Special is hard to beat. We lost some good guns when Colt decided to stop making revolvers.

Bart Noir
March 20, 2007, 02:54 PM
then there's the Colt Agent series, which are basically Detective Specials with shrouded ejector rods and much less pretty finishes

I wish to correct statement, but not to offend the original poster.

The Agent is the earlier version of the Cobra, and they differ from the Det. Special mainly in having an aluminum frame. My Agent has a polished finish that is up to the older Colt standards so they are not all matte finished. (But my Diamondback is matte, go figure). I vote for Det. Special and Agent/Cobra, but suggest the more recent shorter grip frame version of the Det. Special. The light guns are easier to carry but the all-steel Det. Special is easier to shoot and should hold up better to lots of shots.

That shorter frame was started on the all-steel D-frame (I have been mentioning D-frames) in 1966. This is the grip for which you can still find aftermarket (or real Colt) grips most easily.

Bart Noir

Ala Dan
March 20, 2007, 03:57 PM
2nd series (1947-1972) Colt Detective Special, a six-shot all steel frame
(21 oz) .38 Special snubby. Finding one might take some patience and
foot work but well worth the time~! ;) :D

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