On Carrying a Snubby For Newbies


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Gunmeister
September 10, 2007, 11:40 AM
This is probably old news to those of us who are pistol packin' Old Salts but this forum is also for educating the nubbies amongst us. Just thought I'd pass along some (not everything) of what I've learned over the past 50 years about carrying a small revolver.
First thing to remember is that it takes a lot, I mean a lot of practice to get to be an accurate shooter of snub nose revolvers. These are basically guns for experienced shooters. Newbies taking their new snubby to the range for the first time can very quickly get disgusted with their results. Snubbies take practice, practice and more practice.
About pocket carry, if you have your trusty snubby tucked away in your pocket while sitting in your easy chair watching the Tampa Bay Bucs get their butts kicked and some Defensive Guard size dude kicks in your front door, do you think you'll be able to get your gun out of your pocket while sitting down? Probably not. Same thing if your gun's in your pocket while you are driving to the 7-11 and you're stopped at a red light and some low life schmuck decides to car jack you. Can you get your gun out out of your pocket? Probably not. Also while driving in a car and your carrying IWB, if your seat belt crosses over your piece, do you think you can make a fast draw? Probably not. Make sure your shirt isn't stuck under your seat belt and ensure you have easy access to your piece.
Here's what I do, Remember we're talking snubby revos here not hair triggered bottom feeders. While watching my 42" LED tube, I tuck the revo between edge of the cushion and arm rest next to my leg. When driving my trusty pickup, I tuck the piece in between the seat and the center console. Many times I tuck it in under the old package, it's comfortable and has easy access (I wouldn't do that with a light triggered semi-auto). Pocket carry may seem to be the easiest most comfortable method of carrying but frankly IMHO it sucks from a defensive point of view. If you just absolutely have to carry your revo in your pocket, if it's hammerless it probably won't snag when drawn. If your little jem has a hammer, practice drawing with your thumb under the hammer horn and on top of the frame this makes it 99% snag free and it's dang near impossible to get an AD (accidental discharge) with your thumb pressed against the hammer under the horn. A S&W J-Frame cannot be fired with your thumb in that position because you cannot pull the trigger. Try it with an unloaded J-Frame, it's impossible to pull the trigger.
On 12 ounce .357Magnum mini wrist busters, personally, if I were a new shooter, I would not own one. They're for expert shooters with lots of experience. The recoil is such that a nube probably won't be able to get off a second, accurate shot. They are attractive and very expensive. A newbie will probably fire about three .357Magnum rounds from his new Scandium (whatever that is) wonder gun before calling it quits, you just won't practice with it as much as you should because the little bugger hurts to shoot even when shooting .38Spl.
Remember that a SA/DA revo that has the hammer drawn all the way back is in the single action mode and is as close to a hair trigger as you can get. It will fire with very slight trigger finger pressure. Hence again IMHO newbies should use DAO revos such a the S&W Centennials like their popular Model 642. Also, remember when firing any hand gun the trigger finger should not bear any of the gun's weight it should be free and independant of the other fingers. The trigger finger should remain outside of the trigger guard until ready to fire.
I carry a 22 ounce S&W Model 60 in .357Magnum either IWB or on the belt but never in my pocket. With a proper holster and belt, it tucks in high and tight and you will get used to the weight very quickly. The additional weight makes firing .357Magnum loads a lot easier on your hand than the same round fired from a 12 ounce wrist buster. Not painless but much easier on the old body and far more controllable.
Just a few thoughts that come to mind that hopefully will give a new revolver shooter something to think about when buying his or her first revolver and giving some thought as to how he or she intends to carry it.
Regards, JW:cool:

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tinygnat219
September 10, 2007, 12:30 PM
All good tips! Thanks!

mavracer
September 10, 2007, 12:33 PM
+1 to all

easyg
September 10, 2007, 01:07 PM
Yep, snubbies are just down right painful to shoot for any long period of time....and because of this, I don't practice as much as I should.
And since I don't practice as much, my distance accuracy suffers.

But I still think that snubbies are good for most folks as a "belly gun"....
You shove the barrel into your opponent's belly, aim slightly upwards, and pull the trigger as many times as you can!
It's hard to miss at that range.;)

Besides, I don't consider a snubbie to be a distance weapon anyway.
If you think that you might have to shoot someone 25 yards away, then you would be better off carrying a full-sized service revolver or pistol.

mavracer
September 10, 2007, 02:14 PM
Besides, I don't consider a snubbie to be a distance weapon anyway.
If you think that you might have to shoot someone 25 yards away, then you would be better off carrying a full-sized service revolver or pistol.
not so sure about that here is a 25 yard group.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=60742&d=1184362337

Marshall
September 10, 2007, 02:28 PM
Hence again IMHO newbies should use DAO revos such a the S&W Centennials like their popular Model 642.

Not arguing with your opinion but, I'm just wondering how some of us learned when there were no DOA revolvers. Were we just lucky or, did we pay attention, practice and use our noggins for something besides a hat rack?

I'm sure with me it was just luck.

yesit'sloaded
September 10, 2007, 02:45 PM
I shot mine for giggles at the 60 yard line one time. I actually managed 1 hit on a steel man sized target. (mod 36.)

easyg
September 10, 2007, 03:06 PM
not so sure about that here is a 25 yard group.

Yeah, it can be done.
And you might hit a 500 meter target with a Glock 17 too.
But the Glock 17 was never intended to be used to engage 500 meter targets....just like the snubbie was never intended to engage targets at 25 yards.

There's no doubt about it, the snubbie was intended to be a close range weapon....especially the DAO ones with fixed-sights.
And there's nothing wrong with that either!
In fact, I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of real-life shootings, were a snub-nose revolver was used, occurred at close range (probably less than 10 feet).

mavracer
September 10, 2007, 03:34 PM
Yeah, it can be done.
And you might hit a 500 meter target with a Glock 17 too.
But the Glock 17 was never intended to be used to engage 500 meter targets....just like the snubbie was never intended to engage targets at 25 yards.
A: did you look at the target,because many people can't shoot their Glock that good, that group is under 3" off hand.
B: yes I know most encounters are at 10 feet or less,they both work for that too

easyg
September 10, 2007, 05:37 PM
I don't believe everything I see on the internet.

Do you?;)

Marshall
September 10, 2007, 07:41 PM
Actually,

Sunubbies can be very accurate at 25 yards. I've seen quite a few folks with Model 36 & 60 .38spl's shoot very good groups at that range. Tack drivers they can be!

I shoot a S&W model 60 but, it's a later .357 Mag. It's very accurate, but with .357's it's a handful to shoot great 5 shot groups. I can shoot pretty accurately with it, not as accurate as mavracer did with his 9mm Taurus, about double his grouping. However, with .38's I am better. What that tells me of course, is that the gun is very accurate, it's me that's the variable. Admittedly, my shooting is single action, and the sweet triggers are one reason, among others, I prefer DA/SA over DAO revolvers.

I'm not discounting DAO revolvers and there place in life because they certainly do have one, just not in my collection. :p
(And that's just a personal preference, not a declaration of war.) ;)

mavracer
September 10, 2007, 08:46 PM
I don't believe everything I see on the internet.
I know what I put on it is accurate.And if you need to see it first hand my inlaws live in Virginia, next time I visit I'd be glad to swing through NC to give a shooting lesson.Only cost a little extra for questioning my integrity.

Creature
September 10, 2007, 08:50 PM
Thanks for the fifty years worth of insight, Gunmeister! I love my ole' '63 m36.

easyg
September 10, 2007, 09:08 PM
I know what I put on it is accurate.And if you need to see it first hand my inlaws live in Virginia, next time I visit I'd be glad to swing through NC to give a shooting lesson.Only cost a little extra for questioning my integrity.
Golly!
You're gonna give me nightmares posting like that.:uhoh:

Regardless....

Do you disagree with my premise that the snub-nose revolver is intended to be used at very close range?

If a friend asked for your advice, and that friend wanted a gun for target shooting at distances anywhere from 15 yards to 50 yards, would you recommend a snub-nose revolver?

mavracer
September 10, 2007, 09:28 PM
Do you disagree with my premise that the snub-nose revolver is intended to be used at very close range?
from my post 6 hrs ago
B: yes I know most encounters are at 10 feet or less,they both work for that too

If a friend asked for your advice, and that friend wanted a gun for target shooting at distances anywhere from 15 yards to 50 yards, would you recommend a snub-nose revolver?
some of my friends? yes( of course the idiots I hang with, myself included, are liable to bet who can hit a 200 meter rifle gong the most times with a snub or sub compact)

easyg
September 10, 2007, 10:01 PM
some of my friends? yes( of course the idiots I hang with, myself included, are liable to bet who can hit a 200 meter rifle gong the most times with a snub or sub compact)
:scrutiny: :scrutiny: :scrutiny:

I can now see that additional discussion on the subject is futile.

xd45gaper
September 11, 2007, 12:45 AM
First thing to remember is that it takes a lot, I mean a lot of practice to get to be an accurate shooter of snub nose revolvers. These are basically guns for experienced shooters.

+100000

i cringe every time im in a gunshop and someone wants a pistol for there girlfriend/wife or whatever and the shop owners ALWAYS pull out the snub smiths in 38. for one and one reason only because they are SMALL!!

im not an experienced pistol shooter, i own several, but i do practice alot with 642 and can normally outshoot most people at the 7 yard range. i dont shoot much past that beacuse i see no point in it really. i have the gun for one reason only protection and 7 yards is about as max as i will go.

I would go as far as to say if a man is shopping for a gun for his wife she proably doesnt shoot or have much interest in guns other than to carry in there purse. so why would you buy a pistol that is VERY hard to shoot and even harder to shoot under pressure.??

another +1 on the way you carry in your car i do the same thing lol
ive been hooked ever since i picked up my .38 and love shooting it. +p's arent bad i dont think but i dont think ive ever put more than a box down range at one time (more a price issue than recoil) and my next one is going to be in .357:D

easyg
September 11, 2007, 10:52 AM
....the shop owners ALWAYS pull out the snub smiths in 38. for one and one reason only because they are SMALL!!
....so why would you buy a pistol that is VERY hard to shoot and even harder to shoot under pressure.??
I have to disagree somewhat....

Yes, snubbies are difficult to master IF you want to be able to consistantly hit COM on man-sized targets beyond 15 feet or so.

But consider this....
If you want a lightweight gun, that is extremely reliable, and very easy to operate, that requires very little maintenance, and still packs a good punch, and that will most likely be used at arms length range....then a "hammerless" snub-nose .38 is not necessarily a bad recommendation.

In my experience, the only real problem that most women have with a snubbie is (1) the heavy double-action trigger can be hard on their tiny weak fingers, and (2) the recoil of a light-weight snub-nose can be very harsh.
But even these problems will be somewhat neutralized during a real life confrontation....when the woman is fearing for her life and scared out of wits she is not likely to have a problem overcoming the heavy trigger-pull or the fierce recoil.
It's more of a problem while shooting at the range.

And there is also another factor to consider....
The snub-nose is really a close range weapon but this actually works to a woman's advantage somewhat.
If someone is threatening a man, they just might shoot the guy from twenty feet away or more.
But most attackers, unafraid and confident that they can easily overpower a woman, will most likely close the distance....which brings them in to "belly gun" range.
And I'm willing to bet that in most real shooting encounters, where a snub-nose was used, the shooter probably didn't even utilize the sights.

I'm not really sure that I can think of a better firearm for a woman to carry if she is not an avid shooter.
The reliability of the revolver is a real advantage in my opinion (no worry of failure-to-feed or failure-to-eject).

Just food for thought.

scubie02
September 11, 2007, 01:33 PM
meh, to some degree it's probably what you start with/are used to as well. My first handgun was actually a 357 mag Blackhawk, but one of my first "carry gun" type guns was a Taurus 85 snubbie, purchased to a large degree because it was cheap. It was actually surprisingly accurate fired single action, and usable certainly at close range shooting double action. I do agree it takes considerable practice to shoot really well double action, but well enough at close range probably isn't so hard. I do have a couple of model 10 snubbies as well, and loaded with 38 +P LSWHP's they'll keep up pretty well with my 1911's for accuracy fired single action, even at longer (for handgun) ranges.

But I do agree that something like the average 642 takes a fair amount of practice to shoot well--probably more than most any other common handgun actually.

DAdams
September 11, 2007, 03:35 PM
About pocket carry, if you have your trusty snubby tucked away in your pocket while sitting in your easy chair watching the Tampa Bay Bucs get their butts kicked and some Defensive Guard size dude kicks in your front door, do you think you'll be able to get your gun out of your pocket while sitting down?

I won't be sitting down while watching the Bucs (loose again) because I'll be standing up screaming obscenities at the screen. :cuss:

If you don't like shooting a snub you may as well get rid of it and get something you enjoy shooting and become profficient with.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v237/dmadams/P8050029-1.jpg

Please allow me first right of refusal to purchase any snubs you are ready to get rid of due to incompetent performance. Preferably S&W prelocks. ;) and Colt Detective Specials.

ronto
September 11, 2007, 04:13 PM
I'm vertical all day so pocket carry of a snub works for me. While driving I have a holster set-up in my truck. As far as HD goes, a Blue Heeler with a good nose, ears and a bad attitude follows me around the house like a shadow and gives me plenty of time to get the 12ga pump.

indie
September 11, 2007, 04:15 PM
i have decided that my carry weapon will be a 38 special snub, and that i will pocket carry.

i made the decision based upon the reliability factor. and also the comfort and practicality factor.


i am a big guy, with a big gut, and pocket carry seems to be the only comfortable method that will work for me. It will also make me more likely to carry at all times.

i like revolvers for their reliablility and ease of use. I have a 357 magnum K frame 4" revolver house gun, and i think a snub would make a good carry piece for me. I look foward to getting a snubbie and practicing regularly.

Old Fuff
September 11, 2007, 04:36 PM
I am a bit amused by the contention that a snubby's effective range is limited to 25 yards or less (sometimes much less). While admittedly they are usually used at close distances, it isn’t written anywhere I know of that circumstances couldn’t come up that required a longer shot, and in my experience the real effective range is 100 yards or a bit further.

The effectiveness of any weapon is mostly limited by the skill of the user, and back in the day when many snub-nosed .38 revolvers were carried by detectives or as backup weapons I knew a substantial number of professional users, and a few ordinary citizens, that could “shoot clean” on the old B-27 silhouette target at 50 yards. A smaller number could do it at twice the distance. :eek:

But in those days people learned and perfected basic marksmanship before they graduated to combat shooting. They also understood that whatever you carried had to make do under less then optional conditions. That’s why they made a point of practicing at both long and short distances – and everything in between. Anybody that popped up with a claim that snub-guns couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn that was more then 10 yards away would be quickly humiliated by others who were present.

Part of the problem is that most of today’s snubbies have heavy ribbed barrels and low front sights. If you try to raise the front sight for a long shot the rib will block out the rear sight notch. Old pencil barrels had high front sights, and it is no coincidence that Colt’s Detective Specials and older S&W M&P revolvers – both with 2” barrels- were the most popular for longer then usual shooting. Both also tended to be blessed with finely tuned actions when they came out of the box.

I guess the cold hard fact is that they don’t make either guns or shooters like they used to...

Of course there a few exceptions to the rule... :D

Diggers
September 11, 2007, 05:06 PM
Good insight about carry issues. Thanks

Stainz
September 11, 2007, 05:27 PM
I feel strongly that shooters, young and old alike (in experience), should practice DAO. It is the fastest way to respond to a lethal threat, whether you use an exposed hammer or DAO revolver. Also, better to be well-versed, ie, practiced, in the use of a .32M - or even 'just' 148gr HBWC/WC in .38 Spcl in a gun you WILL carry, than to have the latest +P or .357M rounds in a lite weight that scares you. Many fights have been halted with much less.

I cannot think of a 'safer' feeling than my 296 or 642 in my pocket. You bet, from a Mika's pocket holster, they are both quickly presented when needed - even from huge me. No, I won't have a loaded handgun on my person while watching Auburn U. get trounced again... I like my TV!

Now, about long range plinking with a dimunitive barrel - it is fun, if not entirely practical. Would I try it with the 642? No... and I make loads of .38 rounds. I do enjoy plinking away with my 2" 10. Of course, where the 'Doomsday Gun', aka the 642, excells is in it's ability to go un-noticed - yet presenting as a lethal close-support firearm. The 2" 10, a K-frame with far better lockwork, has a great trigger, permitting easy DAO shooting, and a larger 'big-boy' grip - for far better control. My 296, an L-frame, is a great plinker, if you sub some 'big-boy' grips for the supplied boots. Heck, the nearly identical looking 242, also long gone now, is a great .38/.357 carry piece, too. My 296, like the 2" 10, is effective at distance, as would be expected. But... I bought it years before the 642... it, too, is fundementally a 'Doomsday Gun'. Like to plink? Get a dedicated plinker!

Great 'pocket' revolvers, aka 'Doomsday Guns', in Robert Mika's pocket holsters. Top: 296 - GA Arms Speer 200gr Gold Dot JHPs; Bottom: 642 - Remington R38S12 158gr LHPSWC +P

http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/IMG_0206.jpg

Stainz

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