Which .38 Snub


March 2, 2012, 05:56 PM
I am thinking about getting a .38 revolver for carry. I think I am leaning toward a 642 at the moment, but there are definitely some options out there. I think I definitely want to get an airweight or the equivalent of a different company. Looking pretty seriously at Charter Arms and Ruger, possibly Taurus. What is your choice of .38 snub nose revolver and why?

You guys who choose something other than a 642, convince me why.

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March 2, 2012, 06:31 PM
I like J frame Smiths a lot. I'm not real crazy about the rough factory trigger, though.
That'll smooth up with use, and is a great excuse to take it to the range and shoot it.

I've owned Taurus and Charter snubs and have been very pleased with them. There was a time when Charters had rough factory triggers, but they will smooth out.
The newer Charters I've owned/shot have had pretty good triggers.

All the Taurus revolvers I've owned had pretty good triggers from the factory.

I like the steel frame version of the 642(Centennial without the grip safety).
It's my favorite of the J frames. There's nothing wrong with the Airweight Smiths, I just prefer steel frames.

If you can afford the Smith, and it's what you want, go ahead and get it.

I've heard good and bad about Taurus and Charter, but have never had any problems with either of them.
I like the stainless Taurus CIA and would love to have one. I keep holding out for the steel frame Smith.

I had a chance to buy a very nice nickeled Airweight Bodyguard for $300.00 a few years ago. I didn't have the money and missed out.

March 2, 2012, 08:21 PM
Never owned a Charter, but I've good experiences with Smith, Ruger and Taurus snubs. I've seen a lot of negative things about Taurus, but I've owned a 650 for over five years now without a problem. I have no way to confirm it, but I suspect that their small frame .38 and .357 five shooters are among their better products.

March 2, 2012, 08:26 PM
I have owned two Charters years ago.

I'm not dumb enough to make the same mistake three times.

Taurus & Rossi are not even on my radar.

I'm a S&W guy all the way.
Never owned or shot a bad one in 50+ years.

But the new Ruger LCR looks interesting.
If I didn't already have four S&W snubs, I'd probably give one a try.


March 2, 2012, 08:28 PM
I've had my Taurus model 85CH since 1994. No problems.

March 2, 2012, 08:54 PM
I carried a M642 for several years and then changed over to a M442 because I like the Blue/Black revolver better. Both are the same and either is a great daily carry.

March 2, 2012, 08:56 PM
Rcmodel, why do you say the Charters were a mistake? What specifically was not good about them?

March 2, 2012, 09:04 PM
your poll needs a "none of the above" choice

Mac Attack
March 2, 2012, 10:04 PM
I owned a 642 and 638 Smith and they were fine revolvers. When my tastes changed from small j frames to the more concealable Keltecs I traded them away. I really liked my 638 and wish I still had it. When I decided to get back into the small revolver game again I looked at all the j frames as well as the Taurus's and Ruger LCR. The Ruger was lighter, felt better and the trigger was amazing. When I make my purchase it will be a Ruger

Mauser lover
March 2, 2012, 10:13 PM
I am a Ruger fan, and I really like the sp101, but I would get it in .357 mag, even if I only used .38s in it...

March 3, 2012, 01:03 AM
I've had a Taurus 85 for 20 years. It's a nice little revolver. I put Hogue grips on it several years ago and it is very comfortable to shoot. I haven't fired a Ruger LCR yet but the ones that I've dry fired have a very light, smooth trigger.

March 3, 2012, 01:08 AM
I picked the Ruger. The LCR 38 can be ordered with an XS 24/7 Tritium front sight. The front sight is pinned on, and you can also add one for $60 and shipping if yours did not come with one.

The LCR comes in 3 models. The LCR 22, LCR 38, and LCR 357. The LCR 22 is a great practice concealed carry gun. Same grips etc as the center fires.
I have both the LCR 22 and LCR 357, and really like them both.
You can also add a Laser Sight to the LCR, or get it from the factory as an option on the LCR 38.

I do like the Smith & Wessons also. The 442 Pro is a good choice.

If you like to shoot your guns, the Ruger and S&W will normally have the better triggers of the snubs.


Scott Free
March 3, 2012, 01:10 AM
You didn't say how you planned to carry it. On a belt? Or in a a pocket. Pocket carry would eliminate the Ruger SP101 for most. If belt carry, the weight SP101 isn't so noticeable, but will soak up recoil when you need it. For pocket carry, I'd go with the 642 or the LCR.

March 3, 2012, 03:55 AM
your poll needs a "none of the above" choice
Yep, needs more Colt.

March 3, 2012, 06:07 AM
I have always been a big fan of S&W J frames; especially of the Model 38/49 variety. My two favorites are the Model 649 and the Model 638.

March 3, 2012, 06:42 AM
Another vote for Smith & Wesson.

I got rid of all my Ruger's back when old Bill caved on the assault weapons ban and swore to never own another. It's dumb. Bill's dead and the company's philosophy has completely turned around but it's become such a habit that I'll probably never change.

Taurus has a reputation for spotty quality control so I avoid them. Besides, I always try to buy American whenever possible.

Charter Arms might get a look if I couldn't afford better but usually S&W will be a better choice.

March 3, 2012, 08:21 AM
The Colt Detective Special is conspicuously absent from your poll, and is the finest of the snubs in my opinion.

March 3, 2012, 09:01 AM
Methinks OP is focused on current manufacture, folks, though he did not specifically state so.
(maybe he just did want to initiate yet another flame game, aka "nothing worth owning made after the Civil War", heckifiknow)

Hence no Colt.
(if this were an old warhorse race, I would call it a dead heat between S&W and Colt)

I voted S&W
barely beating out Ruger's LCR at the wire, to place
with Taurus' 85 in a strong finish down the homestretch, to show
a photo finish trifecta
but Charter faltered badly right out of the gate

the LCR and the 85 both get some bonus points for their triggers vs 442/642, for me
but S&W makes a wide array of good snubbies, I have to give them the nod overall
ain't looking to convince you of anything though, just my opinion

Lee D
March 3, 2012, 09:14 AM
imo 1st choice should be Smith or Colt, followed by Ruger. id avoid the rest

March 3, 2012, 09:40 AM
Taurus ...

Although options are missing, like Colt....and assuming as mentioned OP is just considering those mentioned.

I Voted Taurus .... I carry a 85 Ultra Lite a lot and a (905 in 9mm)
I love the two revolvers.....never a complaint!

I have owned all mentioned.....and Charter does not appeal to me at all. I think they have made some fairly reliable revolvers, but there attention to detail sucks, even on a cheap level ( there roll marks always look like crap ) can not stand that! (personal thing I suppose )

I have S&W snubs that are nice as well as Ruger SP101(.357)...642's are nice, and as of yet I have not caught the polymer revolver bug....(:barf:)

The Taurus 85 is my pick of the above due to the ease of replacement, other than the Charter it is lowest cost and still a very reliable revolver, making me worry less about wear and tear and possible loss.

(And before it is said...I dont plan on losing my carry gun, however if it is used in self defense you will probably lose it for some time or forever, and if in a place that does not allow CCW, you may have to leave it vehicle, which leaves it vulnerable to theft. (I have a gun safe mounted in one vehicle for this situation) but whole car can be stolen as well!

I have purchased 2 Taurus 85's from pawn shops (1) for $200.00...one was in box like new for $235.00

March 3, 2012, 09:43 AM
Mostly from experience (not from anything the OP suggested) I imagine he is planning on buying new.

Personally, with few exceptions, I would not consider a new revolver

March 3, 2012, 11:10 AM
Go with the no lock 642.

March 3, 2012, 11:45 AM
My Taurus 85 is ALMOST as smooth as my pre 18 smith, and costs less than the smith

March 3, 2012, 11:51 AM
With the current price of the airweights, I see no reason at all to go with charter or taurus. I have never shot an LCR, but I don't like the weak trigger re-set. I actually like my 638 trigger. I vote for S&W. I'd get the 642 no lock.

March 3, 2012, 12:07 PM
Go to a gun range that rents handguns and try them out first hand, see what fits your hand.

March 3, 2012, 12:20 PM
Why Not Two?
S&W 442, AND A Charter Arms .32 H&R Magnum.
Charter in the holster, Smiff in the pocket!

March 3, 2012, 01:06 PM
I carry a Charter Arms Undercover Southpaw and in several hundred rounds through it I have had exactly zero problems with it.

Derry 1946
March 3, 2012, 04:51 PM
The Colt Detective Special is conspicuously absent from your poll, and is the finest of the snubs in my opinion.
+1. Carried 642 until DS arrived. Now DS is my EDC.

357 Terms
March 3, 2012, 06:33 PM
The Colt Detective Special is conspicuously absent from your poll, and is the finest of the snubs in my opinion.

LOL!.. Why don't ya place a call to Colt to see about getting one of those.

March 3, 2012, 06:46 PM
Get a Colt D-Frame, nothing compares.... in my book anyways

March 3, 2012, 07:40 PM
LOL!.. Why don't ya place a call to Colt to see about getting one of those.
There isn't any shortage of used Colt D frames. Nice ones can often be had for the price of some of the other stuff....As others have said the Detective Special is a great piece, but for carry comfort I'd probably opt for a Cobra or Agent. They feel like a feather compared to a DS.

March 3, 2012, 07:54 PM
I carry autos in the paved world, but spend a lot of my time off of it. I really like my S&W 637 2-1/2"bbl in a Desantis Nemesis for a favorite pocket carry at home on the farm. Being able to shoot it SA means I can actually hit a rabid skunk at 20 yards. That's not gonna happen with me shooting a hammerless snub, including my 442, which I should probably sell, cause it just lays there in the safe.

March 3, 2012, 07:59 PM
LOL!.. Why don't ya place a call to Colt to see about getting one of those.
No need to trouble the folks at Colt. There are currently 57 Colt Detective Specials listed on Gunbroker; surely we can find one!

Lee D
March 3, 2012, 08:03 PM
i prefer a 3" barrel to the 1 7/8" when shopping for a j-frame, and i know im not the only one. i bought this one awhile back simply because i didnt have a model 60, and its my favorite "snubbie". i did add the Pachmayrs because the full power .357s were a bit nasty, but now its a pussycat.

http://img688.imageshack.us/img688/7424/003mvu.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/688/003mvu.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

March 3, 2012, 08:16 PM

I would sooner call Colt trying to buy a new D frame than S&W to buy a new J Frame.

After all, S&W would sell me one and then I would have a new J frame.

At least the call to Colt would not harm the overall quality of my cache of weapons

357 Terms
March 3, 2012, 08:47 PM
Love you Colt boys: ya'all can always hi-jack a thread!

Colt is NO LONGER in the DA revolver business!

If I were in the market for a new 38 snub I would prolly get an LCR, light , good trigger, and Ruger will back them up with great CS.

Probably be pretty $teep getting an old Colt fixed if something went wrong with it.

Newer is better sometimes fellas.

March 3, 2012, 08:57 PM
Colt is NO LONGER in the DA revolver business!

Whaa? Say it ain't so! When did this happen? :D

March 3, 2012, 09:12 PM
I got a safe queen Charter that was made in 1970's I have not shot it much but is hits POA at 20 feet. If I can afford it I will move up to a S&W J frame.

March 3, 2012, 09:35 PM

you obviously love injection molded gun parts at forged gun part prices.

To me, that is analogous buying a Maverick at H&H money.

But it is your money.

I support your right to do with it what you want. Sent it to the Obama re-election campaign, PETA or on revolvers filled with injection molded parts. None of my business.

I am glad you are happy. It surely is a warm, fuzzy feeling.

March 3, 2012, 09:41 PM
The Colt Detective Special is conspicuously absent from your poll, and is the finest of the snubs in my opinion.

I agree.:)

March 3, 2012, 09:56 PM
The Smith J-frame is a wonderful little gun, but to me it's clearly beaten by the smooth, crisp trigger on the LCR.

March 3, 2012, 10:28 PM
but to me it's clearly beaten by the smooth, crisp trigger on the LCR

LCR has a really nice trigger

357 Terms
March 3, 2012, 10:55 PM
I support your right to do with it what you want. Sent it to the Obama re-election campaign, PETA or on revolvers filled with injection molded parts. None of my business.

LOL..?? Is this a 38 snubbie thread?

March 3, 2012, 11:09 PM

So you don't think people think they have the right to spend their money however they want?

I disagree.

I support your right to buy injection molded guns or whatever other fetishes you have.

357 Terms
March 3, 2012, 11:16 PM


Look, the Smiths and the LCR are great choices for anyone looking for a good, reliable snu-nose 38 special.
Reasonably priced and great CS to back them up. Either will wrk fine.

March 3, 2012, 11:18 PM

I don't get your attitude.

I am supporting you and your right to buy injection molded guns.

Go for it.

March 3, 2012, 11:23 PM
The wife has her daddies s&w 36 that was his backup and detective side arm. He carried for 33 years before retiring.

He carved his initials on the side. Every time she picks it up she thinks of her dad.

It is about 50 years old, this is quality, never worked on only cleaned. It will probably be 100 after she passes it off to one of the grandsons and he passes it off to one of his children.

I never consider cost when it comes to a quality firearm. Trying to find cheaper firearm that is "just as good as a Smith" is a waste of time. Who will remember the cost 50 or 100 years from now.

357 Terms
March 3, 2012, 11:36 PM
I don't get your attitude.

Everyone gets yours tho G...anything made after 1992 is crap.

I do like the old Colts, really! they are great.

They are just not the holy grail of 38 snubbie revolvers, at least when you consider price and the possibility of service issues.

Remember; Colt was not even an option in this poll. So why bring it up?

March 3, 2012, 11:44 PM
Colt was not even an option in this poll. So why bring it up?

I did not bring up Colt.

The only time I mentioned Colt was answering you when you suggested that someone call them and ask for a da revolver.

March 3, 2012, 11:45 PM
Own and carry a S&W 442 pro, but wouldn't advise against buying a Ruger LCR either :)

357 Terms
March 3, 2012, 11:51 PM
I did not bring up Colt.

Ahhh.. . but dont you always.....

March 3, 2012, 11:54 PM
but dont you always

apparently not

If you disagree please cite the post number

357 Terms
March 4, 2012, 12:00 AM
^^^..please.... In this thread or every other ?

Look; you love Colt. You hate Smith & Wesson (at least the last 20 years)

Fine , great, but at least stick to the topic!

March 4, 2012, 12:07 AM
I've been carrying a snub for over forty years and it has always been a Smith.

I must say though that Ruger's new LCR has won me over. It has a better trigger out of the box and IMO handles recoil better as well.

March 4, 2012, 12:19 AM

You say I brought up Colt...I didn't

You say I hate S&W, not true, even of the last 20 years (2 686s live at my house)

If you are going to attack me...use the truth.

357 Terms
March 4, 2012, 12:28 AM
If you are going to attack me...use the truth.

C'mon guillermo; you attack everyting non Colt or Smith's (ok since 1995 production) really?

The new Rugers are great 38's, and all the Smith models are good choices also.

When you consider CS and price for the new guns they are great options.

See "options", choices, some are better than others.

March 4, 2012, 12:42 AM

you attack everyting non Colt or Smith's


Put the Wild Turkey down.

You say that I brought up Colt (not true) hate Smiths post 1992 (not true) and now all things non Colt or pre 95 Smith (not true)

I am a positive guy so I am not going to assume anything bad. But please...get a grip.

357 Terms
March 4, 2012, 12:55 AM
I am a positive guy so I am not going to assume anything bad. But please...get a grip.

LOL..please... your history says otherwise! at least when it comes to Smiths (the last 15yrs).

I do like Wild Turkey, but..I am A SoCo man myself.

March 4, 2012, 01:00 AM
I thought I brought up Colt, because I always jump on the chance to do it.:D.

357 Terms
March 4, 2012, 01:06 AM
^^^ My bad G.

I get you and CPE mixed up from time to time. :D

March 4, 2012, 01:10 AM

Don't confuse the issue w facts.

357 can't deal with the ramifications.

On this thread he has claimed I hate Smiths of
the last 15yrs
since 1995 production
at least the last 20 years

I brought up Colt
And hate all things non Colt

March 4, 2012, 01:14 AM

Don't confuse the issue w facts.

I brought up Colt

Well, don't do it first anymore....PM me in the future anytime there is a thread needing a little more Colt injected in to it. I'll gladly take the heat.:evil:

March 4, 2012, 01:22 AM
I get you and CPE mixed up from time to time.

I take that as a compliment

CPE probably doesn't

But I do!!!

March 4, 2012, 01:23 AM
BTW, .357

No worries:D

357 Terms
March 4, 2012, 01:24 AM
Love it!...

Peas in a pod.

So... did you two vote in this poll?

March 4, 2012, 02:29 AM
If the pole means a plastic Ruger, or a Smith with the Hillary Hole, I will have to go with the Charter Arms. In the sandbox I would always choose the Tonka truck over the plastic Jeep with the broken wheels.

March 4, 2012, 06:28 AM
Look---I confess---I brought up The "C word." :what: At least with regard to the Colt Detective Special, and it is was only in the event that the OP might have inadvertantly skipped over it in the poll. My profound apologies.

March 4, 2012, 07:08 AM
"Personally, with few exceptions, I would not consider a new revolver"

which begs the question, G
Which NIB snubbies would you name as the appropriate few "exceptions" ?
(just curious, not contentious)

Not in the market for another snubbie myself
I have an older S&W model 60 (bought NIB back when), so that's covered for me
I would be tempted by the Ruger LCR, for the trigger, not for the weight
likewise would be tempted by an all steel DA/SA Taurus 85
(only NEW S&W small frame centerfire I find real tempting is the S&W 60 Pro 3", but I don't need another 3", a Ruger SP101 covers that for me)

yeah, I know you said "revolver", not "snubbie", but the thread topic is "sbubbie", so no harm in asking

March 4, 2012, 07:23 AM
I have a Ruger LCR, I believe it was pistol of the year in 2010 or 2011. Picking up a Colt Special tomorrow. Nice gun plus it's SA & DA. Good luck!

March 4, 2012, 07:51 AM
Love it!...

Peas in a pod.

So... did you two vote in this poll?
I would agree that when it comes to handguns, we are two peas in a pod...We know good stuff when we see it.

As far as the poll goes, I did not vote.

March 4, 2012, 08:14 AM
Alas, I don't own the Colts that CPE&G do (woe is me), but you can count me in the Colt Club nonetheless, leastways as a cheerleader on the side lines. CPE&G are your go-to guys for great advice on Colts, they are. I don't think that is is the intended topic here though.

hint, for brand war fugliness, and personal attacks, when all else fails, there is always Private Messaging

March 4, 2012, 09:01 AM
As far as snubs go, I like my Colt Detective Special best for shooting. Close second is my S&W Model 60-9 followed by my Model 649.

My S&Ws get carried a lot because they are are easier to take care of being SS. Its an easy finish to work with if by accident you wind up with a scratch. My Model 649 was a police trade in and had some honest carry marks. A evening spent in front of the TV with 400, 800, 1000 grit sand paper, followed by a hand application of Mothers Mag Polish and it looks better than when it left the factory.

I'd focus on on several factors, if I was buying a first revolver:

1. Size and weight for your intended type of carry/purpose.

2. Accuracy, to include sights, trigger pull, and follow up shots.

3. Make sure the gun fits your hand comfortably. Grips on most revolvers can be changed out, to get the feel you want.

3. Finish, ease of maintenance. The older I get the more I like SS, but, nothing looks quite as good as a blue steel revolver with custom grips....

Everything is really a trade off.

You are going to be well served by any quality 2-3 inch revolver. I'd second other posts that have suggested you find a range or a few friends that have some of those your interested in and shoot them.

Big JJ
March 4, 2012, 10:10 AM
MY Ruger LCR in .357 loaded with 38sp+P’s. It is 17onces very concealable with a great trigger pull.It groups very well at 20yards.Not saying there is anything wrong with the others just giving my personnel experience with the LCR.

March 4, 2012, 11:06 AM
did you two vote in this poll?

Nope. I didn't. Would mess up his data. Wasn't going to add anything except the suggestion that next time "none of the above" was a good choice.

Which NIB snubbies would you name as the appropriate few "exceptions"

So if the zombie apocalypse comes and I am away from home, disarmed and only have access to the new gun vault of my local gun store...and I need an ankle gun due to the fact that I have to walk on my hands because zombies don't see you when you walk that way. What would I snatch?

Exactly as you I would consider an LCR or Taurus 85. The former because of the trigger pull, and in zombie land it might not look so ugly. The Taurus because that model has a good reputation and the UL version I had once upon a time was a solid performer.

SP101 isn't really a snub and I wouldn't have time to put a Wolf spring kit into it...but I would consider it before I decided that as heavy as it is I might as well carry a full size revolver.

While I am suspect of Charter Arms, a lot of people really love the Bulldog 44 Special. I like the 44spl a lot...it seems perfect for what I imagine the ballistic requirements for zombies, but would probably pass.

March 4, 2012, 11:21 AM
It absolutely baffles me that people still deride "plastic" guns (like the polymer-framed LCR that was my vote) with the implication that they're weaker or lower quality. When can that get put to bed? It's the rare all-metal weapon that will outlast a Glock or an HK USP. Polymer weapons have proven themselves for decades now.

March 4, 2012, 11:24 AM
I like my S&W 638 for a daily carry simply because it's light and fits my jeans pocket easily.
I origionally wanted a Bersa Thunder in .380 but a friend had jamming problems with his.
I think I like revolvers better for self defense anyway.

March 4, 2012, 11:24 AM
My EDC since 1974 is my S&W model 36. However my favorite revolver is my Colt Lawman 2" .357. Both are old school but have served me well and I have staked my life on them and will continue to do so.

Lee D
March 4, 2012, 11:28 AM
on Rugerforum.net there was a discussion about the LCR's being able to pull the trigger with the cylinder open. some member's revolvers could, others couldnt. PERSONALLY, id avoid any of Rugers new designs, they seem to be rushed out the door to meet the demand and the QC isnt able to keep up.

March 4, 2012, 11:35 AM
It absolutely baffles me that people still deride "plastic" guns...with the implication that they're weaker or lower quality

Who did that?

I missed it

March 4, 2012, 03:59 PM
Who did that?

I missed it

skidded said "between the plastic Ruger and the Smith with the Hilary hole" before choosing Charter. In my forum experience, saying "plastic gun" instead of polymer implies cheapness or weakness, i.e., "plastic fantastic" when talking about

I may well have been mistaken, but derision of polymer guns is still very common and I have no idea why after the Glock and the USP.

March 4, 2012, 04:20 PM
I own and have carried all but Taurus. S&W 642, 36, and a 66 snub. (forgot to mention the S&W 696 I consider it a little too large tp be considered a true snubbie) Two Ruger SP101 in 327 & 357 Magnum, and a Charter 1st Gen Bulldog in 44 spl. The other charter I had was a recient production pathfinder 22 that broke its transfer bar in the first 50 rounds on the range (that on no longer resides in my safe) Never been really impressed with Taurus revolvers though. but if they work for you thats great. They're just not for me.

March 4, 2012, 04:21 PM
It's very hard to beat the little Taurus 85 straight up, let alone for the money. I'll take on ANYONE here in contests with mine. It's very accurate and I shoot it well enough. It has the best trigger I've ever felt out of the box, though I haven't shot a LCR, yet. I understand the design is novel on the Ruger and that it works rather well.

March 4, 2012, 04:46 PM
I just prefer steel over plastic. When these new plastic revolvers show they can stand the test of time, I might give them some thought.

March 4, 2012, 06:24 PM

In my experience Skidder says what he means.

Not a whole lot of equivocation w him.

March 4, 2012, 06:40 PM
Wow we got over you said he said, good job. I voted in the poll for Ruger. My wife and I both have cwp, and carry 2" Taurus. Hers was a .32 H&R mag, mine a .44sp. We have range fired many reloads at the range with no problems. I had some issues with other Taurus products and no longer support them. The Ruger LCR is one of the finest snubby's I have dealt with and I owned a Det Sp. My wife now shoots the LCR in .38+p loads which is telling in that she suffers from mild AR in her wrists and has no problem. My new carry is a Kimber 3" in .45 ACP not quite a snubby but as easy to carry. The .44sp is now a side panel truck gun.

March 4, 2012, 07:02 PM
Actually having owned at one time or another all four brands I give my opinions:

Taurus has more lemons than any other company I know. Granted my first snub was a 605 (stainless 2" .357) and the price was decent. Things didn't work out with the gun and it was sold a few months later as it never really performed as desired and I didn't want to bet my life on it since it was a carry piece. In my search to find a superior snub I came across a S&W 638, which for a snub was a tack driver (won a few bets with this J-frame and outshot a lot of people at the range with it). Sold it like a fool as I was looking for something else. I also own a Charter Bulldog in .44 Special as it is a bulldog in every since and something to reckon with(Still own it and shoot it quite often). As far as Rugers go I have nothing but good things to say about them. I own the 3" SP101 and agree with others on the forum in that it is more of a belt gun than a pocket gun. But it will probably outlast the competition and your grandkids if taken care of. Now just recently I picked up a like new 642-2 for $315 as I was desiring a J frame once again for filling rule #1 (always have a gun). So, if you primarily live in a climate where the weather changes quite frequently (Virginia for example) and primarily pocket carry I say go for a S&W J-frame of some fashion. If you prefer to carry on a belt or IWB and prefer a .357 I would choose a Ruger. But in the end it depends on you, your budget, and what works best for you.

March 5, 2012, 06:16 PM
I voted S&W, but Colt's were not an option here. Both come to mind. I have owned a Taurus and it was smooth and shot well. Gave it to my son in law, only reason I don't have it still. I don't like the look of the LCR, never shot one, tho. Try and shoot a variety, check the costs and one will get your attention more than the others.

Frank V
March 5, 2012, 06:30 PM
Well of the choices offered, my first pick would be an older Smith without the lock. My second choice, & not by far, would be the Ruger LCR in .357.
I'd gladly have an older Smith, I wouldn't really feel comfortable with a newer one with the lock to save my hide.
I would have no qualms with the Ruger LCR in .357.
In either I'd carry the Buffalo Bore .38 Special 158gr lead SWC HP +P. I'd feel well protected with that load. My second choice would be the Speer 135gr GDHP +P.

March 5, 2012, 07:59 PM
I just prefer steel over plastic. When these new plastic revolvers show they can stand the test of time, I might give them some thought.

Fair enough. :)

March 7, 2012, 01:34 AM
The Colt Detective Special is conspicuously absent from your poll, and is the finest of the snubs in my opinion.
Probably because they are no longer being manufactured and haven't been for a long while...

March 7, 2012, 01:38 AM
I'm not a huge fan of snubbies, but the one that I pocket on occasion is an S&W, and I wouldn't ever take anything less

March 7, 2012, 08:16 AM
I like my 442, which is still made without the lock. I tried the LCR, the trigger was nice, but it was too ugly for me. :D

March 7, 2012, 03:42 PM
I just picked up a S&W 642 Airweight about 3 weeks ago. I had my heart set on the Ruger LCR. There seemed to be a lot of play in the cylinder which I didn't care for, but more importantly, I found that I short stroked the trigger very easily. That could be very very bad. This was not the case with the 642. I've put 100 rounds through it and can put all 5 rounds on a sheet of paper at 15' in about 4 seconds. So I'm happy. I'm surprised by the accuracy, and it will get the job done. My hand smarts after rapid fire and I suspect that the LCR is more pleasant to shoot, but the 642 is plenty efficient, and way prettier.

March 7, 2012, 08:02 PM
In my experience Skidder says what he means.
Gman-- Thanks, but...........
Friday night is when my good wife lets me have a few beers, or some of her dads homemade wine (huckleberry and cherry is my favorite :)). If you see me in here on a friday.....well.....a "grain of salt" comes to mind.;)

March 8, 2012, 05:04 PM
Friday night is when my good wife lets me have...

You wife LET'S you have ANYTHING.

I DO hope you are kidding

March 8, 2012, 05:58 PM
Voted for a S&W. I have a 442 that I like. That being said, the LCR has one sweet trigger. Might need one of them too.

March 8, 2012, 09:26 PM
Ruger LCR


March 8, 2012, 09:37 PM
Id go with either the 442/642 or LCR, with price being the deciding factor.

I was recently in the market for a snubby and went with the LCR because I stumbled across a used one in mint condition for a good price.

If I would have stumbled across a used smith at the same price I would have picked that up in a heartbeat. I don't think you can go wrong either way.

LTR shooter
March 8, 2012, 09:56 PM
At a gun show earlier this year I handled some 642s and knew then that is what I wanted next. My 642 arrived last weekend but it was suppose to be the non-lock version and it was NOT. So it is being sent back and hopefully I'll have my 642 in time to shoot next weekend.

March 8, 2012, 10:09 PM
638 Airweight, just came off wait list, she's in the mail. Ill let you know...

March 9, 2012, 01:05 AM
In the sandbox I would always choose the Tonka truck over the plastic Jeep with the broken wheels.

Quote of the thread, right there. :D

Can I vote for haunting GB for an old S&W 640–the kind marked +P+ on the barrel?

March 9, 2012, 02:06 AM
Chiappa Rhino 200DS? :)

March 9, 2012, 08:15 AM
Not a chance on the Chiappa.

March 9, 2012, 11:44 AM
You neglected by omission one of the finest snubbies: Colt Detective Special. Carried for many many years by LE and the preferred carry by many today. Can't vote in the poll so my "write in" vote is the DS :)

March 9, 2012, 06:44 PM
I didn't mention the Colt because I'm not very familiar with them and actually didn't really think about Colts. I have handled all the rest, I think I have only seen pictures of the Detective Special.

March 9, 2012, 07:42 PM
love my ruger!!!

March 10, 2012, 03:51 AM
Colt Detective Special, yeah they are out of production, but still available and a great choice.


March 10, 2012, 09:01 AM
A 342. I can't convince you, unless you pick up one, shoot it, and carry it for a while. Like an hour. Or a year.

It has pushed all other compact SD revolvers to the back of the safe.

March 10, 2012, 11:01 AM
Over 68% for Smith. I wonder how many of those were pre-lock?
Uh-Oh..."that wasn't very Christian of you skidder":D.

Mac Attack
March 10, 2012, 12:44 PM
I don't get all the hatred towards the lock version Smiths. I have owned a few prelocks and a postlock. I do t really notice any difference. If you don't like the lock just don't use it. Please explain to me why the preference for prelocks?

March 10, 2012, 12:53 PM
Over 68% for Smith.Part of that is the .38 specification. For .357 snubbies, the SP101 is a heck of a revolver.why the preference for prelocks? The possibility of lock failure when you need the gun, rendering it inoperable. Even if you never use the lock.

March 10, 2012, 02:17 PM
Please explain to me why the preference for prelocks?
Mac Attack-- Originally I fell in love with the DA revolver due to its simplistic functionality (aim and squeeze). Why add to this if not necessary? Do we need something to change the look and function of a great design?
50% of my dislike is the cosmetic location of the lock, the other 50% is the whole "idea" of a lock, and it's possibility of malfunction. Not a fan of a lock on any gun, but it could have been done in a more simplistic and unobtrusive fashion (like Taurus and Ruger). IMO of course ;).

March 10, 2012, 04:33 PM
Just got back from McBride's

Looked at S&W and Taurus revolvers

They were 3 deep at the counter so I didn't take notes.

One Taurus was a 44 mag. It was used. The crane had a lot of movement. We discussed it and theorized that a numbskull flipped it closed a lot. Was not a tight gun.
Since it was abused I drew no conclusions.

Looked at a Taurus UL snubby, blue (didn't know they made them) Was not tight but I would not call it abnormally lose. Double action trigger was outstanding. Good, even gaps in the crane-frame fit.

Picked up a j frame and it was definitely tighter. I would say 40- 50% tighter. Fit was good. Trigger was mediocre at best. Was stainless so no comparison. (I saw no new blue Smiths in the case)

Of snubs, Taurus won the trigger pull, lost on tightness.

Looked at a Tracker .357. Finish was that dull, Taurus look. Trigger was ok. Fit was very good. Tighter than the J-frame-sized Taurus. Not as tight as the J frame.

Looked at a performance center .357 (627?)

Fit was pretty good except for a slightly large gap at the top of the crane. It looked to be machined that way, was tight against the frame farther from the surface. Trigger was fine, stainless was pretty enough. Was not as tight as the J frame, maybe a little better than the Tracker.

If not for the weird "gap" it would have won all categories. Was twice the price.

Was the Taurus snub particularly loose? Was the J Frame trigger particularly bad?

Don't know. Neither one impressed.

Tracker seemed fine. The PC gap was a little off putting.

I had to go because I was keeping an employee from paying customers.

Really can't draw any conclusions because the sample was so small.

Will go back another time when they are less busy and look at more.

March 10, 2012, 08:12 PM
thanks G
very objective report, IMO

my own overly broad general notions and casual mode observations, not a study, not fact, not Truth from down low, much less from On High... current manufacture only, not from say 10-15 years ago, or more.. and always subject to looking at 'em one by one, gun on gun

small frame centerfires...
S&W J-frames not renowned for great DA triggers, not real bad, but leaves some to be desired
Ruger SPs.. terrific guns, but out-of-box DA triggers, not so great
series 85 Taurus, just maybe best on-average out-of box DA triggers, but for Ruger's LCR plastic DAO
fit & finish, S&W first, Ruger 2nd, Taurus last.. but Taurus 85s not real bad, best in blue, in blue they do good
lockup , S&W & Ruger pretty much dead heat, Taurus looser, but plenty good enough
(but I would never contest McGunner's opinion of the one he owns, the man ain't no fool)

large/medium frame, S&W gets the nod over Ruger, but not by a lot, not enough to matter to most folks buying NIB.. for fit & finish.. but Taurus needs help
(ever CLEAN one of those SS Taurus revolvers after a range session)... it kills my good shooting buddy to watch me clean my SS 38/357 S&Ws and then I sit there and he grumbles whist doing and doing his Tracker.. if ye go Taurus, go blue
for DA triggers, it's a shooter feel thing, not a better/worse thing for say 686 vs GP
Taurus, no opinion, don't handle enough new ones to have any opinion
for me S&W trigger, but I do not fault anyone who prefers the GP trigger
Looseness, I do not expect, nor have myself seen problems with either Ruger or S&W, I think they too close too call (for me) other than one vs one, not across the line.
Taurus, don't look enough at 'em to give an objective opinion, fact

what burns my old fat fuzzy the worst is Taurus rimfires
I don't believe they have any respect for rimfire shooters at all, just don't give a damn, they must figure rimfires are for kids, and grownups who shoot rimfires are just damn fools.. me, I know a bunch of of classy guys real serious about rimfire revolvers, and at least one old damn fool that is too

Taurus used to could do, and did
(They used to could do it on centerfire revolvers, too, and give S&W a run for their money, and do it it a discount pricing, they did)
breaks my heart that they do not anymore, the rimfire thing
(for centerfires there is always the Ruger option, today)

I would never wish upon a friend like you, G, to ever pick up a small frame 94/941, even if lucky enough to to pick one up that don't fail hard within the 1st 500 rounds
nice looking, decent fit & finish, good blue, feels great in hand unfired
because a guy like you would look at things like machining, b/c gaps, etc. and know right away, but squeeze that DA trigger anyway "just because"
and that could ruin a man's lunch
small frame DA triggers are at disadvantage to large frame DA triggers, we all know that
but there just ain't NO excuse for THAT

hey, S&W does lot of things we do not like
but me really just don't care re: MIM, crush fit barrels, or even that stupid ILS
not trying to get anybody to buy 'em what don't like 'em, but it's moot for me
my one olddawg cannot do that trick is liner barrels
ain't never going to be me, not in rimfire, much less in a 357
that is a sin against Gawd and Nature, it is..
Hell will freeze over first, and I will just shoot my way out of the ice with an old k-frame in each hand

"New S&W revolvers are nothing but overpriced New Taurus revolvers"
sometimes folks who respect one another are obliged to disagree, G
but that so oft repeated opinion is why I (mostly) steer clear of any direct opinionated reply to same
I would rather lose an argument than a friend, even in cyberspace

be well, and keep on checking that NIB stuff out
(I need to know your opinion of the S&W model 60 Pro.. vs... vs..)

March 10, 2012, 08:26 PM
I was surprised at how tight the j frame was...and how bad the trigger.

And the PC crane was disappointing

If the Taurus snubby is a representative sample, I would not buy one.

That said, found a NICE Trooper in the used case. :evil:

March 10, 2012, 08:32 PM
I don't think Taurus is getting a completely "fair shake" in this poll
not because anybody is anything less than honest
(this poll goes pretty much as I go)

Not because I disbelieve, not in the least, that some folks have had some totally legit bad experiences with some 85s
Mostly, I think too many simply have not picked up an 85 in hand, and shot one
because of what Taurus has one to their own reputation at large re: QA/QC
I have myself grown to trust "T" ever less over time
but I would still pick up a 85 snubbie or 92 autoloader and give it a shot

but don't any of you go telling weregunner I said that !
I don't want to lose my internet conspirator status; worked too long and hard to just reach conspirator 2nd class, don't want to ruin my chance of making 1st class ;)

March 10, 2012, 08:38 PM
If the Taurus snubby is a representative sample, I would not buy one.

you can't very well call that a surprise, G
you, all them old Colts
me, them too few old S&Ws (older model 60 for one)
ain't neither of us buying NIB, anyway
(though I do occasionally think about it in a not too serious way)

mostly just trying not to feed folks dishonest opinions about NIB vs NIB
like I said, not Truth from down low, nor on high, just honest personal opinion

so.. did you ride yet another Pony home, or just pause and ponder ?

March 10, 2012, 08:47 PM
medium frame BULL, the only one I have shot was my SILs 357 Tracker
I wouldn't have it, just because of the DA trigger, if nothing else
but I have been spoiled by the good ol' stuff, like a few others here have
(including one old hard shot Taurus 66 along with a pair of S&W 66s)

and cannot call a sample of one a fair sample, not hardly

March 10, 2012, 08:50 PM
hmmm.... should I go for 4 posts in a row ??
uhhh.... WWWD ?
(What Would Weregunner Do)

nahhh.. that's just plain peevish :o

March 10, 2012, 09:03 PM
The best trigger on a snubbie I have ever touched was on a Ruger LCR.

the others may have this "authority of time" but this shooter learned how to shoot on an LCR, basically, and was surprised at how crappy most other revolver triggers ended up being.

March 10, 2012, 09:23 PM
yeah, that's one that seriously keeps me tempted to get a NIB, Nushif, that LCR
DA trigger

great SA triggers make for fine target shooting, great bear guns, and just-fun shooting
but what most defines for me a great revolver, old or new, is a great DA trigger

March 10, 2012, 09:50 PM
Old Fool,

I did my best to be as objective as possible.

It was a surprise that the Taurus snub was looser than I expected.

As to the Colt, there were two that were talking to me. I managed to resist. So far...

March 10, 2012, 09:53 PM
yeah, that's one that seriously keeps me tempted to get a NIB, Nushif, that LCR
DA trigger

You won't regret it ...

March 10, 2012, 10:14 PM
You guys who choose something other than a 642, convince me why.

Model 36-1. This is the 3" heavy barrel version of the chief's special that NYPD firearms trainer Frank McGee convinced S&W to make. The result is like a mini model 10 4" in look and feel; good sight radius that shoots exactly to POA with 158 gr. "FBI" load, good velocity with the same load from the 3" tube as well. With Baramis or the new DeSantis clip grip, it conceals as well as the 1 7/8" versions–may as well not be there. Mine is lightly tuned and DAO/bobbed and provides plenty of comfort with Remington's +P LSHCHP load.

Plus, my dad gave it to me. I see no reason to change.

Not that I'd sneer at a 642 or 442 no lock either, of course; nothing wrong there at all.

March 10, 2012, 10:21 PM
I don't think Taurus is getting a completely "fair shake" in this poll

The one not getting a fair shake is Charter Arms.

March 10, 2012, 10:35 PM
they probably ain't Kaeto
but the name has changed owners too many times
they went through the no QA no QC thing also
and many of us just are not interested enough to see if they have made the comeback some say they have

once you fall that far behind the pack, it's a mighty rough uphill road to gain ground lost
even the Dan Wesson name in revolvers has lot to prove now, and CZ is a pretty well respected outfit

March 10, 2012, 11:09 PM
Its never going to be as it once was.
From my experience over the last 10 years, the new market holds the greater risks. It's very unlikely I will ever buy another new revolver, NIB...maybe, if it is of a previous decade. The used market has been my friend for my last 6 purchases, so why spend more on a new gun and take the risk of it being a piece of :cuss:.

March 10, 2012, 11:40 PM
my vote is for ruger

if you are looking at the sp101: they are very durable, will last a lifetime or two, sights are pretty good, .357 is still managable if you want to go that route, and accuracy is still surprisingly good at extended ranges. that said they are fairly heavy and the trigger is not the best (although it will smooth up with use).

if you are looking at the LCR: i got a chance to shoot one recently and learned a few things; they are very light, the factory grips dampen a LOT of recoil, the sights are a lot better than i would have guessed, and that trigger is a thing of beauty! i really cant say enough about just how awesome that trigger was. even though it was pocket gun size, it was still a pleasure to shoot!

March 11, 2012, 01:20 PM
anybody else notice we have more than 100% tallied in count ?

March 11, 2012, 02:29 PM
anybody else notice we have more than 100% tallied in count

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
- Mark Twain

March 11, 2012, 03:31 PM
S&w 642

March 11, 2012, 03:32 PM
anybody else notice we have more than 100% tallied in count ?

Probably able to pick more than one choice.

March 11, 2012, 05:09 PM
Probably able to pick more than one choice.

good call

March 12, 2012, 02:20 AM
I like my two j-frames, a M637 and a M60 with the 3-inch barrel (I like exposed hammers). Both had great triggers straight out of the box and both have gotten smoother with time.

I don't worry about MIM parts or the ILS. I also don't check for monsters under the bed. Never heard any reliable evidence there was a widespread problem either with the MIM parts or the ILS. OTOH, I wouldn't be critical if it was a turnoff to some people: it's their choice and it's just as valid as mine.

That being said, if Colt was to begin cranking out the D-frames again, I would put all other firearms acquisitions on hold to get one (or more). I would be happy with a Detective Special or a Cobra, but a new Police Positive would really make my day.

The LCR and the S&W Bodyguard just aren't for me. I know it's just my opinion, but the LCR looks like something somebody made by rummaging in the spare parts bin.

Taurus? I've heard good and I've heard bad. But I've had Smith & Wessons since 1970 and they've always worked, so I never felt the need to experiment.

March 12, 2012, 11:33 PM
Yes, the poll allows for more than one choice. Thanks for all the input guys. I will be going to a big gun show this weekend and if I find a good deal something might follow me home.

March 13, 2012, 12:40 AM
What are you hoping for?

March 13, 2012, 12:55 AM
Some kind of snub .38 or a good deal on a small cal bolt rifle. If I don't find either I'll probably walk out with a decent amount of ammo. Found a great deal last time on my defensive ammo of choice, about 1/2 the price of Gander. Probably can't spend more than $250 right now without putting too big a dent in the budget. Less would be better.

March 13, 2012, 01:13 AM
my intial gut reaction would be to get a ruger LCR in .357 and use .38's in it. I would not buy a .38spl revolver when for just a few dollars more you could get a .357 version

outside your list I would go with a COLT, the detective special is nice but again the cheif special is .357 so I would go with that

HOWEVER, those Charter arms guns are looking really good to me, so I might be tempted to play with that option and save some cash.

el Godfather
March 13, 2012, 01:19 AM
Charter and Taurus are not even in the same league.

March 13, 2012, 01:27 AM
Good luck. Tell us what you find.

March 13, 2012, 02:11 AM
Charter and Taurus are not even in the same league.

Which one are you saying is better?

March 15, 2012, 11:18 AM
Another opinion...

I have owned samples of all the listed brands but not the LCR individually and prefer the S&W J frames. I prefer the Model 38 or 638 over all the J frames due to the hump back feature that makes it easier to pull from a pocket. The 642 is also slick to remove from a pocket but for me not as much.

As a side note, my 638 is a very accurate shooter and it is easy to lob those bullets all the way out to 100+ yards. The single action option makes it easier. Won a few bets at 100 yards with a J frame. :)

I do have and sometimes carry a Colt Detective Special. I have had a selection of Colt D frames over the years. Fine piece and it has that extra round. I have never been happy with the Colt D frame trigger however. While smooth it has a terrible propensity to stack at the end. Never had that issue with my "J's".

S&W 638-2 (no lock) Bodyguard is my favorite choice of pocket rocket in the wheelgun world. I would not turn down a current model with the lock however.

March 15, 2012, 11:32 AM
I have owned and carried a Ruger SP101 .357 for years and never had a problem with it. I put nice smooth wooden grips on it so it wouldn't catch on my clothing and it was great shooter... one of the few gun sales I now regret as I am looking for another. haha

March 15, 2012, 12:14 PM
That said, found a NICE Trooper in the used case. :evil:

But was it a MK or a true TROOPER :evil:


That said I've owned and carried a '76 Charter Arms Bulldog in .38, S&W 637 and the Colt DS. While the Airweight was the lightest to carry firing full loads wasn't pleasant. The Charter Arms was adequate in managed recoil but the DS still remains my favorite if I'm carrying and shooting a snubby. It's all about preference though, isn't it? :D

March 16, 2012, 01:57 PM

Had a .357 too

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