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Where do you rank the 38 snubby as far as a defensive weapon

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by george burns, Aug 21, 2016.

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  1. george burns

    george burns Member

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    Is there still a place for a 5 round snubby in todays world. Or are there so many better choices that it has been passed by.
    Other than "old Timers", of which I am one, do any of you think that the 5 shot snubby is still a viable carry gun?
    Please say why, if you do, or do not.
     
  2. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Absolutely so. It's my next purchase in fact. J frames and similar guns by other manufacturers give 5 rounds of adequately powered ammunition with essentially no chance of a jam (unless using really hot reloads). The guns are easier to operate and have a much lower learning curve for new shooters as opposed to small autos. The advantage of autos are their capacity, but even so most small autos are only 6 or 7 shots with a quick reload. Revolvers are 5 shots with a slightly slower reload. Yes they are outclassed, but no they are not irrelevant. We are drawing near to colder weather and coats, find me an auto that will still work if I get it caught in a coat pocket
     
  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    J frame snubbies have been a mainstay in my CCW rotation for many years. Still a viable choice with .38 Special SD ammo. Reloads are quick (if you put some time and effort into practising with it), with Bianchi Speed Strips. Concealment is a breeze with an IWB better being my preferred choice. Current J frames are an older all stainless S&W Model 649 and a lightweight aluminum alloy frame Model 638.
     
  4. Odd Job

    Odd Job Moderator Staff Member

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    A .38 snubbie is ideal for someone who:

    1) Is not likely to practice a lot and is not interested in learning a manual of arms for a semi-auto pistol
    2) Does not have the manual dexterity or strength to work a slide easily
    3) Wants something that will go bang reliably. Well the worst that can happen is they have to pull the trigger twice

    So yes, it has a place and probably always will, in the self defence world.
     
  5. george burns

    george burns Member

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    A snubby , seems to be the answer after going here and there for all this time. Chances are if you need more than that, you are in more trouble than a gun can get you out of. A speed strip in your pocket should work better than all this wasted firepower we have been convinced we need.
    I am leaning towards a truck gun to augment any other situation that would require additional resources.
     
  6. Haywood

    Haywood Member

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    At my age I need a get off or get away from me gun. The Two J-Frames that I carry should do that.
     
  7. VoodooMountain

    VoodooMountain Member

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    For pocket carry or if you feel you'll be in a situation where you feel you are likely to have the gun right up against an attacker ( such as in a vehicle) then I feel it is a better choice.

    Semi autos offer 3 main benefits for me.
    -capacity
    -quick magazine change
    -quick and easy to clear

    They also generally require less time to become proficient than a snubby in the accuracy dept and are less likely to have a very snappy recoil with a large muzzle flash either, but with careful selection these can be a non issue.

    And revolvers do jam. It doesn't happen often but when they do jam, they jam hard. There is no tap and rack on a J frame .
     
  8. Indawind

    Indawind Member

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    In cold weather you can fire them from inside your coat pocket.
     
  9. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    I have been carrying a defensive handgun on a regular basis since 1990 and daily since 2004. In my pocket right now is a Model 60-12 loaded with 5 rounds of S&B 158 gr LRN and a speedstrip of the same in my back pocket.
     
  10. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    J frames typically have heavy triggers and are difficult to shoot accurately. People who have used them for years will disregard, but hand one to a new shooter to get an honest opinion. They are viable yes. But poor hand strength or infrequent practice don't make it a better choice. Quite the contrary.
     
  11. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, back in the day, there were many who, when given the choice, opted for six shot revolvers over five.

    Today, however, the demand for larger capacity defensive handguns seems to be for semi-autos.

    What is your basis for that conclusion?

    Have you timed reloading while moving and without looking at your gun and considered how far an assailant would likely move in that interval?

    If you were attacked within close quarters, how many rounds do you think you would try to shoot? For what do you train?

    How many would you like to have in reserve?
     
  12. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

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    There are other choices now with higher capacity, but I think the lowly 5-shot .38 still has it's place.

    Over time they have been able to cram more firepower into smaller packages, while the typical snub .38 has remained static. I know there are a handful of 6-shot guns out there, but they are truly the exception rather than the rule at this point.

    On the other side of the coin, some of these designs are pretty new and don't yet have the track record of something like a 642. So the jury is still out on a number of these supposedly "better choices".



    This is all to the exclusion of some people simply going with .357, which you don't hear too many people questioning as far as enough horsepower. But yes, short answer is that many people have felt well armed with a .38 snub and continue to do so. Modern ammo has helped the .38 snub probably as much if not more than any other older handgun platform.
     
  13. Kendal Black

    Kendal Black Member

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    Sounds like I oughta recuse myself as an "old timer." :eek:

    Pocket sized auto pistols are more highly developed now than they were some years ago. Time was, nearly all the small autos were blowback actions, .380 was the heavy caliber and a lot of them would function only with FMJ. Picking the .38 snub instead made perfect sense.

    Fast forward to the present day... The revolver still has some things going for it, very simple to operate, obvious in its workings, very nearly indifferent to which brand or style of ammunition you shoot out of it (in terms of reliable function), easy to keep clean, easy to function-check, and so forth.

    The most significant downside is that a long heavy trigger on a short gun with a small handle offers a challenge, but it is not, surely, a more significant challenge than learning to ride a bicycle or discovering how to shift gears in a manual transmission car without making that noise. Hold on tight--try to crush the gun--and stroke the trigger smoothly. These guns actually work, and they do so nearly every time.
     
  14. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Of course there's still a place for them; A pocket, IWB, shoulder holster, ankle holster. They are good for wear with light clothing, or deep concealment, or as has already been mentioned, a "get off me' gun. They make a fine New York reload, too.
     
  15. wally

    wally Member

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    Hard to beat a stub nose revolver as a backup for CQB when you might have to fire with muzzle contact -- a situation that renders many autos out of battery and unable to be fired.

    As to .38 Special I rate it "adequate" above .380ACP, but below 9mm.

    My stubby is in .357, if I ever need it, comfort shooting it will be of no consequence.
     
  16. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I sure hope so since I carry one daily. Why, because I like revolvers and I shoot them well.
     
  17. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Member

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    I think it is as viable of a self defense firearm today as it ever was. Why? Because it's no less capable today of protecting someone as it was at any point in times past. Not to mention, I can think of some close quarters situations that I'd choose a S&W 642 over any semi-auto.
    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk
     
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have to disagree with your first reason. A J frame revolver is not easy to shoot well. A lot of practice is required to shoot accurately with one and master the trigger control on a J frame. For some reason there are many who feel shooting a semi-auto is so difficult only very dedicated shooters can learn how, I find that insulting. I carry a revolver because I like revolvers. I can shoot a semi-auto as well or better, just ask my 1911...
     
  19. PRM

    PRM Member

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    There is a story about an old Sheriff who attended a BBQ. A young woman observed his sidearm and asked if he were expecting trouble. No Mam, replied the Sheriff, "if I was expecting trouble, I would have brought my rifle."

    Moral of the story is pretty plain. There will always be a place for your revolver, and yes there will always be better options. A handgun should not be a first choice in a gunfight - but, sometimes a rifle or shotgun is just too hard to conceal. :scrutiny::scrutiny::cool:
     
  20. springer99

    springer99 Member

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    Absolutely still has a place; and actually I feel they're becoming even more popular as more new-comers enter the CC arena. I had my daughter to the range not too long ago and she insisted wanting to shoot my SIG938 and my 642. Got all confused over inserting and releasing the magazines on the SIG and when/ how to operate the slide to clear a jam or misfire.
    I handed her my 642, fitted with CT laser grips and within 2 cylinders full, she was hammering the 8-9ring on the target at 10yds. She really liked the fact that all she had to do was keep pulling that trigger. I think I lost my 642 and will have to get another.

    Plus, 5-6shot .357Mag. revolvers are common, and if you extend the "snubbie" description to a 686+ with 2 1/2" barrel, you get 7 rounds of real smack.
     
  21. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Member

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    I'm 36, so not exactly an old-timer, and I carry a .357 LCR more than any other gun. Why? Because most of the time I'm limited to pocket carry and a revolver is the most reliable pocket gun around. Given its low capacity, I choose to carry as powerful a cartridge as I can shoot rapidly and accurately, thus the choice of .357 Magnum over .38 Special.
     
  22. oldschool45

    oldschool45 Member

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    Been carrying a 1911 for years. I just picked up an Air weight Smith 442 for kayaking and hiking. It's so easy to pocket carry it's will either replace or backup my 45. The trigger has smoothed out nicely with practice. 5 rounds of 38 special defense loads should get it done. If I need more t h an that I'm really screwed.
     
  23. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I bought a 642 a number of years ago. While I was an experienced shooter, I really had no concept about defensive shooting. A couple of good training courses and a dose of reality about capacity and wounding effectiveness led me to relegate the 642 to a back-up role. For a driver with his or her strong-side weapon strapped in, there's really no substitute for a vest-pocket gun in a hand that cannot be readily accessed by an unwelcome visitor to the passenger seat.

    But I am not at all enamored by the trigger on a J-frame. A shrouded DS would be better with its sixth shot, but I have been reluctant to get one.

    The Kimber K-6 carries six and reportedly has a decent trigger. Still waiting to see one.

    I would not buy another J-Frame. They may look "cute", but the actual H, W, and L dimensions really give no tangible advantage in concealability to a good, shootable eight shot 9MM.

    For use in a pocket it would be better.
     
  24. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    Yeah I think in most places sure. I wouldn't carry it in some place like Baghdad, but on the street in normal American life, yeah I think it'd work alright. You got to think that most fools that would give you trouble are probably only looking for a buck or some crack. I think a snub pulled out on them would scare them off and if not you got 5 38s to solve the problem. Not a lot of firepower and I'd rather have an automatic but it would work.
     
  25. azrocks

    azrocks Member

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    I really enjoy j-frames - I appreciate their aesthetics - but I believe 90% of the time, no matter the need, there are better options available.

    In virtually every performance-related aspect, they suffer. Extremely short sight radius, poor sights that often can't be easily upgraded, small grips that make it difficult to maintain adequate control, a heavy DA trigger pull that impacts already poor practical accuracy, and in lightweight versions - excessive recoil. The small 5-round capacity coupled with revolver reloads is just icing on the mud pie.

    Add on top of all that the fact that because of all these unpleasantries, most people will practice with their j-frames the least of all their handguns (when in fact they should be doing the exact opposite).

    Personally, I think they filled a niche quite well up until recently, but now there are simply better options available. A Glock 43 is just one example out of many available today of a handgun that fills the same role as a j-frame but does everything better: better sights, better trigger (pull weight, not character), higher capacity, faster reloads, & improved practical accuracy.

    Just my .02
     
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