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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. Skunkeye

    Skunkeye Member

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    The first time I shot a snubnose revolver, having heard all the talk about how they're hard to shoot, inaccurate, only for experienced shooters, and require constant practice to even be remotely competent with, I was expecting the target to look like I'd shot it with buckshot from 50 yards, if I even managed to hit paper at all. Instead, I managed to put the first five rounds into a space the size of my fist (at about 7 yards). I figured there must be something wrong with the gun, because it's not possible for someone to hit a target with a snubby without putting two boxes of ammo through one every other day, right? ;)

    Anyway, the point is, I think some people are just more revolver-compatible than others. A DA trigger (as long as it's smooth and not unnecessarily heavy) isn't always a deal-breaker. I can't explain it any better than that, because I never really thought of myself as a "revolver guy" until I discovered I could shoot one pretty well. I think they just point more naturally for me (I also have fairly small hands for a guy, and double-stack semi-autos always feel a little bulky to me).

    If you can shoot a semi better than a revolver, more power to you. That's probably the more common case. But I think the "snubbies are hard to shoot" conventional wisdom is a bit exaggerated.
     
  2. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    That's about what I used to do at the square range when I tried, but I found I could not do that--or even hit an upper chest area-- consistently in just a little over a second, which is how long it would take an assailant to move roughly fifteen or sixteen feet.

    Yes, everyone seems to like to shoot at seven yards these days.
     
  3. fireman 9731

    fireman 9731 Member

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    Well I guess I have just de-evolved into a cave man with my choices for defensive carry. I started out with a 3inch 1911. Then moved to a Taurus TCP in 380. Next was a Sig p238, then a smith model 36 and now a 442 pro. I feel more confident than ever. I feel like the 442 is the pinacle of reliability, simplicity, and concealability. I still like my Sig and full size 1911, but I will never feel inadequate or under gunned with a snubbie. I'm a trigger snob and I don't mind the trigger on my model 36 or 442 one bit. I'll taken them over a chincy double action striker fired trigger any day.

    And to top it all off, I don't have to worry about the weak link of a magazine when I absolutely need it the most.
     
  4. ChiefTJS

    ChiefTJS Member

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    Carry a 442 or 640 every day and shoot them weekly for practice out to 25yds. I feel confident with them.
     
  5. edmo01

    edmo01 Member

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    Snubbies can be effective if you understand their limitations...

    Edmo

    imagejpg2_zpse6448b75.jpg
     
  6. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    I'd like to see people actually rank the 38 snubby against things like the 9mm pocket pistols, .380 ACP pocket pistols, .32 ACP mouse guns, full sized .45... but I don't think the forum allows setting a poll that ranks option, you just get to vote on one...
     
  7. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not that interested in opinions, I'm more interested in data. I think that shootability is very important in a defensive weapon and that's something that can be measured.

    What I would like to see is a number of persons run through a shooting course that measures time and accuracy using both .38 snubbies and subcompact 9mm pistols so that the shooting performance could be compared.

    What would be great would be at least 10 shooters with a variety of experience and skill levels. Each would shoot 2 or 3 different stages, each with a couple of snubbies--maybe an LCR and a J-Frame S&W and a couple of 9mm subcompacts--maybe a Kahr PM9 and a SIG P938.

    The stages could be limited to 5 rounds to avoid the need to reload so that the only variable would be "shootability".
     
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The short .38 has its place. One advantage is that if you outfit your wife with an Airweight .38, she won't add much to the ammo budget.
     
  9. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I prefer a 38 snub, or better yet a 44.

    I CC with a possible mugging or carjacking in mind.

    To me snubbies are not difficult to shoot, but then again I have been shooting them for a long time.

    The LCR's I have shot have had nice triggers. If 38 were too much for someone, there is no need to drop down to 22. The 327 version can also shoot 32 H&R or 32 S&W long, if 327 is too spicy.

    I feel quite comfortable out and about with a 38 snub. Lately it seems like I am more likely to carry my LCR or j-frame than anything else. In "coat weather" it will often be my CA Bulldog.
     
  10. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Yes. I'm 35 so I don't think age really matters. I started carrying a SP101 in 357, often loaded with 38 +p. I carried a j frame in my pocket for a few summers.

    The 38 special is a good self defense round, and not one to be underestimated. However, there are a large number of reliable semi auto guns on the market that hold more ammo, and are slimmer, and possibly easier to conceal.

    So asses your potential risk, and choose a gun that is well tested that you like. If that's a 5 shot 38 special, I think you're making a good choice. First and foremost, you need to hit what you are aiming at, and the gun needs to fire reliably. All other technique and equipment considerations are secondary, and a far distant second in order of importance.
     
  11. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    I personally think the .38 snub is woefully inadequate for defense against elephants, but a helluva lot less fuss & bother on a convenience store run than a .416 Rigby rifle.
    Denis
     
  12. azrocks

    azrocks Member

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    Think... harder...
    ... :D
     
  13. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    In my town, about 20 years ago there was a tragic double homicide at a shopping mall just before Christmas. The perp was a gang member and the murder, at random was how new gang members were "made."
    The victims were a young couple, their arms full of packages on the way to their car.
    They didn't stand a chance.

    That changed the way I looked at CCWs.
    Within that same year, IIRC, S&W came out with the Model 640. I picked up one of the first that came to my neck of the woods.

    It isn't a target gun, nor is it a "fun" gun.
    It isn't a handgun you'd parachute into an al-Qaeda camp armed with.
    What it is is a snag proof, lightening fast deployment, close range handgun with the luxury of three more shots than a derringer.

    It takes a lot of practice to master the snubbies---not something you keep in the nightstand and forget about if you want to hit what you intend to shoot.

    Nor will it shoot "magic bullets." IMHO stoking a little snub with dragon's breath only leads to flinching and premature wear.
    Flinching is never good and prematurely wearing out is OK if you're agency is footing the bill, but not for Joe Homeowner who's tapped out by Obamacare premiums.

    It ain't a gun for whimps.

    Side note: I recently met one of the attorneys involved in that double homicide trial. He told me he had put a 640 on his CCW about the same time I did and for the exact same reasons.
     
  14. TimSr

    TimSr Member

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    That's where I ended up. Very fast, and very simple, and they land where I want them to. A very effective round when effective ammo is used. I'm packing for escaping criminal threats, not for combat with an invading army. I'm sure someone, somewhere has been killed after running out of ammo, but I'll assume that risk.
     
  15. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Actually, a snubbie is harder to shoot well than a full-size revolver or automatic. And the idea that the revolver is significantly more reliable than a good automatic is one that has been discussed to death on this forum.
     
  16. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    Alrighty, than. Do you really think that's a informed decision?

    Can you empty one into an upper chest area at ten or fifteen feet in a second or two?

    Then what would you do?

    The round isn't the question.

    Then you really should avail your self of some good training for such scenarios. Might I suggest I. C. E. PDN Combat Focus Shooing or Rangemaster Combative Pistol Shooting.

    You will not find yourself happy with your snubby afterwards.

    But you insist, see if you can find Claude Werner's course for snubby revolvers.

    And consider the New York reload.
     
  17. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    If my neighbor always carries two full-sized semiautomatics and four extra magazines with him everywhere he goes, that's his prerogative. It's none of my business.

    IMHO, the same is true if I carry a 38 snub.
     
  18. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    How does age figure into the equation? It's the guy ATTACKING us who determines what we need to survive.
     
  19. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Member

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    They are second place winners for SD, after a small semiauto pistol.
    They are also useful sometimes for someone who lacks mental or physical capacity for a semi.
    If you have one, they make a dandy backup for a HD rifle or shotgun.
     
  20. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Member

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    My experience with horribly inaccurate j-frame revolvers goes about like this: decades ago, some family and friends gathered at a public shooting range. One of the shooters brought a s&w model 37 but didn't actually take it out of their range bag. I asked to try it and was told, "that thing is awful...it can barely hit a barn from inside, and is miserable to shoot...but go ahead if you want."

    I proceeded to punch one ragged hole at 7 yards, then ring some gongs set out on the 100 yard line. The owner had a very strange look on their face after that.

    I don't know how accurate they typically are, but that particular one was more accurate than the ruger p89, norinco 1911, and similar we had to compare it to. It had an OK DA trigger and excellent SA trigger.

    Ever since then I have always assumed criticism of the j-frame's accuracy said more about the critic than the gun.
     
  21. springer99

    springer99 Member

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    A lot of truth here.



    Considering the OP's original question.

    "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. "

    Considering the fact that 90% of people in the US don't carry anything , and that a few more might carry pepper spray or mace, I'd say that carrying a J frame in 38Spl or .357Mag will do just fine. Will a small-auto do the job better with similar, but more rounds do better?

    I doubt it. I think training with what you have will make more of a difference than what you carry.
     
  22. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

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    Gee... this thread has been cookin' for a few days now.

    So many people arguing about so many different things... how many of them really matter?

    Here in my home town, we've had one incident where a CCW carrier had to use his weapon to stop an assault. A local group of motorcyclists liked to hang out at a certain bar, and one of their number was in the hospital dying of cancer. One of the guys rode his bike to the hospital to see him, and then headed to the bar to visit his friends, and pass on some words from their friend.

    On his way, maybe a little distracted from having just visited a friend who was dying, he cut off a dude in traffic... a crazy dude. Crazy dude hollers and threatens him, so the biker does a trick turn, and (he thought) lost the guy.

    Biker gets to the bar, parks his bike at the curb, and guess who pulls up right then. And coming out of his car, right then.

    POW!

    Crazy dude stopped in his tracks DRT. By one shot from a plain ol' pedestrian .38 special revolver.

    The cops just sent the biker home.
     
  23. Tcruse

    Tcruse Member

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    exactly my experience.
    A small revolver is exactly not the gun for a new shooter or for most shooters.
     
  24. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    The original post did not specify J-Frame, so if I can include the SP101, the five-shot revolver is still quite viable as a serious "defensive" weapon. I do have an Airweight J-snub, but see it as a tertiary weapon, for the "get off me" niche.

    For the times that the best defense is a strong offense, however, I would rather have a medium or medium/large-frame six-shot revolver, not so much because of the sixth shot, but the handling qualities. The original, pre-Hogue GP100 factory grip is very, very good for my hands.
     
  25. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    :) Sounds about right to me! I find that to be the case with a lot of guns that people claim are inaccurate, but definitely with j frames. Mine was very accurate. The only reason I ditched it was that I found a gun that suits me better.

    A well practiced j frame shooter is far more effective than ANY spray and pray shooter.
     
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