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View Poll Results: Is a S&W .38 Special Snub Nose enough for concealed carry?
Yes 297 92.24%
No 25 7.76%
Voters: 322. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 08-26-2018, 08:09 PM
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Default J-frame: Enough?

Have thought about carrying my Smith & Wesson 642 .38 Special 5-shot snub-nose revolver as my primary carry gun in a pocket holster.

How many of you think that setup would be enough for realistic self defense, or should I get a bigger gun with more capacity or a different caliber?

Thanks!

-Jay
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:25 PM
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My 642 always goes with me, along with a speed loader. Since I'm retired I feel comfortable with it. However, if I lived in a high crime area I might carry a second revolver, or a larger handgun.
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:27 PM
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...if you live in North Vegas...you might want more...

...other than that...it's all shot placement...
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:36 PM
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I mostly carry my 340 PD in a pocket holster. I feel that is a reasonable compromise. Because it is light and unobtrusive, I am more likely to actually carry it. But I have lots of options, if I feel that something else is more suitable.

For most of us, not still in, or not at all in law enforcement, the five shot j frame is probably going to be plenty.

But...Las Vegas is not a small rural town. I don't know what your lifestyle and employment are like, so it's possible that you might need something else. Where you spend your time, where you have to travel to get to work...so many variables, that it is hard to give accurate advice!!

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Old 08-26-2018, 08:36 PM
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Is it enough?

So far.
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:46 PM
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Like Les.b, I feel a whole lot better with my 340 PD in my pocket every day. As opposed to carrying a bigger/heavier option part time.
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:48 PM
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J frame snubby works for me.
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:53 PM
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It most certainly is. But if you feel the need to carry bottom feeders with 15+ rounds and multiple reloads more power to ya. I won’t judge.
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:57 PM
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It depends...On where you’re going, surroundings, possible situations. Most of this Summer it has been my 640 Pro with 12 extra rounds of 38+P. But I’ve also carried my M11A1 with extra mags a few times. Generally local trips are JFrameable...Winter is mostly the M11A1, but my Sig ALWAYS comes along in the city or road trips. So my answer is yes and no...or sometimes.

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Old 08-26-2018, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snubbyfan View Post
J frame snubby works for me.
...do you carry the grenade in your pocket?... ;-)
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:00 PM
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Nothing wrong with a J frame. I carry a Mod 650 with hollow points in my pocket for a back up.
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:03 PM
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I like a MIKA pocket holster with my 442 and shirt out and over the pockets.
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:15 PM
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The number 1 rule is to have a gun with you.

The only guns that I have found that I will take with me every time are a J frame, NAA revolver or LCP. Out of those three, I like the J frame the best.
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:21 PM
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A .22 is enough as long as you carry it

In my 4 confrontations a good cap gun would have been enough. Shots were never fired
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:24 PM
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For me, yes. + a speed strip.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:05 PM
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For me...it always comes back to a Smith J Frame or Colt D Frame snubby. I have some semi-autos in the carry rotation but feel quite comfortable with a snub, most anywhere. I'll tell you this...I shoot a snub better than anything else. It's super reliable, concealable, can transition from IWB, pocket, to OWB.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:28 PM
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I've watched dozens of videos on youtube of civilian concealed carry shootings on security cameras. Most if not all were resolved with on average of 1-3 shots. Combined with the long history of the 38 special and the J frame revolver's use in law enforcement I think you're well protected. Keep a speed strip with extra rounds in your front pocket.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:54 PM
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I would like to have the Battleship Missouri if I were (God forbid) in a gunfight. But battleships are very difficult to pocket carry (No puns on German WWII "Pocket Battleships") and something that I will actually carry is a lot better than something that I may not carry as often due to weight or size. A 357 bullet from my S&W 340 PD will be as effective as one from my S&W Model R8 on anything living. The 340PD is extremely easy to carry any where that it is legal to do so.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:26 PM
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Default Everyday all day

I carry a j frame every day in a pocket holster and like a lot of others, trust that it will get the job done if needed. I will say that while traveling in some areas, I carry two, one in a upside down shoulder rig and one in the front jeans pocket...but 99 percent of the time it is just my 340PD in the front pocket. I started with a j frame maybe around 1999 and then got sick with semi-itis and it cost me considerable amounts of time and money. Probably 15 or so mag fed missteps that came and went including a pair of Rohrbaugh R9 micro 9mm pistols. The Rohrbaughs were a close second to the 340PD for pocketable firepower that carry like a dream but in the end reliability is king, and I find myself back in the j frame pocket carry mode and for me it's what works.
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Old 08-27-2018, 12:32 AM
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dont see the point in these really... I mean enough ? probably but I dont see the reason to handicap your self when there are so many decent compact 9mm's out there.
Ballistics of a snub 38 are pretty low compared to say a 3.2" 9mm. Regardless of what folks consider enough, I would think ballistically heavier or faster or both is better.
IAW Ballistics by the inch tests a 642 will throw Speer Gold dot 135's at 897 fps,
a 3" 9mm will toss 135 gr hydroshocks at 1032 and thats the low recoil, plenty of 147 gr loads up around 1000, The short barrel Gold dot load 124 is 1150 out of my Ruger LC9 s pro.
A gun like a Ruger LC9 s pro, carries 8 rounds, has a better trigger, better sights that are easier to adjust, cheaper to buy, easier to carry reload and faster to reload.. Flatter, easier to conceal, and the same size and weight. For most people it shoots flatter and allows for much faster follow up shots. Bottom feeder that size is just a better platform.
Enough ? eh whos to say. Every situation is different but for me I feel like I can have better without any disadvantages.
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Old 08-27-2018, 12:46 AM
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The 1986 Miami shootout comes to mind. Many of the FBI agents were armed with two revolvers (some with NO additional ammo for either weapon). So, if you're expecting a gunfight, the answer is NO.

Any handgun is a compromise and you should always carry the most capable handgun your circumstances and wardrobe will allow. I bought a 442 to summer carry when a bigger gun isn't practical. When it is, I carry it.
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Old 08-27-2018, 01:25 AM
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A five-shot 38 caliber J-frame with extra ammo in speed strips or speed loaders is perfectly suitable for any realistic and likely (sub)urban self-defense scenario. If you have a premonition one day about walking into a protracted gun fight or mass shooting and possibly needing "more gun", that's not exactly self-defense. Off pavement, on the other hand, I prefer something a little more powerful than a J-frame snubby, but it could still serve in that role much of the time loaded with heavy hardcast semi-wadcutters and shot shells.

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Old 08-27-2018, 01:29 AM
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Any handgun is a compromise and you should always carry the most capable handgun your circumstances and wardrobe will allow. I bought a 442 to summer carry when a bigger gun isn't practical. When it is, I carry it.
Summer carry, winter carry and BBQ carry.....
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Old 08-27-2018, 01:39 AM
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Default LC9s May be better... BUT J frames enough.

I choose my ammo carefully, practice when possible. I know most SD shootings are over in 3 shots, most of the time just showing a weapon stops the trouble. If I feel the need for a speed strip it would be easier to carry my LC9s with 7-8 shots of 9mm. The LC9 is easier to shoot well and has more shots but my Airweights are lighter and easier to conceal. For indoor SD I use standard velocity 38spl. +P for CC
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Old 08-27-2018, 01:47 AM
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A five-shot 38 caliber J-frame with extra ammo in speed strips or speed loaders is perfectly suitable for any realistic and likely (sub)urban self-defense scenario. If you have a premonition one day about walking into a protracted gun fight or mass shooting and possibly needing "more gun", that's not exactly self-defense. Off pavement, on the other hand, I prefer something a little more powerful than a J-frame snubby, but it could still serve in that role much of the time loaded with heavy hardcast semi-wadcutters and shot shells.
I couldnít describe my thoughts as you have but Iím thinking similarly to you. CC is a Airweight with +P, expecting more trouble LC9s with 8+p, off pavement, M60-7 variety of 38spl shot, 357 and speed strip with more
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:30 AM
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I worry it’s not enough to deal with some scenarios - like a pack of rampaging pit bulls encountered while on a walk.

But the J is stashed by the door and is the one gun I can readily carry in my pocket and I often do. Shot placement and fire discipline are critical with a five shot revolver but its sheer ease of carry allows me to comply with the First Rule of a Gunfight so it is “enough” in a practical sort of way.
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:29 AM
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I voted yes and it says I voted no.

That said, my EDC is a 637 with handloads.
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:45 AM
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I voted yes because you asked if it was enough, not if it was optimal.

I carry a Glock 43 and am told by a friend that carries a small 380 that I don't need to carry that much weight and bulk. I am also told by a different friend that carries a double stack 9mm with a 15 round magazine in the gun and two 17 round spares that I am woefully underarmed.

There is a huge leap from "no gun" to "any gun". After that you start getting into diminishing returns and it is a matter of what you feel comfortable with. I prefer to carry in a IWB holster but if I was going to pocket carry I would choose a 38 J-frame over a 380.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:24 AM
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Default Definitely a possible scenario

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I worry itís not enough to deal with some scenarios - like a pack of rampaging pit bulls encountered while on a walk.

But the J is stashed by the door and is the one gun I can readily carry in my pocket and I often do. Shot placement and fire discipline are critical with a five shot revolver but its sheer ease of carry allows me to comply with the First Rule of a Gunfight so is is ďenoughĒ in a practical sort of way.
In Florida on local TV news I witnessed such a attack by 3 pit bulls. They grow them big down there. That plus assorted other menaceís from stray alligators, wild hog, pythons, 2 legged predators, prompted me to buy my Airweight J Frame
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:58 AM
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Put 'er in your pocket and don't fret.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:08 AM
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I usually don't carry a J frame, but I do carry a revolver. If there is someplace I might really need more firepower, I need to take a hard look at why I would want to be in such a place.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:26 AM
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Only because I don't have that 2" round butt S&W Model 10 that I've always coveted.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:51 AM
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I'm fine with 5
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Old 08-27-2018, 12:07 PM
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Been carrying a J Frame since the early 70's, with several different other handguns for concealed carry. My main concern has always been whether or not I will perform well. I don't carry anything I don't trust. I love revolvers, but I also enjoy carrying my Shields. I seem to always come back to my J Frames, specifically a Centennial model either steel frame or airweight, depending on whether I carry them in a pocket or on my belt, and mostly that depends on the pockets in the pants I am wearing. I prefer the steel frames in a belt holster, but I get along with the light weights in a suitable pocket just fine. I love a couple of my 2" steel K Frame snubbies, and carry them some, but as you know, they are heavier, which is tolerable in a belt holster, but they are also larger than the J Frames, and I usually move back to the smaller revolvers.

I am very comfortable with .38 Special ammo, especially since that ammo has evolved into good +P loadings. I gladly will accept some expansion if it happens, but my first priority with any loading is that is gives sufficient (in my view) penetration. Perhaps because I have carried revolvers for so very long and and am totally programmed to shoot, reload, and fire them, I am very comfortable with them too. It has long been my belief that a good .38 special loading in a five shot revolver will be enough for most of my needs. Enough is enough! Every choice we make involves some compromise. Each of us must make those choices for ourselves. I think having great confidence in what we carry and use is very important. I also think that any of us will more likely carry something that we are very familiar with and comfortable with, both for performance and easy secure carry. When I belt carry, the holster and the gun is always in the same place, regardless of what I carry there. I try to keep things as simple and uncomplicated as I can. What I'm describing here is my choice. Not saying it should be yours. There is little question ever in my mind that what I carry EDC with respect to equipment is dependable, based on long experience with that equipment.

The other question always remains ... will I be dependable if and when the necessity might arise to need to use it. I think so, because I am totally commited to having that equipement at hand every day, all the time, and I long ago commited myself to making the best accomodations possible having it there. I am also comfortable with using that equipement if I deem it necessary, and dealing with the consequences that go along with that. Doesn't matter what equipment one has if there is hesitation to use it or if it is not at hand! Took me a good while to distill my choices down to the few I list above, and I have made few changes to those choices for a very long while. Like I said, this works for me!
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Old 08-27-2018, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayFramer View Post
Have thought about carrying my Smith & Wesson 642 .38 Special 5-shot snub-nose revolver as my primary carry gun in a pocket holster.

How many of you think that setup would be enough for realistic self defense, or should I get a bigger gun with more capacity or a different caliber?

Thanks!

-Jay
Too many variables. Threat level is one, and more (most?) important, how much do you practice and train with it? Do you have another CCW that you shoot better, and if so is it because it is bigger and easier to use?
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Old 08-27-2018, 12:36 PM
stansdds stansdds is offline
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If I knew for certain I was going into a gun fight, I'd want a SAW, but people look at you kind of funny when you tote such things into your local grocery store. I do have a S&W model 640-1 that I use as a pocket gun. Stoked with Speer 135 grain Gold Dot 38 Special +P ammo, I think it is sufficient for self-defense.
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Old 08-27-2018, 01:01 PM
ABPOS ABPOS is offline
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I'd like to carry my M9, HiPower, M4, or that 8 shot .357, TRR8 I think it is.

But I don't. So I carry a 442. I can't tell you if it's enough. For all I know I'll be dead in a gunfight. But I have to draw the line somewhere between practical and desire. I do think for a lot of scenarios, it would work and it's more about if I can use whatever gun I have properly. For me they are the perfect balance of availability, useability (at closer range) and speed of employing from the get go. It draws fast and carries easily. And isn't fatiguing to carry all day long. Although even that small of a gun there are times I get tired of carrying it. I don't have great health, so....

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Old 08-27-2018, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by hkcavalier View Post
The 1986 Miami shootout comes to mind. Many of the FBI agents were armed with two revolvers (some with NO additional ammo for either weapon). So, if you're expecting a gunfight, the answer is NO.

Any handgun is a compromise and you should always carry the most capable handgun your circumstances and wardrobe will allow. I bought a 442 to summer carry when a bigger gun isn't practical. When it is, I carry it.
If you studied the Miami shootout then you would know that FBI agent Benjamin Grogan was armed with a Smith & Wesson Model 459 9mm and was killed by a .223 in the chest. The other agent, Ronald Risner fired off 14 rounds from his S&W 459 and a couple rounds from his backup mod 60 revolver and survived. The other 6 agents were armed with S&W revolvers and a shotgun. The two bad guys had two 357 magnum revolvers and a Ruger mini 14. 2 agents killed, 2 bad guys killed, 5 injured.

The type of guns used had nothing to do with the outcome. Other than the fact that if you know you're going into a gunfight, bring a rifle.

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Old 08-27-2018, 01:45 PM
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I think 1 of the bad guys was finally completely stopped with a .38 to the head. I know that doesn't prove the effectiveness. Because the perp was already injured from other gunfire. But it does point to the fact that one guy had good aim with a revolver. I don't believe it was point range. It's been a while since I read the incident though.
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Old 08-27-2018, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGVshooter View Post
If you studied the Miami shootout then you would know that FBI agent Benjamin Grogan was armed with a Smith & Wesson Model 459 9mm and was killed by a .223 in the chest. The other agent, Ronald Risner fired off 14 rounds from his S&W 459 and a couple rounds from his backup mod 60 revolver and survived. The other 6 agents were armed with S&W revolvers and a shotgun. The two bad guys had two 357 magnum revolvers and a Ruger mini 14. 2 agents killed, 2 bad guys killed, 5 injured.

The type of guns used had nothing to do with the outcome. Other than the fact that if you know you're going into a gunfight, bring a rifle.
Ronald Risner is the only agent to have survived the incident with NO Wounds.

The other seven agents were all shot with two of the agents dying that day

Jerry Dove was the second agent killed that day. Jerry was only a few years older than myself. He was the 2nd youngest of the group.

Working as an "Independent Contractor" at the time, I had met many of them before the incident
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:13 PM
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Many will carry their big gun for awhile until it becomes too uncomfortable, then out comes the J frame or the small 380. When I was a working cop in the ‘70s we all carried revolvers, and when the fight came my way all I had was my issued Colt DS (about the same size as the J frame) w/one reload. It proved to be adequate to the task, but I never let myself be on the street w/an inadequate ammo supply again. Now that I’m retired and no longer go in harm’s way my no lock 340PD goes with me everywhere. I also have one speed strip for a quick reload plus two speedloaders in my car.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:01 PM
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...it is until it isn't....

Shots Fired: Palm Desert, California 03•30•1996 - Article - POLICE Magazine

Now you can say this was an off-duty LEO but lets just say instead this is your daughter and her ex-husband....can your snubbie with your level of skill handle this....and the officer involved never carried a snubbie OD again and preached this to others...and he even hit the guy 4 GOOD times out of 5 shots fired.... I personally know two LEOs who got in gunfights with snubbies and neither ever carried one again...learn from the mistakes of others...

Go over to YouTube and LiveLeak and look at the robbery and gunfight videos...and then be honest with yourself...will a snubbie hack it...

I carry a small gun when I CAN'T carry a larger one...not when it is "inconvenient" to carry the large one...

Bob

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Old 08-27-2018, 03:15 PM
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My heart is in revolvers, and yes IMO the 38sp is enough cartridge to get things handled. I do not carry anymore. RI is a difficult place to get a permit. I could do it, but in all the 30+ years that I did have concealed carry permits, I never carried a sidearm every day. That is just me I guess. However, if I were going to carry every day it would be my Glock 36. Why, it is light, reliable, and IMO fires the best all around pistol cartridge ever developed, the 45 acp. Carry one full clip in the gun, and 1 spare
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:24 PM
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The gun is good enough. Is the person behind it good enough.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:25 PM
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My spidey senses just started tingling... I can sense the caliber debate coming....
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:35 PM
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My spidey senses just started tingling... I can sense the caliber debate coming....
I did not try to start one, but you may well be correct
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperMan View Post
...it is until it isn't....

Shots Fired: Palm Desert, California 03•30•1996 - Article - POLICE Magazine

Now you can say this was an off-duty LEO but lets just say instead this is your daughter and her ex-husband....can your snubbie with your level of skill handle this....and the officer involved never carried a snubbie OD again and preached this to others...and he even hit the guy 4 GOOD times out of 5 shots fired.... I personally know two LEOs who got in gunfights with snubbies and neither ever carried one again...learn from the mistakes of others...

Go over to YouTube and LiveLeak and look at the robbery and gunfight videos...and then be honest with yourself...will a snubbie hack it...

I carry a small gun when I CAN'T carry a larger one...not when it is "inconvenient" to carry the large one...

Bob

Bad example. He took a snub and his badge and interjected into the issue as was his duty. Me and my wife would exit out the back of the store/warehouse/garden center post haste. A snub would have been perfectly suitable for the example you posted.

As far as fantasy scenarios, for every scenario you can bring up where my snub is not suitable, I can make something up where your hicap is unsutiable and you should have had a rifle or close air support.

Carry what you want but don't preach that because you are doing it some way, your way is better or smarter.

Me? I am very honest with myself.

1. Dont do stupid things in stupid places with stupid people.
2. Nothing good happens past midnight.
3. Situational awareness and exit plans.
4. Snubby lifestlye

Last edited by eb07; 08-27-2018 at 03:42 PM.
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  #48  
Old 08-27-2018, 03:41 PM
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Try finding evidence that it is inadequate. There are numerous stats available as well as thousands of documented individual cases of civilians using firearms in self-defense in print and video where the details are provided. You will be very hard pressed to find even a handful where a 5 shot J-frame was or would have been inadequate.

A lot of people look to police use for guidance as to what is the best handgun choice is for defensive purposes, but I just don't see the two being all that comparable since they have very different objectives and directives. It's kind of like how the self-defense martial arts and unarmed techniques I taught for civilian self-defense are very different from my police defensive-tactics program.

My goal as a civilian is to avoid trouble. I have no intent on intentially engaging terrorists or active-shooters in a long range firefight and even if I did, the current odds of being involved in such an incident are astronomically low. However, I don't see being randomly assaulted, mugged or carjacked and similar types of scenarios as being unrealistic. These events occur at extremely close-quarters, are generally reactive in nature, and I think the (enclosed hammer)snub revolver has some very positive attributes in those types of encounters that no other gun possesses. Even if I was jumped by multiple attackers, I would still want the snub due to the relatively high risk of the auto malfunctioning in that environment, even if most criminals will flee as soon as the gun is deployed or after the first shots are fired. And if they don't, the revolver will almost assuredly go bang all five times as well as offering excellent inherent weapon retention against gun grabs.

If I had to choose one gun for (all) defensive purposes, I would definately choose a small revolver. And if I had nagging underlying worries over capacity, I would simply carry a second one and have absolutely no concerns at all.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:53 PM
Buford57 Buford57 is offline
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That's what's in my pocket. I have been called reckless, but never suicidal.

Everything else that could be said has been said.
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Old 08-27-2018, 04:02 PM
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It all depends on the situation I guess. If by myself, and only thinking of myself, I'm OK with my old model 60 but I'd probably be OK with my P3AT 380 too,,,,most times.

Should the SHTF somewhere in public, and I could have been more effective as an armed citizen (retired LEO) in protecting the lives of others if I was better armed, and could have been, then that would be tough for me to live with.

It really isn't any harder or more uncomfortable to carry a single stack 9mm with a couple of spare mags, a much better option although really still minimal. It's not much more difficult to carry a Glock 19 or whatever the Smith equivalent is. I don't have a G19 so I substitute G23, although 40 isn't "popular" anymore. A decent compact 1911 with a couple of spare mags is a good option too.

Yeah, a J frame is nice and easy to carry but are you being selfish if that's all you have on you when you have better options? I feel a little irresponsible when I wuss out and carry the little single stack 9 (Shield, G43, PF9) which I confess to doing too often.

Today I'm a little embarrassed to admit I was carrying Taurus PT111G2 9mm in a cheap Galco AIWB and a spare mag (that's 25 rounds with the quick reload). The G23 got put in the safe and the Taurus is my semi-disposable truck gun, although it really shoots OK.

I live in hot, humid S. FL and even here it really isn't that hard to carry a little more gun. I do every day. The 380s and air weight J frames are for going for walks in shorts and Ts (or working in the woods killing pepper trees). Oh, and BTW, the snubbie J frames with snake shot work great on snakes. At 5' or so mine patterns at 6"- perfect.

So, I'm sorry if I sounded critical and I realize I'm in the small minority but that's my opinion.
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