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Old 04-28-2020, 01:44 AM
JayFramer JayFramer is offline
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Default Why NOT to Carry a .38 Snub

Check out what vaunted gun writer and shootist Jim Grant has to say about the failings of the .38 snub for defense work:

Four Reasons to NEVER Carry Just a .38 Snubnose



Interesting article and he has some points worthy of consideration. I have been wrestling with carrying one of the new high-capacity micro 9s like the P365 or Hellcat, or just carrying an old-fashioned (many would say obsolete) .38 snub.

What do you guys think about this article?

Last edited by JayFramer; 04-28-2020 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 04-28-2020, 02:38 AM
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5 bangs, some clicks, no reload. You die.

Don't fool around. Get a P365.
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Old 04-28-2020, 02:59 AM
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Six in a Colt DS.
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Old 04-28-2020, 05:02 AM
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"Compact, reliable and fool-proof." After that..the article is mostly about his shortcomings.

Snub is not accurate. Marksmanship is 99.9% on the shooter.

Anything less than 357 isn't "good" enough for self defense.
He obviously has never needed a weapon for a real self defense moment.38 Special will pretty much stop any threat other than a moving truck.

The kick is too much. Idiot picked plastic grips..just about the worst choice for handling recoil.

Difficult reloads. Another way of saying he won't PRACTICE with speedloaders.



"a .38 snub nose is a dangerously effective tool when employed correctly"

Best reason to carry one!
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Old 04-28-2020, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by JayFramer View Post

"Four Reasons to NEVER Carry Just a .38 Snubnose... What do you guys think about this article?

I think the author's use and capitalization of the word "NEVER" made me lose interest in reading the article. He also said ".38 Special Terminal Ballistics Suck". That is hyperbolic and ultimately untrue. If he said that about .32 ACP I probably would not take issue with it, but .38 Special is certainly a much better choice than that round as long as someone chooses the right ammunition and practices with it. If the author soberly set out to have a frank yet dispassionate discussion about the pro's and con's of a .38 snub nosed revolver, I would take it seriously and likely find it helpful, but I can't take the trash talk seriously.

Raul Martinez, the training director and lead "combatives coach" at The FieldCraft Survival, for example, carries a .38 snubby to and from work because he knows that, in that situation, he is only interested in breaking contact (YouTube). Martinez is obviously a professional and knows what he's talking about, so if he feels confident in his choice, who is the author to say his choice sucks?

Is a snubnose .38 over prescribed to women and older people? Yes, probably (and certainly it was ten years ago), but that is far from saying a .38 snubby sucks as it really depends on the person and the mission (no one would choose it as a sidearm for patrol). Moreover, plenty of people have adequately protected themselves with a .38 snubnosed revolver. Yes, plenty have people have also likely failed in that endeavor, but that can be said of handguns generally and even rifles and shotguns. I would say the effectiveness of breaking contact with a .38 snubby loaded with the right ammo and in the hands of a practiced shooter is certainly within the margin of error of someone in a similar situation carrying 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. It's similar to carrying a .380 ACP. It may not exactly inspire confidence for the average shooter, but it can get the job done, and sometimes a .38 is someone's only option.

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Old 04-28-2020, 05:36 AM
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Default The only thing I have against snubs......

I like snubs, I have two of them and never hesitated to keep them handy for self defense. In the last years, I've found them harder to shoot straight without a LOT of practice. If I go cold to a range, my first shots are not satisfactory at any distance. Then I get the hang of it again and shoot better.

But I can't tell a burglar, "Wait until I run down to the range and warm up." I have a several semis that I can grab and get off several good shots with right off the bat. So nowadays I depend on those.
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Old 04-28-2020, 05:43 AM
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He lacks understanding and the realization that his generalizations also apply to dozens of pistols as well. I think he just needs to practice more so that he isn't a lousy shot.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:06 AM
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Default I have a steel model 36......

...that is a DREAM to shoot. If I shoot one of my favorite loads, they aren't +P and they test just fine. 'Stout recoil', I can handle it easily. So the idea is to get a snub in .357. Now THAT has stout recoil and will deafen you indoors.

Now I do have an alloy model 38. That thing is brutal to shoot with mild ammo. I could never practice enough to be proficient, though in a tight situation I could handle it, pain and all better than nothing.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:12 AM
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This guy must live in a very high threat environment. The actual effectiveness of .38 Special 125 gr hp, and the similar load in 9mm and even the 357 SIG and .357 Magnum are about the same. See various tests by Paul Harrell and remember the significant emotional event called getting shot. Now, is a 3" or 4" better, yes, how much you be the judge. Geoff Who notes he is moving to a larger semi-auto, mainly because of the increased threat level in NE Florida. I carry a Ruger LCP at the moment.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:20 AM
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Don't know how vaunted he should be considered after reading that.

He's just trying to stir up the natives.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:21 AM
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Thank you for prompting us to read that drivel and generate our own drivel in reply.

The guy is not going to curry favor by condemning the .38 and he doesn't really provide a reasonable alternative. Recoil is a concept of perspective. If I hand you my Bond .45LC loaded with a 325 grain bullet and let you shoot that twice, then your perspective on the .38 will be much amended. You will likely say that it recoils much more tolerably than before.

The question of capacity is an easy sell. I have noticed over the years that capacity increase lays open the road for consumption increase. If I have a single shot .22 rifle and a handful of ammunition, my range session of twenty five shots is quite an intensive thing. However, if I have a rifle loaded with a 25 round magazine, I can increase my consumption of rounds quite substantially in the same period of time.

This opens an interesting box. How is it can I walk to the mailbox with a 9mm and feel like I am living dangerously without a reload? By the same logic if I were to carry a J Frame with four reloads I consider myself well equipped. I feel like it is a matter of how the ammunition is broken down and what exactly we expect to accomplish with it. I think folks who carry a large quantity of ammunition in their guns are, over time, accustomed to accomplishing less with more. They are not hesitating to crank off three rounds because that is maybe 20% of their ammunition supply. Results from shot one are not needed as shots four and five will surely connect and correct whatever number one failed to accomplish. Failing that there is the next magazine; until there isn't.

With a weapon of limited capacity, I tend to develop the best initial response. I have no quaternary backup plan involving the 37th round fired. I'm looking to solve the shooting problems one by one. I am aiming to win through effective marksmanship or avoidance completely. I simply cannot afford to expend 60% of my onboard ammunition supply dealing with one problem.

As far as ballistics or perceived power level go, the .38 is sufficient. It's not a hammer of Thor nor is it merely besting throwing rocks. It bothers me that people never seem to examine case efficiency with defensive rounds. I didn't either until I got into derringers. I learned from testing and hand loading about efficiency. The longer case is not as efficient at consuming its laser charge in the short barrel. We aren't stopping elephant either.

I believe that someone is going to make note of being shot effectively and I think the J Frame is capable of doing that. If I feel that I am getting into a higher level problem, well then I'll bring my .375 and deal with the elephant in the room.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
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What do you guys think about this article?
It worked! Mission accomplished! He needed to write an article, get it published and get paid. Larry
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:38 AM
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Another " expert" who has probably never been in a physical confrontation let alone had to use a firearm in self defense. Glanced over it. Moved on.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:42 AM
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I think the article would have made a more compelling argument if it had been titled: "The .38 snubnose, a gun for skilled shooters"

IMO the .38 snubnose is not the ideal defensive side arm, if such a thing were to exist, but that doesn't mean that it won't do the job. I don't think it's the right choice for the low skills shooter for the very reasons that he cited.

Accuracy- In skilled hands the snub has far more accuracy than many claim and is certainly accurate enough at personal defense distances in skilled hands.

Ballistics - It's not the powerhouse of larger cartridges but with the right loads chosen it has sufficient penetration and at least some expansion to reach the vitals without overwhelming recoil.

Recoil- Again a reason not to chose it for the low skilled or person sensitive to recoil (same for the cartridges he recommends i.e. .357).

Reload speed - Yep, use a speedloader or speed strips and PRACTICE. He comments of reloading with "slippery" cartridges. That's very true of loose rounds. Solve that with the speedloader or speed strip.

There is no one perfect gun for everyone or every scenario. Not the 1911, not the double stack 9mm/40.

While my 642 has been relegated to "sometimes" carry and replaced with my Shield 9mm I am far from defenseless with the 642.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:47 AM
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These wheel gun versus bottom feeder discussions never end well on other forums.

Maybe it will be a bit better here. Maybe.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:57 AM
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Skimmed the article. Meh. Nothing new.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sistema1927 View Post
These wheel gun versus bottom feeder discussions never end well on other forums.

Maybe it will be a bit better here. Maybe.


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Old 04-28-2020, 09:09 AM
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Raised on revolvers, good to go with a J frame. Came into shooting on semi's, way to stay.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:13 AM
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Internet commando. I've got case studies of MANY untrained individuals successfully killing others with rimfires, 380's 32's etc with absolutely NO formal training whatsoever. They' are called "defendants" and sometimes "clients" Most use autos simply because they are cheaper and easier to get than revolvers. In fact is is the aberration when a bad guy is found with a revolver-most prefer the semi auto. Perhaps they have read this guy's article and taken his advice
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:23 AM
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"...a 2" .38 Special recoils too much, so you should get a 3" .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum..."




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Old 04-28-2020, 09:24 AM
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Just because he is a gun writer does not give him any bonafides..........
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:28 AM
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Default long sorry!

I carry a dinky little .38. Heck is even a low capacity 5 shot and not loosing sleep over it. I'm 74 been carrying a gun for close to 50 years now. You know what I have never fired it in anger and good chance I never will. Yes I have been in a few rather interesting situations!

My now carried .38 is small light and I just grab it as I head out the door. If a situation I'm in gets critical enough that I shoot it hope my years of preparation and for the most part figuring out what I will do or not do will come in handy.

I'm not a cop, not going to jump in something I realy should not be in. Watch my six (and other numbers) as I have developed a good case of street smarts over the years. Yes all situations are different and I'm in the middel of something like a idiot shooting up a shopping center I might reassess my position.

I have carried well over 15 different guns as a CCW. That goes for my little Ruger LCR.38 that is right next to me as I type this.

Have carried 3 different .380s, a model 29 4''with reasonable ammo. A few other .38s K frame size and a couple .357s 4'' and two different full size 1911s .45s and a smaller one. I definitely have a lot of time "walking heavy"!
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:41 AM
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It isn't often when one post can trigger two groups, the snub fans and the capacity crowd. He is right in one respect. A D/A revolver, especially a snub, is a gun best suited to an experienced shooter. Even then, it takes time and effort to become skilled with one. Then we have the capacity crowd, who not only mock those who carry J frames, but also those who carry single stack autos. Personally, I haven't concerned myself with capacity since I left Vietnam. If a spare mag or two speedloaders isn't enough, I'd better not leave the house.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:41 AM
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I will be leaving for my morning walk in a few minutes. Armed as always with my 642. My only regret is I'll be leaving five minutes later than I otherwise would have, because I wasted them reading that article.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:49 AM
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Default Not feeling undergunned

Whenever I do any kind of shooting I bring a snub nose to practice. I rarely carry but when I do it has +p 110 to 135gn ammo with proven track record.
I practice with this ammo too.
Many times just the presence of a gun stops the crime.
Once my 442 is in their face they can see the hollow points
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:51 AM
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I think it is a load of opinionated noise. ANY choice in a concealed carry SD weapon will have compromises. An INTELLIGENT evaluation of those choices will bring you to what is a reasonable conclusion for you under your circumstances. Generally speaking (obviously there are exceptions) a private citizen concealed carry is NOT going out looking for bad guys, unlike a cop. He is unlikely to come across a mob of opponents. Most people, including most bad people, don't want to get shot. A .38 out of a snubby will do the job IF you can hit with it. It can be reloading reasonably quickly IF you practice a bit. A MISS with a .44 mag is, IMHO, likely to be less effective than a hit with a .38 special. I carried a Colt DS for years, still carry it on occasion. I have pulled it twice, had to use it once. One shot did the job, because I hit what I was shooting at.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:08 AM
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after looking at his picture and surmising i've go a sock drawer full of socks older than this guy, i moved on. i can remember being that age [most days] and full of knowledge that just wasn't true.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:13 AM
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Looking at his credentials, I would guess he doesn't have much 'combat' time.... :-))))
Somebody PLEASE tell him that you don't need accuracy in a real (civilian) life and death situation.
Personally, I feel more comfortable with revolver reliability .......
IMHO of course,
J
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:22 AM
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Bless that young Feller's heart. Maybe one day he will learn the truth about some things.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:23 AM
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It worked! Mission accomplished! He needed to write an article, get it published and get paid. Larry
Exactly. Just like 99% of internet content.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:24 AM
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Default All about opinion

He has his, I have mine, everyone else has theirs. I doubt many people's opinions will be changed due to his article.

I had an old friend, who sadly is gone now. He worked as the investigator for the NC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner his entire career. He saw more gunshot victims than just about anyone in the state. He was also a gun guy. He had several opinions that I respected due to what he had seen.

First, you need a gun. Any gun is better than no gun.

Second, a small caliber, i.e. a 22, 25 or 32 will kill a person. The issue is how long it takes and how much damage can the person do while dying.

Third, when asked what caliber to use for law enforcement he opined that something that was reliable and fired a bowling ball. The larger the better.

Lastly, in reference to gun writers, he said that unlike academic research the body of knowledge is greatly limited and most articles simply regurgitate or repackage what is already out there OR it is simply an opinion. He said the most helpful gunwriter articles simply described new products, and these had to be taken with a grain of salt as many gunwriters are prejudiced or are paid/compensated to guide readers to their sponsor's products.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:35 AM
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My first instinct is to label him an idiot. However, I am going to just label him as inexperienced.

I have been shot at a couple of times and I have only returned fire one time. I don’t think I have earned the gunfighter status but I have experienced enough to know I must always be armed. I have been in the general vicinity of a shooting more times than I care for. Here is why I carry a 38 j frame. The old five shots for sure theory; five shots without a doubt. I know I am almost as likely to get five shots reliably from a Glock or even a shield but that is it what I am implying. I am more likely to have a 442 on me all the time. There is no platform I can as effectively put the first round on target as quickly as a j frame either. I have a 442 on my side and I have not even gotten fully dressed yet. I bet this fool only carries 75% of the time at best. I haven’t stepped foot outside my house unarmed in years. Even during undercover operations I have had a 442 in deep concealment. Ok, maybe the 38 is marginally effective but it is still effective. Even he compares it to the 9mm, I think the 9mm is more effective though, but the 9mm has a pretty good track record.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:42 AM
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Ken Hackathorn....known to many on the forum once told me that a J frame is a professionals gun.

Too many well meaning men introduce their ladies to the world of handguns with a J frame and then wonder why the ladies don't want to shoot it anymore....

I tend to agree with Ken on this.

Randy
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:43 AM
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grant.......is full of processed food.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:49 AM
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Another You-Tube expert. Police forces around the world, as well as armed forces carried revolvers in .38 Special for over a hundred years. The manufacturers and gun magazines love all the late gun hype ( the pistol per week crowd). But each to his own ( like all us old guys). I think I'll go clean my 1911 and Hi-Power. Seriously, I've carried either a CA Undercover or S&W Chiefs Special cross draw in this old Hunter, for years when driving. So I really show my age and get the "HUH ?" looks from the youngsters at the range
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:50 AM
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I wonder how many folks use their sights in a self-defense situation?
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BlackAgnes View Post
I wonder how many folks use their sights in a self-defense situation?
IMO none ( that survive). In a panic driven adrenaline rush there's no time to use sights, unless you've got the demeanor and time to take aim at 20 yards plus; then ya go to jail.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:58 AM
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I carry probably too many different guns - perhaps being a combo gun geek and a little ADD maybe, dunno.
But - having my own range, I'm fortunate to train and drill with all of them.

Will say that for me, and my experiences in LE and as an instructor, the family of snub revolvers are the least forgiving as far as training and practice go.

For most - go a long time without time on the range with your snub, and good hits in any time-set not using a calendar go way down.
That short sight radius, small frame and remaining adept at DA shooting all conspire to mess with you badly.

Apply some dedication to keeping up with range time with your snub, and they're great for what they're intended for.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:02 AM
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Long before that guy was born the .38 spl was the mainstay of LE and civilians alike. That writer is a legend in his own mind.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:30 AM
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When I'm not feeling threatened I'll leave the Colt DS six shooter at home and just carry my S&W 5 shot snub.

Seriously, with the long DA pull, on most plastic guns, a snub with a hammer allows for SA shooting if cover is available.

The old G36, which I started carrying, is almost like an SA and works better for me than the LCP or similar pistols.

An endless supply of ammo does have merit.
Competency has more merit.... along with weak hand skills.

With young kids around it's a DA/SA auto, single or double stack and Safety or Safety/Decocker, in 22LR, 380 or 9mm.
The 380s are loaded hot with 115gr XTPs and FMJs.... mini 9s

My 1911s and P238s are best but are covered with sawdust lately.
Glad the G36 is not grip maker's gold.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:42 AM
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I do agree with him on one point. The double action only J frame (or LCR) is not an ideal first gun for a woman. Neither is a sub-compact nine. My recommendation for new women shooters is a Charter Arms, slightly larger than most J frames and the price point is good.
Myself I'm a revolver shooter but I don't shoot a J frame well, the old Model 36 was OK. But I'll put my skill with a 2 1/2 inch K frame far above any 9mm I have ever shot.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldstar225 View Post
I think the article would have made a more compelling argument if it had been titled: "The .38 snubnose, a gun for skilled shooters"

IMO the .38 snubnose is not the ideal defensive side arm, if such a thing were to exist, but that doesn't mean that it won't do the job. I don't think it's the right choice for the low skills shooter for the very reasons that he cited.

Accuracy- In skilled hands the snub has far more accuracy than many claim and is certainly accurate enough at personal defense distances in skilled hands.

Ballistics - It's not the powerhouse of larger cartridges but with the right loads chosen it has sufficient penetration and at least some expansion to reach the vitals without overwhelming recoil.

Recoil- Again a reason not to chose it for the low skilled or person sensitive to recoil (same for the cartridges he recommends i.e. .357).

Reload speed - Yep, use a speedloader or speed strips and PRACTICE. He comments of reloading with "slippery" cartridges. That's very true of loose rounds. Solve that with the speedloader or speed strip.

There is no one perfect gun for everyone or every scenario. Not the 1911, not the double stack 9mm/40.

While my 642 has been relegated to "sometimes" carry and replaced with my Shield 9mm I am far from defenseless with the 642.
Well said. As the author states, the 38 snub probably isn't the best possible choice for new shooters, or even for anyone who isn't an experienced shooter.

For most people they take more time and practice to shoot well than one of the compact 9mms. Most compact 9s come with better sights. The snubs generally have a shorter barrel. It takes a huge amount of practice to even get close to being as quick to reload - no matter what reloading device you use. And he really didn't even make the capacity argument.

His only points that are really debatable IMO are the ballistics, and the recoil.

To me the key point to remember is he isn't talking about you old hands who've already got 20, 30, 40 years of experience shooting a J frame.

He's talking about new shooters and average shooters who would need years of practice to gain the proficiency you guys already have.

For those groups I think most of his article is right on.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:50 AM
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Well I and my 642 are back from my morning walk. I reflected on that article while I walked. It could just as well have been comprised of two sentences.

1. They're difficult to shoot well.
2. They're not as powerful as larger calibers.

But I guess writing two sentences wouldn't pay much.

Here's my question. Set aside the quality of the article. How much do people get paid to write an article like that? $100? $500? Does anybody know?
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Old 04-28-2020, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tops View Post
It worked! Mission accomplished! He needed to write an article, get it published and get paid. Larry
Folks, Tops is right on the money. Even the title of the article was purposely designed to get people to read this bozo's drivel. He was purposely trying to "stir the pot."

Even his first point of argument (You're Not a Good Enough Shot) proves that he didn't think this out logically. Think about it. What is the most likely scenario where a person nowadays will need to use a handgun for personal defense? In the home? Perhaps. That would be a relatively short distance not requiring precise alignment of fully adjustable target sights.

Another likely scenario might possibly be in a fairly empty supermarket parking lot late at night when you need to make an emergency run for a gallon of milk and get approached by some doo-dah who wants your wallet.

Both scenarios aren't going to require precise accuracy. Nope. We're talking up close and personal, i.e. belly button range.

In a typical scenario (and remember, I said typical), we aren't going to be taking shots at a myriad of armed assassins at 50 yards.

Okay, that being said, and knowing the skill set of the majority of the folks on this forum, a snub-nose .38 special would not only be more than sufficient, but downright deadly for the bad guy. Just my two cents worth...and it probably isn't even worth that much.
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Old 04-28-2020, 12:26 PM
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This Mo-Mo apparently never heard of a Model 10, 12, 64..
2 inch "snub".
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Old 04-28-2020, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
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It worked! Mission accomplished! He needed to write an article, get it published and get paid. Larry
Exactly. By this time next year he'll write one "Why the 38 snub nose is still taking care of business" or giving a 38 snub nose a glowing review on a website or in a magazine that accepts advertising dollars from that particular manufacturer.
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Old 04-28-2020, 12:56 PM
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I always say that snubbies are guns for expert shooters to carry.

My friend, a novice to firearms, had a nice 1980s vintage S&W snubbie, that he had never fired. I took him to the range, gave him earplugs and instructions on using them, set up a target at 10 feet, gave him ammo, and had him shoot at a 10" target. He got exactly one round on target (nowhere near the X ring); the rest entirely missed the 10" target.

My friend said "There is something wrong with this gun," so I reloaded it and fired a single round right through the X ring.

My friend sold the snubbie and bought a 9 mm Glock. It was the right move for him.

My point? Snubbies are guns for expert shooters, experienced and accurate at shooting a snubbie, to carry.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:11 PM
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He wrote his article. He got paid. I donít agree with most of his thinking.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
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By this time next year he'll write one "Why the 38 snub nose is still taking care of business" or giving a 38 snub nose a glowing review on a website or in a magazine that accepts advertising dollars from that particular manufacturer.
True. But more than likely, he'll write something with a highly controversial title in order to get his publisher to bite and the reader's ire up. Titles like Why the Model 1911 is Obsolete, or Why Revolvers Have Gone the Way of Button Shoes, or perhaps even something like Why the .30-06 is Not An Effective Deer Cartridge.

These so-called "gun experts" know what sells. Most of 'em aren't in the business of informing the public. They're in the business of selling articles. Period.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:56 PM
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Talking HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! SO DOGGONE FUNNY!!!!

If I quoted each of the best comments above it would sound like a first rate comedian's opening monologue. This was the funniest thread I've seen in a long time.


Quote:
Thank you for prompting us to read that drivel and generate our own drivel in reply.




Obi-Wan! A fine student of the Force - well put that was.....

And how much target practice do you really need for a "belly gun"? If you're practicing at 25 yards you've already exceeded your gun's capabilities unless you're Jerry Miculek or Bob Munden reincarnated. That's simply not what the J-frame is designed to be used for. Sigh......we all know that.....

Quote:
"...a 2" .38 Special recoils too much, so you should get a 3" .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum..."
OMG that's so funny - a 3" L frame is fun to shoot but he's talking J frames. What a hoot!
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