The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 22, 2009, 02:42 PM   #1
gson
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2009
Posts: 9
Another .38 snubby

Hey all,

I'm getting my CCW permit next month and want to purchase a .38 special snub nose. I know you guys can point me in the right direction. Here are a few things I'm looking for:

Use: CCW, out and about. Leave the shotty for home defence.

Shots: 5 or 6 depending on which has the superior gun.

Weight & Size: I do not care about weight, just the size/ability to conceal it. The only .38 I fired was a Cobra .38 Special CTG and I am definitely looking for something smaller/easier to conceal for this carry gun.

Action: Capable of both single and double action. I'm not worried about snag due to proper holster and draw procedure, shrouded hammer is as close as I'd get to no hammer.

Firing: Fun to shoot at the range. Smooth trigger pull for steady and accurate double action shots. Be nice if the recoil was kept in control.

Sights: Able to use the Big Dot low light visibility sight(unless the gun in question can't but is a superior gun). I will not being doing lasers any time soon becuase of the $$.

Going off as many as the above as possible, what would you recommend and why? I'm not gonna even ask about ammunition yet, will figure out the gun first.

Thanks for your help.

Last edited by gson; August 22, 2009 at 03:19 PM.
gson is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 02:56 PM   #2
ChicagoTex
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 18, 2008
Location: DFW Metroplex
Posts: 1,909
Sounds like you want either an 2 1/8" S&W Model 60 or a Ruger SP101

Both are all-steel, five-shot, exposed-hammer, snubnoses. The S&W is a .357 Magnum, as are most versions of the Ruger, but you can shoot .38 Spls in them safely to your heart's content. The all-steel construction is deeply helpful in recoil control, and since you've mentioned you're not concerned about carry weight, this is probably the way to go for you.

In both cases, it would probably behoove you to get bigger, fuller grips to replace the stock ones, but you can get something very comfortable and still concealable like the Pachmayr Compac for not very much.

Good luck, welcome to the forum, and let us know if you have any other questions.
ChicagoTex is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 02:57 PM   #3
JeepinGA
Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2007
Location: Georgia
Posts: 45
http://www.taurususa.com/product-det...rumbseries=PR2

A Taurus model 851 is economical and is truly a perfect CCW. They can eat up all the +P ammo you can find.
__________________
NRA Life Member
JeepinGA is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 03:02 PM   #4
AirForceShooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 21, 2005
Location: Sarasota (sort of) Florida
Posts: 1,185
a CCW gun that's good for the range? nope.
Range guns tend to be big and heavy. You can shoot them all day.
Snubbies are small and light. Some are brutal to shoot.
And weight counts in a CCW. More than size.

Good luck

AFS
AirForceShooter is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 03:06 PM   #5
jaydubya
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 1, 2006
Location: Sandy Eggo
Posts: 430
From your specifications, I would say the S&W 637 Airweight is your best choice. I have one and have fired about 2,000 rounds from it. It fits nicely in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster, which in turns fits invisibly in the trousers I wear (not skin tight jeans). I could carry it all day without even noticing it -- except I live in California where obtaining a concealed weapon permit is an iffey task. One thing about Airweights that needs to be said: it takes practice, practice, practice to become competent with them. And practice, practice, practice with a 637 and live ammunition is painful, painful, painful. I am good for about twenty rounds and then I go do something else. But in a self defense situation, I wouldn't notice a thing.

Whatever handgun you end up buying, be sure that Crimson Trace has a set of laser grips for it -- even if you don't plan to get them right away. There are a lot of handguns out there that Crimson Trace does not, and probably never will, make grips for. These handguns are, by that fact, fatally flawed. Crimson Trace makes grips for most S&W and Ruger revolvers, as well as certain models of Taurus revolvers. I have them on three of my handguns, and would not buy a handgun that Crimson Trace did not make grips for.

Cordially, Jack
jaydubya is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 03:16 PM   #6
gson
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2009
Posts: 9
Quote:
Sounds like you want either an 2 1/8" S&W Model 60 or a Ruger SP101

Both are all-steel, five-shot, exposed-hammer, snubnoses. The S&W is a .357 Magnum, as are most versions of the Ruger, but you can shoot .38 Spls in them safely to your heart's content. The all-steel construction is deeply helpful in recoil control, and since you've mentioned you're not concerned about carry weight, this is probably the way to go for you.

In both cases, it would probably behoove you to get bigger, fuller grips to replace the stock ones, but you can get something very comfortable and still concealable like the Pachmayr Compac for not very much.

Good luck, welcome to the forum, and let us know if you have any other questions.
Thanks for the warm welcome. One question about using either of those guns. As I mentioned I shot a .38 Cobra Special CTG, and afterwards I knew I wanted something smaller/more concealable to carry around than that. Won't the .357 be just as big?

Quote:
a CCW gun that's good for the range? nope.
Range guns tend to be big and heavy. You can shoot them all day.
Snubbies are small and light. Some are brutal to shoot.
And weight counts in a CCW. More than size.

Good luck

AFS
Hey thanks for the info. Your right, I can't have a range gun and a perfect CCW in one. I just had it on the list in case a certain .38 is better to shoot at the range, as I will be going there.

Last edited by gson; August 22, 2009 at 03:33 PM.
gson is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 03:34 PM   #7
9mm1033
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2005
Location: A big city with far too many cars and people.
Posts: 932
You'd probably like my steel M36. Except, they are hard to find (this was manufactured in 1968) and it will not accept the Big Sights you want. I wouldn't want to shoot it at the range, but she sure is perfect for conceal carry. Personally, I'd like to have the slightly larger M60 with the longer barrel and the .357 capability. This M36 is .38 special only. No +P according to the factory. Try looking at the .38 Airweights, they seem to be at most gun stores.

__________________
No one reads or cares what is written in ones signature box. So I'm not writing anything worth reading or remembering.
9mm1033 is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 03:35 PM   #8
ChicagoTex
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 18, 2008
Location: DFW Metroplex
Posts: 1,909
Quote:
As I mentioned I shot a .38 Cobra Special CTG, and afterwards I knew I wanted something smaller/more concealable to carry around than that. Won't the .357 be just as big?
Depending on which barrel length you fired, most snubbies will be roughly just as big. If you fired a 3" Colt Cobra (.38 Special Ctg is just a marking for ".38 Special Cartridge" - the round it fires), these will be smaller (1" shorter, specifically), if you fired a 2" Colt Cobra, it's gonna be hard to get much smaller than that.

Since you're a little unclear on your dimensional requirements, I recommend you swing by your local gun store and check a few models out to see what fits your ideal size requirements.
ChicagoTex is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 03:36 PM   #9
rickyjames
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 5, 2009
Posts: 558
there are gun manufacturers that offer little 357 snub nose revolvers in 5 or 6 shot versions which are the same size as a 38 snub nose. all things being equal i would choose the 357 which gives you the ability to shoot both 357 and 38's over just the 38 revolver. if you feel you need more power you have the 357 but at the same time if you need ammo you can use 38's also. with todays ammo shortage being able to shoot 2 different cartridges out of the same gun is a big advantage in my mind. i have 2 s&w police chief specials in 38, a taurus 605 and a snub nose rossie both in 357. i carry the 357's.
rickyjames is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 03:44 PM   #10
gson
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2009
Posts: 9
Quote:
Depending on which barrel length you fired, most snubbies will be roughly just as big. If you fired a 3" Colt Cobra (.38 Special Ctg is just a marking for ".38 Special Cartridge" - the round it fires), these will be smaller (1" shorter, specifically), if you fired a 2" Colt Cobra, it's gonna be hard to get much smaller than that.

Since you're a little unclear on your dimensional requirements, I recommend you swing by your local gun store and check a few models out to see what fits your ideal size requirements.
Hey sorry I didn't specify, it was a .38 special 2" Colt Cobra. See picture here: http://img36.imageshack.us/i/img0148d.jpg/. The full size of the gun minus the grip was just a little on the big side for my CCW taste. So the .38 snubs don't get smaller then that?


Quote:
From your specifications, I would say the S&W 637 Airweight is your best choice. I have one and have fired about 2,000 rounds from it. It fits nicely in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster, which in turns fits invisibly in the trousers I wear (not skin tight jeans). I could carry it all day without even noticing it -- except I live in California where obtaining a concealed weapon permit is an iffey task. One thing about Airweights that needs to be said: it takes practice, practice, practice to become competent with them. And practice, practice, practice with a 637 and live ammunition is painful, painful, painful. I am good for about twenty rounds and then I go do something else. But in a self defense situation, I wouldn't notice a thing.

Whatever handgun you end up buying, be sure that Crimson Trace has a set of laser grips for it -- even if you don't plan to get them right away. There are a lot of handguns out there that Crimson Trace does not, and probably never will, make grips for. These handguns are, by that fact, fatally flawed. Crimson Trace makes grips for most S&W and Ruger revolvers, as well as certain models of Taurus revolvers. I have them on three of my handguns, and would not buy a handgun that Crimson Trace did not make grips for.

Cordially, Jack
Thanks Jack. Good tips. I am just not interested in CT right now because of the price, but I think it is a great idea to think down the road when I want to upgrade grips.

Last edited by gson; August 22, 2009 at 03:56 PM.
gson is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 03:59 PM   #11
dgludwig
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2005
Location: North central Ohio
Posts: 5,182
Quote:
Hey sorry I didn't specify, it was a .38 special 2" Colt Cobra. The full size of the gun minus the grip was just a little on the big side for my CCW taste. So the snubs don't get smaller then that?
Not much. Imo, the Cobra is about as good as it gets for a light-weight, concealable snub. Hard to ignore having 20 % more ammunition on board when compared with the typical J-framed size snub nose, especially when the weight is the same.

If weight is not an issue with you (and I'm not sure why weight would not be a concern when carrying concealed), consider the same sized (as the Cobra) Colt Detective Special. All the size (if not the weight) and ammunition advantages of the Cobra but constructed entirely of steel.
__________________
ONLY AN ARMED PEOPLE CAN BE TRULY FREE ; ONLY AN UNARMED PEOPLE CAN EVER BE ENSLAVED
...Aristotle
NRA Benefactor Life Member
dgludwig is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 04:11 PM   #12
Jim Downey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2009
Posts: 202
gson, welcome to the forum!

The small snubbies are great for concealed-carry, and I personally am fond of the j-frame airweights. I like the completely enclosed 642, and don't mind at all having it be only double action, but to each their own.

One thing about shooting a small snubbie - it takes practice. Lots of practice. Having a somewhat larger revolver in the same caliber that you can shoot at the range a lot will help - then you can always finish up the day with as much of the smaller gun as you can take (so long as you're not just ingraining bad habits). When you do get practiced with it, you'll be surprised at how good you can get, even with something that is DAO.

And five shots is plenty for a pocket pistol. Yeah, I have a .45 with 13 on my hip right now, but I don't feel undergunned with my 642 and a speed strip for those situations where that is what works.

Good luck!

Jim D.
__________________
James Downey
http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/ - BBTI handgun cartridge research
http://www.guns.com/author/jim-downey/ - Guns.com where I'm a features/review writer
http://www.communionofdreams.com/ Communion of Dreams - my current novel.
Jim Downey is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 04:25 PM   #13
gson
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2009
Posts: 9
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Hey sorry I didn't specify, it was a .38 special 2" Colt Cobra. The full size of the gun minus the grip was just a little on the big side for my CCW taste. So the snubs don't get smaller then that?
Not much.
Well hey, that is my #1 factor. If I can get a .38 snub that's smaller then that .38 special 2" colt cobra, perfect. That Cobra is just a little too big.
gson is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 04:47 PM   #14
dgludwig
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2005
Location: North central Ohio
Posts: 5,182
The Cobra cylinder is about 1/10" bigger than the smallest J-frame and the Cobra weighs the same as the Airweight. Imo, the extra tenth of an inch difference is an acceptable trade-off for the extra round but, hey, if size matters that much to you, there are a ton of five shot snubbies out there for you to choose from.
__________________
ONLY AN ARMED PEOPLE CAN BE TRULY FREE ; ONLY AN UNARMED PEOPLE CAN EVER BE ENSLAVED
...Aristotle
NRA Benefactor Life Member
dgludwig is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 04:49 PM   #15
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 7,013
S&W 442, 642, 638 are considerably smaller than the Cobra.
Taurus makes some nice 2" .38s that are the same size as the S&Ws.
.357 Magnum in a small gun recoils fiercely and kicks like a mule.
__________________
Bill DeShivs
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 05:47 PM   #16
gson
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2009
Posts: 9
Thank you Bill, considerably smaller then the Cobra, sounds good. I will check outs the S&W 638, 642, 442 when I get home. Whats the difference between those 3
gson is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 06:28 PM   #17
ChicagoTex
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 18, 2008
Location: DFW Metroplex
Posts: 1,909
Quote:
Thank you Bill, considerably smaller then the Cobra, sounds good. I will check outs the S&W 638, 642, 442 when I get home. Whats the difference between those 3
The 638 is the shrouded hammer "bodyguard style", the 642 is the stainless "centennial style" (DAO, fully enclosed hammer, and the 442 is the black version of the 642 (or the 642 is the stainless version of the 442, however you want to look at it). All have lightweight aluminum frames.

The 637 is the exposed-hammer version, which might appeal to you the most.

The Model 60 (steel .357 magnum) I mentioned before is also very close in size (as they're all built on the same frame), but has a 1/4" longer barrel with a full shroud (so the barrel is slightly heavier), the added weight will help absorb recoil better for range time, but it is a little bit more expensive.
ChicagoTex is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 10:34 PM   #18
gson
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2009
Posts: 9
Quote:
The 638 is the shrouded hammer "bodyguard style", the 642 is the stainless "centennial style" (DAO, fully enclosed hammer, and the 442 is the black version of the 642 (or the 642 is the stainless version of the 442, however you want to look at it). All have lightweight aluminum frames.

The 637 is the exposed-hammer version, which might appeal to you the most.

The Model 60 (steel .357 magnum) I mentioned before is also very close in size (as they're all built on the same frame), but has a 1/4" longer barrel with a full shroud (so the barrel is slightly heavier), the added weight will help absorb recoil better for range time, but it is a little bit more expensive.
Thanks Tex. The Model 60 seems about the same size as the 2" cobra .38 spec, and I want smaller so I won't go there(plus more $$). That leaves us with the others. I don't like how the sights are fixed and I can't install new ones but oh well this is a close quarters CCW gun anyways. I will probably go with one of model (637, 638, 642, 442) unless there is an equally sized snub with interchangeable sights.

Last edited by gson; August 22, 2009 at 10:46 PM.
gson is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 10:53 PM   #19
JohnPaul
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2008
Location: UTAH
Posts: 218
little wheel guns

I just put this on another post but thought it might be useful here as well

my wife just got an LCR, she has been CC a smith 340PD. We brought them both to the range to compare, there was no comparison the Ruger was far more accurate for both of us with and without the laser activated.

WEIGHT - The smith wins by about 2 oz. ( 12 oz. )
RECOIL - The LCR wins slightly
TRIGGER - The LCR wins by a landslide (the 340PD went to the gunsmith)
ACCURACY - The LCR, its no contest ( tested at 20-25 feet )
POINTABILITY - about the same, slight edge to the S&W
GRIP FEEL - about the same ( both have crimson trace )
CONCEILABILITY - about the same
GUNPORN LEVEL - S&W wins easily here, but the LCR is growing on me
COST - (LCR - $700), (S&W 340PD - $1200)



*overall ( I hate to say it ) but the LCR won easily, after the trigger job the smith is much better, still not as accurate as the Ruger, but the cost difference is ridiculous. Here is a picture of some of my wifes carry guns
__________________
Infidel ? - Who, me??
JohnPaul is offline  
Old August 22, 2009, 11:45 PM   #20
gson
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2009
Posts: 9
Oh damn, John Paul we may have a winner here, thank you!! After spending about an hour reading reviews on the Ruger LCR there has been nothing but positives. The trigger pull is smooth, the gun is accurate, recoil is manageable, it has a pinned down front sight which XS Sights has/is making a Big Dot sight for, Crimson Trace aviable, same dimensions as the model 638, 637, 642, 442..etc. Damn I think I am sold. This looks too good to be true

PS: The only negative I heard about the gun is it looks ugly as hell, but that is IRRELEVENT to me. I'm not buying this as a fashion statement, I'm buying this as insurance to my survival.

Last edited by gson; August 23, 2009 at 12:04 AM.
gson is offline  
Old August 23, 2009, 12:02 AM   #21
akr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 6, 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1,379
Get the Ruger SP101. Best gun and no IL to worry about failing when you shoot a small gun.....and it's a proven gun.
__________________
Http://www.nationalgunforum.com

NRA Lifetime Member

Last edited by akr; August 23, 2009 at 12:08 AM.
akr is offline  
Old August 23, 2009, 12:23 AM   #22
dgludwig
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2005
Location: North central Ohio
Posts: 5,182
Quote:
Thanks Tex. The Model 60 seems about the same size as the 2" cobra .38 spec
The Model 60 is not the same size as the Cobra; it has essentially the same dimensions as all other revolvers in the J-frame family, including the models 637, 638, 442 and 642. Their history stems from the original J-frame, the blued and sometimes nickeled Chief's Special, first produced in 1950 (in 1957, redubbed the Model 36). In 1965, the stainless steel version of the Model 36 was introduced and was designated the Model 60.
__________________
ONLY AN ARMED PEOPLE CAN BE TRULY FREE ; ONLY AN UNARMED PEOPLE CAN EVER BE ENSLAVED
...Aristotle
NRA Benefactor Life Member
dgludwig is offline  
Old August 23, 2009, 12:45 AM   #23
ChicagoTex
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 18, 2008
Location: DFW Metroplex
Posts: 1,909
Quote:
Oh damn, John Paul we may have a winner here, thank you!! After spending about an hour reading reviews on the Ruger LCR there has been nothing but positives. The trigger pull is smooth, the gun is accurate, recoil is manageable, it has a pinned down front sight which XS Sights has/is making a Big Dot sight for, Crimson Trace aviable, same dimensions as the model 638, 637, 642, 442..etc. Damn I think I am sold. This looks too good to be true

PS: The only negative I heard about the gun is it looks ugly as hell, but that is IRRELEVENT to me. I'm not buying this as a fashion statement, I'm buying this as insurance to my survival.
Well hell, if you hadn't stipulated from the beginning that you HAD to be able to do single-action fire, our recommendations would've included the LCR (as well as the 442/642 - I myself have a 442 in my pocket right now).
ChicagoTex is offline  
Old August 23, 2009, 12:53 AM   #24
gson
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2009
Posts: 9
Quote:
Well hell, if you hadn't stipulated from the beginning that you HAD to be able to do single-action fire, our recommendations would've included the LCR (as well as the 442/642 - I myself have a 442 in my pocket right now).
Ughh I know I know, I assumed I could have one's cake and eat it too with single action, but it's not realistic - more things I want on the DAO .
gson is offline  
Old August 23, 2009, 02:42 AM   #25
RDak
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 17, 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 734
Here's a good place to read up on the differences between some J framed handguns:

http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...category=15703
RDak is offline  
Reply

Tags
.38 , snub , snubby

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13409 seconds with 7 queries