In Defense of Snubs

The Snubby article Firearms News Magazine‘s page seems to want to sell SIG 365’s. Which is fine. However, it misses some things. Like the reasons to use a Snubby. So please, allow me to illuminate those dark areas of Reason.They are very safe. I don’t know of any case where a Modern Snub Nose Revolver has fired without the Shooter wanting it to be fired. Firing when dropped went out the window when the gun makers ditched putting the firing pin on the hammer. Rossi I think still makes revolvers like that – and I’m not a fan. The new revolvers from S&W, Ruger, Kimber… They simply can’t fire accidentally. Note I didn’t say negligently – if you pull the trigger it will go bang. And that leads to the next reason. Reliability. The gun isn’t going to care if you have premium ammo, cheap ammo, or even no ammo… The action will cycle as designed since it functions mechanically by the trigger and not by recoil. You can fire very light target loads, bird shot loads, and anything up to the heaviest loads… All of them. A recoil-operated semi auto needs ammunition loaded within a specific spectrum of weights and energy in order to cycle properly. Semi Autos also need a bullet shape that will allow it to fit in the magazine and feed reliably from the magazine. Revolvers will work as long as you can fit the cartridge in the cylinder and close the cylinder. In a semi auto, if that round fails, the gun has a stoppage and has to be cleared. In a revolver just pull the trigger again to cycle to the next round.That being said, revolvers can still fail, but the occurrence is far less likely. Size & Weight. The size and shape of a snubby is generally very small and can be carried very easily. These new Subcompact Autos are great, and can even be slimmer. Now, in the Semi’s… You have options of .380, 9mm in these subcompacts, with an occasional .40 cal if you have a Glock 27. For the same size of that .38 Snubby – you could get a .357 Snubby. About the same size and weight (slight differences that don’t make a difference) and then you have the option for all the .357 Magnum loads AND all the .38 Special Loads. Your snubby doesn’t have to be an Airweight, an Ultra Light, a Featherweight… Whatever you want to call it. You can get it in Titanium, Scandium, Polymer, or good old Steel, Stainless or Not. Depending on what you want to load in it, depending on what you like – You can have it your way. Simplicity. A revolver is the casual and classic Jeans and T-Shirt style of carry… It’s never going to look bad, even if it isn’t the popular thing. Mechanically, the manual of arms is as simple as a handgun can get. There’s a latch to open and close the cylinder and there’s a trigger. There’s no slide to manipulate, no slide release lever. And if you get a Hammerless Snubby, you don’t even have a hammer spur to worry about. This makes drawing from deep concealment very easy. Yeah, the felt recoil is sharper the lighter you go in the gun and the hotter you go in the ammo, but you can find loads that balance in a way you like. Another thing I like, is that it’s not spitting brass across the room when you fire it. You can simply dump the empty brass right here where you want them and you don’t need to go around trying to find them all before the police sho… I mean, before you leave the Range. This article says the sights are superior. And that’s generally the case, but you can get good sights on small revolvers too. With standard sights though, I outshot my entire Police Academy Class and took Top Shot using a Snub Nose .38 that I had put bigger grips on. In a class full of Glocks, Berettas, SIG’s and other such pistols… My little S&W Model 10 Snubby did the job. There is no Right or Wrong in what you want to carry if you can carry it concealed and if you can make your hits with it. Sure, the SIG 365 is a cool pistol, as well as the others like it… Hellcats, and the like. They are great. But so are Revolvers. If you can make your hits with it – that’s all that matters, no matter what you pick to carry… It’s not the Plane, it’s the Pilot. My Snubby? A Ruger SP101 in .357 and I use Speed Strips to hold my reloads. It’s accurate as hell and I can make hits with it like folks that don’t know me wouldn’t believe. I load it with 158 grain Semi-Jacketed Hollow Points that cause trauma on a level by which all other calibers are judged by. Only 5 Rounds? I’m confident I can resolve any realistic self defense scenario with this kit. All I’m saying is don’t turn up your nose at a Snub Nose.

4 thoughts on “In Defense of Snubs”

  1. A gunshop trope is the clerk who sells a novice woman shooter a .38 Special Airweight as her first gun, which she learns to quickly hate because of the recoil. With the developement of the .32 H&R Magnum and more recently the .32 Federal Magnum, the gunshop clerk can finally sell that woman a gun she will like – – she can shoot no-recoil .32 S&W shorts in her snub for practice, and save the .32 FedMag rounds for serious business.

  2. When I got my M-49 Smith, I found a load I liked, and shot well, at least to 25 yds with factory sights. A 148 gr. Hollow base wadcutter, backwards over 5 gr. Unique. Seated the slug down to the last grease groove in the skirt, crimped there. Then used one of Lee’s little deburring tools, to put a little champher on the “nose” of the slug for easy loading. Worked out of speedloaders w/no issues hanging up. Love that little gun…. would love to jello test that load, fer poop n’ giggles. 😁

  3. Little late, but wanted to comment on the perceived “inaccuracy” of snubbies. As you mention George, it’s not the plane, it’s the pilot.

    At last month’s bowling pin shoot I pulled out my Ruger LCR-357. Sub 2″ barrel, double-action only, though I was only shooting .38 Specials (hot ones). I could hear the guys behind me start chuckling. Four shots, four pins off the table. They stopped chuckling. Fifth shot missed an 8″ steel plate at 40 yards, but I was allowed six shots, so I reloaded one round and hit the 6″ plate at 30 yards.

    1. Your article is wisdom. Distilled. Yes, I have a couple of small semi-automatic pistols but they have not ever been as boringly reliable as my snub nosed revolvers. The old S&W model 13 is my favorite with the round butt frame and three inch heavy barrel. Puts a grin on my face every time I take it to the range.

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