The Snub Nose Revolver (With Video)

September 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss Videos

By Steven L. Doran

The snub-nose .38 revolver has really taken a beating over the last several years. In fact a lot of people who criticize the gun have never taken the time to even shoot one, or have only fired a few rounds. I have heard story after story about what a piece of junk they are and how they do not compare to any semi-auto on the market.

My first statement in response is always ” the piece of equipment does not replace training “so you can have the coolest most popular gun on the planet. That gun is worse than the biggest piece of junk there is if you do not know how to use it.  Second if it is not on your person it is less than useless. Third since the person has never really fired a snub or trained with one how do they come to that conclusion?

On the other side of the coin they say a snubby is a “professional’s gun”, or I have been told the only reason you like a snub is because you are an “anomaly”. The average person could never shoot a snubby like that.

Any advice or comments I receive from any person who does not speak from experience, or is just regurgitating what they heard from someone else shows me just how ignorant the person is.  If our forefathers had listened to things like this we would never have traveled over 35 Miles per hour because they used to think that it would kill you to do so.

The fact is a snubby is not a piece of junk I and others like me are not anomalies. Anyone can learn to shoot anything. There are some differences in shooting a snubby. But there are differences in shooting semi-autos and full frame revolvers.

I love the snub nose revolver because they are easily concealed on many different areas of the body.  I like Smith & Wesson the best and own 4 of them.  The ones I own are extremely accurate, and were right out of the box. I can assure you I do not feel out gunned in any situation I approach with one, unless I am going up against a person with a rifle. Then I would feel outgunned with any handgun.

For a personal defense handgun you can not do any better than a snubby if you take the time to learn how to shoot it. I would also go as far as to say that if you can learn to shoot a snubby effectively that it will make you a better shot with any hand gun you pick up.

The only draw back with this firearm is that it will take you a bit longer to reload than a semi auto. If you practice your reload it is not a problem at all. High cap guns do not make you more effective. Hits make you effective. 1 hit is better than 30 misses.

The thing I remember most when I first started in law enforcement is you never ran into another copper that was not armed. He always had his snubby with him. These officers were required to qualify with the snub, and were just as capable with it. Some were even better with the snub then with their duty weapon. The reason than they took the time to practice. The other was a good deal of sportsman carried the Smith & Wesson Kit gun in .22 (Snubby) to take small game. They loved them.

I never heard any competent officer or shooter say I hate the snubby and can not hit anything with it. If I did hear comments like that the person typically hated having to deal with any gun including a full size weapon. They never practiced with that either. And of course their were always those who purchased a new gun each week, and whatever they had at the time was better, cooler and more unique than anything you ever owned. It did not matter that they could not hit anything with it. It was cool, the mere sight of it was going to scare the bad guy away.

When departments made the switch to the semi-auto a lot of officers quit carrying off duty. They dumped their snubby for some new semi-auto they never used or carried, and stuck there duty gun under the seat of their car or in some other location where they could not get to it. The general public typicality follows suit and they begin to purchase what the police are using and wind up doing the same as the officers, not carrying.

Since this article originally came out I have had a chance to talk to some persons I hold in high regard and are very well thought of in the law enforcement and gun community. One of the comments I received was from an individual who pushed that officers be required to carry their duty gun at all times, now he feels it was a mistake, for two reasons. The first is that the officers do not carry their duty gun off duty, and go unarmed. Second if they do carry a different gun off duty they do not make it public because it is against the rules and rarely practice with it because they do not want to hear negative comments from other officers and get in trouble for not complying with policy.DS_Small

Another trend I saw was and I still see it today is persons carry some little semi auto.

They do not carry a spare magazine for it, and they are so small they are a pain to draw and shoot. Most persons who carrying them do little or no preventive maintenance. They have major reliability issues when not properly cared for. So how can they justify the change?

My snubby’s have never failed to fire, I have never had a feeding problem, I do not have to use some special brand or type of ammo to get it to work. I have way more ammo choices, lint or other debris has never caused it to fail to function. I can not say that about the compact semi-autos I have seen other people carry. Every single one of them has had some kind of a failure problem at one time or another.

I have purchased a few small semi-autos my self to play around with to see how they performed. All of them have had some kind of an issue. My snubby’s having worked well and has never had a problem since the day I removed them from the box.
Copyright © 2009 by Steven L. Doran

All rights reserved under international and Pan-American copyright conventions. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without written permission from the author Steven L. Doran.



8 Comments on "The Snub Nose Revolver (With Video)"

  1. Tom Stone on Mon, 21st Sep 2009 5:25 PM 

    Your video does not surprise me at all.I own a smith 442 and a few years ago at the range I decided to see if I could hit the 24″ gong at 100 yards with it,using 148 grain wadcutters.I could, 2 out of 5 and I am an average shot.The 442 is completely reliable,superbly accurate and the lightest .38 I can handle with full power ammo.I have since had it Mag-Na-ported and am happy with the results,blast has not appreciably increased and the recoil is more straight back making for a faster accurate second shot.It does take more practice to shoot a snubbie well,but I can rely on this little smith to do its job.

  2. John Broekhuizen on Mon, 21st Sep 2009 6:34 PM 

    Thanks Tom it is like Steve said anyone can do it with practice, thank you for your comment

  3. Ed on Wed, 23rd Sep 2009 5:37 AM 

    Great post parallels my experience when taught to shoot a snubbie at FBI National Academy. The key to accurate DA firing is developing a smooth, straight-through, “row the boat” trigger stroke, without staging the trigger partially through the squeeze or putting any side pressure against the trigger. I learned on the Colt Official Police, and these days carry either a Dick Special or Cobra. I prefer the Colt’s stacking DA to S&Ws. I practice with a group of retired military, feds and local LEO dinosaurs. We use the an automatic resetting MGM Targets 5-inch Colt Speed Plate on sniper base at 50 yards and either a 40 percent scale IPSC silhouette or a 12 inch round gong on a stand at 100 yards for practice. We don’t hit steel on every shot, but do better than 50 percent firing six shots in ten seconds. None of us are younger than sixty and half have had cataract surgery in at least one eye. Beware old farts with revolvers.

  4. John Broekhuizen on Wed, 23rd Sep 2009 7:05 AM 

    Thanks for the comment ED, the Cobra and the Colts Detective Special type guns the Agent, etc are awesome snubby’s and we know that is does not pay to mess with guys who know their business :p

  5. Mike on Wed, 23rd Sep 2009 8:38 AM 

    Excellent video! I was first shown +100-yard snub shooting in ’76 by an old instructor in Michigan State Police’s recruit school. He used an issued m38 (an Aiweight Bodyguard with an alloy frame and stainless cylinder), fired double-action with duty loads. It opened my eyes to the possible uses of a defensive handgun small enough to carry all day in a pocket. The J-frames obviously aren’t the optimal 100-yard firearm, but they’re a much more versatile gun than most folks give them credit for.

  6. Capt Bravo on Thu, 1st Oct 2009 8:09 PM 

    Elmer Keith would be proud.

  7. Nynel on Sun, 4th Oct 2009 1:59 AM 

    The Best

  8. Nervana on Sat, 10th Oct 2009 9:31 AM 

    Very interesting never really looked at it that way

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