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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there all,

I wanted some honest opinions on preferences and choices for buying a new .38 snub nosed revolver for concealed carry.

Ideally, the revolver would also be a shooter too and I am looking for something new, in stainless steel that can be pocket carried. Unfortunately, I am going to have to probably get something with the internal safety lock and while I have heard some derisive comments about the internal lock, I have not heard that it is a actually detractive. (Outside of aesthetics).

Hopefully, I will make my purchase by the end of the week.

Thanks,

Chris
 

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Carolinaman,

Good morning!

I have owned several different makes and models of 38 caliber snubs and never found one I didn't like, but my all time favorite would have to be a S&W Model 642.

http://www.firearms.smith-wesson.com/store/index.php3?cat=293556&sw_activeTab=1

With it's hammerless design and light weight it's extremely easy to conceal and if necessary could be shot right from the pocket of a jacket. Stainless and aluminum so rusting was never a problem. As a matter of fact I liked that snub so much I gave it to my son when he Graduated from our local SD Academy to use as his back-up gun.

Good luck with your selection and have a great day!
 
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Hi Chris.

I carry a Smith and Wesson model 638 Airweight and it's rated for +P ammo and am extremely pleased with it.
 

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I actually own a S&W model 60-15 3" with an idiot lock that has caused me trouble. When I oafishly knocked the unloaded gun from a countertop to the hardwood floor, the lock's "flag" mechanism (the part that has the little tit that engages the hammer itself and locks the hammer up) got a bit crossways in its slot and jammed the thing up tight as a drum. Since I was home and not engaged in a fight with a felon, I was able to dig the "key" out of the box in the safe and set it to right by fully engaging the lock and then disengaging it.

Had I not been home, I would have been holding a fairly small inert piece of steel.
Even if I had the "key" on me, pulling out a keyring and trying to find an especially small one is not on my dance chart if I'm struggling and in need of my self-defense gun.

So . . . based on my experience, I would strongly advise you to look around until you found something without the idiot lock. You're too nice a guy to have to deal with such potentially dangerous hassles. :)

On the other hand, if you're really set on stainless steel and you don't mind the idiot lock, the Smith & Wesson model 60-14 is their new 2" Chief's Special in .357 mag, and it's a pretty nice gun. The trigger pull is crisp and smooth, and all the smart little touches (rounding off the parts that need rounded, etc.) have been done from the factory. The internal parts are hard and I've found that my gun is capable of firing anything from lightweight .38s to superheavyweight Buffalo Bore .357s with aplomb. (The manager of NM's biggest volume gun store tells me that the 60s hold up better than the SP-101s. This might be counterintuitive for anyone who's held the tanklike SP, but the man tells me that "Smith internals are done right," and that makes sense.)

I've owned S&W Centennials (hammerless DAO revos), and I was surprised to find that I missed the SA capability. While there are some of the humpbacked concealed hammer J-frames out there in stainless, you specified new, so I'd advise sticking with the model 60.

The snub that I most often carry, however, isn't stainless or a S&W: it's a Colt Agent that was built in 1976. I have it with me right now, in fact. It's essentially the same size as the J-frames, but it holds an extra round, and that 16-oz weight (Al-framed) is mighty pleasant for pocket-carry.

Best of luck with it, Chris. I hope you'll let us know what you decide.
 
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Hi Chris.

This is what I carry and am extremely pleased with it. It's a Smith and Wesson model 638 Airweight and it's rated for +P ammo.
I've got one of these 638's too, with Crimson Trace Lasergrips, it is a great little pistol. Very nice trigger, and the CT grips really increase potential accuracy in any other than bright light conditions. I prefer having the "option" of single action too. :)
 

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Carolinaman,

The J-frame Smiths seems to be popular, although the trigger on my late model 442 is much heavier than I would like, and, contrary to others' experience, I did not care for the boot grips and had to replace them with Hogues to get the hits. I personally find the Colt Detective Special (Generation 3) much better in both regards. Colt did make some stainless ones in the mid 90's; perhaps you can find a new-in-box Colt via the internet. As has been mentioned, the sixth shot is another advantage.


PGM
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi there all,

What is everyone's impressions of the M-38 Bodyguard/used/blue from SOG at about $269.00/wholesale?

I know its not new/or stainless steel and doesn't fit my original requirements, but sometimes the plan has to change a little bit. ;)

Chris
 
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I'm fond of my model 042. The bluing is so pretty I hate to carry it, but I do. I've also found it easier to shoot and more accurate than expected, even with the new Speer GDHP 138 +p, than I thought it would be. Still, I can't/won't do more than 50 rounds per session with it.

I actually think the best choice, if you can find one, is the 9mm jfrme SW made (942?). The ballistics could be better than the .38 and I believe it used moonclips facilitating lightening fast reloads. (Hope I'm not contributing ot he Errornet with this.)

I'm starting to think about a D-back just because i like 'em. Of course, you're out of the pocket, then.

Charter Arms Bulldog is starting to enter the back of my mind too, although it would be an entirely diferent animal, and I've never actually beheld one.

Max
 

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Maxer is thinking of the 940 (the only official "942" with an alloy frame was made for Wiley Clapp, as I understand it). I had one, and it was a great gun. The 9x19 is very efficient in a short-barrelled revolver, but does not give you the range of bullet weights that a .38 spl will.

I developed a real respect for the power of the "lowly" 9mm when firing it from my J-frame. I also appreciated the inexpensive practice ammo and fired it a lot. The moonclips did indeed provide for lightning-fast reloads - I could reload this revolver as fast as a semiauto. :)

The 940-1s were +P rated, IIRC, but my no-dash 940 handled +P+ rounds just fine. It did not like CCI Blazer, for some reason. The cases would stick and make extraction a royal pain in the patootie. The gun required cylinder cleaning every 100 rounds to prevent sticking cases with any ammo. Others have written extensively of these problems at the S&W Forum and other places.

In any event, I traded my 940 for my Colt Agent, because at 23 oz. the 940 was just a bit too heavy for me to like carrying it in the pocket. The Agent is a dandy. :)

The 940s are difficult to find, and are premium priced nowadays. Taurus makes a couple of 9mm revos, but . . . well, they're Tauruses. :-/
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi there all,

Well, I called my dealer today from work and asked him to order the M-38 Bodyguard from Southern Ohio Guns. He left me a voice mail while I was in a staff meeting that said it would be here Friday. (You can imagine what I was thinking when my cell phone buzzed and couldn't answer it in the middle of giving a monthly financial report.) ;)

As a personal favor, I asked him to ask them to handpick the best one they had on hand and because of the dealer's volume with SOG, I hope they will follow through.

In the flyer, the M-38 is described as a alloy frame revolver with a stainless steel cylinder. I wonder about that as I assumed that it would be alloy frame/blue steel cylinder? (Sometimes SOG gets a little off base with their descriptions.)

Is SOG on target with their description?

Thank you all for your kind guidence,

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi there Catbird,

Thanks for the link.

My guess that it is a 1960's production M-38 with the pinned barrel. It is probably from a lot of "police turn-in" handguns from some large L.E. agency. It would be kind of neat if they have the department's name on them somewhere.

Chris
 
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Guewss thi is my day to play historian.

The M38 started production in 1957, succeeding the Bodyguard Airweight.
It does indeed possess a steel cylinder and 2-inch steel barrel. A few three-inchers were built as well.

Significant changes include: 1982, eliminated pinned barrel; 1997, 38-3, switched to J Magnum frame rated for .38 +p, converted to MIM hammer and trigger.

Production ended in 1999.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi there Maxer51tx,

Thank you for the information.

In any event, this afternoon I will hopefully know for sure as the the M-38 is scheduled to arrive for me to pick up.

As soon as it arrives and I have a chance to look it over, I will post my impressions here.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi there all,

The M-38 arrived today.

At first, I thought my eyes were decieving me.

It does have a blued alloy frame and stainless steel cylinder!!!
If you took the cylinder and crane out of the frame, than it would look like a pre-1982 model with the pinned barrel in place.

What's up with the present configuration?

I am certainly amazed by this combination.

Chris
 

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Hi there all,

What is everyone's impressions of the M-38 Bodyguard/used/blue from SOG at about $269.00/wholesale?

I know its not new/or stainless steel and doesn't fit my original requirements, but sometimes the plan has to change a little bit. ;)

Chris
Grab it! I love my old Model 38. The Airweight Bodyguard configuration is great for the snub-nose niche: easy-packin', easy-drawin', and you have the SA option. Those stainless 638s look pretty sweet, too, and if I didn't already have the M38, I would have gotten one of those by now. Plus: The action on older Smiths is sooooo sweet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi there brerarnold,

Yes indeed, I did "grab it" yesterday and spent last evening cleaning it up from the long period of storage that the M-38 had endured.

As with most police "turn-in" handguns, the M-38 shows a great deal of wear from carry, but internally the barrel and chambers show little evidence of wear from shooting and it is pretty uniformally "dinged-up" on the exterior of the gun. However, the action is "very" smooth and the gun is reasonably tight.

I am still very perplexed over the blued/stainless combo and I am hoping that other members of this forum can shed some light on its peculiar contruction?

Chris
 
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