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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't been over here on the Hipowers & Handguns forum for a while... I gotta say the "new" account activation process was interesting! Thank goodness for the 'cut & paste' feature on the web browser!

Anyway, I posted this on another board yesterday and was really interested in the replies a lot of the members posted, so I thought I'd put it up here as well. BTW, Steve's page on snub practice here on H&H is an excellent resource. I hadn't read it prior to making this post yesterday, but I find that my views and Steve's line up pretty well. Which is kind of cool.

Anyway, here's my thoughts on the subject:
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I know there are more than a few of us who love snub 38's, and some of us even carry 'em. The old adage is that they're "shot little and carried a lot".

I have a problem with the old adage, however. I have always been of the opinion that I should be proficient with any firearm I have any intention of using. That means practice, and practice means shooting a lot, generally speaking.

This year I decided to make a project out of getting truly proficient with my snub 38's. I usually carry a snub as a BUG, but a lot of the time in summer it's my primary, carried either in an Alessi ankle holster or a Mach2 kydex front pocket holster.

So I have been following a loose program, shooting 50 to 100 rounds every 7-10 days through one or more of my snubs. I've learned a few things in the process.

First thing, I have found that I far prefer S&W snubs to anything else I've tried. In my case this means Taurus & Charter Arms snubs... haven't got my hands on a Colt DS or DS-2 yet, but I'd love to try one out thoroughly. The reason I like the Smiths is that the S&W trigger stages so nicely. This comes in really handy when shooting at distances greater than 10 yards. The 3 snubs I've been using are a S&W 442 38 Spl, a S&W 640-1 357 Magnum, and a Taurus M85 UltraLite. All are 5-shot guns. I practice with 38 Special 158 gr +P JRN handloads and with Speer's 135 gr +p GDHP (which is also my carry ammo in the 2 38's... when I carry the 640, I load it with Magnums). The two 38 loads shoot to the same point of impact, more or less, out to 15 yards.

Another thing I've found is that rubber grips are a real hindrance. They hang up on clothing in any configuration, and the bigger grips that a lot of snubs wear are too big for deep concealment. Sure, they're easier to shoot, but they suck for carry. I've gone to Eagle Secret Service grips for CCW. Much easier to conceal and to draw from either pocket or ankle holsters. The exception to this is the M640 in .357 Mag. Even though this revolver has a Performance Center ported barrel which greatly reduces muzzle jump, recoil is still a bear with anything other than Hogue rubber grips. This gun is much heavier than any of the others, consequently I tend to carry it in an IWB holster or more often in a fanny pack.

A third thing I've learned is that hammer guns are not worth having for CCW. The hammer WILL hang up often enough when drawing it from a pocket or ankle holster that it's a serious threat to your ability to draw quickly.

Another thing I've learned is that these guns are not necessarily short-range tools. I won't go into details, but it has occured to me that many of the situations where I am most concerned about being armed are situations where I may well have to engage an opponent at ranges of 25 yards or more. So today I decided to do some 25-yard drills, and was pleasantly surprised to find 15 out of 15 shots on an IDPA target at 25 yards fired from an isosceles stance hit the target, either in the -0 ring, or just above it. Seems the sights are regulated to hit higher, most likely because the manufacturers think we're going to be using these guns at short range. Hmmm.

At 35 yards, I had to put the front post at the bottom of the -0 circle to keep all my shots in the upper torso, but again, I was able to put 10 out of 10 in what I would consider Serious Injury territory.

I don't have that digital camera I've been meaning to get (keep spending my camera money on guns & ammo...) so I don't have pix. But I'll try to take some photos with the SLR and scan them and post them in the Range Reports forum next time.

Just some musings on snubs. Any comments? I'm particularly interested in hearing from some of the rest of the Board members who carry snubs regularly.
 

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Doc,

I've carried a snub .38 that I practiced with not at all. I didn't have it long enough. It was a BUG however.

I did carry a .22 auto that I guess could be considered a "snub" and practiced with it regularly. I figured that since, at the time, it was primary deep hideout some of the time as I wasn't, strictly speaking, supposed to be carrying closer than 1000ft to college property, I needed to be able to put several into the eyes. Didn't quite achieve that level of proficiency but did get about 7/10 into the occular window on a swaying target, on a good day.

Josh <><
 

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I make our guys who carry a BUG qualify on the regular qualificaiton course with their BUG. The one concession I make is that there is one six-shot stage and I let them get by with five shots on it.

Our armorer usually shoots about 95-100% on it with his S&W 2' 36, but then he really likes the snub!

Of course a L.E. qualification course is more or less just a "field sobriety test"...if you are not drunk you should be able to pass ;) Even though I took a state certified course and cut the time limits by about 1/3, nobody really has any trouble passing.

Press on,
Jim
 

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Hi there,

I practice with my S&W 642 as often as I can pick up practice ammunition for and shoot as often as twice a week.

Couple things strike my mind. The S&W 642 does have a comfortable pair of boot grips that I really enjoy holding, shooting and they don't snag as bad as some people think.

Practicing with 125 grain standard velocity loads as compared to 158 grain loads is a lot easier on the hand and is more pleasant with less felt recoil. I don't practice with +P loads throughout the entire shooting session except for flash and recoil orientation.

As far as accuracy, the practical accuracy suits me fine for combat range shooting and is down right challanging for extended range shots. Accurate handguns can be boring at times with predictable results.

I like my little S&W 642 and really don't make any distinction between bug and primary if its the only thing that I am carrying.

Chris
 

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As I've mentioned a time or twenty on other forums, my J-frame snubby happens to be chambered for 9mm. Love those little moon clips, they sure aid in fumble-free reloading. (Although if one is down to their BUG and has to reload it at all, much less quickly, perhaps too much fertilizer has already hit the ventilator! The quality and condition of one's footwear may be far more important at this point.)

This gun has also been modified to 'DAO', by taking off both the single action notch and spur from the hammer. Not a pretty piece, but in some ways my favorite wheelgun.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Doc,
I went through the same exercise as you many years ago. I also came to the same conclusions with the exception of the rubber boot grips. I really like them and don't feel they hang up in my pocket.

I do most of my practice in my garage or basement with primer powered wax loads. I've gotten pretty good at pointshooting that way. Target shooting is great but I need to practice drawing from concealment. My range prohibits holster use.

Long live the snub!
 

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The Butler Creek (Uncle Mikes) rubber boot grips don't seem be as 'gummy' as the Hogues and don't grab cloth like the Hogues do.

Another vote for the 9mm snub here! Mine is a 940. I think if S&W would chamber an Airweight Centennial in 9mm (and fix the chamber problems) it would be the best carry piece going.


Regards,

Pat
 

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Coincidentally, part of Walt Rauch's article in the Feb. 2006 Combat Handguns deals with this topic. I like his take on the flawed mindset he mentions some snub-toters having..
 

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i practice with my snubs almost as much as my bigger guns because i need to!

snubbys are nice and convenient, but harder to hit with when you are shooting fast AND accurately.
 

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I carried a Rossi .357 Mag snubbie, 6-shot, all steel, for quite awhile. It had the bigger synthetic or rubber grips, with a pebble-like texture, and I was glad of it when shooting it - I used .357 Federal hydrashoks in it, and it was a handful. Having the bigger grips to hang onto was good. Trigger was nice and smooth on it - one of the reasons I bought it. I usually carried it in my right front pocket, nothing else in the pocket except the gun. It always stayed upright - I think the big grip helped keep it oriented. Didn't look like it presented a "print" problem to me - I usually wear pants made out of heavier weight material, and that seems to help a lot.

I double concur (+2!) on the hammer snagging business tho. If I had kept it, I would have had the hammer bobbed.

I ended up selling it to get another Hi Power, but after reading Mr. Camp's observations of the Ruger SP101, I am keeping my eye out for a good deal on a spur-less version of it. I still have a Taurus 85, and it is handy to carry, but it also needs the spur knocked off.

elb
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I practice with my snub about every fourth or fifth range trip. I don't feel much of a need because it's my most accurate gun! I consistently get tighter groups out of my Taurus .357 snub no matter which load i'm using than any of my larger autos, including my Sig 40 and my HK .45. Weird, huh?
 
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