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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, ok...I think you guys sort of convinced me, that I should consider getting a snubbie for carry. That's reasonable, as I've really been interested in getting something small enough for pocket carry.

Now, a search of our Revolver forum here can show up any decent number of threads on various snubbies. At this point though, I decided to get some consolidated info on snubbies. Pros, Cons, Opinions, even a Review if you've got 'em.

So, the questions:

What is your choice in Snubbies, why?
What is your preferred caliber in Snubbies, why?
What do you find most appealing about a snubby?
What do you find least appealing about a snubby?
What are your thoughts on Ruger SP-101s?
Your thoughts on Colt D-Frames?
Your thoughts on Smith J-Frames?
Your thoughts on Taurus snubbies?
Pocket Carry, Waistband Carry, or other?

Thank you for your time, your thoughts, and your opinions,

-Rob
 

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Current choice is the S&W M638, for three reasons:

It's light enough for day to day carry, in all weather;
I can cock it if need be;
It's a no snag setup.

I prefer .38 Special to .357 Magnum because of the recoil factor. An Airweight kicks pretty hard with +P 158s, but it's nothing to the way a full bore .357 feels in a little gun.

Most appealing: Size and weight.

Least appealing: Number of rounds.

I haven't fired the Ruger, but I've handled a couple of them. If I were in the market I might consider it, but I find it a tad heavy for the way I carry. And it's in .357, which isn't a big deal, but it's something of a waste for me, since I would never carry it with full charge magnums.

I love the Colts, especially the extra round. I don't currently own one, but I've carried one in the past. I like the S&W action a lot better.

See above.

Taurus makes a good, serviceable revolver, and in fact before I had Smiths I owned a stainless Rossi. The truly awful file and tool marks on the internal parts put me off somewhat, but the gun worked quite well.

Pocket carry in a holster by Bob Mika http://www.frontiernet.net/~akim/

Hope this helps.
 

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Go with a J-frame or equivalent size in a .38special. Not .357, it's fine for a gorilla with big tough hands, and even though you can shoot 38spec in it, that ain't a good idea, it will foul up the cylinder eventually. 38spec is good enough, good ballistics for SD!

One of the Airweights or Ultralights in a snub can be easily carried. Rugers are heavier. And 38 ammo is not too expensive. Compare grips, you may not like the grips on some snubbies. Taurus seems to have a little bigger grip than S&W. Do some shopping, looking, and holding the guns.
Read all of Stephen Camp's articles on the 38special in his hipowers site.
If cost is a factor check Taurus. If not, S&W's are good.
Oh, BTW, be sure what you choose is +p rated.
And maybe I'm biased, be careful if you look at used ones. Unless you know why it's used, you could be getting somebody's lemon.
Cheers,
og
 

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RandomMan,

I and my wife primarily carry snubbies, altho I am working my Highpower into my daily routine because I like it so much and it holds more rounds. However, the snubby seems to be the best "all around" carry gun because it is easier to fit into more styles of dress, i.e. it fits into more different pockets and waistbands than my other shootin' irons.

I carry a Ross model 624, which is a stainless six-shot .357 magnum. It is a significant piece of steel, and has rather large grips for a snubby. The grips and the weight sometimes make it more difficult for pocket carry, but I am glad they are there to hang onto when I actually shoot 110gr JHPs in .357 mag out of it.

I originally preferred the .357 for the added "zip" over .38 special, but with the many good reviews of the Speer GDHP 135gr short barrel round, if/when I get another snubbie it will probably be a .38 in the J-frame size (altho not necessarily an actual J-frame).

Despite its size, I have found the Rossi to be reasonably easy to carry concealed, and the only real change i would make to it is I would like to bob the hammer - it some times snags on things. So I guess its ease-of-carry is the most appealing thing, followed by its revolver reliability, and its stainless construction seems more impervious to my perspiration.

Least appealing thing about it is its size and number of rounds - and obviously these things work against each other. I would like a smaller revolver with more rounds. Oh well!

I generally carry it in my pocket without a holster, and nothing else goes in that pocket. I have tried various pocket holsters, and so far all of them make it too bulky and too noticeable for me. (Note - this is not true for my Taurus 85). It rides reasonably well by itself, I just make sure to blow the lint off once a day. I have worn a hole in the pocket of a denim work jacket where i carry it alot. I have tried IWB, j-hook holsters, smart-carry/thunderwear, and the pocket just seems to be the best place for me. Front right if I have only the snubby, front left if I have the highpower with me.

I have also carried a Taurus model 85, five-round blue steel in .38 special. It is even more concealable and "carry-able" than the Rossi, with excellent reliability, which is the main appeal. Down side is only five rounds - I would prefer more - and it is ported. The porting means that if you shoot it form a closeh-hold, "speed-rock" shooting stance, you have hot gases and shavings of lead flying past, or into, your face. My wife got a couple knicks in the forehead and next to her eye from this. (And yes, she was wearing eye protection! Always!). Also, the blue steel pitted from perspiration one summer when I was carrying it alot, even tho I wiped it down daily. Only took one day to pit, and once you get a pit, it "re-pits" again very easily.

I have liked what i have seen of the stainless SP-101s, but have not fired one. (have fired its big brother, and liked that alot). Seems to be a very rugged gun, which I think is especially important for a snubby. I think I would like one of those, with a bobbed hammer, as my next snubby. Downside is that I have read that Ruger does not provide many parts to gunsmiths, so that if repairs are required, it must go back to the factory, and the factory will return all parts to factory specification whether you want them to or not. IN other words, your $90 dollar action job will disappear. They seem to be very rugged and reliable tho, so I guess this does not happen often.

Hope you find this useful. Good luck!

elb
 

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Hi Rob,

Let me start with the following disclaimer: I am bias towards S&W revolvers. I like them too much!

I have owned the following snub nosed revolvers: the Colt Detective Special, Ruger Security Six Snub Nosed Revolver, the Ruger SP 101 revolver and currently own the S&W 642-2 revolver.

Most appealing about my current choice and model, the 642: lightweight and easy for pocket carry. Least appealing: only 5 round capacity. Most appealing about all of the above: very sturdy. Least appealing about all of the above: very heavy weight to size ratio and all have to be carried on the belt or wear suspenders for pocket carry.



After so many years, I just like an alloy frame pocket revolver. My second choice after the 642 with its shrouded hammer would be the 638 followed by the 637.

I can practice economically with the .38 special and find a very large range of SD rounds. My current favorite is the Federal Personal Protection Round.

My current 642 has the best trigger pull on any revolver that I have owned out of the box period!

Also, I only paid about $50.00 more for the S&W over the dealers selling price on the Taurus, which I have never owned, but I do like the Taurus product line and their lifetime service policy.

By the way, did I mention that S&W offers there 1852 Club Membership with a purchase of their handguns? I got a bunch of nifty stuff from them


Chris
 
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Hehe... I guess I'll be the first one to advocate a snubzilla.

I like my S&W Model 19 with its 2.5" barrel, because in a High-ride OWB holster, like a Galco Speedmaster, it sits up so high, with so little barrel below the belt line, that I can conceal it completely with only an untucked button-down, and even if the shirt flops up, so little of the holster will be seen that only someone who is "in-the-know" will know or care what they've just seen.

Pros:

I'll flat-out guarantee it's the only snub listed so far that anyone really has any business shooting .357s out of.

2.5" barrel means better velocity and longer sight-radius than the 1 7/8" J-frame.

6 rounds.

Adjustable sights.

Cons:

If you want to pocket-carry this thing, you better have big pockets.

For all its big boom, it's still a snub, and let's just face it: we don't use these things because they're powerful; we use 'em because they're there.
 

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Howdy there Rob aka Random Man,

I don't have much to add to Leland's concise answer to your query, since I carry the same make/model as him and for many of the same reasons. Since I live in Texas, and like you am an impoverished student I thought I'd throw in another two cents.

I bought an S&W M638-2 in .38 +P for pocket carry in a coat in cool weather and in my pants pocket in the summer. When I was still taking University classes I could not carry at all because of campus regs. I've never liked the five shot capacity, and have thought about getting something else, but I think the positives and the familiarity and simplicity of the pocket revolver still recommend it. Drawing from the pocket is, for me, the fastest draw I've tried, it looks natural to have your hands in your pockets, there is no safety to disengage, etc.

Caliber: .38spl. +P (.357 is really a handful, and I can't get good or rapid follow up shots with it.) I used to use Federal PD 110gr. JHP then I used Rem. .38 LSWCHP +Ps but the spares are messy because of the lead bullets. Now I'm using Speer 135gr. JHP +P's.

Pluses: An airweight is light enough to disappear in your pocket. You could opt for the super-light revolvers, but I think the money/weight factor for a student budget ain't worth it. Maybe super light is too light anyway. All steel is easier to shoot, but unless you are big, it might weigh down your trousers or jacket pocket. Airweight seems a good compromise, and one that has been around since the '60s.

Minuses: Any snub revolver is a real handful to shoot well at speed. The five rd. capacity has been adequately outlined above and doesn't need elaboration I guess. They are slow to re-load. I use bianchi speed strips and I have a galco 2x2x2 on the belt for re-loads. You'll have to get some snap caps and practice, practice, practice.

Ruger SP101: I own a three inch model, but it is in .38 only. I like it and carry in a fanny-pack when I'm out hiking or whatnot. I like the shorter barreled ones too, but they are heavier than the Smith J-frames. I might carry the SP101 IWB under a jacket or vest when I can afford the leather.

Colts: I like them, but they aren't made of stainless steel and sweat, rain, etc. will always be a factor.

Taurus: Cheaper certainly. There are some good buys out there.

Carry: I almost always carry in the pocket with a cheap-o Uncle Mike's (I'm currently on my third). They wear out after a while. I'll probably replace this one when it comes apart with a leather or other mfr. that folks on this list have mentioned. I've also got a waist-pack holster, which I don't care for, but sometimes that is the only option. My first serious pistol was a G-19, but it proved too big to conceal on my short person...Used those vests and similar garments, which slows the draw and also looks like one is packing heat...Which may or may not be a good thing depending on the given scenario. IWB might work good for you.

Good luck making a thrifty choice that works for your budget and security!

--D.
 

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What is your choice in Snubbies, why?
Today, it's a J-frame DAO, the model 37-2. It has a superb trigger, and I feel that this contributes to the precise accuracy that is needed for reliable stops with this short-barrelled guns. It's also small, bought by me in new condition, and has no idiot-lock onboard.


What is your preferred caliber in Snubbies, why?
.38 Special. I can't take the .32 H&R seriously out of a short barrel (the velocities are appalling - all the factory-reported velocities are from much longer barrels), and I find the .357 Magnum suffers from the difficulty in performing fast follow-up shots (due to its recoil), as well as severely diminished efficiency (due to the short barrel). (I had a .41 mag 2.5" snub once, and it was absurd - the reduced power made it less potent than the much-easier-to-shoot, higher-capacity Glock 36 that was roughly the same size.) Frankly, I think the .38 spl works just as well out of a snub. One interesting cartridge in a snub is the 9x19 - I had a 940 once that worked well and was cheap and efficient to shoot. The 9mm will force you to respect its power when you shoot it in a 23-oz snub revo.

What do you find most appealing about a snubby?
I suppose ease of carry and trustworthy reliability of operation. They also draw very quickly for me - much more so than, say, a similarly sized Glock 26. They're easily of being fired by the weak hand, with no concerns of FTFs.

What do you find least appealing about a snubby?
They're not especially powerful - borderline, really - and their capacity is wretched when compared to that similarly sized Glock 26.
(Please note that's a 3-inch 36-1 that is slightly longer than the G26.)

What are your thoughts on Ruger SP-101s?
They work. They have delightfully smooth triggers, but it's hard for me to understand why they have to be so heavy. I don't like messing with reduced-weight springs, so that's pretty much a deal-killer for me. Also, they're heavy and manage to feel somewhat large. I like the SP's factory stocks better than any other currently produced snub's factory stocks. The SP has the stupid Ruger trigger design that will easily lock the gun up if the trigger is not allowed to return fully forward during rapid fire (one can train to avoid this problem, but it hangs up every friend I have who buys a Ruger DA - even after I warn them to avoid the problem). This concerns me somewhat as a potential reliability problem during a stress-filled self defense situation.

Your thoughts on Colt D-Frames?
I think the Agent's short gripframe is brilliant. I think that these guns actually manage to feel smaller than they really are (sort of the anti-SP-101 in this regard). You get K-frame performance in a gun that will fit in a J-frame holster. I worry about the trickiness of their lockwork, and I perceive them as being more fragile than other snubs. Accordingly I worry more about their reliability than I do that of other snubs. I feel that Colt's was foolish in discontinuing their presence in this lucrative market, especially since I worry about buying a used one due to my concerns about the D-frames' fragility. I like the factory hammer shrouds.


Your thoughts on Smith J-Frames?
I think they're solid and quite strong. I wouldn't have one with an internal lock on it (after having a lock self-engage when the unloaded gun was oafishly knocked off a counter onto a hardwood floor). There are several variants in different hammer configurations and frame materials to allow a person to tailor his/her carry gun to his/her precise needs. Their triggers are probably the best of all the snubs presently manufactured.


Your thoughts on Taurus snubbies?
I've owned two. One worked fine, but felt somewhat cheap and had the mechanics finished fairly roughly. The other was lovely but delivered weak primer strikes. The factory fixed the problem, but I lost confidence in the revolver and traded it away. I think Taurus is very innovative (in calibers and materials) and I like their warranty, but I've read enough threads on folks having difficulty with theirs (and in obtaining warranty service) that I feel that it's not worth the potential trouble to buy another.

Pocket Carry, Waistband Carry, or other? All of the above. Probably nothing's faster than IWB, but pocket carry is pretty stealthy (although a D-frame is about the biggest thing one can get away with reliably concealing in a pocket). Thunderwear/SmartCarry works well with snubs for very deep concealment, and shoulder holsters work well for those wearing cover garments all the time. I don't really understand how anyone can successfully conceal a gun on his/her ankle, though.

This is a very thought-provoking thread - thank you for the intellectual exercise, RandomMan! :)
 
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I carry j-frame, model 042. I'm really fond of this gun and would never intentionally part with it.

Like many above I chose the j-frame because of its size, trigger, caliber (borderline .38 okay, especially with the 135 GDHP) and so forth.

The drawbacks I perceive are: small capacity, slow reloads and difficulty of shooting. It is possible to shoot a j-frame loaded with +p ammo quite well. But it takes a fair amount of sometimes bruising practice to achieve speed and accuracy.

Recently, I acquired a Kahr MK 9. It carries as easily and conceals as well as a j-frame. It has been 100 percent reliable over 1000 rounds of mixed ammo. It holds 7 rounds and reloads quickly. The rifling design Kahr employs helps preserve the velocity of 9 mm in its short barrel. And it's very easy to learn to shoot well. The sights, in particular, are vastly superior to my j-frame's.

I still carry my j-frame because I like it and trust it. If I were just starting out in pocket pistols, however, I'd look very hard at one of the small pocket 9s before committing to a revo.

Max
 
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I know for certain that I'd save up the two or three hundred extra dollars for a Rohrbaugh befored I'd buy a newly-manufactured J-frame.

Not that I have anything against the J, mind you, but I can't tolerate those locks.
 

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Well, now's a good time to strike while the iron is hot: there are a pile of brand-new S&W 37-2s on the market (like the one in my first photo - supposedly they're over-runs from a Japanese governmental order) with no lock at loss-leader prices (think $375, brand-new). RSR is the wholesaler to have your dealer contact.

Of course, I only bought mine after the Rohrbaugh, but the 37-2 is a smashing value. :)
 
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I dont like kahr or glock triggers but would never choose a Jframe over either a polymer Kahr or Glock 26. Both of which generate more velocity, more shots, less recoil and equal or less size and weight than a .38 snubnosed. I owned a 442 for awhile until I chronographed loads through it. Not very impressive to say the least. Look up some chrono results comparing snubnosed 38 to 3.5 " 9mm. There may be some advantages, revolvers are simple to operate load and clear, would probably cycle inside a pocket. As in hand in jacket pocket holding gun shoot through pocket. The way I look at it if I need a gun I will really really need a gun and made wardrobe and lifestyle changes to allow me to carry a gun I have faith in. If I had to limit myself to pocket deepcover carry I feel there are much better choices than a snub revolver.
 
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Of course, and to an extent, I agree with you. Remember, though, that confidence is a HUGE part of self-defense, and some people just don't trust automatics, even if they're stone-cold reliable.

I'm not one of them, personally, but I know some.
 

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I'm sure most of us also have some polymer framed pistols (I have 3), but the thread is about snubbie revolvers. Everybody ought to have at least one, snubbie, that is, in their collection.
og
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I certainly agree with OG that the thread is on Snubbies.

However, I do welcome the thoughts and comparisons of small framed autos to Snubbies. I suppose we could certainly dedicated a thread in the main forum to pocket pistols in general.

Thank you all for your thoughts on Snubbies so far. I had expected to see favor found in J-frames, particularly the x42 series. I must admit, I was surprised to see so many fond things said about the 638.

I'm actually a little surprised that everyone has noted the limited capacity of snubbies as the main weakness. I suppose I expected recoil to be the one thing on everybody's negative list. Of course, we'd all love to have unlimited ammunition in our handguns, but do we feel generally that speedloaders aren't the answer to reloading? Certainly we're not Jerry Miculek fast at reloading, but is speed loading a revolver truly a liability to the point where we feel it might be more prudent to carry a pocket automatic?

As an aside, I suppose I tend to overlook the role that the snubby truly plays and that is being a gun to carry when you can't carry a "real" gun. Of course, to that I must wonder then, if the 5 or 6-shot snubby is the gun of choice...the gun that is always carried, then isn't it the weapon we're MOST LIKELY to use in our defense? I'm speaking in terms of averages of course, but I point this out. Because it is the gun found on you nearly all of the time and it is the one you carry everywhere, then can and should we not consider the snubby to be the primary pistol in our carry regime? If that is the case, how does this effect our thought process in carrying and using the snubby?

Thanks again for your time and thoughts,

-Rob
 

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I have two snubbies. The first is a S&W Model 38, the Airweight Bodyguard with the shrouded hammer. I have had this one for years and years. It's a great little gun. Light enough for pocket carry, not quite so light as the titanium jobs so it helps some with recoil (even .38s give kind of a slap to the hand.) The Secret Service grips by Eagle make it more manageable, without sacrificing any concealability and do not cling to clothing like rubber boot grips can.

The other one is a Charter Arms Bulldog Pup .44 spl. It is also a nice, light gun. A little big for pocket carry in any except the larger pockets, IMO. Where I like it best is tucked under the arm, in a Kangaroo deep-cover shoulder holster. When I want a larger caliber, but won't be wearing jacket, vest, or other cover garment, this set-up rides under the shirt like no one's business. To get at it in a hurry, I would have to rip off buttons like the Incredible Hulk but when I really need a gun, I'm not going to sweat a couple of buttons.

The most appealing factor is carryability. Both of mine make good always guns in a suitable caliber. What I like least is the 5 shot limit. While hardly an advocate of spray and pray, I like a little more margin than that. But when I need an always gun, I just accept that the percentage of risk is vanishingly small on any given day.

I have tried, and still have holsters for, IWB and OWB carry for both of these. Sometimes, I even use them. Mostly, I agree with Elmer: if you can wear a holster, you can pack a full-size gun. (He said it somewhere in "Sixguns by Keith.")
 

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RandomMan/Rob,

After I posted my missive up-thread, I thought, "Darn it, I forgot to touch on reloading!" So, I'm glad you mention it.

I can't reload as quickly with speedloaders as I can with semiauto magazines. (On the other hand, I find that my 940 with the moonclips was every bit as fast to reload as any semiauto I own!) I find that the Safariland Comp I 'loaders are the best bet for me with my J- or D-frames, since they don't require any fumbling/twisting, just a determined shove. Still, I find speedloaders are awkward to carry (particularly with a concealed carry set-up, I'm not Miculek at the range) and are more "fumbly" than semiauto mags, and this is a big detriment.
 

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Hello.

What is your choice in Snubbies, why?

My current "always" gun is a snub. It is a "pre-lock" S&W Model 642. Though I don't care for stainless steel revolvers esthetically, I did replace my previous 24/7 revolver, an S&W Model 042 with the stainless one as fighting corrosion was an everyday affair in the heat of my state. So, I went with the stainless/aluminum frame revolver over the blue steel/aluminum frame one. The "Airweight" (aluminum) frame is my favorite as I normally use a pocket holster. For a belt gun, I'd probably opt for all steel. The aluminum frame snubs unlike the even lighter Ti revolvers do not have a limitation on using only jacketed bullets. Pocket carry is actually pretty "dirty" on the gun and I opted for the "hammerless" model as that was one less opening for grit/dust/lint to get into and I shoot revolvers of this size double-action-only. That said, had I found a really clean S&W Model 637 (pre-lock) at a good price, I'd have bobbed the hammer spur and used it.


This Model 042 shows more wear "in person" than the picture depicts. To make life easier, I replaced it with a stainless version of the same revolver.

What is your preferred caliber in Snubbies, why?

In an all-steel, I'd say .357 magnum, but I'd cheat and use a mid-range 357 load like the Golden Sabre, which is hotter than a 38 +P, but without all of the recoil of the full-house loads. This assumes we're speaking of a steel snub in the J-frame or SP101 size. In a K-frame sized snub, I'd go with Winchester 145-gr. 357 Magnum STHP. In an aluminum-framed snub, my preference is for .38 Special. It has fair "power", decent bullet weight, and can be handled accurately at speed.

What do you find most appealing about a snubby?

Easy of carry, reliability, and the ability to assume the role of backup gun when a larger belt gun is being carried.



What do you find least appealing about a snubby?

Increased felt recoil, short sight radius, minimal number of shots before a reload, and lack of full-length case extraction unless practiced in using the ejector rod briskly.

What are your thoughts on Ruger SP-101s?

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Ruger SP101 Report.htm

Your thoughts on Colt D-Frames?

I like them, but they're getting harder to find. I do prefer the trigger pull on the S&W to the D-frame Colt.

Your thoughts on Smith J-Frames?

Until the locks began coming on them, I preferred them to other make snubs. I still keep an eye out for older J and K-frame snubs and 3" revolvers. I also prefer the older more traditional shape of the S&W J-frames compared to the "magnum J-frame". I reckon it doesn't hurt anything of importance, but I detest the way it looks on the newer J's having hammers.

Your thoughts on Taurus snubbies?

It seems to be hit or miss. Some work pretty darned good while others do not. I am told that the current line of
Taurus snubs are better, but I have not shot one so I have no personal hands-on observations.


Pocket Carry, Waistband Carry, or other?

I use a pocket holster 99.9% of the time with my snub.



Mentioned earlier, I said that when I carried a belt gun, the snub .38 remained as a BUG. Lately, I've sometimes opted to carry the Ruger SP101 as a primary. The same speedloader that works with the J-frame works with it. The only downside is that any reload on the SP101 drops me from .357 to .38 "power" levels.

Best.
 

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Hi Stephen,

I would enjoy having another Ruger SP101 as well to add to my snubbies or a Charter Arms S/S Bulldog in .44 Special.

However, I really never hear enough about the Charter Arms snubbies in general. I was talking to a retired LEO yesterday and he told me that it was his favorite "off duty" revolver.

Chris
 
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