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Snub Nose .38 Revolver

Perhaps it’s my generation, but the revolver has faded in popularity over the past few decades. Having a total of five or six rounds goes against everything we have been taught about self defense guns. We are supposed to find a quality polymer frame, striker fired semiautomatic with a higher capacity, but as I’ve matured I’ve learned how often my generation can learn from our elders.

The snub nose .38 revolver dominated the market for decades for undercover officers, plain clothes officers and armed citizens. Watch any police movie from the 70’s or 60’s and you’re guaranteed to see cops with the snub nose .38. The Colt Detective Special and the Smith and Wesson Airweight are legendary, but they have fallen out of popularity.

Last summer, I was reminded of one of the most important reliability factors about the snub nose: it works even at contact distances. Push the muzzle of a semiautomatic against a target and it may likely malfunction, but a revolver is going to work. Grit, grime, pocket lint and other foreign debris can stop a semiautomatic from working, but it probably won’t even give a revolver a hiccup. Reliability is the calling card for the revolver.

Concealability is perhaps what endears the snub nose to me so much. When I’m off duty I don’t like wearing all the “tactical” clothing. You’re going to find me in hooded sweatshirts and jeans in the winter and jeans and a t-shirt in the summer. My motorcycle is my most prized possession and my true passion in life but it is hard to hide the semiautomatic on my hip when my shirt is flapping in the breeze. Appendix inside the waistband carry is fairly difficult for me as I’m riding as the gun tends to push me right in the guts. I discovered I can slip my .38 (which is a Ruger LCR) into a small leather holster that in turn slips into my right front pocket and no one else even knows it’s there. The holster blends the lines and the snubby doesn’t have much bulk which makes it very difficult to detect and very comfortable to carry.

It’s true the .38 isn’t the most powerful round on the market, but it also isn’t the least effective. The .38 has been used effectively for decades upon decades and was used with great lethality by Jim Cirillo and the Stake Out Squad in New York. It’s hard to argue with their results. With the average distance of a police shooting being a matter of a few feet, the revolver is surprisingly fast and accurate even if the double action trigger takes some getting used to.

The snub nose revolver may be old fashioned and may seem outdated to some. There aren’t as many “ tacticool” accessories available for the revolver, but I would be glad to trade all the cool points for something that works when I need to. Plus, the revolver is fast, accurate, lightweight and easy to conceal.