Author Doug Gilmer schools us on why there is still a place in the self defense world for the Snub Nose Revolver.
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- I’ve carried a snub nose revolver for 25 years, first as a back-up to my duty revolver and now my duty autoloader. I’m not ready to give up on wheel guns. Unlike many younger people in law enforcement who have never held or fired a revolver, I am comfortable with a wheel gun and recognize its versatility, dependability, and carry-ability.
The snub nose revolver is still a good choice for concealed carry, the following are reasons why it should not be written off as dead.
Snub Nose Revolver ~ Concealment
Early in my law enforcement career I was taught to carry a five-shot revolver in my front pocket. I have yet to find a handgun better designed for this type of concealment.
The fit is natural and a good pocket holster will help keep the gun up right in the pocket and will break up its distinctive outline.
Of course the snub is also right at home on the ankle, tucked in the waistband (using a good ankle holster), on the belt, or elsewhere. It just works wherever and however you decide to carry it.
Snub Nose Revolver ~ Simplicity
There is no complicated manual of arms or immediate action/failure drill with a revolver. If you squeeze the trigger and the gun doesn’t fire, simply squeeze the trigger again. No safety, no damaged magazine to rip out and replace and no slide to work. Just aim and keep squeezing the trigger until your desired outcome is achieved. (DRT)
Snub Nose Revolver ~ Reliability
It’s not easy to make a revolver malfunction. There is no worry over “limp wristing”, no magazine to malfunction or come unseated, no failures to feed or failures to eject. If the revolver doesn’t function its likely the result of improper ammo, exceptionally poor maintenance, or improperly installed custom parts such as hammers or springs.
In 25 years I’ve never seen or heard of a revolver failing with the result being a good guy losing a gunfight.
Snub Nose Revolver ~ Better Trigger Time
When is the last time you saw someone at the range blowing through five (or six) rounds from a revolver, dumping the empties, recharging the gun, and repeating the process over and over. Unless you were watching Jerry Miculek chances are you haven’t.
I often watch shooters with their high capacity magazine fed autoloader blow through 50 rounds in no time and still not make good hits on the target. The revolver slows us down and makes us focus on what we are doing wrong and allows us the time to correct our mistakes. Revolver shooters don’t have the “luxury” of high capacity. Sight alignment, sight picture, proper grip and the right amount of finger on the trigger are all critical.
Don’t buy the argument snub nose revolvers are not accurate. “Accuracy” issues are typically shooter incurred issues. My snub nose qualification course requires shooting out to 25 yards. With practice, this is no problem.
Snub Nose Revolver ~ Power Factor
While the snub nose revolver is generally thought of as a 38 Special or 357 Magnum, they offer greater diversity. Depending on one’s shooting ability and need for power, a snub nose can be had in 22 LR to 500 Smith & Wesson. The upper size limit for discreet, concealed carry ends with the potent and popular 44 Special and chambered in five-shot revolvers such as the Charter Arms Bulldog. The smaller the cartridge, typically the more rounds the gun will hold in its cylinder. If a 5-shot 38 Special is too much to handle, maybe a seven shot 22 Magnum, a snub nose cartridge idea championed by none other then famed lawman Bill Jordan, will work for you.
Snub Nose Revolver ~ You Wont’ Leave it at Home
The first rule of a gunfight is, have a gun. Any gun beats no gun. Unlike with your full size, 16+ round master blaster, when there is no good concealment option you won’t be tempted to leave the snub nose at home. It can simply go with you anywhere and anytime you are legal, fulfilling the #1 rule of a gun fight.
Limited ammo capacity is a chief complaint of the snub revolver. Most compact, snub nose revolvers in service calibers (38 Special, 357 Magnum, 44 Special) hold five or maybe six shots. I always carry reloads, at least two speed strips or speed loaders or combination of both.
Tuff is now making eight-round Quick Strips for the 38/357, appealing to owners of larger N-frame Smith and Wesson revolvers, but they work great for the five-shot snub as well.
Carrying two eight-round speed strips gives one 16 extra rounds or over three full reloads for a five-shot revolver. If its an option, the classic “New York” reload (carrying two revolvers) works well and is the fastest option.
The snub nose revolver isn’t the primary gun you want if you are raiding drug houses, or taking down a terrorist cell, these however, are not tasks encountered by everyday citizens much less all but the most highly trained professionals. As a civilian, concealed carry is for personal defense in a pinch and the snub nose fits this role well. For law enforcement officers, the snub nosed revolver is a great solution for a back-up gun in high stress situations or off duty use. No matter who you are, the snub nose is a good, reliable solution.
About Doug Gilmer:
Doug Gilmer is a law enforcement and military veteran with over 25 years. With experience and assignments operating throughout the United States and around the world in a variety of investigative, protective, tactical and direct action roles. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys fly-fishing, hunting with a handgun. As well as backcountry adventures, and volunteering with various outdoor themed wounded warrior events. He has been a frequent contributor to outdoor media. For for several years with numerous articles and photos published in a number of media channels. He is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association as well as a former board member and executive officer.