November 2012

38 Specials for Snubbie Carry: We Test Eleven Head to Head

When we look at all the data, we find a great many cartridges we believe can protect you and your family. Our team of raters favored the ‘X’ bullets — the Cor-Bon DPX and the Hornady FTX.

A hot topic among serious personal-defense shooters is ammunition for the handguns that we really carry. It is fine to consider the ballistic differences between all calibers, but when it gets to brass tacks, the snubnose 38 Special revolver is a handgun that all of us know and use. The 38 snub is still the most popular backup handgun and the one that makes the most sense. While the 38 Special may be a backup for armed professionals, the 38 is a primary handgun for shopkeeps and armed citizens. The 38 is a particularly good choice for female shooters. When the assailant is at bad-breath range and the action becomes intimate, the only answer is to press the handgun against the attacker’s body and press the trigger. A self-loader would jam after the first shot. A peace officer who is defending against a gun grab would be in much the same situation.

The 38 Special snubnose revolver is often criticized as being inaccurate and difficult to handle, but it is all in indoctrination. We think that sometimes the shooter attempts to go too light. A steel-frame handgun is by no means too heavy if proper attention is given to concealment leather. A good-quality holster that properly conceals the snub 38 and keeps it in place will take care of the characteristic sag of a heavy handgun. When you put a steel-frame revolver in the pocket, the pocket droops. The pocket also droops with a lightweight handgun, only less. With the steel-frame revolver and practice, good shooting may be done. The 38 Special is simply too good a choice to ignore.

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