November 2013

Hammerless Snubnoses: Ruger LCR vs. Smith & Wesson M42

For concealed-carry duties, how does a high-tech 38 Special Ruger fare against an old-school wood-and-blued S&W revolver?

In the 1950s, some revolvers were expressly designed and marketed for police detectives to conceal carry, though shooters had been cutting down the barrels of full-size revolvers to make them more concealable since Sam Colt was alive. Small, compact revolvers were called snubnose revolvers and have been and continue to be a staple defense weapon. They can be small and snag-free for easy concealment, and they can be drawn smoothly from pockets, purses, and ankle and belt holsters, among other conceal-carry modes. Of the more concealable types of snubnose revolvers, some are DAO (double action only), wherein the revolver is only able to fire with a double-action pull of the trigger. There is no hammer to thumb back and fire the revolver single action, and no hammer spur to snag and impede a draw.

Rugerís LCR has helped create a new interest in these compact five-shooters, so we wanted to see how a good, old S&W with comparable features ó a Model 42 ó would compare. If the LCR is the iPhone generationís revolver, then the Model 42 would be the gun for those who grew up using rotary-dial telephones.

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