Monday, August 22, 2011

Why I Still Carry a Snub-Nosed Revolver

Ask on any gun board and you will be told by most participants that the snubnosed revolver is an antique. Not enough firepower. Too slow to reload. The common wisdom seems to be that 17+1 and four spare magazines is the minimum necessary to walk out my front door to check the mail.

Much as I liked Through the Looking Glass as a boy, real life isn't a Lewis Carrol novel and we can't prepare for every eventually like the White Knight. In fact, the White Knight was a caricature of just that kind of thinking. What I plan for first is the most probable encounters and work from there.

  1. Most Defensive Gun Uses (DGU's) are settled with no shots fired.
  2. Of those that do involved shots fired, the average is two to three shots.
Neither of the above means I should carry less instead of more. If I get out of an encounter with no shots fired then it didn't matter whether I had five rounds or fifty rounds. In fact, the Evil Black Pistol may have some extra intimidation factor -- at least all the badasses on TV and in the movies carry black plastic. Similarly, If I only have to shoot two or three times then it still doesn't matter how many rounds I had as long as it was at least two or three.

So why do I still carry that ancient, antique and useless snubnose revolver despite the Internet experts telling me not to? It can be directly traced back to some force-on-force exercises about 15 years or so ago.

In one exercise we practiced grappling with an "attacker". When my turn came, I ended up shoving the blue gun tight against my attacker's body to "shoot". The instructor pointed out that trick would not work with 95% of the autoloaders. He then proceeded to demonstrate how to minimize the chance an autoloader would fail in that situation. After the class, I thought about 7+1 of 45 ACP or 10+1 of 9mm I may be able to use versus five 38 spl for sure and decided I like the odds with the 38 better.

In another exercises I was "surprised" by an attacker who tried to get a chokehold on me from behind. The first time I tried to get the fake gun twisted around so I could get off a shot. I lost that round. On the second run I was still trying to get the gun positioned for a shot when, out of frustration, I just pointed it over my right shoulder upside down and pulled the "trigger". Afterwards, the instructor complimented me on my creativity but pointed out that my shoulder would have blocked the slide and jammed the gun after the first shot. I tried the maneuver with live ammo -- without a partner of course -- next time I was at a private range. As expected, my Glock 17 jammed and bruised my shoulder even through the padding I was wearing. The 442, on the other hand, fired all five times. I eventually sold the Glock for other reasons but I still have and, when I deem it prudent and possible, carry the 442.


  1. The best weapon is the one you have when you need it.

    Sometimes that is just the one between your ears.

    The gear culture among the liberty sphere is sometimes silly to watch; I find the bitter arguments to be silly.

    That said, I don't have the kind of fine motor control to pack a revolver. I don't think I could load it under stress; my dex score is notably low.

    Honestly, my main EDC weapon is a stout wooden cane. Why? Because I've logged the most training hours with a stick, compared to any other weapon. People will laugh at me, call me a mall ninja, ask me how I would engage a clown car full of 18 taliban terrorists ambushing me at the gas station. But you know what? I am 100% confident in my performance with the weapon, and there are too many carriers that cannot say that.

  2. Hey, LiB. Nice to see you're stil alive and kicking. I have a rattan crook cane I often use when my knees are acting up or I have to go into a government building.


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