Why I like the Snub Nose 38 & Lessons From The Ammo “Shortage”

11 May

Isn’t the wheel gun dead for personal self defense? That’s what many claim. Compared to modern compact autoloaders, it has some disadvantages. It only holds five or six shots and is slow to reload. Short barreled revolvers are notoriously difficult to shoot well. For the same overall length handgun, you get a shorter sight radius with a revolver than with a semiautomatic. Even small semiautos, like the PPK/S can be equipped with good sights. The fixed sights on most snub nose 38s are crap.

We all know the negatives. What are some of the positives? Many people think they’ll confront an attacker at 25 yards. In reality, most personal defense situations originate at very close distances, often under ten feet. Frequently, under five feet. Most of the time, if you point a gun at an attacker, he’ll flee. But what if he doesn’t? What if he’s bat a** crazy? What if he rushes you?

Semiautomatics are known to suffer malfunctions from “limp wristing.”  This occurs when you hold the gun loosely and it fails to feed. To function properly, you must hold automatic pistols firmly. This allows the slide to disengage from the rest of the pistol and use the recoil process to cycle the action. Limp wristing or pulling the pistol rearward as you shoot interferes with the process. The result is often called a FTF or a fail to feed.

On a gun range, there’s no reason not to grip your weapon strongly and hold it out in front of you. But if you’re under attack and moving backward, the weapon can FTF. If you face an attacker rushing you with a knife, a FTF is a problem. If a larger, stronger, faster attacker gets your weapon, that’s a big problem.

This video on Youtube shows a brave cop being attacked by an angry ex-boxer:


After shooting the suspect in the belly once: “The gunshot just seemed to make him madder.” In the ensuing struggle, the firearm jammed. Would a good old-school revolver have served this officer better? It wouldn’t have jammed. He’d have six shots.

What if you can’t stop an attacker with five shots? The old school advice was to improve your shooting. I kinda like the Benny Hill approach of the officer in the video. Run this way, run that way, run the other way. Run back. Theoretically, the guy with a few bullet holes in him should slow down after a bit. Have a plan if your weapon fails to stop an attacker or you run out of shots.

There was an expression, “Take five and dive” that was common when revolvers were carried. It meant that after your weapon was empty, jump for cover. Today, we know it’s better to take cover first if you’re under fire. No matter what weapon you rely on, have a plan if your weapon fails.

The two classic snub nose 38s were the Smith & Wesson 36 (or S&W 60 for the stainless steel version) and the Colt Detective Special. The one gun I regret not buying was Detective Special back when they were $235 new. All gun people have “gun regrets.”

Long live the snub nose 38. It’s not as modern, sexy, or sleek as the best compact autoloaders, but it works. In close personal encounters, it can be better than the semiautos.

Charlie Palmer, author The Prepper Next Door.

I’ve watched some amusing Youtube videos about the recent shortage of ammo and the inflated prices. Some shooters blame preppers for “hoarding” all the ammo! Others blame people for buying it all up to resell it at high prices.

One guy was saying that the NRA should make bulk purchases and ration out the ammo. Another fellow said shooters should give their brothers a break and sell them some of their ammo, at the old prices. We’re all in this together, after all.

Most old preppers should be unaffected by the ammo shortage. We’ve acquired all the ammo we really need years ago. We aren’t forced to pay premium prices today. If we shoot a lot, we reload. It’s a good lesson though. When those who haven’t prepared run out of something they want, they expect those who have prepared to provide it. They have to blame somebody for the problem. They’re angry. They want intervention. Some agency should solve the problem. Something should be done. This is human nature.

For most Americans today, ammo isn’t an essential. It’s fired off as a hobby. What if rather than an ammo “shortage” there were a shortage of food? How would people behave then? How would society change?

The lesson I take away from this: Don’t be unprepared. Don’t put yourself at the forces of a fickle market. If something isn’t on store shelves, have a solid stockpile beforehand, if you can afford to. Then you can wait out the turbulence. The market will take advantage of the unprepared. Running out at the last minute to buy ammo, because it might not be cheaply available in the future, is no different than needing to run out and buy groceries before a hurricane. The shelves might be empty.

One prepper documented just how rapidly ammunition is selling.

Over at tracemypreps.com, a good article talks about using preps when needed: http://tracemypreps.com/2013/04/26/nuts-bolts-by-nick-im-eating-my-preps/
“…it can be difficult to squirrel away cash if you are living paycheck to paycheck. Being prepared should not be an exclusive hobby for those who can afford to stack gold bars up in their bunker.”

I couldn’t agree more. I think one thing that initially draws many of us to prepping is hardship. It’s only when you realize how badly things can go that you prepare.

Here’s something that’s back in the news: Credit card scammers are rigging gas pumps to read people’s credit cards.

This post talks about ways to save money.
A good tip: Keep a price book. This is especially good for those of us with fading memories: Is $1.70 a good price for 12 oz of cheese slices? If you’re not sure, look it up in your price book.

Other good money saving tips:



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