Dear Gun Show Armchair Commando,

I fully accept that my choosing to carry a 5 shot, snub nose, .38 special is taking my life into my own hands.  You are absolutely right, I might as well be unarmed carrying such an under powered gun.  Even my choice of ammo, the Winchester 110 gr +P+ treasury load, doesn’t hold up to snuff.  Not to mention that the average defensive shooting is over after only 2 rounds fired.  Since I can’t practically reload or manipulate a snubby one handed by racking it on my belt, I might as well just commit suicide as try to defend myself with it if I every have to draw my gun.  (On a side note, since I can’t actually see your belt under your gut, can you rack your gun on your belt?  Like, is that a physical possibility with you?)

I really should heed your advice.  I need to start carrying a full size 9mm with a +2 base pad IWB along with two reloads.  That, that might be a little heavy or bulky to carry concealed, is irrelevant.  See, I guess that if I was anticipating getting into a two-reload running gun battle, I’d be carrying a rifle.  Not that I anticipate getting into a two-reload running gun battle at all.

Five rounds is not nearly enough to defend myself against a gang of three to six rapists.  In unlikely event that I am attacked by multiple assailants, I believe that basic psychology would save me.  Evidence shows that most criminals are cowards who like easy victims.  I figure that after I shoot the first one, the rest would scatter.  This is entirely speculation, but I’d think it would be really difficult to rape somebody while hemorrhaging internally.

I really did think my quip “if 5 rounds of .38 was enough for Joe Friday, it’s enough for me” would make you laugh.  But I can see how joking about self defense means that “I guess [I] don’t take my life seriously.”

I like carrying a snubby.  It’s light, compact, and easy to carry.  I still carry in a fanny pack like a dork half the time, just because it’s so easy.  I appreciate that you are only looking out for my safety.  I’m just not that tactical.  Sorry.  I think I’ll be alright.

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By J. Kb

28 thoughts on “Open Letter”
  1. Didn’t Joe Friday carry a snubbed Model 10?
    Anyway, personally I switched from a J Frame to a 9mm Shield. They roughly tote the same, but the Shield has better sights, better recoil characteristics, and holds at least 3 more rounds.
    But, I’d still be comfortable toting a J frame.

    1. You are right. With the LAPD Friday would have had a Model 60. Lennie Brisoe with the NYPD carried a S&W model 36.

      My go to carry gun is a Ruger LCR with the front sight upgraded to an XS night sight. I’ve tried the single stack 9mm’s but I have big hands and find the grips on those to be too narrow. I have an M&P9c and Ruger SR9c, both of which I love, and often carry, but I have to dress for them (IWB strong side holster, spare mag pouch). But if I’m just running a quick errand, I’ll just drop the LRC into my pocket or use my fanny pack. It is the most convenient gun to carry so I carry it the most.

  2. A revolver with a Speed-strip or an HKS can handle just about anything one may encounter. I DO prefer a full-size G17 with two extra magazines, but I’ve been known to venture out into the world with nothing more than a 9mm Shield and one extra magazine. The more work I do on the Shield and the more rounds I fire the more I realize that it is more than sufficient.

  3. I don’t get it. 38 and 9mm are pretty much the same round for performance.

    Up here in Maine, the concern is cranky bears and horny moose, so they’re both a little under-powered. :o) I usually carry a 45 colt redhawk or sometimes the blackhawk with a 300g hardcast @ app 1200fps.

    I’d need to stack rapists to prevent over-penetration, so 3 to 6 might be enough.

    Actually, around town I use a 200 grain bullet @ app1000fps, so not much more than the 9 or 38 is capable of. They’re usually 140 something, (right?) at similar speeds.

    Course the holes are a little bigger.

  4. Thanks for the humorous post, Miguel. I had a good laugh. These folks sneer at a Kel-Tec P3AT with only a paltry 6 rounds of .380, even though they are Federal Hydra-shocks. But it is the lightest thing you can carry, so you will never leave it at home.

    1. Agree on the P3AT. it might not be as “definitive” as a .45, but I will carry it every day just as I carry a clip-on knife every day.

      That’s absolutely the best make, model and caliber.

  5. It all comes down to what you are comfortable with and can shoot. Im 6 foot 4 240 pounds, with the right jacket I could carry a .223 Bushmaster pistol with a 100 round double drum. But I dont. A 110 pound gal aint gonna want to lug a full size 1911. If you can put all 5 or six rounds into a “minute of criminal” group, you will win. Depends where you are in this world. Detriot?? Glock 21 and 3 extra 30 round mags, and 4 or 5 buddys in the car with shotguns heh heh heh. Up in the woods of Maine with Fred? A full size 1911,8 round mag and a 10 round spare, in case that moose has a buddy….

  6. I once had a boss who said that, if you want to carry a weapon and be comfortable, carry a bean and a straw in your shirt pocket. But when someone is trying to take your life, you’ll wish you had an 8-inch howitzer. The trick is finding the compromise between the comfort of the peashooter and the power of the howitzer. For him, it was either a Series 70 Government Model or a 4-inch Model 66. You have made a different choice. My choice is different from yours. It’s America. You go to your church and I’ll go to mine.

  7. By the way, what model of J-frame do you carry T-loads in? I would only carry them in .357 rated guns, like the Model 66 or the 640.

      1. Thank you.
        Interesting that the T-load in the Winchester link was tested in a 2-inch Model 15. When my agency issued T-loads, we were specifically told not to use them in .38 Special guns, only in .357s. But, since the Secret Service (for whom the T-load was developed, after full-house .357s damaged their Model 19s and 66s) had a lot of Model 15s, it looks like they used them in .38s, too. Obviously in moderation.

        1. In a J-frame, Taurus, or older .38, I think the T-load would be too much. In a modern, well made, .38 special rated for +P, it should handle it just fine. Proof loads are at least 135% of SAAMI spec. For a .38 +P that is 27,000 PSI. A .357 is rated at 35,000 nominal, so there is no problem firing them in a .357.

          I got hooked on the the 110 +P+ in my SP101. What I like about them is that being a .38, they eject from a snub gun with a short ejection rod where .357 often sticks at the mouth of the case.

          I fired 5 rounds of it through my LCR to check POI vs POA and that’s it. Gun held up just fine. I practice with 130 gr PMC FMJ. If I fire another 5 rounds of +P+ through that gun in my life, they will all be in a defensive situation.

          I’m a cheapskate when it comes to ammo. I buy what’s cheap. I’ll test 5 rounds of my premium price defensive load in each gun just to check POI vs POA and function. But I won’t burn up a $25 box of JHP for practice. Most modern guns are designed around JHP and are reliable enough where I don’t feel that I have to spend a whole lot of ammo proofing my gun with my choice in defensive ammo. Trust me, the gun companies (the good ones) run thousands of rounds of every type of ammo through their designs to weed out any problems.

          1. That’s kind of my attitude. I knew guys who carried the T-loads in their Model 60s. (The old, .38 Model 60s.) Their attitude was, if I have to use it, five rounds won’t ruin the gun, and if they do, I’m alive to throw the gun away. I didn’t do that, but I’m not gonna fault their reasoning.

          2. There’s a few ammo gurus that prefer the 148 grain wadcutters for snubbies- you get a bullet with low recoil, good penetration, and one that will not be deflected off round bone.

  8. As long as you carry every day, carry what you want! Recuperation from knee surgery has sort of mandated shorts and yoga pants (no belt), so I’ve been carrying a 9mm LCR in a shoulder holster. Yes, I know shoulder holsters are completely worthless and only work in James Bond movies. Here’s the punchline…I’ve done a lot of my stand ups for SHOOTING GALLERY in a logo’ed shirt with the LCR on underneath…after the last filming, one of the crew said, “You know…seems weird that you’re not wearing a gun…”

  9. The only problem I have with the idea of carrying a revolver is the fact that in life threatening situations when firing with 2 hands I would be afraid of my thumb being on the cylinder gap, during range time I’d have the mind to keep my thumb in the right position.

  10. Daily dress for work at the freight dock in shithole neighborhood. SP101 WC loaded with 125r JHPs at 1400fps from that short barrel, Mustang in the back pocked loaded with 90gr JHPs at 1120. When the wife accompanies me, it’s LCP in her back pocket, tactical folder, Bulldog keychain, peppers pray, flashlight/stungun combo and G19. Every night.

  11. I have a conceal carry license for 20 years and use a Colt 38 light weight snubby or my COP 4 shot 357 in an OTB holster. This is all I have ever need. Yes I do have firearms with more capacity,

    1. Think strongly of picking up something else, because losing your irreplaceable collectables to an evidence locker or a greedy cop would just suck.

  12. I had a guy tell me something similar about my glock 23 I was trying to sell, so I told him he could have it half price if he let me shoot him with it first.

    He declined. They always do.

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