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RevolverJockey

38+P 5 shot snubnose

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Simple enough question, not wanting to start a caliber war. I recently picked up a 442 and love how light and easy it is to carry. When I look at the caliber on paper, I wonder if it is something for everyday carry. Any opinions would be appreciated. I did a few searches on BE and couldn't really come up with anything. Thanks in advance as always.

Lee

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It is all ammo dependent. I carry with 100gr frang hollow points that have a very good performance. Other rounds used are the Gold Dot 135gr JHP. Another proven bullet design.

Last, as long as you can hit your target first time every time, the bullet will do what it is supposed to.

Opinion of one YMMV

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People who laugh at .38's have never been hit by one. I give this round the same respect that I would a .22- which has killed many many individuals. One well-placed shot from either of these rounds can end a gunfight.

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chirpy   

Cor-Bon DPX is getting good reviews. I have a 642 non+p rated and carry Federal Ny-clads and Hornady CD in it.

FYI

Richard

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There's a ton of good defensive ammo out there today and defensive use is "up close and personal". The equation is a lot different than it was not so long ago.

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The only problem I have is that is 5 rounds. I like more BBs as bad guys don't tend to come by themselves. Other than that I've carried one for years! I still carry it in a ankle rig when my big gun just won't work.

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Neomet   

Carry one almost every day. Proper selfdefense ammo is critical in this caliber in order to bring about quick incapacitation.

Edited by Neomet

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Joe4d   

if you get past the unsubstantiated emotion based opinions which the gun world is more than full of look at the actual numbers, 38 special is a very low powered round especially when fired from a snubby, alot of factory ammo wont even make minor power factor in service revolvers. Now whether this weaker round is powerful enough is up for endless debate. But until recoil is an issue more power is always better and more capacity is better.

However lets compare it to another basic carry gun , a 9mm Kahr.

The kahr is flatter, holds more ammo, holds more powerful ammo, can weigh the same or less depending on model, can be reloaded faster with an easier to carry reload.

38 snubbies are popular for the same reason 30/30 leveractions are popular for deer hunting. There are way better tools for the job but people simply just like them.

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If someone has a hard on for you and comes after you... A .38 Special may not knock them down but I guarantee it will make them loose their erection. closedeyes.gif

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JeffWard   

A 22LR is "enough" for self defense...

But if you're going to carry, in the same size/weight category, I choose a 13 round sub-compact 9mm, over a 5 round 38. My S&W M&P9C is not so much bigger/heavier than a 38 snubby that I won't carry it. If I MUST go smaller, I'll still choose 8 rounds of .380 in my Kel-Tec over 5 in a 38...

The snubby is sufficient, but in my opinion, not "optimal".

Jeff

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Not to beat the dead horse, but learn to make good hits with the 642. I find it to be a challenge to shoot when compared to a fullsize gun. This can be easily overcome with some laser grips, but know where it hits in case they don't work. When looking at loads I would look at the Golddot load that was made for the short barrel or something light fast and ferocious. I would consider carrying two or more speed loaders in a pocket also. They aren't all that bulky and they'll keep you going should there be multiple threats. I have always thought that the realworld ballistics of the snubnose derived from shooting phone books and plywood necessitated at least two shots per customer.

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Kyle O   

I carry mine everyday, but with snakeshot in the 1st cyl, (come across more of them) followed by 4 +p. I save the bigger, more powerful, more capacity, bottom feeding stuff for when I know I'm gonna need it. The rest of the time, I just stick my little baby 642 in my pocket, and I'm perfectly content, you should be too.

BTW, I've killed far more snakes than BGs with it.

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GOF   

The nice thing about a five shot snubby and quality ammo (Speer 135 Gold Dot was developed at the request of NYPD and they are very happy with it) is that you can count on it to work for all five shots. That's not always the case with the pint-sized .380 and other tiny semi-autos. More than a few veteran LEOs have one tucked about their person as a back up to their service sidearm. I would not carry one as my "only gun"... there are too many good compact 9mms that aren't a lot bigger and heavier, hold more rounds, and are faster to reload... but they make a great back up gun.

GOF

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Everybody forgot to mention the lightning reaction time from a jacket pocket. Hands in pockets fingers on triggers...pockets and jackets are cheap by comparison. I guess the little guy could also be used as an opener as well and then transition to the primary while others are still figuring out what happened to the plan. Since the five shooters don't reload all that quickly why not?

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RAC   

With the proper ammo and practice, and that you like the way it feels carrying it, your way ahead of something big bulky and has more power which you might tend to leave at home more often.

You will also need to change your tag line

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See everything

Count to Five

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I probably should have put it in the original post, I am not going to carry two guns, there wont be any transitioning to a back up or any of that. 10 years and I have not come close to thinking I actually need a gun, but enjoy the comfort of knowing I have one. Not a lot of robberies at the bookstore, Starbucks, or gun range (95% of the time I spend away from home). I feel like I could probably take the gun out of the pocket holster and fire at a rate of more than a round a second and still hit all lower A's at 3-4 yards, maybe faster if I am closing the distance. I have some nerve damage in my elbow and 38+P is all I am going to be able to handle in a revolver, .40 in a similar sized auto. I guess what I am getting at is, if it isn't good for carry, I really have no use for it - my G17 is a little bulky even with a good holster and I don't think the 610 would make me walk in a circle. I bought this 442 having never owned a J-frame and only shot a 38, in a model 19-1. I don't think a reload is really an option, I have plays around with strips and speedloaders and it is ugly every time. The shortness of the crane and the lack of recess on the grip makes a speed loader nearly impossible. I tried all three methods including loose rounds from the pocket and loose rounds was quicker.

Lee

Edited by Mitch_Rapp.45

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GOF   

A quality .38 Spl load (Gold Dot, Cor-Bon DPX)is comparable in performance to a 9mm, but not to the 9mm +P and +P+ loads. The drawback to it as the "only" carry gun is the five round capacity,slow reload and the difficulty in making fast and accurate hits beyond 7-10 yards. The Plus side is convenience in a pocket. If you intend to holster carry it, you can get the same size, with only marginally heavier weight (which really is a non-factor in belt holster carry) from several 9 - 12 shot 9mm/.40 S&W compacts, with the faster reload a spare mag provides. I would prefer (and do carry) those in preference to a snubby, as an only gun. YMMV.

GOF

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Joe4d   

A quality 38 special load is NOT comparable to even standard power 9mm, when those rounds are fired from a snub nose 38 vs something like a 3.5 " Kahr barrel, or Glock 26, the 9mm loads of same weight will beat the 38 by 200 fps, a big big difference. The often mentioned Speer load only makes 900 fps when fired from a 1 and 7/8 or 2 inch snubby.

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You can actually make fast & accurate hits out past 15 yards. I use to qualify with mine out to 25. At 25 I was still able to keep all the shots on target. I would say 15 yds is the effective range for being fast & accurate. I carry one on occasion when the 38 snub fits my wardrobe better.

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bofe954   

If you look around even a little you can find a used one for $350. Not really any reason NOT have one.

My biggest issue with mine is that I can't shoot it worth a damn, but you look like you compete with a revo, so I'm sure you'll be better than me. I think competition makes you want more out of guns than may be realistic too.

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I dunno. everyone is always talking power this, capacity that. When it comes down to it do you really think you're going to USE 52 rounds of 9mm in a fight? Do you REALLY think you're going to need those 3 mags? Have you ever shot an El Presidente and said afterwards "Aw hell yea, if I was jumped by 3 armed assailants I could win that fight standing in this spot!"?

What it boils down to is are you going to carry that .45 with you everywhere you go? That little .38 is super easy to slip into a pocket on your way out the door to hit the ATM before you go to Wal-Mart to pick up ammo for this weeks match. While at the ATM you get jumped by 3 guys. Do you really think once you pull your pistola and put two into the chest of one guy and start blasting away at the other two the other two are gonna run behind a car and start to exchage shots with you movie style or are they gonna scatter like the roaches they are? My guess is they're gonna bail and even if they get locked down into a bad position and feel the need to fight their way out you have either made good your escape or have gotten to a point where you can reload your little snubby. This is of course assuming you haven't already been shot. ;)

I carry a .45 when I travel or will be away from home for several hours but I live near the Mexican border. Otherwise I carry a .38 to the corner store or quick little in and out trips to wally Wolrd. Unless you're living in a neighborhood with a meth lab or a crack house in it or frequnetly visiting war zones a .38 special that YOU WILL carry is a lot better weapon than a .45 you may decide is too heavy and inconvenient to strap on for a quick trip for Ice Cream.

Are there better rounds than a .38+p? Yes. Does that mean that a .38+p isn't more than adequate for 99.999999999999% of the situations an avergae person may encounter on any given day? Nope.

JMOICBW

Don

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