Hi Michael,

I have limited experience with a revolver. My shooting skills are probably intermediate at this point, but beginner for a revolver. I have a few questions if you don’t mind.

• What snub revolver do you recommend?
• Any downside to “hammerless” revolvers?
• I am left handed, do I have other issues to consider?
• Does S & W shooting range let people test revolvers before I purchase?

My intention is to either carry on my hip or on my ankle for personal protection. I am leaning towards a Smith but would love your input on which model.

Thanks for your time and I hope that you have a great holiday.

Best regards,

m38 Air Weight J-frame

m38 Air Weight J-frame

Dear Jim:

Thank you for for the great questions. Here are my thoughts:

What snub revolver do I recommend?

Snub options will depend a lot on the shooter’s hand size but generally I like any J-frame (5-shot) S&W in Air Weight (but not the AirLite guns.) The blue steel guns are also good if you can work around the extra weight. I also like the alloy frame 6-shot Colts and while the alloy 6-shot S&W are great guns their K-frame size is – for some shooters – not optimum for a deep concealment.

Is there any downside to “hammerless” revolvers?

I know all the famous gun writers/trainers rave about the hammerless (Centennial) guns – but I advocate for the shrouded (Bodyguard) styles – or failing that an Air Weight Chief Special with an after market shroud (Full disclosure – I am helping Waller and Son dispose of the last of the J-frame hammer shrouds)

The reason I like a shrouded snub is that there are a few “ready it fire” checks you can do both safely and quickly with a shrouded snub you can’t do with the hammerless snubs

I am left handed, do I have other issues to consider?

The snub is a non-symmetric weapon like a semi-auto pistol but there are no problem shooting the snub left handed in our classes. Currently I have two loading videos for the snub on YouTube – one is for the left handed shooter. It is not as slick as the LFI StressFire method but I think it is more reliable. Either way we cover and advocate skill with both methods. Try “Googling” snub reloading left handed – both methods should come up.

Does S & W shooting range let people test revolvers before I purchase?

The Smith and Wesson Shooting Sport Center does rent snub for use on their public shooting range. You can contact them for current rental rates at 800-331-0852

Advice (?) –

If I were new to the snub this is where I would start: I would find a S&W Bodyguard model 38 (Air weight) – render it double action only (do not “bob” the hammer) and chamfer the cylinders. If it was my only gun I would add a Barami Hip-Grip and a Tyler T-grip adaptor – Such a basic set-up would cover 99% of all your shooting needs.

If I wanted a second gun for back-up or an “understudy” gun for heavy training I would get another snub – a blue steel version of the same gun, the Bodyguard model 49 and render it double action only and chamfer the cylinders.

I would also pick up an Alessi ankle holster and (if I were saving money I would buy another Barami/Tyler grip set-up. If I had some extra money I would order a set of Spegel Boot Grips. If I wanted the best early and had the money I would get a set of Crimson Trace 205 laser stocks. If I could not afford laser stocks right away I would save up for a set.

The only extra I would allow myself is replacing the current “art-deco” style cylinder releases with a classic style set of releases. The old style releases offer several advantages over the new style.

If I had two snub set up in the above fashion I would consider myself “set” for life. The contact info for all that gear is on the “links” page on the SnubTraining web page. For what its worth.

If I missed anything or if the answers lead you to think of new questions please feel free to e-mail me. I hope this helped.

Thank you again for the great questions.


Michael de Bethencourt