A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shooting the Bodyguard Cold

I was back at the range this afternoon, and I intended to shoot my Smith & Wesson Model 649. I purchased the 649 to alleviate some of the wear on my old aluminum framed Model 38. They shoot pretty much the same, but the Airweight 38 is much easier to carry in a pocket holster.

Click to enlarge
I had been shooting the Model 649 for a bit when I realized that my Colt Defender was still holstered on my hip. I unholstered it and put it on the table.

I ran 150 rounds of Winchester White Box through the 649, enough to turn the barrel blue with soot. I like having a snubbie in my pocket. Such a carry arrangement allows me to converse with a person with my right hand placed casually in my pocket, in a firing grasp on the weapon.Click to enlarge The potential threat never knows it is there, unless I need it. That is a decided advantage. It gives a person time to assess the threat and make an accurate determination on whether lethal force is warranted, and have the gun into play in the blink of an eye. Or, if the conflict can be de-escalated, a person using pocket carry can do so with a gun in hand and nobody is the wiser.

One of the oft disregarded advantages of a snubbie in a pocket is speed. The short barrel of the snubbie revolver is frequently thought of as an aid in concealment, but it also enables the shooter to clear leather and bring the muzzle to bear quicker. While peak muzzle velocity may not be reached with a snubbie, clearing leather first and getting hits on target first has it's benefit.

I alternated shooting the snubbie with shooting the Ruger MKII. I wasn't so much working on marksmanship with the Ruger as I was attempting to decondition any advantage I gained from firing the Smith over and over. I wanted to shoot each cylinder cold, as though I had just drawn it from my pocket after a week or two of not shooting. I would draw and put two on target, then three. Other times, I loaded four rounds only. Click to enlargeWhen I clicked on the empty chamber, I had to make a quick decision to pull that trigger again for another shot.

Shooting a snubbie revolver accurately in double action is demanding shooting. Shooting a snubbie revolver double action to get controlled couplets or trained triplets with holes where you want them to be, as fast as you can pull the trigger is a skill that eludes many shooters. Many shooters eventually move on to easier guns to shoot in a search for greater accuracy. I can not place the holes as close to each other with a rapidly fired snubbie as I can with a Government Model. But I can place them close enough with a snubbie for government work. The other advantages of a snubbie frequently out weigh the more difficult shooting, and the more difficult shooting presents a challenge.

I have given some thought to dropping this revolver off at Clark Custom when I pick up my Colt Commander. A couple of years ago, Jim Clark had a matched set of S&W 629 snubs that he had melted and bead blasted for a customer planning on going into Kodiak country. That brace of pistols was one of the sharpest best thought out sets of guns I have seen. I'm thinking that a Clark Meltdown and bead blasting on this little pocket pistol might just make it ideal.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What range are you shooting the snubbies at? You seem to be doing OK for social occassions.

stay safe.


7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Xavier
Just a thought on ammo for the snubbie. Quite a while back I had a long conversation with Massayd Ayoob? concerning Speer's short barrel ammo. Apparently it was developed at the request of the NYPD. The first design did not do so well in actual shootings and they redesigned the cavity. Now it performs admirably in real world results. Or so I was told by Mr. Ayoob. So anyway I thought I would pass that info on to you. Take care friend and keep blogging!

7:30 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

10 yards.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous perpster said...

Xavier, Not only can you grip the snubbie in the pocket, you can shoot it, shoot it, shoot it, shoot it, shoot it (and shoot if if it's a Colt snubbie) inside the pocket without it getting caught up on the pocket material or going out of battery. My friends with pocket autos don't have much of a comeback to that capability.

And their pocket autos tend to be in 9mm short or lesser calibers.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J-frames are terrific for their intended purpose, rock-solid reliable defense.

I've grown quite fond of my S&W 642 (no internal lock) as my daily CCW. Cabela's actually had it in stock when I called up to ask about ordering one, what a stroke of luck. I even tote it around the house in a belt holster much of the time. with a Ka-Bar TDI knife (the short one) on the support side, because you just never know.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

"Xavier, Not only can you grip the snubbie in the pocket, you can shoot it, shoot it, shoot it, shoot ......"

Of course you can. My wife gets pissed at me when I do that though...

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should have mentioned that I have an LCP that I carry when the 642 is too large for the occasion, or as a cross-draw backup to the 642 (grabbing it is faster than using a speedloader). While I love the tiny size and bantam-weight of the LCP, it could always FTF/FTE, and it's still only a .380ACP. While a .38 Special +P isn't a .357 or 10mm by any stretch of the imagination, it hits quite a bit harder than a 9x17.

Now, if S&W would just make some no-internal-lock variants of the 686, they'd sell me, and probably a lot of other gunnies, another new revolver. I wrote them a paper letter telling them so, along with how much I liked the NIL 642 variant.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had my airweight MagNaported and like the results.Recoil is straight back,making an accurate followup shot quicker and easier.The increase in blast is not significant.I learned to shoot a snubbie by picking one up in .22 and putting a 5,000 round case of ammo through it.

2:49 PM  
Blogger John said...

Looking for technical guidance, I stumbled into your blog, Bodyguard posts. Can you point me in the right direction or have some feedback? I inherited a model 38 bodyguard airweight and am trying to assess it's firing condition. Cylinder rotational slop is the only thing that seems sketchy: 1 is solid, another seriously little play, 3 I'd estimate at 0.010" to 0.015", estimated by sighting through the barrel and rotating each cylinder. That "feels" like a lot, but I am not knowledgeable of these things. I'm asking around for a reliable gunsmith but have you any idea what's reasonable? I don't know it wasn't shot much, but I strongly suspect it wasn't.

Thanks for any info you can provide

1:09 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

John, when it comes to gunsmithing S&W revolver, I turn to experience. I can take 'em apart, clean them, apply a bit of lube and get them to work again, but the inner workings are beyond my knowledge when it comes to deciding whether it is in specs. I can look one over and say yes to a purchase, but when it comes to micrometers and such, I'm a total novice.

For that kind of talk, I highly reccommend Grant Cunningham, Teddy Jacobson, or Clark Custom. All are well versed in the S&W revolver and won't steer you wrong. I might.

Best wishes,

5:07 PM  

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