Sunday, August 3, 2008

Snubbies, old and new

I recently happened on a very nice Colt Cobra .38 special revolver at Mike's Guns and Archery, a local store run by good folks who are just plain down to earth and easy to talk to. This particular gun is a first issue model with the unshrouded ejector rod and original plastic stocks on it. As a bonus it had a like-new Bucheimer "Sheriff" model leather holster that was likely bought at the same time as the gun. I well remember selling this type of holster out of the store front where Gall's Police Equipment was located at 117 South Upper St. in Lexington when my Dad and Sidney Gall co-founded the company in the late 1960s. This would have been the state of the art in "snubbies" for cops at that point in time, and to some, it still is.
However, the Colt revolvers, with their particular style of lockwork and their "feel" have never set me on fire, so I sold it to a friend who loves these guns and used that money to buy the new XDm .40 caliber pistol that I wrote about before. Just wish that I'd thought to include my Airweight M12 S&W .38 six round 2-inch in the photos with them for yet another example of a gun of that general size and type, albeit one at the edge of the envelope in size.
Before I shipped it, I photographed it alongside my current pocket carry gun, the S&W M642 which I carry in this Desantis "Nemesis" synthetic pocket holster. It was a chance to compare the old and the new styles, so to speak and I enjoyed it since I just love the technology and the history of firearms.
The Colt is a six-round gun, which is one reason that some cops preferred them to the S&W J-frames. It was slightly larger as well although not THAT much larger, as you can see. Of course, the grip frame has the classic bow in its shape that fits some folks' hands just right, and for others (such as I) was the reason that the Tyler T-grip sold so well in the 1960s and early 1970s. For some cops, notably detectives, the Cobra would have been their primary and only gun, so the belt holster would have been suitable. For those Hawkeyes who wanted to get the greatest accuracy from it, the external hammer would have allowed single-action shooting.
OTOH, the M642 has five rounds in the cylinder and is smooth all over, with the
internal hammer keeping it sleek and easy to slide in and out of the pocket. With its alloy frame it's as light as the Cobra, and the Uncle Mike's/Craig Spegel stocks help me get a firm grip on the gun without being so sticky that they hang up on clothing too much. The "Nemesis" pocket holster has a tacky outer surface that keeps it from sliding out with the gun on the draw-stroke, with some cushioning that protects the gun while concealing its contours. The M642 is rated by the factory for a steady diet of +P ammunition, which yields better terminal effects from that otherwise marginally adequate caliber. Mine is loaded with the Speer 135 grain +P Gold Dot which was developed for snubbies. That's enough for me. I've shot .357s in lightweight pocket guns before and don't want to again. I'm not convinced that the colossal noise, blast, flash and physical pain of shooting .357s in an itty-bitty gun is worth whatever minimal additional effect it might have on the recipient of the slug. I figure to aim well and put the rounds where they should go, and hope for the best if the plan goes awry!
So there you are - two classics from two different eras. The Colt represents what smart cops in another time always had stuck in their pockets in case things went south, and the S&W represents what cautious gun buffs keep stashed away in their pockets today. I kinda hate to let the Colt go, but the man who bought it will give it the home it deserves!

No comments: