My late father was a big fan of the television series “The F.B.I.” starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr., which ran on ABC from 1965 to 1974. I can’t say that I shared my Dad’s enthusiasm for the show, but with one TV in the house and only three channels I often watched as well. On one memorable episode Inspector Erskine (Zimbalist), armed with a 2-inch Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special, shot a helicopter out of the sky. Needless to say, realism was not a large part of TV back then.

When I started working armed security while attending university, my first duty-revolver was a Model 10 Smith with a 4-inch barrel that I borrowed from my uncle. I purchased a Model 19 a couple years later after graduating from the Sheriff’s Academy, which I carried for years. But the second gun I ever purchased, and still have to this day, was a 2-inch barreled Chief’s Special. I haven’t shot down any helicopters in my career, but I have carried this revolver in belt, ankle, belly band and fanny pack holsters on-duty as a second gun and off-duty as my primary protection piece. And despite the proliferation of high-capacity semi-autopistols, the snub-nosed revolver still enjoys brisk sales and still protects police and private citizens worldwide.

Why The Snub-Nose?

Back in the day, there weren’t a tremendous number of reliable small-frame handguns available. You could buy a $40 Raven .25 ACP pistol, but controlled-expansion (hollow point) ammo in small auto calibers was limited. Some of these low cost pistols were referred to as “jamamatics” due to their propensity to malfunction during the feeding process. It only made matters worse if you carried on the ankle, where dust, lint and dirt are a reality. Small-frame pistols, with their tight tolerances, are not “tolerant” of the grime of everyday pocket, vest or ankle carry. A short-barreled five- or six-shooter is much more forgiving of exposure to the elements and grime of everyday life than a temperamental auto.

There has been a recent “rediscovery” of revolvers in general, though they never actually disappeared to begin with, and has lead to revolver classes being held at most of the big name training schools normally associated with the 1911 .45 ACP pistol or other large-frame semi-autopistols. Gunsite offers a defensive revolver course, which is described as “covering the practical application of the double-action.” The class will teach “marksmanship, manipulation, care and maintenance [of] the revolver in tactical live fire simulators and in low light conditions.”

Clint Smith, at the Oregon-based Thunder Ranch, offers a defensive revolver course. The course description states, “Although considered archaic by some, the ‘wheel’ gun is far from being stricken from the list of effective defensive tools by the educated. In the hands of knowledgeable persons, the revolver is more than an equal of any other defensive handgun. This course addresses the techniques and idiosyncrasies of the revolving handgun for personal defense.”

I’m sure these instructors would advocate a full-sized handgun if at all possible and admit that there is a time and place to carry a snub-nosed five- or six-shooter.

Although I’ve yet to attend any of these fine facilities or courses, they offer interested students the best in revolver training. If you are unable to attend Clint Smith’s Thunder Ranch facility, he offers some excellent training DVDs, including one on defensive revolver training, so you can study at home.

Carry & Deployment

The best way for a standard CCW permit holder or police officer to carry a concealed weapon is by belt, with a quality holster. With this method, I’m a big fan of some type of security device, such as a thumb break or similar, to secure the revolver and prevent it from falling out during strenuous activities or being snatched by an attacker during a physical assault. Manufacturers like Bianchi, DeSantis, BlackHawk and Galco all make belt scabbards with thumb or finger breaks to secure your snubbie.

If pocket carry is your preferred method, whether in pants, vest or coats, DeSantis, Uncle Mike’s, Safariland, Galco, as well as many custom makers offer holsters. In addition, there are many specialty makers of clothes with pockets designed for carrying a concealed handgun: Custom Clothiers, with their vest line including leather and tropic weight vests; EOTAC with their vests, jackets and blue jeans; and Toters blue jeans designed by Blackie Collins.

Pages: 1 2
Show Comments