Then, a number of years back, Ruger came out with a snubby that was quite comfortable, offered .357Mag capability, and gained quite a following: the SP101. Although heavier and bulkier than its counterparts, the Ruger enjoyed a reputation for being reliable even under the harshest of circumstances. The softer rubber ergonomically-shaped grips gained in popularity with some, while others gravitated toward the slimmer profile of the S&W grips.
But here we are in the year 2007. BlackHawk Products Group has been making their CQC carbon-fiber SERPA holsters for a couple of years now. It was no surprise that the first holster they made fit the Glock 9mm and .40 caliber weapons. It WAS a surprise--at least for me--when they made the CQC SERPA for a J-frame revolver such as the S&W Chief's Special. When I looked into why, I found out that there is still a big demand for holsters to transport these little guns. Most especially in the northeast section of our country, it seems like snubbies are far more popular for off-duty and concealed carry than any of the popular semi-autos.
So, I started paying attention. Last month at the range, I had a chief of police and his deputy chief both qualifying with their snubnose revolvers. Ironically enough, one had an S&W Chief's Special, while the other had a Colt Detective Special. Both had owned the guns for more than fifteen years. For the chief, the snubby was his primary carry gun, both on and off-duty. The deputy chief liked to carry his Government Model 1911 .45ACP pistol on duty, but off-duty he pocketed his snubby. Neither man had any trouble qualifying with the small revolver, and both had practiced reloads so often that they could almost keep up with those shooting pistols. There were virtually no malfunctions with the revolvers and the confidence with which these men bore the weapon has to have played a role in how well they shot. Both shot scores in the upper 80s and lower 90s. That's better than many shooters do with pistols.
For men such as those, who have been carrying snubbies for so long that it's what they are confident and comfortable with, I strongly recommend that they continue to carry them. Five or six shots may be all they have, but five in the chest is still five in the chest and is a whole lot better than two or three in the chest with seven or eight more going downrange, potentially hitting innocent targets.
For my part, I still think I'd rather have a Glock or Kahr off-duty. I'm not a fan of the .38 Special cartridge, and having only five shots in my weapon and then five more available for a reload seems insufficient when I think about 10 or 11 rounds IN my pistol, plus a back up magazine of another 10 to 17 rounds (in 9mm). Still, snubbies are seeing a resurgence in popularity, and I DO find myself wondering how come I don't have one in my gun safe. Perhaps it's a deficiency I'll have to correct.