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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Is the Snubnose .38 better with a laser or without?

Snubs commonly have rudimentary sights.  Am I a better snub-gunner with the laser or without?   

It is a simple muse and I don't believe that this range session answers the question for me.  I guess time will tell; for now, I shoot pretty much the same either way.  The featured snubbie is a S&W 638 Bodyguard wearing Crimson Trace LG 405 laser grips; previous blog entries about "Betty" are HERE and HERE.  Psychologically, I like having the laser and "Betty" has become my favorite airweight revolver for carrying.

EDIT:  Before you read any further, you might want to sneak on over to HERE to view another gunner's laser focus ...

The ammunition used for today's session is pictured above; Federal 130-grain full metal jacket "ball" ammo.  The round nose bullet pushes a hole through the paper rather than cutting it as do (the more expensive) hollow-points.  The holes from the round nose bullets often close up (or nearly so) and are hard to see at any distance (and in photos).

The targets used today were reasonably equal to what Illinois requires to qualify for concealed carry.  My apologies if the target color scheme of "Purple/Pink/White" offends any sector of the human race; these colors are dear to me because they match the spectrum of the blotches on my saggy old butt-cheeks.  In all seriousness, I tend to shoot better with lighter colored targets and prefer them over black targets when available.

All rounds fired today were double-action as fast as I could acquire / reacquire the target (and not piss off the range safety-officer).

(the scoring area of the above target is enlarged below)
(Photos above are target #1)
 30-rounds total USING THE LASER
10-rounds @ 15-feet (5-yards)
10-rounds @ 21-feet (7-yards)
10-rounds @ 30-feet (10-yards)
That was pleasantly surprising; I was able to keep the red dot in a respectable "wobble zone."

(the following EDITs are in the "as far as I know / remember" category; I'll try and find links)
EDIT:  YES, laser sights are allowed during the Illinois Concealed Carry range qualification.
EDIT:  YES, 21 of your 30 rounds fired must be inside (or touching the outside line of) the 7 ring.
EDIT:  YES, Chicago PROHIBITS LASER SIGHTS ON GUNS (other cities may as well)
EDIT:  LASERING A PERSON as a joke or to "scare them away" is against Illinois law.

(the scoring area of the above target is enlarged below)
(Photos above are target #2)
10-rounds @ 15-feet (5-yards)
10-rounds @ 21-feet (7-yards)
10-rounds @ 30-feet (10-yards)


Anonymous said...

Hi Zack
That's pretty good shooting with such a little gun!
Looks to me like the iron sight results are a little better than the laser?

"Zack" said...

Yo JonT!!

Thanks man ... it was one of my better snub-days altogether. When I have a "good-enough" day at the range I am destined to have my ego righteously deflated on the next visit or two.

Alloy snub-guns are great to carry and (for most of us) a challenge to shoot decently. Some folks, female or male, just have a natural talent for shooting them well ... I'm not in that category.

That is definitely it for this year as far as range-time with the airweights and I probably won't be shooting any of the steel stubby snubbies either ... until sometime next year ... It was more fun than I deserved but I'm not man enough to deal with the aches and pain in my hands afterwards.

Great to hear from ya! Thanks for checking in.

Anonymous said...

I have never fired a .357 Magnum in anything other than a full size revolver. Mostly the 4" 686 I was allowed to own many moons ago. The thought of touching off a .357 in a lightweight snubby is scary yet it's something i would be interested in trying (possibly only once!).

Comrade Misfit said...

+1 for lasers. I switched from a Colt DS to a S&W Model 60 because CT doesn't make a laser for D-frame Colts (hopefully, they'll soon change their mind as the new Cobras filter out).

"Zack" said...

Hey there Comrade!

I read where you went with the CT for your 3'' Model 60 and have been hoping to catch a review. Please lemme know if you do (or have done) a review (I haven't been getting online regularly lately and miss out on much of what is going on).

Yo JonT!

Man, should you ever have cause to fly back to this side of the ocean and into the Chicago area my offer stands; we'll photo you shooting so many different guns and cover you with so much gun-powder-residue they may never let you fly home (I have steel .357 snubs but honestly cannot manage alloy .357 snubs ... we'll rent one for you to try ;)

Comrade Misfit said...

I'll put one up tonight.

Comrade Misfit said...

I know you've already commented on it, Zack, but for your readers, here's a link to my review.

I don't have any experience with the Laserguard or Rail Master models that CT sells.

"Zack" said...

Thank ya!

Anonymous said...

El Fisho here, not signed into Google.

That's some great shooting, man! I like lasers. I've got several on 1911's and have in mind
buying the smallest rail combo light/laser for the Glock 19 MOS carry gun.

I think what you also have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a man like me who has been shooting a snub nose
for many years. I think you either get it or you don't with a snub nose.

Zack obviously has some practice with a snub nose and it shows in his shooting. Hitting that trauma area to stop the attacker. Good shooting, dude!

Many of my friends don't shoot snub noses well, and it's due to lack of practice over the years in my opinion.
My sister learned to properly shoot a snub nose, as did my wife, decades ago, and despite infrequent practice, they do
just great every time they practice. Yes, I'd like to see them practice more, but I am happy they seem to have retained that muscle memory over the decades. Roy Huntington of American Handgunner wrote that when he was armorer with a San Diego area LE agency, he bought many brand new snub noses at the range with disgruntled cops who didn't shoot well with them the first time out and sold them cheap.

I'll admit, I bought a few from friends as well who thought they were worthless, and was recently engaged in a conversation with a former well known and now retired Texas Ranger regarding various revolvers. He didn't care much for revolvers, although in the early 70's he had won the Texas Handgun Championship with a S&W Model 10 or 15, memory fails. He felt the .38 Special caliber was all but useless. He favors the 1911 .45 ACP, as many Rangers and Ex-Rangers do. We argued good-naturedly about whether Colt or Smith and Wesson had the best revolver trigger pull in DA and he spoke of all the troopers in Texas in the late 60's and 70's having their guns smoothed out by the DPS armorer because they were crap from the factory.

I strongly disagreed, and the conversation digressed to him mentioning he had sold all of his stubbies except for one he had laying around the bottom of his gun safe somewhere, as if it were insignificant.

As for lasers, I like them and would have more of them if I could. I certainly plan on more. In addition to a couple of 1911 laser gips, I have several on different AR and AK rifles and a Draco Mini pistol. The laser sure helps point shooting with the Draco Mini pistol, and co-witnessing red dot MOS sights, iron sights and the laser takes some time but is worth it. The Draco is a handful for sure but the laser greatly adds to it's versatility due to it's lack of a stock.

Also with a laser, there's that possible deterrent factor, and none of us want to have to shoot another human unless it's the
last choice to prevent harm to yourself or another. As if pointing a weapon at an attacker should not be enough of
a deterrent, looking down at a laser pointed directly over a vital area might be that extra bit needed to convince the
attacker to stand down. My wife likes having a weapon available at home for nighttime use with a laser, and a large part of that is the deterrent effect she believes it has, as well as the accuracy assist it gives if things go badly.

As Zack knows, I'm particularly fond of my Gen 3 Detective Specials and Gen 2 Cobras. I've also got a few Smith snubs as well. I defiantly point and shoot the Colts better, And that's due to the fact I've shot the Colts at least 5 times as much as the Smiths over the decades.

Take care Zack. Oh, I have a model 360 PD, alloy and unobtanium, and I shoot .38 +p out of it not .357 and it's not bad at all.
I wouldn't want to shoot it all day with anything other than range fodder in .38 Special, but yeah, I agree, in .357 it's a brutal beast.

"Zack" said...

Oh man, it is soooooo great to hear from you!! Every one of my remaining Medicare-age braincells are grinning from synapse to synapse. Thanks for adding your experience and wisdom to the conversation on this. I kinda like this particular laser on this particular snub but dunno yet if I'm going to go any further. Earlier days of lasers on handguns was disappointing for me ... I tried a pocket slipper on a Seecamp .32 and the shockwave from each shot took out the solder points after a hundred rounds or so. I had some laser contraption that clamped to the front of the trigger guard on a K frame S&W and it changed its zero after each round.

You take care as well, my friend! Good health, happiness, and handgunning, endless tunes, and fantastic fishing. Thanks a million for stopping by.

Glenn B said...

Way back, when I had duties as a firearms instructor (and even after that when merely observing others shoot) I noted that those using lights , meaning lasers & flashlights, took longer to acquire the target and fire. That went for lights on the guns and lights held in the hand. I do not like lights on defensive guns but that is not to say that using lights along with guns is necessarily a bad thing. Then again, I do not even like night sights (which are lights of a sort) on guns but that mostly is another story; yet, they often present the same problem - the shooter being slower to acquire the target and fire. I know that with enough practice that can be overcome but the average shooter will not practice enough to overcome it.

"Zack" said...

Thanks Glenn. Those are good points and very well taken. I have zero amount of range time spent in low-light conditions ... none at all.

I have tritium night sights that are so old that I doubt they glow at all (10-year was the expected life I believe).