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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/21/2003 7:01:33 AM EDT
I just acquired a model 12 airweight snubnose which has the alloy frame, steel cylinder and barrel. I want to use this as a backup weapon or as an occasional primary for my ccw. went with this due to my large hands and price. Any suggestions for a good defensive round is appreciated!
Link Posted: 7/21/2003 7:28:26 AM EDT
In your situation I would likely go with one of the 148 gr lead full wadcutter loads. These are mild on the shooter and in your lightweight gun this is an important consideration. They will also penetrate to ideal depths and are accurate. I normally wouldn't recommend a non-expanding bullet over even a marginally effective JHP, but in this case I will. The reason being the velocities generated by a .38 snubby often aren't enough to create much expansion anyway and most perform even worse through clothing. The wadcutter has a cookie cutter type edge and will cut a more severe wound channel than a JHP that doesn't expand.

If your gun is rated for them and if you can tolerate the stout recoil in such a light revolver, then the 158 gr LSWCHP's by Remington, Winchester and Federal are another good choice. As far as HP's go, they are the only bullet style I am aware of that offers adequate performance in the .38 snubby. But keep in mind that this load's good results come in bare gel. When the gel is covered with clothing materials it doesn't expand. Just not enough velocity in those 2" barrels to assist the bullet much.

For me, I split the difference. During the hot months where the heaviest clothing likely to be encountered is a t-shirt, I carry the 158 gr +P's. Whenever the weather starts turning cooler and people start putting on heavier clothing, I opt for the 148 gr wadcutters. I figure that this approach will give me the best of both worlds. Just make sure you know where each round hits because they may shoot to slightly different POI (usually not a problem for me with a snubby because I only use it as a last ditch, in your face kinda weapon). And remember that I have a Taurus Model 85 that isn't a lightweight and is rated for +P. When I eventually pick up one of those AirLite Ti S&W's I will likely just carry the 148 wadcutter year around.

-Charging Handle
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