Even in an age of very reliable and well-sized auto-loading pistols, I am still a big fan of carrying a snub-nosed revolver. I am drawn to their simplicity and reliability — two key attributes of a self-defense tool. I am drawn to the relatively heavy, smooth trigger action and the inherent accuracy at combat distances. I am really drawn to the lack of size and weight, which removes most obstacles to true everyday carry.
Sure, some auto-loading pistols share these attributes, and they come with the benefit of higher capacity and faster reloading. I am not a snubbie-or-nothing kind of guy, but sometimes, I am fine with five to stay alive. Here are my top five tips for carrying a snub-nosed revolver.
1. Carry it IWB at 1 o’clock
Appendix carry is great for a concealed carry gun. It is very easy to hide and access. It takes the right body shape to pull this off well. If you need a really good reason to shed a few pounds, here it is. Revolvers are widest at the cylinder, and IWB revolver holsters tend to put the cylinder directly under the belt. At positions other than 11 or 1 o’clock, the thickness of the revolver and holster can be a bit tight and uncomfortable. But at 11 or 1 o’clock, there is generally a bit more space to work with.
Some IWB holsters allow for a bit of reverse cant, putting the stocks near the gun belt and providing a bit more comfort while not sacrificing on stability or ease of draw. This is especially helpful when sitting and the muzzle and stocks have to go somewhere. For standing, walking and even running, a snubbie works best with IWB at 1 o’clock.
2. Carry it in a simple, plastic holster
Leather or suede holsters are softer and more comfortable than plastic holsters, but plastic holsters are not necessarily uncomfortable. Plastic holsters do, however, have the advantage of being molded to the particular gun you carry. That means guns go in with a positive click as the surrounding plastic flexes just a bit and then grabs the gun’s trigger guard. This added bit of retention can make a big difference in carrying a snubbie, especially if you get into a scuffle and your body is turned this way and that.
In the right holster, your gun will not fall out (at least not as easily as it might from a holster with no retention). Since it does not fall out, it will be right where you expect it so you can grasp and draw. And that can make all the difference in the world. Moreover, plastic holsters are durable, and you will get used to how they feel IWB at 1 o’clock. Plus, unlike leather, plastic holsters clean up easily and are relatively inexpensive.
3. Carry it with a speedloader
I have carried spare ammo with speed strips, a bandolier belt carrier, loose in my pocket and in a speedloader. By far, my favorite means of carrying and deploying a reload is with a speedloader.
A speedloader allows you to insert five rounds all at once with a twist or a push, and it is much faster and more consistent than any other means of reloading a revolver. While a reload might never be necessary, that one time you need it makes having it all the more worthwhile. Make sure to carry the speedloader in a holster too. Carrying it in a holster on your gun belt keeps it ready when you need it.
4. Carry it all the time
This probably goes without saying, but you should carry your concealed carry gun all the time. For me, carrying all the time happens when I am carry a small, lightweight, reliable gun that I can easily carry IWB at 1 o’clock or appendix. If you consistently carry auto-loading pistols with more capacity and faster reloading capabilities all the time, that’s great. Keep on keeping on.
The reality of some concealed carry peeps, however, is that because the smaller, lighter revolver, is easier to carry and easier to take on and off, it is a more viable option to carry all the time. Moreover, with just a couple other holsters, you can carry a snubbie in other locations: OWB, pocket holster, ankle holster, shoulder holster and so on. Few auto-loading pistols have the same versatility.
5. Carry it with the confidence
The five to stay alive philosophy behind carrying a snub-nosed revolver means you have chosen the type of gun you think you would likely need to defend yourself and get out of a bad situation quickly. You are not looking to engage in any kind of extended gun battle. You are not planning on battling multiple assailants. These are all assumptions, of course, and they might be horribly wrong or misplaced. So there is a scale of preparation on which to stake your concealed carry gun and gear choices.
Admittedly, carrying a snubbie is probably toward the lower end of the scale, sort of a bare minimum. There are a hundred other considerations in play here (including mindset and training) that have nothing to do with the type of gun you carry. If you are looking for a simple, reliable daily carry solution, a snubbie is a good choice. It has been for years and continues to be today.
Whatever you do in daily concealed carry, be sure to train with the gun, ammo and gear you actually use. Drill on loading and reloading. Drill on drawing, shooting and reholstering. Get professional instruction on these things and practice, practice, practice.
Your turn. What gun do you carry every day and why?
About the Author: Mark Kakkuri is a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
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