By Bob Walsh
The Gun of the Week this time around is not a specific weapon, but sort of an homage to the classic SD handgun, the snub-nose revolver.
For a very long time the classic plain clothes or backup weapon for uniform cops and the principle carry piece for lawfully armed (or otherwise) private citizens was a short barreled revolver. It was relatively concealable, relatively powerful, operationally simple and utterly reliable. They don’t jam. With a shrouded hammer you could fire them from a coat pocket. With a good holster they are easy and reasonably comfortable to carry.
The old Remington percussion revolver was made in a relatively compact .31 caliber that could be carried easily and concealed fairly well. The Colt SSA was made in an abbreviated format without an ejector rod, in the belief that if five or six shots didn’t do the job you were in deep trouble anyway.
The S&W Safety Hammerless “Lemon Squeezer” was very popular in its time. The iconic Smith and Wesson M&P revolver was made from the factory as a snubbie, and then around 1929 Colt brought out the Detective Special which was purpose built to be a small, concealable revolver in a decent (.38 special) cartridge, though a lot of them were sold in .32 Long and .38 Colt New Police (same at S&W .38, NOT .38 special.) Eventually S&W came out with a five-shot .38 Special on the J-frame. It was debuted at a meeting of the American Association of Chiefs of Police where it was named the Chief’s Special.
For years almost any self-respecting private eye, both for real and on the large and small screen, carried a .38 snubbie.
They are still very popular with private citizen concealed carry. A private citizen is not nearly as likely as a cop to have to deal with multiple armed adversaries and the relatively slow reload and relatively low ammo capacity is not USUALLY much of a hindrance to a private citizen. If the market is any indication, the snub-nose revolver is going to be a presence in the SD gun world for the foreseeable future.
(The photo is, bottom left, J-frame, then moving right K-frame, going up L-frame, left N-frame)