Claude Werner, also known as the Tactical Professor, recently responded on his blog to the question:
His response was well worth the click and the read but his basic response was:
The S&W 642 and Ruger LCR .38 Special have become the default purchases for people who want to carry a snub. They work for some people but not everyone.
More importantly, he shared a critical test to determine whether you have what it takes to carry a snubbie for self-defense:
A baseline go/no go test would be whether the person can make 5 hits out of 5 shots into a 12 inch circle at 7 yards in 15 seconds and then repeat it successfully 3 more times for a total of four separate strings. That’s the test for the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program Defensive Pistol I Pro-Marksman Course of Fire.
Since I carry a snubbie much of the time I decided I should try out the good professor’s recommendation and see if I had what it takes. I tried the test with my new Colt Cobra, with the LCR I carry on a regular basis and with the Smith & Wesson 442 I used to carry regularly. It wasn’t pretty but with every one of those revolvers I passed the test…every time. I generally made the shots in around 10 seconds.
Surprisingly, the LCR was the worst grouping of the three. I did a bit better with the Colt and amazingly the 442 with the crappy whiteout covered blade front sight gave me the best group of all…
Using the laser to guide my aim instead of the front sight I fared just about as well with LCR as with the 442.
I’ll have to think on those results for a bit.
Now here is where the good professor goes off the rails where it some to conventional thinking:
The truth is that the .32 S&W Long is a far better choice for the beginning revolver shooter than the .38 Special.
Considering my recent experiences with a Smith & Wesson Model 30 chambered in this cartridge (link) I have to say I concur (not that someone like Claude Warner needs my approval). That is a very easy round to shoot and the near lack of recoil makes it a great starting place for beginners. It is also interesting that I just share my thoughts on smaller calibers (link) a little bit ago.
Hope you find this information useful. Try out the drill and let me know how it goes!
Take care and God bless!