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Chris from the Volunteer State sends us his “Don’t leave home without it” EDC ensemble called “A real pocket dump.

Love the J-Frame S&W Model 638 revolver.  It’s a versatile, capable tool in skilled hands.  And it conceals nicely in pockets, purses and jackets.

Chris also has a reload on a Speed Strip.   Excellent.  Those rounds look an awful lot like 158gr SWC-HP.   If they are good enough for the FBI, why not?  I’m sure I’ll be pilloried for my choice in .38 self-defense loads.  It’s happened before.

Chris also has a cheap (“affordable” at under $40) out-the-front auto knife, along with a CRKT Pilar.  And a Leatherman Micra.

What do you carry in your .38 snubbie?



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  1. Decades ago I had a Smith bodyguard nickle plated .38 snub nose and like a fool sold it. I have forever regretted it. It did have the very small wooden grips that were slick enough not to hang up on my clothing like rubber grips are so want to do. I came very close to buying a Smith nickle plated aluminum framed .38 body guard last year but the auction price soon hit the stratosphere and I dropped out early in the bidding, again I think I made a mistake on not buying it no matter what the cost.

    • nice…but too expensive…I was going to buy one anyway till I realized the grips were too small for my hand…and would likely pivot upward when fired…guess i’ll just stick with my charter undercover…cheap but reliable…and certainly accurate enough…..

  2. The humpback body guard is my favorite frame by far. Nice kit covers all the bases. I have several loads which tend to run better in individual revolvers, the fbi load being one which runs great in my Colt Dick special.

  3. “real”

    with no keys, phone…

    I hate it when people say that. “real” implies your subjectiveness.

  4. I used to use the ‘FBI’ load in my j frame. Then I got bullet creep during a range session that locked the gun up and it took a while to get it back up and running.

    Now I use non + p loads in my j frame.

    • I’m curious when you got bullet creep was it with loads you had been carrying for a while or fresh range ammo out of the box?

      • It was the carry load I used in that revolver. An airweight 442. The loads were +p 158 grain lead semi wadcutter hollow points. The classic FBI load. When I took that gun to the range I would shoot a full box of standard pressure target loads and then 10 rounds of the carry stuff.

        The 442 is so light that the +p load snaps that little gun hard enough for the lead bullets to jump crimp. I still use that load in my k frames. Just not in the j frame.

    • all these compact revolvers work well with multi-plex loads…giving you fifteen slugs instead of five…can’t seem to find that kind of ammo anymore….

    • Same. Buffalo Bore makes some decent 38 special rounds that function closer to +p without being +p. Great for J-frame.

  5. The OTF knives I’ve looked at seem to be a bit ‘wobbly’. Including one that went for 125 bucks. I like the concept but so far haven’t found one I feel confident in.

  6. Looks a lot like my load out when I’m not “carrying heavy” as a friend calls it when I’m tucking in a Sparks Summer Special as he waits. Mine’s a 442. You can get a higher grip than on a 642. Speer 135 gr. Gold Dot +P. Specifically designed for snubbies. Smooth Spiegel Boot Grips. Soft rubber in a pocket is stupid. Mitch Rosen Pocket Softie for a holster. Knives, lights, etc. To each his own.

    • Higher grip on a 442 than on a 642? Aren’t they the same airweight J frame other than the finish?

      • I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant 638, otherwise I have no clue what he could mean.

      • Belzebub, you’re right. They are the same grip frame. I meant a 442 as opposed to the “humpback” J-frame. Thank you for your correction. The 442 is the thinking man’s J-frame. Or the 642 if you’re so inclined.

  7. I used to have a 638. It was the first gun I carried. I was quite comfortable with it for a couple years but replaced it with a P7M8 when I lost it in a move somehow. Maybe I still have it in box somewhere.

    • Vic, that P7M8 is a real fighting pistol. Love them. Too bad they were only available in 9mm. M-13 and M-10 not withstanding. Both of those were dead out of the gate. Especially the M-10. Told H&K so at SHOT Show. Rep was offended. Hate it when I’m right. Saw a prototype of a P7 in .45 ACP. That would have made me lay down a 1911. What can you say? Most shooters don’t know what it is they really need. No that’s not hubris. Only the truth.

  8. I’m comfortable with the FBI loading but I’m not a huge fan of snubbies. Still, there really aren’t many situations you’re going to run into while conceal carrying that demand more.

    • I own several CRKT’s, love their designs and the price is right, but they need to charge a little bit more and use some decent steel for their blades. 8Cr13MoV just doesn’t cut it anymore. Pun intended. For $80 you can get a Kershaw Link or Dividend, made in the USA with M390 blades.

  9. Funny. The Bodyguard is the only J Frame style i dont currently own. ( but I will).

    Nice kit.

    I would add a speed loader to go with slow loader and I prefer wood panels with a TGrip.

    I run Golden Saber 125+P in my most of mine.

    My 640 will is rated for +P+ so I sometimes carry “the load” in it. A little faster than BB +P.

  10. I shoot plain ol’ Winchester White Box 130 grain for range sessions with my Taurus 85.. My carry ammo is currently Buffalo Bore 110 grain +p HP (lead-free).

  11. I carry a S&W bodyguard 38spl, loaded with 110grain Hornady critical defense +P. CRKT M16 pocket knife. Speedloader is HKS.

  12. I got my wife a Taurus 85 nearly twenty years ago; she was just at the range with me today shooting it. When I first got my carry permit three years ago I carried that for the first two before I replaced it with a SA 911. I still pack the Taurus once in a while.

    For the range, Winchester WB 130 grain FMJ; for carry [me]/home defense [her; she’s reluctant to get a permit] Hornady Critical Defense +P 110 gr. FTX.

  13. Nothing wrong with that snubbie at all.

    My first carry gun of a centerfire sort was a US Revolver Co in .38 S&W. Hammer shroud, DA only. Sturdy little top-break I carried in a homemade leather holster or a coat pocket for some years before I could afford better. The “better” I bought was a S&W 59.

    Don’t often carry a .38 snubbie anymore but I do still have a Charter Arms Off-Duty. This is an older one from before CHARCO and Charter 2000. Dependable, certainly not exceptional but I still like it.

    I’ve a variety of .38 Special ammo piled up. When I carry it has 158 HP’s but at the moment I don’t recall the make. Various FMJ loads for traget shooting. There’s also a pile of Chilean made mil surplus I stumbled into, hard primers and I only use it for annoying tin cans. The gun has never failed to fire any American made ammo, but I’ve had some of those Chilean surplus rounds go several hammer strikes to pop off.

  14. I like cheap OTF blades. I have carried a Lightning for years, it isn’t a fancy Microteck, but it has worked well for me. My home state recognizes that a knife, even an auto knife is just a tool.

    • Buffalo Bore makes the same round and performs more consistently with its stated specs….from what I’ve read. But not cheap.

  15. Last century when I carried a Taurus CH38. I used Federal 149 gr +P+. Good enough for the NYPD. Good enough to shake the little Taurus to junk too.

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