Snub Training – Why another snub text

June 23, 2008

In Chick Gaylord’s book The Handgunners Guide he offered some very valuable tips and tactics for the short-barreled revolver.  But the book is not a centralized source for snub-specific material and subsequently a reader would already have to be a serious shooter to be familiar with Mr. Gaylord’s work and subsequently familiar with the snub gems it offers. Along similar lines, while J.H. FitzGerald may be the father of the dedicated snub revolver it is Ed Lovette who is the father of the snub training literature.  Ed Lovette’s The Snubby Revolver is the primogenitor text on snub tactics. In it Ed noted five reasons why we as snub owners and shooters should continually gather up and record snub revolver material:

1 – “We’re slowly losing all that good revolver ‘how-to’ we learned the hard way [.]”

2 – “I am concerned that the requisite revolver skills are not being passed on to those who need them.”

3 – There is a dearth of “revolver only” courses available.

4 – “It is possible that the mainstay revolver – the one most purchased, most carried, and most used – will become the snubby.”

5 – “With a little luck, it might inspire [other] revolver hands … to share their experience and expertise.”

I wouldn’t dare compare this collection of mixed snub notes to Ed’s work, but I will offer them as an honest recording of self-defense snub handling I have observed and insights I have collected. In the interest of expanding my own snub revolver library this small effort may also motivate more revolver hands more knowledgeable than I am to contribute to the genre.


Snub Training – Introduction

June 23, 2008

I started carrying a self-defense handgun as soon as it was legal to do so. Living in four-season New England my choice of carry gun changed along with the available cover garment.  Under my winter weather jacket I carried either a large-frame pistol or revolver as the inclination struck me.  I would switch to a medium-frame handgun during the warmer spring and autumn months. For the summer and for various social events I would carry a small or midsized two inch snub revolver.

Over the years though various shooting and near shooting incidents involving both friends and colleagues gave me cause to reevaluate my rotating handgun choices. Two cases in particular struck me as instructive.

The first involved a group of officers with a local Housing Police department. They were relaxing after hours in a Boston diner-nightclub. They were in the process of getting acquainted with several of the college ladies when another group of men took exception to their presence.  While the good guys were trying to defuse the situation one of the bad guys, a fellow only eleven days out of prison earlier and already illegally re-armed, drew his .45 pistol handgun and threatened to kill several of the off-duty officers. Those off-duty officers who were armed drew their weapons and quickly took control of the situation.

What struck me was the rather large percentage of these police professionals who were out-and-about unarmed. Every one of them was well aware of the dangerous nature of urban life yet thought that being armed on their own time was of no great importance.  Everyone unarmed that night had an excuse. Either the gun was too big or it was too much trouble or it was too hard to conceal.  Even finding themselves on the wrong end of an illegally armed criminal’s handgun didn’t change their thinking.

The second involved a good friend who though he was committed to carrying a self-defense handgun wasn’t committed to carrying it in a dedicated location.  When the day came that he needed it he couldn’t remember which of his many pockets he had slipped it into.  He spent the whole of an unpleasant Mexican stand-off trying to locate his handgun.  Fortunately an armed co-worker traveling with him was able to take control of the situation with the swift presentation of a gun he did keep in one location. 

Reflecting on both these and several equally unpleasant events at least two important learning points seemed to be clear: 

First, that all gun owners (and an off-duty policemen is just a gun owner with an interesting job title) are creatures of comfort. A gun that is not comfortable enough to carry isn’t going to get carried. Preach all that you want that a gun isn’t suppose to be comfortable, the fact is that the small gun that’s comfortable enough to be consistently carried is a lot more comforting than a large pistol sitting in a safe in your home. The first rule of a gunfight may be “Have a gun” but the first rule of realistic gun ownership is “Own a comfortable carry gun.”

Second, when that invariability assault occurs and you actually need your handgun you are going to be in a rush to get it.  If you expect it to be available to you, you have best be long committed to a dedicated carry location, a holster style and an arduously practiced draw stroke.

The number of gun carry locations, practical holsters and necessary accessories are I believe rather limited.  With a little effort you can quickly nail down a single, workable combination that will serve you for the remainder of your life.  Once you have settled on the hardware (gear) you are free to master the software (skills and tactics.) You may also find that the most rewarding aspect of gun handling competence will come after the hardware excuses have been removed. But be fair warned, you have to be serious about training and you have to practice some component of your gun fighting skills every day. Every morning when you put on that gun and gear remind yourself, you have the rest of your life to get the tools and training you need. It just might not be as much time as you think.

Snub Training – Dedication

June 22, 2008

This monograph is dedicated to my infant daughter Isabella Leah de Bethencourt. When Isabella was four months old she was diagnosed with infantile leukemia. Seven months later she died. The span of her entire life was 339 days. For twenty-eight weeks she fought death with more courage than most men can lay claim to in a lifetime.

God grant I be worthy of her.