Exclusive: The Not-So-Old-School Snubbie
Gun makers still make snubbies. That’s because people still buy snubbies. And people still buy snubbies because they have learned that snubbies do a lot with little. Look, it’s been true for decades: Five or six rounds of .38 Special is nothing to sniff at when carried in a small revolver that’s easy to hide and not at all bad to shoot. And many of these snubbies, including the Taurus 650 you see here, are chambered in .357 Magnum, arguably one of the best defensive rounds ever. Without a doubt, these guns and calibers are old school. But old school isn’t necessarily inferior. In fact, with modern manufacturing, the old school snubbie has only gotten better.
Okay, class: What’s a more basic defensive handgun than an all-steel, .357 Magnum snub-nosed revolver? I can’t think of one either. But let’s take a moment to consider the advantages: proven caliber, recoil-absorbing steel, and, with the Taurus 650, very helpful improvements.
This is hardly the place for a caliber war. In fact, you should shoot whatever caliber you’re most comfortable and accurate with. Just know that with practice, you can shoot .357 Magnum very well and have the benefit of using one of the most proven defensive calibers, ever. Modern .38 Special ammunition is no slouch either, and much easier to fire accurately. Whether .38 or .357, the Taurus 650 carries “five to stay alive.”
At 24.2 ounces, the Taurus weighs more than many other revolvers, most of which sport lightweight alumninum or other exotic metal frames. But old-school steel — blued, of course — and good old heft help take some of the bite out of the recoil. Yes, I love lightweight guns that are easy to carry all day. But if I carry .357 Magnum I also love the confidence that comes from being able to shoot more than, say, five or 10 rounds at a range session without my gun hand feeling like I’m slamming it repeatedly on a table or hitting it with a hammer.
The Taurus 650 features some of the best stocks or grips I’ve ever held on a revolver. The pebbled rubber provides super purchase, swells just a bit in the middle, and provides a cushion right where the web of my hand meets the back of the frame. And despite all the grippy-ness, they don’t fight with clothing or holsters, concealing easily.
One more thing: While internal locking systems sometimes draw the ire of gun aficionados, I happen to like the the Taurus Security System. Located on the back of the 650’s frame, just above the rubber grip, I can easily lock the gun’s firing mechanism with a small key, disabling it. I don’t use it often, but when I want it, it’s there.
Watch this space for more info on how the Taurus 650 (MSRP $512.89) shoots and how it carries. With dozens of cartridge and holster options, this not-so-old-school snubbie might teach you a few things.
— Mark Kakkuri