Book Review: The Snubby Chronicles (various, 2021)

Earlier this year Tom Givens sent me a signed copy of a book published by the Snub Gun Study Group – a group of trainers and shooters interested in the history and modern use of the short barreled revolver.

More about this group can be found here. They also have a downloads page, including a link where a digital version of the Snubby Chronicles book can be downloaded for free in PDF form.

Who wrote the book? Article authors include: Mike Boyle, Andy Stanford, William Bell, Stephen P. Wenger, David Elderton, Tom Givens, Denver Burris, Peter A. Anderson, C.E. Harris, Mitchell Burke, John Russell, Grant Cunningham, Jim Finnerty, Daniel Congiolosi, William G. Hanley, Steve Collins, Mike Pipes and Frank Groth.

Article topics include:

  • The Super Snub
  • The Colt Pocket Positive
  • Snub Practice and Self-Assessment (The Snubby Standards)
  • The .38/32 Terrier: S&W’s First Hand-Ejector Snub Revolver
  • Ankle Holsters
  • .38 Shot Loads
  • Aussie Snubs
  • All Boot Grips are Not Created Equal
  • Kimber K6S Speedloader Review
  • The Colt Detective Special
  • How Many Times Can You Reload a .38 Special Case?
  • The S&W 940, a 9mm Parabellum/.38 S&W pocket revolver
  • Taurus Teardown
  • Shooting the S&W Model 12 .38 Special
  • Tactical Reloads
  • The Bryce Drill

If you like revolvers, particularly snub revolvers, get a copy of this book. It’s full of interesting articles and essays from people smart about all things snub in the 21st century. The book has a nice mix of articles discussing guns, accessories and skills. I learned that you can reload a .38 special case, firing standard pressure loads, about 30 times before it splits. There’s an interesting article comparing several different brands of speed strips in reload tests, drop tests and other practical use tests. Two skills tests were included in the book, so I went out and shot them to make some videos to spruce up this book review.

Snubby Standards

Here’s the “snubby standards” from the book, shot with this Colt snub out of a Bobby Mac holster.

Objective: This drill is designed to measure practical marksmanship potential with a snubnose revolver.

Target: Any humanoid target with a realistic size high value scoring area may be used (IPSC, IDPA etc.) Paper plates may be affixed to any target to create a realistic size, high value scoring area. Steel reactive targets may be used with frangible ammunition. Only hits in high value area count!

Distance: 5 yards except where noted.
Phase One Condition Check: Is it loaded? If not, make it so and holster.

Phase Two Ready Position: On signal, fire 1 shot, starting from the ready position.
Par time = 0.75 second, Superior = 0.55 seconds.

Phase Three Quick Draw: On signal, draw & fire 2 shots in 2.25 seconds. Superior performance = 2 seconds. (all draws from concealment).

Phase Four Two Threats: On signal, draw & fire 1 shot each on two different targets (spaced 3 feet apart). Par time = 2.5 seconds. Superior performance = 2.25 seconds.

Phase Five Reload: Starting in the ready position, fire 1 shot on the signal, RELOAD and fire 2 shots. Par time = 10 seconds. Superior performance= 8 seconds.

Phase Six Long Distance (10 yards): On signal, draw & fire 2 shots standing, drop down to kneeling and fire 2 additional shots. Par time = 7 seconds. Superior performance = 6 seconds or less.

target 1
target 2

The Bryce Drill

This course of fire was based on one of Jelly Bryce’s most famous gunfights (or technically, it was a ‘shooting’ because the threat was shot so quickly that he never had a chance to return fire.)

Course of Fire:
Shooter will start on one side or the other of the simulated doorway, shooter’s choice.
Stand facing 45 degrees away from target.

When safe to do so, load to capacity and safely holster.
On command, or start signal, step forward into the
doorway and turn to face target.
When threat is perceived, draw and fire five shots to target head using strong hand only.
Do not draw until facing the target.
Unload, show clear, safely reholster.
Score target, record time.

When we recorded this video, we didn’t realize the phone was not recording sound. My time for the drill was 3.22 seconds.

The videos are the first take. I made the par times and got acceptable hits on most of the strings. When I did the 2 round reload using my speed strip, I closed the cylinder one position off from where it should have been, so you can see me do bang-click-click-click bang after the load. I did make the 10 sec par time on that one, probably would have made the 8 second time without the extra 3 dryfire shots.