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American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2011 - Page 44
HIp poCKET HANDGuNS When practicing, Duke draws from his hip pocket these days. His S&W Model 442 might show a tiny bulge there, but you’d really have to be looking for it to notice it. Mike “Duke” Venturino SHOOTINGIRON TM Photos: Yvonne Venturino THUMB BUSTIN’ MUSINGS FROM THE DUKE C lint Smith will probably want to give me a knock on my noggin Duke shot these 10 rounds from for this column, but having a hard head, I’ll proceed anyway. For a the Model 442 at variety of reasons too involved to discuss here, I’ve not worn a belt 10 feet. Five of the for a couple of years. That means — no belt no belt holster. The most bullet strikes in center comfortable manner of packing a handgun I’ve ever experienced was were fired slow fire. with one of the Milt Sparks Summer Duke’s “hip pocket Special inside the pants holsters. With handguns.” that arrangement I’ve carried full size 1911s all day without a problem. The belt binds the gun against the body, which in turn keeps its weight from pulling downwards. But like I said — no belt no belt holster. Also for the At left is a S&W very reason I’m built very broad I find Model 360 and at right shoulder holsters most uncomfortable. is a S&W Model 442. Also here in Montana for most of the year you need to wear a winter coat, which of course inhibits access to a shoulder holster anyway. So nowadays, when I want to exercise my concealed carry right my hip pocket is my holster. That means carrying a full size 1911 is out. Actually y solution is very light, very small .38 Special it means carrying a full size anything revolvers. Specifically these are Smith & Wesson is out. In movies the hero is always J-frames with alloy frames. One is the aluminum alloy shown just slipping a 1911 in the small frame Model 442, the so-called hammerless version, of his back inside the waist of his jeans which likewise means it fires double action only. The or trousers. My jeans are hard enough other is their newer scandium alloy frame Model 360, to keep up anyway so I’m not going which is capable of single or double action firing. to stress them more with the weight of Right now some sharp eyed reader is saying. a full-size 1911 pressing down back “Duke is sure dumb! That S&W Model 360 is a .357 there. And for the same reasons menMagnum.” Well, it’s chambered that way because tioned above I’m not going to discuss, some marketing genius at Smith & Wesson decreed I don’t wear suspenders anymore it be so. If you can stand to shoot full-bore .357 either. Nor do I wear button up shirts Magnum loads through it there’s something wrong tucked into trousers or jeans: instead with you. I tried that; one round was fired and I ejected favoring pull over shirts and sweaters. the other four. It’s a .38 Special in practicality if not in Get them long enough and they’ll precise reality. But it did work on the marketing side cover a hip pocket handgun. of things, I suppose. M J-FRAME HAppINESS NO MAGIC NEEdEd U 44 nloaded, the Model 360 weighs a mere 12 ounces. The Model 442 is 4 ounces more. Neither one is apt to pull someone’s breeches to half-mast suddenly while in public, even without a belt or suspenders. Five rounds of ammunition add about 2.5 ounces to that. Even though it’s a little heavier, I prefer the Model 442 because not having an exposed hammer it isn’t likely to hang up on clothing. Nor do I think that some sort of magic ammunition is necessary for these two lightweights. With the reduced velocity possible from their stubby 17/8"barrels I feel that no sort of jacketed soft point or jacketed hollowpoint bullet is going to expand reliably. In fact both of these little .38s are filled with Black Hills .38 Special, 158-grain semiwadcutters. I chronographed five rounds from each revolver. The Model 442 gave 760 fps and the Model 360 gave 707 fps. Will .38 Special cases in the .357 Magnum length chambers of the Model 360 give those annoying carbon rings? Yes if enough of them are fired without cleaning. Can I hit anything with these .38s? Firing two handed, double action, slow fire and aiming from 10 feet I can keep five rounds inside about 3". Speeding things up I can still keep five rounds on one of John Taffin’s hats at that range (Sorry John, just using that example to help illustrate a point …) and the PACT Mk IV timer said I was getting the five rounds out in 1.75 seconds. Some smart aleck is now thinking, “But Duke lives in Montana. How does he get to a hip pocket handgun when wearing a heavy coat in winter?” Well, that’s pretty easy. I just slip the little snub noses into a coat pocket. And maybe you should too? * WWW.AMERICAnhAnDGUnnER.COM • JAnUARY/FEBRUARY 2011