MAY 4, 2021

Editor’s Notebook: Latest, Greatest Edition -Lovette’s The Snubby Revolver

After some tumultuous times in an enthusiasts’ organization, the latest edition of a great text has arrived. From the people at Snub Noir, the new organization, Ed Lovette’s new edition of his recognized standard, The Snubby Revolver: The ECQ, Backup, and Concealed Carry Standard (3rd Edition) is now available.

Ed’s the ‘Founder Emeritus’ of the new group, founded by Michael deBethencourt. Staffers at the new publication include friends Mike Boyle, Bill Bell, Rob Garrett, Jim Higginbotham – as well as people new to me, like Jordan Bell, Hany Mahmoud, Steve Rustad and Jeff Lehman.

As to the book, I was one of a group that was asked to proof it. I did. Part of the reason I was asked is that I answered some questions for the estimable Mr. Lovette. For me to get asked for an opinion by Ed Lovette, someone I’d classify as an actual expert, was really a treat.

That he didn’t agree with me didn’t matter as, unlike a good many these days, we’re adults and we understand what it means when Evan Marshall tells us, “We’re all victims of our own experience.”

I was thrilled to be involved for a very small part of the book because I’d get the shot at reading the pre-production galley. I knew I’d learn something – and I did.

Like earlier editions, he seeks to answer the question “Why a snub nose revolver?” and to take it beyond simple selection to best practices for gear acquisition, learning and training, tactics – including awareness and avoidance – and bringing us up to date with all the new guns and support gear devised and produced since his earlier efforts.

Above, the NYPD version of the M64 snub -- a large (K-frame) revolver with a dehorned hammer and rendered trigger-cocking only before sale. Below, at a law enforcement conference at Richmond VA, the author demonstrates a close-range shooting position empty-handed.

Why the snub revolver? One reason was explained as far back as 1930 in a book by J. Henry Fitzgerald, a Colt employee – another pro, one who is quoted in Ed’s book. He starts with something I didn’t see broadly discussed except inside police circles starting in the late 1970s – the weapon retention advantage. A short revolver – by its definition round and not easily seized – gives the wielder more to grasp than an attacker can grab. This gives the revolverero more leverage (“The longer the lever,” according to gun retention technique inventor James Lindell, “the greater the leverage.”) – and that speaks well for success.

And, as pointed out by a great gun writer of the great old days, if the gun-grabber’s hand happens to cover the muzzle while the cylinder can still turn, it becomes a self-resolving (and loud) problem. Fitz goes on to explain that the short gun is more readily used in extreme confined spaces (an automobile). Fairbairn agreed that the “cut-down revolver” was the best for the “very close quarters” speed required of a plain-clothes officer in 1942.

In the current era of the semi-auto, we know from increasing field experience that extreme close-range conflict – from an entangled struggle, perhaps in an automobile interior or an elevator – there’s a great likelihood the self-loader will choke … due to compromised hold, interference with clothing, other obstructions, the offender’s hands. This is unlikely with the round gun.

Another pair of NYPD authorized revolvers from "the day," the S&W M640 (top) and the M640-2 (38-only version of the M640-1). Below, even the very light revolvers can be effective out to 25 yards, as shown with the S&W M&P340 below.

The gun that’s literally always available and can be very quickly employed is best. Ed Lovette tries to help you get the best use of it by setting the stage, explaining the dynamics of lethal encounters, demonstrating the best way to run the gun (and keep it running), considerations – and training advice -- for what some call “nontraditional users” (especially moms), sights-stocks-triggers, practice and ammunition.

Ed uses case histories from law enforcement and military engagements as well as offering a study of incidents involving non-sworn citizens. There’s a lot packed into 206 pages.

It takes some time to unpack. It’s worth reading, rereading and then picking & choosing segments to completely digest the information.

The snub revolver has “unique capabilities.” It requires only your best efforts to use it to your success. This book will help you realize that success.

Ed’s work comes highly recommended by many – including me. While I got a ‘review copy’ of the book, I purchased a pair as gifts.

Buy it, read it – and learn from our history.

-- Rich Grassi