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I'm thinking of getting an alloy .38.
The S&W 442 is nice, but the Colt Cobra or Agent has an extra round and is only slightly larger.

I know the Colts are no longer in production, so anything I find will be used and older.

My question is would the newer S&W 442 be a heartier revolver than the Agent or Cobra? I have read that one must be a bit cautious with the Colts.
Thanks.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
I have read that one must be a bit cautious with the Colts.

[/ QUOTE ]

Who told you to be careful with the Cobra ?
I know of many people that have sworn by them as their carry piece for years.
What is the problem with them ?

By the way, what are you going to be paying for the 442 ?

Jeff (GUNKWAZY)
 

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adguy,

Personally, I prefer the Colts. I recently picked up an Agent NIB for $425. "New/unfired" Colts like you mentioned are readily available at most shows. You may even find them in gunshops...but those are usually higher in price--although I know one local shop that has a nickle Cobra made in 1974 that looks like the day it left the factory for ...$349. I see both models you mentioned in excellent codition at guns shows frequently between $325 and $375. Also, don't let the fact that they are out of production scare you away. Colt still services them and there are a few excellent,independent repair shops and smiths around.

Handle examples of each and buy what you prefer and don't worry about the age or discontinued issue. (Even on the Smith forum...Smith guys prefer the older guns to the newer versions.) My basic CCW is a Detective Special made in 1978--I carry it with no reservations.

Understand the differences between the shrouded and unshrouded guns when it comes to +P ammo. Myself, I don't use +P...too hard to control and not really that much more effective if you do your job, i.e. shot placement and rapidity of follow up shots.

Hope this helps.
 

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If your going to carry it, the 442 is the better choice as it's a 5 shot and much less bulky than the 6 shot Cobra. The 5 shot J frame S&Ws fit right in your pants pocket and there are holsters made just for that purpose. Collectors prefer the older guns in both S&W and Colt for collection purposes but you have to remember that those guns are no longer under any warranty and collectors buy them for purposes other than to carry. You are basically staking your life on a gun that someone or several people used or misused prior to you buying it. The newer 442 is the latest in design for use with 38 plus Ps. The Cobra was last made just as the Plus P's were coming out.
The velocity of the bullet has alot to due with the possiblity of the bullet expanding or not, which naturally gives better stopping power, all other things considered. The newer plus P rounds are designed to expand at lower velocities and are a real advantage. They are also not hard to shoot out of an alloy gun in my opinion. Or you could always carry the standard velocity 38 rounds but at least you have the option. I have carried a J frame S&W for 28 years now and have tried the Colts in the past. I realize that this is the a Colt Forum, but I am speaking from my experience.
 

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After many years of carrying various models of the Smith "Centennial" revolver I now carry on a daily basis
a Colt Agent or Cobra. The Cobra is `60 vintage(unshrouded bbl.) and the Agent `82(shrouded bbl.). The standard aluminum alloy model 442 is definitely no stronger than either of these two Colts. But I stay away from +p ammo too as there really is'nt an appreciable gain in performance to offset the chance of battering a good gun. There are good standard pressure hollowpoint loads out there now, who needs the extra flash and blast? While I don't have any experience with the scandium frame Smiths they apparently can take alot of punishment. The newer Colt snubbies with the shorter grip frame really conceal as easily as the Centennial and it is nice to have that sixth round in there. Come to think of it my older Cobra is as easy to conceal too. Don't get me wrong, I like my Centennial models. Just like carrying the Colts a bit more.
 

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Hi adguy;

I can't see that there would be enough size difference to matter between the two revolvers. I'd be more willing to subject the 442 to some practice with the factory +P 158 grain SWC-HP that I would the Cobra, but would happily tote either stoked with such a load, which is my favorite .38 Special defense round.
 

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I can't see that there is any real world difference in size between the two. I would not use +p in my cobra but I also doubt there is that much advantage to using such ammunition. I also like the extra shot. I know the average shots fired scenerio involves 2-3 rounds being fired but having one more comforts me. That said, I suggest you fire both and choose the one you like the best.
 

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One poster said:

"The velocity of the bullet has alot to due with the possiblity of the bullet expanding or not, which naturally gives better stopping power, all other things considered."


This is an interesting thread! I always enjoy listening to other peoples beliefs on stopping power as equated to caliber and bullet velocity… It puts me in mind of an incident in San Francisco a few months back… (Let me qualify this first … I will use the terms “black” and “white” here to keep track of the players and there is no intent to stereotype anyone) … With that said… here is what happened:

Channel 2 tv news crews arrived just before the police at this shooting scene. They had a eyeball witness and they were interviewing him for the news. He related the following account:

A white couple (man and women) were walking down the street in the South of Market area of ‘Frisco (Old timers slang for San Francisco ;-)…the yuppies don’t like it!).

The eyeball witness said that three black guys were coming down the street toward them. The three black guys were roughing up people they encountered on the sidewalk and robbing them. One of the black guys had a sawed off shotgun. The witness said he saw another man (victim) up the street robbed and beaten by the group and then the group came after the witness. The witness said he ran across the street and evaded the three black guys. He said they quit chasing him after they saw the white man and his girl. The witness said the three guys stopped the couple and after a brief exchange of words the white guy reached inside his coat and produced a handgun. He shot all three of the black guys and then he and the girl casually walked away down the street. The tv news crew got photos of the guy with the shotgun laying on the sidewalk and the other two guys down. The police arrived and determined that the white guy had used a .380 auto (I picture a nice Colt Model 1908 here!) … The black guys were heard to say that … “it wasn’t fair that the white guy had a gun and shot them…and the police ought to do something about that!”

My point to this story is that the shooter took out three guys with his .380! I have several other stories where other felons have been killed with a .25 acp and other small caliber handgun bullets. I also have stories where crazed druggies required a 12ga and he was still kicking after being shot… So, in my opinion, stopping power equates to the condition of the stoppee … (How much adrenalin is in his system and where you put the bullet that you shoot…) There are probably other factors too that include his will to survive and accomplish what he started…So, in my humble opinion, where you put the first round is more important than if it is a 158 gr .38 Special or a .38 Spl + P … Just my opinion! :) Bob Best
 

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Your last sentence says it all. 'Where you put the bullet"
A friend of mine was nearly killed by a lucky but perfect shot from a .25 auto. It passed between the panels of his vest and caused all sorts of havoc with his internal organs. He survived but you won't hear him talking about how ineffective ANY calibre is.
 

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Glad your friend made it. Too many good officers have been killed by .22 & .25 calber guns in the hands of the Adam Henry bad guys... Bob
 

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Moosedog, more than just collectors buy used firearms. Not everyone buy new handguns for defense and stake their life on them. Like any mechanical device you make sure it safely functions. The Agent and Cobra are also pocket revolvers and pocket holsters are also made for them. Yes this is a Colt forum, but let's not overlook facts. I understand your choice in the S&W, but pointing out qualities like they only apply to the S&W is a bit unfair.
[ QUOTE ]
The Cobra was last made just as the Plus P's were coming out.

[/ QUOTE ]
So are you saying +P .38 spl ammo first came out around 1981?
What about the Chicago or FBI loads?
 

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As was mentioned above, this is developing into an excellent thread. Naturally, you need to make sure that any firearm you intend to use for defence is mechanically sound to begin with. Just because a revolver is "new" doesn't mean it is mechanically sound. I remember back in the early to mid-80's when S&W's quality deteriorated to a very low level (due to buget cuts and a push to produce as many revolvers as possible without regards to their quality) that many new guns were more dangerous to their users than the bad guys. I do this to illustrate my point...not slam Smith & Wesson.

As to caliber...bigger is better, but not always practical. If you look into murder rates in large cities where caliber of the firearms is tracked you will find that most killings have been committed with firearms of .32 or less! And it is also a fact, not fiction, that professionals will routinely opt for a .22 at close range to get the job done. The recent movie "Munich" showed the tactics of the Isreali assassins fairly accurately. But what was overlooked in the film was the fact that their preffered weapon was Beretta .22 autos. The first guy they shot in the darkened hall way they shot 14 times at close range between the two shooters with .22s.

It was also pointed out above that the mental and substance abuse state of the shootee has as much to do with going down as caliber. There are many documented shootings where large caliber firearms failed to drop the bad guy...common old saying was "...they don't always fall with hard ball..." referring to .45 ACP--which supposedly is the premier man-stopper. I've had professionals tell me in public that .45 is the way to go, but in private they admitted that 9mm was just as effective. Look at the attempt to kill President Reagan; Hinkley shot four people with a .22 pistol and three went down immediately with a single hit.

Buy what you are comfortable with and practice, practice, practice...

I once had a highly regarded firearms instructor tell me that the person behind the gun is more important than the caliber. If you do your job so will the firearm.

Thanks, shel49
 

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I only have shot to date at ranges-so I am no expert at all- .But two friends -both Nam vets -one a marine one a Seal and both life long hunters ,carry 9mm"s and say it is all about the placement -I on occasion will carry a little 22mag NAA revolver ,loaded with CCI shot shell -When my 2 friends shot it at the range at 20 feet they were both going out to buy one -...Thus not worried about the 22 -I have just read about the 32NAA round -that quite a few ballistic reviews and test have said that it is basically a 9mm in the penetration and expansion results and allows for smaller carry guns and makes the 380 extinct....Just my 2 cents!
 

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I've been a paramedic for a eleven years with the last eight spent at a municipal service. We only do 911 response, no transfers at all. As such I've had the opportunity to see what people, usually criminals, are using to shoot one another. The one thing I can tell you is all handgun rounds hit like handgun rounds. All rifle and shotgun rounds hit like what they are. I know this sounds like I'm stating the obvious. But here's my point, if you want to kill someone, not deter an agressor, use a rifle or shotgun. You'll be more satisfied with the results than with a handgun, ANY HANDGUN. Handguns are designed to be carried on your person all the time and fired using only your hands. So pick any handgun with which you can hit what you're shooting at. In my own opinion it doesn't matter if the first number in your caliber is a 3 or a 4. You shot placement and the mental state of your target is more important. If you absolutely have to 100 percent guarentee a first shot immediate stop, use 00 buck 3" or 3.5" magnum 12 gauge. That'll do the trick.

Oh, I use a Cobra. I hit what I shoot at and I don't see it every day at the range.

Just my own opinion,
Dave
 

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No right or wrong choice here . Prices are similar . Both are excellent quality and proven to be able to get the job done . A few hundred rounds at most of +P ammo won't cause any problems (most practice will be std vel target ammo , imo) . The 442 will be new with a lifetime warranty . That's the main difference I see . Buy the one you like , a quality holster and practice /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

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The Colt is larger than the S&W which DOES make a difference if you carry it in your pocket or tucked in your waist band. The S&W is a 5 shot round butt, the Colt is a square butt 6 shot. There is a difference, even the man asking the question states that. And of course bullet placement is the most critical part. People have been killed with every caliber made, what does that prove? Do we know what kind of ammo was in the 380 that dropped 3 guys? Super Vel, Silver Tips, Gold Dot, maybe? All high velocity .355 dia. bullets. Its nice to have the choice of Plus P if he wants it and a warranty too.
 

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I've carried both . The Colt wasn't a burden compared to the Smith . The later short , square butt is pretty small and the difference in width wasn't an issue for me as I wear loose pants . Also , a few plus P's in the Colt aren't going to cause a problem or we'd have seen a lot of blown Agents , Cobras & Dick Spls if that were the case including mine . As I mentioned earlier , either will make a solid carry gun . /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

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Moosedog,

You said: "Do we know what kind of ammo was in the 380 that dropped 3 guys? Super Vel, Silver Tips, Gold Dot, maybe?"

My sources indicate it was regular ball ammo...
 
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