Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing

Shooters of the 44 Magnum will immediately recognize the benefit of the existence of the 44 Special. Capable of propelling a 200gr JHP at 900 ft/sec, the 44 Special is essentially a mid-range 45 ACP in terms of terminal ballistics and recoil. Revolver enthusiasts should be more enthusiastic about the 44 Special. There has been a most curious increase in violent crime in the United States with the most curious decrease in the number of good-paying factory jobs and the decline of the family as experienced since the early 1970s. Compounding problems for people who are just looking to live a decent life and to leave others alone is the most curious introduction of drugs and insidious television programming into our homes and communities. The “friendly” neighborhood robber of the days of yore is largely being replaced by people so devoid of emotion and a soul that they would like just as soon murder you for your money as look at you.

An attacker should not be shown any quarter, as long as the situation legally warrants the use of physical force. The quicker they get hurt, the less likely it is that you will get hurt. I like revolvers and I carried a Smith and Wesson 642 (38 Special) on my belt for the better part of 5 years. Revolvers have greater reliability than semi-automatic handguns though they can still malfunction if a part breaks or something gets caught in the cylinder. There are better than good odds that an attacker will not give you much warning before attacking. Much video evidence of gunfights caught on CCTV attest to this fact. The distance between you and the attacker will either increase or decrease throughout the fight. If you are shooting accurately during this movement, which you should be, having to clear a jam may be too much to handle at the same time. Building in this ability is possible with professional training but it requires practice to keep the malfunction clearance techniques in your muscle memory.

Fans of this website may recall that I practice and talk about Brazilian Ju Jitsu from time to time. Allow me this opportunity to gratuitously flash a picture that was taken of Royce Gracie and myself as proof:

Most criminals won’t stick around long once you show them that you will not be an easy target. This doesn’t mean that they won’t stand around and fight for a moment or two. There are also exceptions to the rule : some psychopaths and drug users don’t register pain as a normal person would.

As such, it seems reasonable to prepare for a reasonable worst-case scenario. Carrying a revolver is smart because I include submission wrestling as part of my self-defense plan. Being proficient at firearm operation and wrestling allows you a fighting chance should you be tackled by surprise or have to scramble for your weapon. If the fight gets close you will need one hand free to protect yourself or you may find yourself pinned to the ground and unable to draw your firearm from a belt or pocket holster.

In this case, you will have to get off of your side in a motion similar to this:

With all of the physical exertion needed to get out from under someone, two-handed firing of a handgun is next to impossible. One hand will be all that you have to work with and this lends itself more to revolvers than semi-autos because semi-autos can jam if you don’t take the normal two-handed shooting stance while firing. I would rather have five shots basically guaranteed than ten shots promised if I was fighting for my life on the ground.

44 Special is what I would carry today if I didn’t have my 642. The advantage of the 44 Special is that you are less likely to end up in the situation to the left if most of your shots hit the target. Since 38 Special is less of a gun (but still adequate for self-defense), you are more likely to be in a drag-out fight if your attacker(S) are more physically able to continue to fight.

At this distance, think of a revolver as being a 12” long knife that you can’t miss with.

Ammunition selection for the 44 Special is simple. This is because there are not many cartridge to choose from. I recommend a 200gr JHP pushed as quickly as possible. You will have much greater performance with a barrel of 4” length than you will with the shorter barrels.

More Info


10-percent Ballistic Gelatin Shots
See how well this caliber stacks up against the FBI performance requirement of expansion and 12.0” or deeper penetration depth.


20-percent Ballistic Gelatin Shots
See how well this caliber stacks up in military-standard performance evaluations.

03 Heavy Clothing
Heavy Clothing is placed in front of the gelatin block to simulate an attacker wearing winter clothing.

04 Overpenetration
Simulating a shot into an attackers chest then through an interior wall and into a gelatin block on the other side.

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