'Dick' Special and Diamondback

This is a discussion on 'Dick' Special and Diamondback within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Sure, they're at least 35-40 years old, but I have run into several people who pack a .38 Special wheelgun, and frequently observe or learn ...

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Thread: 'Dick' Special and Diamondback

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    'Dick' Special and Diamondback

    Sure, they're at least 35-40 years old, but I have run into several people who pack a .38 Special wheelgun, and frequently observe or learn that it is either a Detective Special or a Diamondback with a 2 1/2-inch barrel.

    I have a 4-inch Diamondback that's a champ and it goes a lot of places with me, loaded with Winchester lead hollowpoints, and it is pretty accurate...enough that I can bounce a tin can around out to 25 yards.

    The Dick Special in its old form, without the lug barrel/cylinder pin cover and beefier grips has always been a classic, but it reportedly doesn't do well with +P rounds.

    The .38 Special is no slouch as a defensive round, either.

    C'mon, fess up. Who owns one or both of these guns and occasionally carries it?
    bmcgilvray likes this.

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    Member Array denver's Avatar
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    The first gun I carried with my CHL was a Colt Cobra .38 I inherited from my uncle. Still have it, but don't want to get holster wear on the beautiful Colt blue.
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    Have two Detective Specials that get carried on occasion, usually in a shoulder holster while on a long road trip.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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    VIP Member Array Majorlk's Avatar
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    My DS is my BUG.
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    My BUG is a S&W 2" revolver. Bought right after I joined the Delaware State Police in 1969, still shoots great.
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    I have a Ruger Secuity Six in .38 spl, carried it briefly. Love to shoot it.
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    Distinguished Member Array grouse's Avatar
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    My wife has a 4 inch Diamondback & its her "go to gun" we both love it. It's been in the family over 30 years.
    One drawback though, anytime & I mean anytime we let someone shoot it they ALWAYS try to broker some kind of deal to trade us out of it!
    But that Colt Diamondback ain't going nowhere!

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    My first carry gun was a S&W Model 60. Wish I still had it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveWorkman View Post
    C'mon, fess up. Who owns one or both of these guns and occasionally carries it?
    Own a 1960 Dick Special and a 1985 Agent, both see a little carry time.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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    Senior Member Array WC145's Avatar
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    I've got a mid-80's Agent on my ankle right now.
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    Small Colt revolvers

    I have a 20 year old Detective Special that I frequently carry in a belt holster, and did once own a Colt Diamondback. The DS has Badger boot grips, making it very concealable. I like the trigger feel of the gun, as well as the 6 shots compared to 5 in a S&W J frame.

    Here is a photo of the DS compared to a Kahr MK9 for size comparison:



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    Yep. When I need a snub I go for the Detective Special rather than the J-Frame Smith & Wessons kept around here. The discontinued Colt Detective Special is superior to all other snubs currently made in my view. If one can conceal a J-Frame Smith & Wesson he can also hide a Detective Special and get 6 shots to boot as the Detective Special is scarcely larger than a J-Frame. I have no use for the .357 Magnum in a snub revolver so don't need the clunkiness of a Ruger SP 101 which also only holds 5 rounds. The Detective Special is all steel though Colt made stable mates to the Detective Special with aluminum alloy frames. Any brand of small .38 Special snub is light enough in steel and don't need to be further lightened with flimsy aluminum alloy frames. The Detective Special is easier to shoot with accuracy than the smaller 5-shot Smith & Wesson guns for me. It shoots and groups more like a service revolver.


    "The Dick Special in its old form, without the lug barrel/cylinder pin cover and beefier grips has always been a classic, but it reportedly doesn't do well with +P rounds."


    Such reports are wrong for three reasons. First, the Detective Special is a plucky revolver, a sturdy design and made of good quality steel. Second, the later Detective Specials with the shrouded ejector rods and fuller grips have no design changes to better facilitate the use of heavy loads. The shroud and the grips were nothing but a styling update, albeit a handsome one in my opinion. Third, excepting for Buffalo Bore perhaps, current factory +P .38 ammunition is not nearly so fearsome and stressful as its built up to be on firearms forums. My Detective Special from 1966 has been fired with +P ammunition along with the handloaded equivalent with no problems.

    Generally I prefer traditional classic Smith & Wesson revolvers about all others but make an enthusiastic exception for the Detective Special. Colt had a winner in this one and let it slip away just before the meteoric rise in interest in concealed carry.



    I'm about to go out west of town about 10 miles to feed a fellow's horses while he is away for the weekend and will stick my Detective Special in a pocket for the chore. Remington .38 Special +P 158 grain lead SWCs are the ammo of choice.
    Secret Spuk, pistola and OD* like this.
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    Member Array Rightwing's Avatar
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    The DS has it all, and is a pleasure to shoot. Nice grips pogo
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    My DS (from the mid-70's) has a smooth-as-glass trigger and is very pleasant to shoot. I don't know if the trigger was ever worked on, but it is better than some of the Smiths I have that have had trigger jobs.

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    My 3rd edition Dick Special lies in the safe, awaiting a DAO conversion and makeover by Grant Cunningham... allegedly by this time next year.
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