Nyclad is in all my older revolvers.
This is a discussion on What .38 would you carry if you can't carry +P? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I carried the Critical Defence standard pressure loads as well as some 148 WC. I found both quite low recoiling and the accuract was great....
I carried the Critical Defence standard pressure loads as well as some 148 WC. I found both quite low recoiling and the accuract was great.
Nyclad is in all my older revolvers.
It Is Easy To Be Brave From A Distance ~ Aesop
Add my name to the 158g LSWCHP list.
NRA Life Member
Exactly what's loaded in my model 60 j-frame (not rated for +p) and my colt detective special, Federal 125 gr. Nyclads.
"Don't start none, won't be none!"
My wife's 38 is an older gun, not rated for +P; she carries following two loads............
• Federal® Premium® Personal Defense® 125gr Nyclad Hollow-Point #P38MA
• Buffalo Bore® 158gr LSWCHPGC #20C/20
Federal also offers..........
• Hydra-Shok® 110gr Jacketed Hollow-Point #PD38HS3H
Buffalo Bore® also offers.........
• 125gr Jacketed Hollow-Point #20E/20
• 150gr Hard Cast Wad Cutter #20D/20
Hornady® offers these standard pressure loads...........
• 110gr Jacketed Hollow-Point Critical Defense® #90310
• 125gr Jacketed Hollow-Point XTP® #90322
• 158gr Jacketed Hollow-Point XTP® #90362
Nyclads or 110gr. Silvertips.
"Never advance cheerfully on your late opponent without reloading. You may have used your last round, and he may not be properly dead and still spiteful."
Major Hugh Pollard
NRA Endowment Member
My two cents worth, which will sound a whole lot like what bmcgilvray already said (as usual :-)
I'm a fan of penetration & effective wound channel, so would recommend 158g LSWC if you want factory ammo. These are offered in standard pressure by Remington & Winchester, and I think MagTech. Not certain about Federal. The 158g LSWCHP recommended by others is outstanding, but it's a +P load; if it's available in standard pressure, I will stand corrected. As previously stated, the pressure of some foreign brands is likely equal to or greater than modern-day +P American-made ammo anyway.
I suppose that most civilian self-defense situations tend to be frontal, but a raised arm or turned shoulder may create a "barrier" between your shot & the BG's vitals, perhaps backed up by metal buttons, belt buckles, change, wallets, etc. I imagine the 125g Nyclad HP would be very effective on an unobstructed shot, but I'm not as sure how well it will bust through the other stuff. The 158g LSWC probably would do better in that regard, while sacrificing expansion of course.
Like the OP, I handload, so I choose to use 200g LSWC or even a good flat-nose design at standard velocities/pressures, which give great wound channel & maximize penetration, even with an odd-angle shot or through the types of intermediate items mentioned above. My loads give about 600fps from .38 S&W, and high 600fps from .38 SPL, in 2" barrels. They bust through 6 gallon jugs of water in an arrow-straight line, for what that's worth :-)
If anyone has seen Buffalo Bore ammo pressure-tested, please let me know where to find it. I've always wondered how they get +P+ performance levels from standard pressure loads. DOn't know that I could afford enough of it to batter a gun's innards out of time, but would have to wonder about that if used regularly. I'm sure it's fine in small doses, because there's a pretty big difference between any operating load and the pressure needed to blow up a gun, and nobody's reporting large numbers of blow-ups that I've heard about.
The Buffalo Bore in the 158 grain LSWCHP looks pretty good. They claim to duplicate +P performance at non + p pressures. I have a box of the standard loads and a box of the +P variety that I am going to try out this week.
What carry ammo have you decided on? I an new to carrying a .38 & I am still figuring out which ammo I want to carry.
Big fan of the full wadcutter, I currently carry Jim Cirillo's safe stop ammunition which is a plated full sharp wadcutter with a "V" notch and non+P LSWC for reloads with all my snubs and 3inch J frames.
I would carry normal ol ball ammo in 158gr
Sig Sauer: P938 9mm Smith and Wesson: Sigma SW9VE 9mm
Either a 158gr SWC or a slightly lighter full wadcutter.
There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH
...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper
There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm
Per Michael de Bethencourt - ACLU
User Friendly (Easy to find the ammo, ammo loads well under stress)
As to terminal effect?
It is a .38 snub nose revolver. Don't expect the world. Put the bullets where they need to go and they will do the job.
If you are looking for more, you have unrealistic expectations.
What .38 would you carry if you can't carry +P?
This, 158 gr. Soft Lead SWC-HC by BuffaloBore, and I highly recommend it. BuffaloBore Standard pressure .38 special
It's what's loaded up right now.