Considering ditching .38 +P for standard .38's in my airweight j-frame

This is a discussion on Considering ditching .38 +P for standard .38's in my airweight j-frame within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So yesterday I tested my 637 w/bobbed hammer and 8#/13# springs. The gun performed flawlessly. However, after 200 rounds (I was also testing a 640 ...

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Thread: Considering ditching .38 +P for standard .38's in my airweight j-frame

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    Considering ditching .38 +P for standard .38's in my airweight j-frame

    So yesterday I tested my 637 w/bobbed hammer and 8#/13# springs. The gun performed flawlessly. However, after 200 rounds (I was also testing a 640 that I modified) of mostly +p and a few .357's in the 640, my hand was a bit weak. Driving home I noticed a slight twitching in my hand as it rested on the steering wheel.

    My shooting did improve with the lighter springs, but with the +p's the little airweight is a handful. Not bad but if I practice with more than 30 rounds or so it gets sporty. It doesn't hurt, my hand just gets weak. Liked holding onto a vibrating weed wacker for too long a time.

    I had some non-+p .38's as well. I was amazed at how much easier it was to control the grouping in point shooting. I could actually compensate and change the POI, as the gun did not kick much as compared to +p's. With the +p's, however, it's as if every shot is a first shot, and it is much harder to redirect relative to a prior shot.

    Got me to thinking - if I can quickly group five shots in a large fist pattern at five yards v. five shots in a pie plate (or pizza pan at times) at five years for +p, and I can shoot regular 38's much longer out of my j-frame carry, why am I going with the +p's?

    One could say I need more practice, but to practice more in +p's is futile - fatigue begins to set in and then I'm wasting ammo.

    Shot placement, right? Same logic as to why a lot of people don't carry .357's in the 60's or 640 j-frames.

    I'm a much better shot with my CZ, but even though its a "compact" there are times I just don't want to lug that around and I go for the airweight.

    I'll just keep the hotter '38's for my 686.

    Anybody recommend a defensive non-+p .38 load?

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Smart to listen to what your body's telling you. Glockman has a thread around here talking about heavy/slow 38's that's worth looking for - I think it was 200 gr's at 700 fps.

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    .38 non plus p got it done for a long time. Unless you are attacked by a bunch of Maury (sp?) Warriors I wouldnt feel undergunned. As you mention, shot placement is key!
    BigJon


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    I use standard .38 spl. Critical Defense in my LCR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    Considering ditching .38 +P for standard .38's in my airweight j-frame

    ... after 200 rounds of mostly +p and a few .357's in the 640, my hand was a bit weak.
    IMO results of 200rd sessions, alone, doesn't justify dumping +P's from use.

    If you do feel the +P's give you a decided performance gain you want for SD, then I'd recommend simply doing, say, ~175rds of std and ~25rds of +P's in a normal range session, and carrying the +P's in your SD gun.

    One could say I need more practice, but to practice more in +p's is futile - fatigue begins to set in and then I'm wasting ammo.
    Yup. Use the +P's to retain sufficient competency, then leverage the "range" rounds to your heart's content. Best of both worlds, it seems to me.
    40Bob likes this.
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    VIP Member Array dawei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    So yesterday I tested my 637 w/bobbed hammer and 8#/13# springs. The gun performed flawlessly. However, after 200 rounds (I was also testing a 640 that I modified) of mostly +p and a few .357's in the 640, my hand was a bit weak. Driving home I noticed a slight twitching in my hand as it rested on the steering wheel.

    My shooting did improve with the lighter springs, but with the +p's the little airweight is a handful. Not bad but if I practice with more than 30 rounds or so it gets sporty. It doesn't hurt, my hand just gets weak. Liked holding onto a vibrating weed wacker for too long a time.

    I had some non-+p .38's as well. I was amazed at how much easier it was to control the grouping in point shooting. I could actually compensate and change the POI, as the gun did not kick much as compared to +p's. With the +p's, however, it's as if every shot is a first shot, and it is much harder to redirect relative to a prior shot.

    Got me to thinking - if I can quickly group five shots in a large fist pattern at five yards v. five shots in a pie plate (or pizza pan at times) at five years for +p, and I can shoot regular 38's much longer out of my j-frame carry, why am I going with the +p's?

    One could say I need more practice, but to practice more in +p's is futile - fatigue begins to set in and then I'm wasting ammo.

    Shot placement, right? Same logic as to why a lot of people don't carry .357's in the 60's or 640 j-frames.

    I'm a much better shot with my CZ, but even though its a "compact" there are times I just don't want to lug that around and I go for the airweight.

    I'll just keep the hotter '38's for my 686.

    Anybody recommend a defensive non-+p .38 load?
    The following are all standard pressure defensive loads that will work very well for you..........
    Federal® Premium Ammunition - Handgun
    Hornady® Manufacturing Company 38 Special 90 gr FTX® Critical Defense® LITE
    Hornady® Manufacturing Company 38 Special 110 gr FTX® Critical Defense®
    Hornady® Manufacturing Company 38 Special 125 gr XTP®
    Hornady® Manufacturing Company 38 Special 158 gr XTP®
    Magtech® 38Special First Defense 95gr Solid Copper Hollow Point

    Magtech® 38 Special Guardian Gold 125gr Jacketed Hollow Point
    Magtech® 38 Special 125gr Semi Jacketed Hollow Point
    Magtech® 38 Special 158gr Semi Jacketed Hollow Point

    Now what I choose to carry, in both of my Taurus® Mdl 85SS2UL 38 Special revolvers is this..........
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...t_detail&p=110

    This load has all the velocity, and energy; of the FBI (158gr LSWCHP +P) load; WITHOUT THE PRESSURE OR RECOIL!

    Last edited by dawei; March 18th, 2013 at 01:52 PM.
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    ^^^^^
    Thanks!

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    Load it up with 158 grn hardcast SWCs and forget the +Ps. They're too much of a handfull for many. Put the 158s in the boiler and you're good to go.
    glockman10mm, sigs and WHEC724 like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Load it up with 158 grn hardcast SWCs and forget the +Ps. They're too much of a handfull for many. Put the 158s in the boiler and you're good to go.
    I agree. You dont really gain anything resembling the hammer of Thor with an extra 50-75 fps or more. Let the weight do the work, thats the entire idea of going heavy on the bullet.
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    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    Just practice with the non +P's. You gain some advantage with the +P. I will take ANY advantage I can get, it may just be enough to make a difference.
    My rifle and pistol are tools, I am the weapon.

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    My LCR is loaded with standard pressure 158 gr SWCs.
    sigs and shooterX like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    and I can shoot regular 38's much longer out of my j-frame carry, why am I going with the +p's?
    Because if you ever have to use your revolver in self-defense, you probably won't be doing it 200 shots at a time?

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    Re: Considering ditching .38 +P for standard .38's in my airweight j-frame

    I broke skin on my strong hand in two places today with some of those higher pressure loads out of my LCR with boot grip.

    Note to self. Keep round count at 50 or less.
    There is a solution but we are not Jedi... not yet.
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    I carry +P loads in my .38 revolvers but would be fine with standard velocity ammunition using 158 grain bullets.

    Another alternative is to avoid lightweight alloy-framed revolvers. The steel versions of the J-Frame hide just as readily and offer a bit more weight to aid in control.
    pgrass101 likes this.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doghandler View Post
    I broke skin on my strong hand in two places today with some of those higher pressure loads out of my LCR with boot grip.

    Note to self. Keep round count at 50 or less.
    On a KelTec P3AT .380ACP and a S&W 442 Airweight, I've bruised the heck out of the bones in the web of my hand (betw thumb/forefinger) on a few occasions, with anything more than 50rds. With stouter ammo, they can certainly be a handful, beyond shooting just a few rounds of the "hot" stuff.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
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