.38 spl or .357 mag for self defense?

This is a discussion on .38 spl or .357 mag for self defense? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; While granting that the .357 Magnum will strike the harder blow I don't feel there is quite as much difference in it and the .38 ...

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Thread: .38 spl or .357 mag for self defense?

  1. #16
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    While granting that the .357 Magnum will strike the harder blow I don't feel there is quite as much difference in it and the .38 Special in accomplishing the desired effect with good hits as is generally supposed. At least there's not in use on varmints and critters.

    I've only got a few .357 Magnum revolvers and only use them on few occasions. Additional to some semi-collectible .38 Special revolvers, I've got a number of neat .38 revolvers to play with or rely on for personal protection. I really like the cartridge in it's own right and it's served me well.

    I tend to view the .357 Magnum as a cartridge at its best with a 4-inch or longer barrel and housed in a large-framed revolver. I eschew the vaunted 125 grain or other light bullets that "conventional wisdom" dictates, much preferring 158 grain bullets and heavy handloads in the .357 Magnum. I've got 9mm's if I want to fling light bullets of similar diameter. The .357 is capable of using heavier bullets of 158 grain or more at excellent practical handgun velocities.

    Taking things further, and this will fly in the face of everyone else's opinions, but I think the .38 Special is superior to 9mm when used with proper bullets (especially with sharp-shouldered semi-wadcutters) and with "modern" handloading techniques or when served up in some old ( such as the old.38-44 loadings) or new (some +P loads-Buffalo Bore for instance) factory fodder. Sure it's splitting hairs on the relative stopping power between many handgun cartridges and loads but field use of .38 Special and 9mm has placed me firmly in the .38 Special camp. I realize that I'm a nit-wit but there it is, I've said it.

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  3. #17
    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    We went with the SP101 2 1/4" in .357. It is generally not very pleasant to shoot .357's out of it, but it is nice to know the option is available.
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  4. #18
    Member Array 45MINK's Avatar
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    Get a .357 that way you can carry either load .357 & .38spl .In a very close confrontation the damage is practically the same . the Taurus CIA is a good choice or the hammerless SP101 BY RUGER.

  5. #19
    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey View Post
    I'm thinking about buying a revolver for my next carry gun. The one that I'm looking at has a 2" barrel, and I'm not sure whether to get it in .38 spl or .357 mag I was just wondering what every one here thought on the subject. I've heard that their isn't much of a ballistic deference between a good .38 spl +p load and the .357 mag is that true? Is .38 spl a good defense load? I know that shoot placement is for the most part more important, but I figured I would ask anyway.
    My snubs are all chambered for .357mag but all are generally loaded with 38spl+p. I agree with those who say that .357mag is best served up out of a 4'' or longer barrel. I like to keep my 4'' GP100 loaded with 125gr GDHP and this is the gun I'll take camping or hiking. I'm aware that .357mag is not the ultimate bear stopper but I still feel pretty good with it.

  6. #20
    Senior Member Array Ragin Cajun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson View Post
    You could split the difference, by buying the .357 and then carrying .38 spl in it if the .357 loads turn out to be undesirable for carry because of recoil.

    Matt

    That's what I would do.

  7. #21
    Senior Member Array Ragin Cajun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmhawth View Post
    My snubs are all chambered for .357mag but all are generally loaded with 38spl+p. I agree with those who say that .357mag is best served up out of a 4'' or longer barrel. I like to keep my 4'' GP100 loaded with 125gr GDHP and this is the gun I'll take camping or hiking. I'm aware that .357mag is not the ultimate bear stopper but I still feel pretty good with it.
    I carry my 357 in the mountains too. I don't feel the need for bigger either.

  8. #22
    VIP Member Array mag44laf's Avatar
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    Cool .357/.38 spl +P/.38 spl

    I bought a 2 1/2" Model 19 (K frame) with the thought of using the lower recoil ammo as an option to the .357. The model 19 is a real revolver and it is heavy, compared to the S&W airweights.

    I bought my wife a S&W 431PD (.32 H&R Mag) recently and admired the light weight and compactness of it, so much so, that I just ordered a 638 Bodyguard (J frame), which is .38 spl +P. I have enough confidence in my shooting ability to feel comfortable with the caliber, and I realized that I did not enjoy shooting the .357 out of any pistol.

    In fact, I shoot .44 special out of my Avatar.

    Mag44Laf
    Semper Fi

  9. #23
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    mag44laf - Sounds like you're a prime candidate for the .45 LC or ACP for SD...

    Austin

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