.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; 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 ...

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

  1. #1
    Member Array Joey's Avatar
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    .38 spl or .357 mag for self defense?

    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.

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    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
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    Carry whatever you are comfortable firing, and of course try a couple hundred rounds of each.

    And like Matt said, you can go and buy the 357 since it will fire both!
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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    Getting the 357 gives you the option of 38/38+P/357, and often is a little heavier made. I carry a Ruger SP101 in 357, 2-1/4 bbl, usually loaded with +P Hydrashocks. Reload is often 357 in a speedstrip.

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    Yup, the .357 gives you more options....that would be my choice

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    I think I might go with the .357 not sure yet, thanks for the advice guys.
    Last edited by Joey; December 28th, 2007 at 07:46 PM.

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    Member Array Joey's Avatar
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    If anyone else has anything to add feel free to do so I'm all ears.

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    Member Array riverkeeper's Avatar
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    I've carried both....both will do the SD job.

    Rent them to shoot if possible.

    The difference between shooting a snub 357 v 38 is obvious.

    The 357 typically will give a few more inches of penetration with somewhat greater terminal effect but is unpleasant to shoot for some....firm grip.

    Pick the one you prefer to shoot ... forget the macho stuff ... pick the one you prefer to shoot!
    Old testament....Shooting to Live 1942
    http://www.gutterfighting.org/files/...ng_to_live.pdf
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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    My 2" gun is a 38 Special.

    My 3" Gun is a .357 Magnum. I learned a long time ago that I don't like shooting .357 Magnum out of a 2" gun, YMMV. I carry a 2" 38 Special daily as an off duty BUG to my 45 ACP Revolver or my 3" .357 Magnum Revolver.

    If I was going to carry a 2" .357 Magnum the only one I would even consider would be a Ruger SP101 because of it's heft. I agree with others that think you don't get to take advantage of what the .357 Magnum has to offer when you use a "snubbie" barrel and I find the .3" Barrel to be the minimum that I want in that caliber. In fact, I prefer my 5" Barreled .357 Magnum, but it's harder to carry than I want.

    Biker

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    Senior Member Array fatboy97's Avatar
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    I second, third, or so on this theme. You could buy either, because they both will be very good for self/home defense. I would buy the .357mag over the .38spl, just because you can shoot .38spl from any .357mag revolver.

    If you want something that you can practice with on a regular basis, more than 5 or 10 rounds, you might want something with a little more weight. I've been thinking about expanding my collection of guns by adding a Ruger SP101.
    Be Observant and Be Safe.

    Current: S&W 442, Springfield XD9sc, XDm9, and Glock G26, G19, G23C,
    and SIG P226-40 TT, and Ruger GP-100, and Beretta 92FS
    Former: Taurus 92SS, SIG P220 TT, S&W 360, SIG P239-40, Ruger 22/45 MKII

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    Ex Member Array jgrider's Avatar
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    Have you shot a 2" with .357 ammo? Do you think you can fire multiple, controlled follow up shots? I have a 2 1/2"model 66 K frame that I use with .357 ammo, and two 1 7/8" J frames, one stainless steel, and one titanium. The K frame would be the smallest I would go with.357 ammo.

    I started some wetpack tests on .38 ammo using the same criteria as I did on my Kahr PM9 and K9 tests. The only round I got to test was the 125 Fed. nyclad before the weather tuned bad. Although the nyclads are getting harder to find, they are my favorites ,especialy out of the Titaniun S&W because the felt recoil is controllable.

    Remember that the penetration numbers are less than what FBI ballistic gelitan would show. To convert multiply these numbers by 3 and divide by 2
    John










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    JPP
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    +1 on what most folks have told you. I Love my stainless Smith model 60 in .357......and...... it gives me options. Personally...... even though I consider myself a fairly strong guy, I still carry 38+P's as opposed to .357 mags (which put up quite a little kick in that J frame!)
    I could probably get off 5 accurate shots with the +P's in the same time as 3 not so accurate shots with the .357's. Having said that.... when I am up at my Mom's in SW Colorado..... and fishing and exploring in the mountains..... I carry 158gr SP .357's....... just feel better about using those if I ran into some of the 4 legged critters that live up there...... and I'm not talkin' chipmunks!

    Just MHO

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    WHAT ELSE COULD YOU ASK FOR?

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    Senior Member Array zero's Avatar
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    I don’t have a problem with only 38+P. My 442 cost about a hundred bucks less than the 357 models. I took the extra money and picked up more ammo for practice.

    Either way you go….J Frames are great little pistols.

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    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    My answer to your querry is........yes.
    "Just getting a concealed carry permit means you haven't commited a crime yet. CCP holders commit crimes." Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, quoted on Fox & Friends, 8 Jul, 2008

    (Sometimes) "a fight avioded is a fight won." ... claude clay

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    I saved a couple hundred by getting the 442 instead of the 340 - I'm happy with my choice. The 442 is fine shooting .38 +Ps, but .357s would probably be hard to control in rapid fire. If I was getting a steel frame gun I would get .357. If I just had the money to spend I'd have gotten the 340 and carried +Ps in it...

    I would pick something on the medium to heavy side for bullet weight. 125+ is best IMO. I carry Winchester 130s in my 442...I'd be happy finding Gold Dot 135s but haven't seen them locally and everyone online seems to be backordered. I guess my point is penetration is important - especially if you believe in shot placement.

    Austin

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