This is a discussion on Is a .38 a good CCW gun? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I started my LEO career carrying a 6" S&W revolver, carried a S&W 2" Airweight, 5 shot as an off duty weapon. It served me ...
I started my LEO career carrying a 6" S&W revolver, carried a S&W 2" Airweight, 5 shot as an off duty weapon. It served me well. I still cc the 38 snubbie when I need something smaller than my SA XD40 SC.
You can educate ignorance, you can't fix stupid
Retired DE Trooper, SA XD40 SC, S&W 2" Airweight
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If the cops carry the round that's good enough for me.
The Buffalo Bore +P 158 grain load shows promise for returning some old time performance to the .38 Special which has been watered down in the past 30 years. I have some on hand but haven't had the opportunity to chronograph it yet.
Well.... they've been used only for over 100 years..... first developed in 1899.
quote " The .38 Special was the standard service cartridge of most police departments in the United States from the 1920s to the early 1990s"
And you are using it in one of the most consistent reliable guns, the revolver. When most things wont' shoot, it still will. Carried by many people, including as back up guns by many LEO's today.
So, what's the concern ? Doesn't it look "mean enough"... LOL. I 'm just kidding you, but some people don't think they look mean so they can't do much. A .38 can do a lot of damage and works quite well for SD.
The caliber or diameter is not as important as it once was. Not that many years ago, i'm talking late 60's, it did matter. Back then all bullets were pretty much non expanding. Even the jacketed bullets of the day used the jacket as a means of preventing leading and not for added damage to the target. Increasing the size of the projectile was the only sure way to increase stopping power.
Now days with the quality of the bullets we have you can actually get better stopping power by using smaller bullets.
The 642 is supposed to be Smith & Wesson's best selling revolver. If that is true that says alot about the 38 special.
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The 38 special protected police officers for many, many years before the 9mm came to popularity because of the desire for larger capacity. Your gun is perfectly adequate.
Wisdom of the Older Gunner:
To carry a firearm and not have to use it is a blessing
To not carry a firearm and need one is avoidable and sometimes fatal stupidity
The simple answer... "Yes!"
Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”
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A .38 spl snubnose revolver may be the most commonly carried CCW in circulation. If you're new to guns, this is an excellent choice because you have substantial stopping power combined with fool-proof operation. When the adrenaline is pumping, you'll be seriously challenged just to draw the damn thing and pull the trigger. That's no time to be fiddling with slides and safeties.Actually the bullet diameter is not small. It is the same diameter as a .357 Magnum and is actually larger than a 9mm.
The funny thing is, even very experienced, long-time shooters often circle back to the revolver for EDC. The snubbies tend to be the most comfortable to wear and there's just something about how they feel in the hand. Practice until you can group your shots tightly, and I recommend Corbon DPX for the carry ammo.
"It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."
Is the .38 +P airweight good enough...Shoot Yeah!! awesome. I am wearing it now and it normally goes with me when the wife and I are shopping because I can put it in my pocket do my business and keep shopping. Kind of hard to put my EDC in there, a 1911. Load with 132 grain Speer +P or Hornaday. I think, people forget that this was the original CCW weapon. A classic, made for up close and personal fighting. Also purchase some speed strips. Small, fiesty and always ready!
Listen, Think and React.....Nuff Said.....
While I can shoot a 9mm automatic a little better - I prefer a short barreled revolver for quite a few reasons.
In 38+p it matches most 9mm rounds. Some hot 9mm rounds will surpass it - but not by much. If a longer barrel is chosen they are pretty much equal rounds. Expanded diameter is basically a wash.
The 9mm is the most popular handgun round in the world for self defense. Bullets with more diameter are indisputably better man stoppers. But the 9mm is the most manageable for most folks worldwide for repeat shots.
38+p being about the same round - let those factors be your guide.
A snubbie is a compromise concerning power a shootability. It must be thought of in that way. I find it the perfect compromise - for me at least.
Choose your bullets after a lot of research. If you choose wisely considering your particular barrel length - the .38+p should give adequate penetration with good expansion.
The rest depends on accuracy. Bigger calibers may do better but at the expense of accuracy and carry ability for most folks.
My 2cents worth!