What are your thoughts on the .38 special round?

What are your thoughts on the .38 special round?

This is a discussion on What are your thoughts on the .38 special round? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I carry a FNP-40 as my EDC and I really like the .40 S&W round but I would really like to get something lighter to ...

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Thread: What are your thoughts on the .38 special round?

  1. #1
    Member Array Hulley's Avatar
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    What are your thoughts on the .38 special round?

    I carry a FNP-40 as my EDC and I really like the .40 S&W round but I would really like to get something lighter to carry. I spotted the Ruger LCR the other day and I really dig it but the ballistics of the .38 special even in +P is pretty weak compared to a .40 S&W or even a 9mm (sometimes I carry my FNP-9). The LCR would be perfect if it was in .40S&W. Would you guys feel comfortable carrying a .38 as an EDC when you could be carrying something much stronger? I know shot placement is everything but I would only have 6 rounds in the LCR and chances of me reloading successfully in a high stress situation might be low.
    I carry a .357mag because no one bickers about the .357mag being "enough".


  2. #2
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    6 rounds of 38 was the standard for generations of law enforcement officers. I have carried, and sometimes still carry a 5 shot snubbie. With a good hollow point the 38 Special is more than up to the task. The 38 +p is just gravy if you can stand the recoil.

  3. #3
    Member Array Hulley's Avatar
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    I probably shouldnt get too carried away with ballistic charts.
    I carry a .357mag because no one bickers about the .357mag being "enough".

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array 21bubba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hulley View Post
    I probably shouldnt get too carried away with ballistic charts.
    And pass that bit of advice on.

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    I'd take a .38+P over a 9mm in a snub any day... The 5 or 6 shot snub has been keeping folks safe for years. I've carried one for years, in standard .38, +P and +P+ if you can find it... Dealing with the round capacity difference, is a personal preference...
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    CMR
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    I have a Rossi m68 thats my "truck" gun for when I'm in the city. Its loaded with 135gr +P Gold Dot Short Barrel ammo.....probably the best .38 spl SD ammo out there, IMHO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hulley View Post
    I probably shouldnt get too carried away with ballistic charts.
    I've never seen a ballistic chart, put a BG down...
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    Senior Member Array AZ Desertrat's Avatar
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    Use one every day...........
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    Member Array aric's Avatar
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    I traded a 9mm to get a .38spl.
    I definitely trust it.

  10. #10
    Member Array moggie6's Avatar
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    I'm carrying a 5 shot .38 with +P winchesters....something about the revolver and seeing the heads of the rounds through the cylinder.
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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    The LCR is 5 shots, just like the S&W Snubnosed 38s. I've got two S&W snub 38s and they're more than adequate. Depending on what ballistics chart you look at (and who put it together and what they are wanting to prove) you'll get varied results. Generally speaking (which = my opinion based on searching many charts and doing some home tests) the 38 Special +P appears to be slightly ahead of the mark compared to 9mm when they are shot out of the same length barrel. The two are very close and the difference is negligable. The 38 special +P and 9mm projectiles are the same size around. Hold the two rounds beside each other and look at the amount of powder pushing the 38. Shoot some phone books with the same brand 38+P and 9mm and form your own conclusions. You will find that in a 2 inch bbl snubbie the 38+P is about the same as 9mm out of a longer barrel. The shorter snub barrel diminishes the incremental benefits of the 38+P to be the same as a 9mm out of a 4 inch barrel. In a good quality SD round, the 38 special +P out of a snub is every bit as effective as a 9mm SD round. The big difference is capacity and accuracy in a short barrel. Snubs are different and take practice to become proficient moreso than semi-autos. Beware of the guy who only carries 5 shots...he probably knows how to place them.
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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    I'm not a revolver guy and even I admit that 5 rounds of .38 speical +p is going to be more then enough to get the job done in 97 percent of situations.
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    Distinguished Member Array REVMAN's Avatar
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    Have .38 HP in my 638 and feel very secure.
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    It is more than up to the task...there were plenty of lawmen back in the day that carried a .38 every day and dispatched many a bad guy with it. No you have the advantage of modern SD hollowpoint ammo. Get a snubbie and a good SD like Gold Dot Hollow Point Short Barrel or a Buffalo Bore 158. It will get it done.
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  15. #15
    TGC
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    I'm very comfortable with the .38 spl...my next purchase will be a S&W Model 40.

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