Just acquired a S+W 686 in .357, 4" barrel. I prefer my 1911 for most all things, but as a backup hunting boar or similar game, a .357 is really far better.
This arm will double as a carry weapon for camping or, if I ever do move to NM and get a little ranch, just one of the tools I would carry out and about, and I would load it with .38 Special.
I am shooting a lot more .38 for practice, and it is a great round to introduce new shooters to after they have some time with .22's.
I have a 1960's vintage K-frame S+W with a 6" barrel, very accurate. And there is a palpable snap in the air when I shoot 158 grain +P FMJ rounds from Speer. It is still very comfortable to shoot and accurate.
You have to shoot with something you can hit with. I think the .38 is more than enough, usually, better than most shooters. PCP and/or dementia can overcome about any round but a 12 gauge or .50 BMG. Not the most likely case for most of us, to encounter that.
I followed a blog for awhile a few years ago by a coroner assistant in Atlanta. By far the .38 was the most frequent removal from corpses they got.
Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world — and never will.
— Mark Twain