I've been carrying concealed now for about five years. I've carried a S&W J-frame, various sub-compact 9mms and a sub-compact .45. For warm weather carry, in my humble opinion, the small .38s can't be beat. I use an Uncle Mikes inside the pocket holster for my early 80s Model 60.
It's simple, reliable and convenient. I agree with those who say you should practice with it but I think that also to be true of any firearm you regularly carry. The bad guys are basically cowards, who seek a victim, they believe won't fight back. If I can get off 2 rounds in a self-defense confrontation, the overwhelming majority of criminals will take off running like they have seen a ghost.
The modern day self-defense rounds in .38 special are more than adequate to get the job done. I am intrigued by Buffalo Bore's, 150gr Hard Cast Wad cutters. You don't ever have to be concerned about these not opening up hollow point style because the bad guy is hit with a flat surfaced wad cutter that "hammers" its way through living tissue and bone. BB claims 251 fps of energy at the muzzle out of a 2 inch barrel.
I wouldn't recommend using less powerful target wad cutters for self-defense, but these BB wad-cutters are designed specifically for that purpose. The BB web site references former NYPD officer Jim Carillo, who used self-defense powered .38 wad cutters in real life shoot outs and found them to be highly effective man stoppers.