The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 30, 2013, 12:05 AM   #26
badge851
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2005
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 236
I have carried a 38 Special of some sort since 05/22/1971. I have two on me now. It is the perfect combination of weight, power, & accuracy in a defensive handgun.


__________________
Only two defining forces have ever died for you:
1. Jesus Christ.
2. The American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & Marine.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.
badge851 is offline  
Old August 30, 2013, 10:25 PM   #27
huskybiker
Member
 
Join Date: March 10, 2013
Posts: 74
I love my M&P's, but I'm totally confident in carrying my Taurus 650 loaded with 125gr +p ammo.
huskybiker is offline  
Old September 17, 2013, 10:19 PM   #28
jhvaughan2
Member
 
Join Date: March 12, 2010
Posts: 86
I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

Whether the 38 special is "enough" for self defence is an absurd question that comes from too much time on the internet. The factor that outweighs all others for whether your firearm is "good enough" is if you have it when you need it.
  • The odds of needing it are very very low.
  • The odds that your attacker will be hyped up on military secret performance enhancing drugs, and wearing body armor is very low of the above very low.
  • The odds of needing to legally shoot through a door, car, wall, or at a distance greater than 7 yards is very low of the above very low.
  • The odds of getting struck by lightning is far greater than you needing more than a handy .38. So if you want to really protect yourself -- stay indoors.
The .38 special was stoping the bad guys for 70 years before we realized it was not enough to stop the bad guys.

The only place a .38 special will not kill someone is on the internet.
jhvaughan2 is offline  
Old September 18, 2013, 09:21 AM   #29
keninnavarre
Junior Member
 
Join Date: February 25, 2007
Posts: 7
I carry my .38 S&W model 38 Airweight more often than my LCP. I shoot it better than the LCP and with .158+p SWC ammo I have no doubt penetration, which in my opinion is more important than expansion in a pocket sized handgun, would excede that of any ammo I could stuff into the LCP.

With that being said, there are quite a few 9mm and even .45 ACP pocket sized pistols available in todays market that make the .38 versus .380 pocket pistol comparison a moot point.

I carry my revolver more often than my autos strictly because it fits my style of carry and I shoot it better at speed. But its a compromise between power, shootability and concealability IMO. If I belt carry instead of pocket, I carry at minimum a 9mm loaded with , never my .38 snub.
keninnavarre is offline  
Old September 18, 2013, 08:54 PM   #30
FM12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 5, 2007
Location: Monroeville, Alabama
Posts: 1,605
I like the .38 special because it's well, special!
FM12 is offline  
Old September 18, 2013, 09:20 PM   #31
Beretta686
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 11, 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 731
Quote:
Whether the 38 special is "enough" for self defence is an absurd question that comes from too much time on the internet. The factor that outweighs all others for whether your firearm is "good enough" is if you have it when you need it.
The odds of needing it are very very low.
The odds that your attacker will be hyped up on military secret performance enhancing drugs, and wearing body armor is very low of the above very low.
The odds of needing to legally shoot through a door, car, wall, or at a distance greater than 7 yards is very low of the above very low.
The odds of getting struck by lightning is far greater than you needing more than a handy .38. So if you want to really protect yourself -- stay indoors.
The .38 special was stoping the bad guys for 70 years before we realized it was not enough to stop the bad guys.

The only place a .38 special will not kill someone is on the internet.
I couldn't agree more.

It's funny how people will run out and buy the latest new wiz-bang cartridge or gun, just because some gun rag touts its amazing possibilities (as though you've ever read a "professional" gun review that said "Wow, this gun sucks").

I can't count the number of times I've seen people buying way more gun than they need or can handle, just because they read something on the internet about how they needed a .45/10mm/5.7mm/.50AE or whatever to have "real stopping power".

Though it's great for lining gun manufacturers' pockets with $$$ and variety is always nice for someone like me, it's unnecessary for the average person who just wants a defensive piece. As most all of us would be just fine with a .38 Special.

Though I have a massive collection of pistols, every time someone asks me what gun they should get as pistol they're not going to practice much with, I always say a 38/357.
__________________
"Our contract called for 16 cases of rifles and ammunition for $10,000 dollars, not a machine gun...........That is our present to the General"-Pike Bishop

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
Beretta686 is offline  
Old September 20, 2013, 06:46 PM   #32
Nick_C_S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Taxifornia
Posts: 2,020
Quote:
Whether the 38 special is "enough" for self defence is an absurd question that comes from too much time on the internet. The factor that outweighs all others for whether your firearm is "good enough" is if you have it when you need it.

The odds of needing it are very very low.
The odds that your attacker will be hyped up on military secret performance enhancing drugs, and wearing body armor is very low of the above very low.
The odds of needing to legally shoot through a door, car, wall, or at a distance greater than 7 yards is very low of the above very low.
The odds of getting struck by lightning is far greater than you needing more than a handy .38. So if you want to really protect yourself -- stay indoors.

The .38 special was stoping the bad guys for 70 years before we realized it was not enough to stop the bad guys.

The only place a .38 special will not kill someone is on the internet.
^ That's awesome^ Should be framed on a wall or something.
__________________
If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck." -- Allen West, quoting Marine 1st Sgt Jim Reinfinger
Nick_C_S is offline  
Old September 21, 2013, 12:29 PM   #33
Nick_C_S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Taxifornia
Posts: 2,020
One thing that is almost always overlooked when the age-old debate of 380 or 9mm vs 38 Spl, is the factor of bullet profile.

One huge advantage a 38 has over the auto-loaders (an advantage any revolver round has over semi-auto, actually) is that bullet profile designs need not compromise terminal performance for feeding reliability.

The 38 Special has available bullet profiles (re: hollow points) that are superior in terms of reliable expansion. No, this is not to imply that the semi-auto's have crappy bullet designs - many are quite good. But the 38's are generally more aggressive in their hollow point designs. The 38 wins in the category of reliable bullet expansion.
__________________
If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck." -- Allen West, quoting Marine 1st Sgt Jim Reinfinger
Nick_C_S is offline  
Old September 21, 2013, 01:06 PM   #34
rice paddy daddy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 11, 2012
Location: North Florida
Posts: 8
I like 38 Specials as well. A Colt Police Positive Special will give you 6 rounds in the same size frame as a 5 shot S&W. Mine's a 4" and I put Hogue grips on the old girl.
I have a J-frame 357 that I carry in my pocket and a couple old S&W police trade ins - a Model 10 and a Model 15.
For fun I shoot plain old 158 grain LRN out of a Ruger Blackhawk Flat Top 357 magnum.
Around the farm 148 grain full wadcutters are good for varmints. I imagine they would work on two legged varmints also.

But truth be told, the most often piece in my pocket is a Special as well - 44 Special. 'Cause sometimes bigger IS better.
__________________
"There is nothing so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." Winston Churchill
Member: Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, AMVETS, Society of the 5th Infantry Division
rice paddy daddy is offline  
Old September 21, 2013, 01:16 PM   #35
dayman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2011
Location: The Woods
Posts: 1,073
I've started shooting it a lot.

Part of it is I've been finding revolvers more fun to shoot as of late, and - since I still haven't gotten around to getting set up to reload - anything else would cost a lot more.
I have 2 .357's (sp101, gp100), which I bought in part because .357 is a potent enough to handle most anything in these parts, and because .38spl is so affordable to shoot.

Plus, out of a snub sp101 it has the perfect amount of kick - enough to make you feel like you're shooting a gun, but not so much that you have to limit how many rounds you shoot.
__________________
si vis pacem para bellum
dayman is offline  
Old September 21, 2013, 01:27 PM   #36
40-82
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 6, 2013
Posts: 177
Now that 22 ammunition is so hard to come by, I find myself shooting my cast 38 special loads when a few years ago I would have just broken out a 22for a little plinking. Small loss really, somehow I always enjoyed the 38 Special more. With absolute precision placement a 38 Special or for that matter a 22 short is all the cartridge you will ever need for almost anything. People with experience shooting large ugly snarling things, provided they survive the first few encounters will eventually find themselves wondering if just maybe a larger bullet might not offer something more. That said, I often find myself dropping a 38 in my pocket in situations where I can't get by with something bigger, and there is absolutely no doubt that in the hands of a minimally trained shooter he has a better chance of scoring a hit with a 38 than he does with something bigger.

Don't get me wrong. I like the 38 Special, but I like a lot of the other cartridges too.
40-82 is offline  
Old September 21, 2013, 01:40 PM   #37
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,316
First, let me say that today's premium ammo, in all calibers is better than what was common 40 years ago, as far as bullet performance/velocity is concerned. Todays expanding bullets are simply better at expanding than what was available back then. And, what was available back then is still available today, still working as well now, as it did then.

I said that to make a point, now also consider this, 40years ago, while there was a bit of debate, it was generally thought (and written about) that the standard .38 SPL was a better defensive round than the standard 9mm Luger.

This was because of the bullets and loads commonly available. Reliable JHP ammo was, mostly, still in the future. 9mm+p+ only existed in the guns of certain handloaders. Factory auto pistol ammo was almost exclusively FMJ, and revolver ammo was lead bullets.

The simple fact was that a heavier, slower, factory lead bullet often performed better in defensive use than a FMJ. There was usually at least some expansion from the lead slugs, and sometimes pretty good expansion.

Today, the lesser calibers are much better than they used to be. .38 SPL velocities haven't upped much, if any, modern bullet construction is what has improved the .38SPL most.

And not all loadings are the same, nor are the circumstances of firing the same. Currently, you can even get factory ammo tailored for the best performance from short barrels, something that was once only possible from handloads. Way back in those days, it was found that the 200gr LRN .38, fired from a snubnose (2") wouldn't reliably penetrate a regular car windshield. The 158gr LRN, (from a standard 6" police revolver) got nicknamed the "widowmaker" because of its lack luster record in gunfights. And even with all that, the .38SPL was generally thought of as better than the 9mm Luger, because the 9mm only had FMJ bullets, unless you handloaded.

Back then, the .380 was thought to be the absolute bottom level minimum for defensive use, by those who were "serious". Then the 9mm, then the .38 SPL, .45, and .357. Generally (there were, of course a lot of differing opinions).

Today, with modern factory ammo defensive loads, the line is much more blurred (and we still have a lot of differing opinions).

If you think the .380 is a better choice for you, then its a better choice, for you. I wouldn't choose a .380 over a .38 because of the caliber, but might choose one (or a .32acp) because of the gun, in a given situation.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old September 21, 2013, 01:56 PM   #38
Lavan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 10, 1999
Location: California
Posts: 2,107
.38 spl feed ramps function better than most .380s.

Oh wait...
__________________
The FIRST Amendment is just as important as the SECOND! It's well to remember that when we look to control what others say.
Lavan is offline  
Old September 21, 2013, 03:32 PM   #39
ZVP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 20, 2009
Posts: 813
The Snubnoses are the most popular .38Sp revolvers and the most widely sold models. Out here. So the spec's looked for are their performances needed. There's not near the number of 4" in hands or at least lookin for data. The people with 4"ers just are'nt looking to find souled-up loads for their gu s. I am satisfied with the preformance of my Mod 10 4"er. It cooks em off pretty well! o amoften puzzled by my Chief though.
BPDave
ZVP is offline  
Old September 21, 2013, 04:51 PM   #40
Leejack
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: The Alamo!
Posts: 2,024
The older I get, the more I migrate back to revolvers, especially .38 special and .22LR. After about a half million dollars of 9mm , it's time for me to slow it down a bit and take time to smell the roses. Come to think of it, loading up a cylinder of 38 is a whole lot more fun than loading a hi cap magazine anyways.

Nice Tauri badge851.
Leejack is offline  
Old September 21, 2013, 05:23 PM   #41
Nick_C_S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Taxifornia
Posts: 2,020
Quote:
loading up a cylinder of 38 is a whole lot more fun than loading a hi cap magazine anyways.
It is.
__________________
If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck." -- Allen West, quoting Marine 1st Sgt Jim Reinfinger
Nick_C_S is offline  
Old September 26, 2013, 04:18 AM   #42
cdbeagle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2012
Location: Justin Texas
Posts: 280
I have a Bersa Thunder .380, a CZ 82 and 83. For some reason I always carry my Colt DS or Cobra. I also have two 9MM's that are full size . I just like my .38's.
__________________
I comprehend how a projectile can, “lose velocity", but don't understand how a projectile can, "loose velocity".
cdbeagle is offline  
Old October 13, 2013, 05:54 PM   #43
Jack O'Conner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2005
Location: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,481
38 Special was widely popular with city policemen for many decades. This bullet has put a lot of bad guys in the grave.

Jack
__________________
Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.
Jack O'Conner is offline  
Old October 13, 2013, 07:28 PM   #44
Ferretboy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 6, 2012
Location: Longview, WA
Posts: 214
I was carrying a .38 Spec. S&W M36. but lately I have found myself grabbing my .45 ACP XDm for EDC. Its full size but 14 rounds makes sense sometimes.
__________________
There is no such thing as Overkill, Dead is Dead!
Ferretboy is offline  
Old October 13, 2013, 07:42 PM   #45
SaxonPig
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 24, 2006
Posts: 726
Please stop saying 1 & 7/8. You like the extra typing or what? The manufacturers round it up to 2" for brevity and that makes sense to me.

As for a 38/380 comparison in factory ammo they are close. My 38s are clearly more powerful (125@1,100 clocked from a 2" revolver) but my TCP is lighter and more compact than any of my 38s so it goes with me.

The purpose of any SD pistol is make holes in a criminal attacker. Most any caliber will do that. The Brits fought WW II with their 38 S&Ws, a caliber soundly denounced as puny by most folks today.
SaxonPig is offline  
Old October 14, 2013, 11:04 AM   #46
Colt46
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 25, 2002
Location: Campbell Ca
Posts: 852
I'd go with the .38 Spl

Ammunition is far better than it was when people thought it lacked performance and jumped to the .357 or 9mm.

Choose a premium, modern HD loading and you'll be good to go.
Colt46 is offline  
Old October 14, 2013, 12:41 PM   #47
Bezoar
Junior member
 
Join Date: October 19, 2004
Location: michigan
Posts: 578
the 38 special can put a whole slew of bullet weights and profiles downrange at the same boring unevently velocity range. and pressure range. to such an extent that most semi autos would be relegated to single shot status if you tried.

oh wait, oops. thats not a bad thing.
Bezoar is offline  
Old October 14, 2013, 05:49 PM   #48
rodfac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 22, 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 1,517
For those of you that carry and love the old and venerable .38 Special, here are some pics of bullet expansion and chronographed velocities from my wife's S&W M637. The medium was our swimming pool at 15 feet and yeah I know and appreciate that water is not the same as flesh and bone. Based on these tests we both carry the Golden Saber round. Her's in the afore mentioned 637 and mine in either a 3" M36 Smith or more recently a M60 3" .357 Magnum. Best Regards, Rod

Bullet performance in water.

My guns: M36 and M60

Her gun with BBQ grips, since replaced with Crimson Trace Lasers.
__________________
Our Flag does not fly because the wind blows against it, it is moved instead, by the dying breath of our patriots in uniform. Our Freedom is not free, it's been paid for many times over.
USAF Forward Air Controller, 5th Spl Forces,
An Loc, lll Corps, RVN, 69-70, Vietnam Vet '69-'73

Last edited by rodfac; October 14, 2013 at 05:56 PM.
rodfac is offline  
Old October 15, 2013, 02:18 AM   #49
45long
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 20, 2011
Location: SW Missouri
Posts: 101
two notes

First off the 38spl is one of the most field proven round in existence ,if not in fact #1. Even with those stubbie barrels.

I have had several and own a chronograph . I know that these guys are right about the velocities out of the 4" barrels. Cops used to carry the longer barrels years ago. The magic number is around 3 inches . There is a significant increase in velocity from 2" to 3" barrels with both . Like about 150fps .wow. I own a older Charter arms with a 3" barrel and a newer one with a 3" barrel..I have others including a 20" H&R rifle. The increase per inch on average is about 50fps. But nothing like the 2-3" difference.

But still ,the FBI did extensive studies and can up with the 125gr bullet being the best perpetrator. Don't remember the FPS on that .But here's what i know .A 158gr LSWC loaded to +p speed will penetrate 3 osmost 2X6s at 6 feet coming out of a 2" barrel. Not to shabby. Good enough for me. And it being a revolver that doesn't have a chance of jamming..even better.

N0MJP
45long is offline  
Old October 15, 2013, 02:21 AM   #50
45long
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 20, 2011
Location: SW Missouri
Posts: 101
RodFac Never let that Cheifs Special ever get away from you.. I did mine and really regret it. sweet guns
45long is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13177 seconds with 7 queries