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Old January 22, 2013, 09:24 PM   #17
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Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 7,271
Im just thinking if I get a 380 or 32 isnt it very close or even is a 38?
I'll assume you're talking about .38 Special.

Although the muzzle energy of .380ACP approaches .38Spl, the latter is generally considered to be more effective because it can fire a much more massive bullet due to its much larger case volume. .380ACP bullets top out at ~100 grains, whereas 158gr .38Spl bullets are commonplace, and bullets as heavy as 180-200gr have been offered.

The two most common .32-caliber handgun cartridges- .32ACP aka .32 Auto, and .32 S&W Long aka .32 Long- are significantly less powerful than either .380ACP or .38Spl. A couple of more powerful .32-caliber revolver cartridges have been offered- .32 H&R Magnum and .327 Federal Magnum- but neither is commonplace, nor economical to shoot unless you handload.

To add to BigJimP's post, one of the main advantages of .357 Magnum or .38Spl is that you can put 6 rounds in a medium-frame revolver. Aside from a handful of 5-shot medium-frame .44 Special models, almost all .44-caliber revolvers are large-frame guns that don't conceal easily and generally aren't as comfortable to carry. This is why .357/.38 revolvers have historically been far more popular.

Other than .22LR and .22WMR aka .22Mag, .38Spl is generally the most economical and readily available revolver cartridge if you don't handload.
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