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.38 Special in Snub-Nosed Revolver

squid8286

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I recently aquired a snubby that I have started carrying. I am appalled at the price of ammo in this caliber! It sure ain't close to 9mm any more! At any rate, what is the best (non) +P carry/defensive ammo in this caliber at the moment?
 

tdb59

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Trooper894

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Well, you've opened up a real bag of worms now. Almost as bad as what's the best caliber debate. I've gone with the traditional heavy and slow school of thought in my S&W M649. I like the reports on the performance of the Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWC-HP loaded with flash suppressed powder for short barrels. Yes it's a bit pricey, but after shooting some to see how it feels and confirm it's point of impact, how many rounds are you really going to shoot. For realistic practice most generic 158gr LSWC loads will shoot close enough for effective practice. Don't know if it's still true, but in the past, S&W claimed the sights on their guns were regulated for 158gr loads at 25 yards.
 

ammolab

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The lead SWC 158gr HP was the classic “most effective“ snub gun load for decades.

Even the Serbs still load it at a reasonable price. Cheap enough to train with what you carry…that’s always a good idea.

 

Pluribus

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I like the Speer Gold dot for .38 special and .380 auto. Rumor around the campfire in the way back was that they engineered their .38 special gold dot for 2 inch snubby’s. Don’t know if that’s really true or not but, I remember hearing it when the product came out. It’s a 135 gr +P @ 1100 fps iirc.
 

Wecsogery

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Buffalo Bore has a standard pressure version of the FBI load, that matches the ballistics of the original +P load: https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=110
They also have a good wadcutter load that is standard pressure, but with good ballistics: https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=111

Either of those would be great. And no, .38 snubbies are not obsolete. I would prefer one over any Glock or other concealable autopistol, for several reasons. Contrary to popular opinion, ammo capacity is not the only, nor even primary consideration.
 

Artigas

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I’m fond of 148gr wadcutters. In an earlier time of few options it was considered the superior defensive alternative to standard round nose ammo, although it is no modern wonderbullet by any means. It meets FBI denim+ballistic gel penetration standards and tends to leave a larger wound channel, doing its wadcutting work through human tissue. And I especially like its low recoil in a snubbie, meaning faster follow up shots and a round that is fun to shoot on the range too.
 

W.E.G.

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Anything that's reliable.

Get close enough to make a contact shot in the thoracic cavity.

Holes in the thoracic cavity are fatal in almost every instance.

Holes elsewhere don't do much unless you have time to wait for infection to set in.

Remember, they don't stand still while you're shooting at them. Getting close enough for a contact shot allows you to skip the "aiming" step.
 

gunplumber

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38 snubs are just a nostalgia thing for me now since a Glock 43x will hold almost twice the ammo in a package the same size.

View attachment 381636
Twu dat, and I have both. But in my front pocket, a Glock looks like a glock. My SW airweight (+P rated) doesn't look like anything. No imprint. I don't even remember I'm carrying it..

I'd rather have the Glock in a fight, but if concealment is the goal, then the S&W is better than my Keltec P32

tmg-collection-airweight.jpg
 

Impala_Guy

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Twu dat, and I have both. But in my front pocket, a Glock looks like a glock. My SW airweight (+P rated) doesn't look like anything. No imprint. I don't even remember I'm carrying it..

I'd rather have the Glock in a fight, but if concealment is the goal, then the S&W is better than my Keltec P32

View attachment 381746
Theres always the G42, its even smaller and some modern .380 ACP loads exceed standard .38 Spl performance. I know they look kind of douchey but pleated pants and a leather pocket liner holster will do the trick of solving the print thru problem. That said I have a 5 shot SP101 snubbie and I think its pretty darn effective.
 
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