38 spl self defense round????

Discussion in 'Ammo' started by 87FieroGT, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. 87FieroGT

    87FieroGT New Member

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    Just bought my wife a Smith & Wesson J-frame 442 38 special. It will be her primary carry gun.

    I’m looking for recommendations as to what would be the best self defense round that should be in the gun?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Ray
     
  2. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    How well can she shoot it?
    Is she sensitive to recoil, muzzle flip, and noise?
    You may not want to choose the most powerful and deadly +P hollowpoint (Cor-bon makes a really hot one) if that load makes it unpleasant for her to shoot.

    I don't normally use +P ammo in my compact 9mm because it slows me down when I want to shoot tight groups really fast. I'm more comfortable and confident with standard-pressure ammo.
     

  3. 87FieroGT

    87FieroGT New Member

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    So far she has put about 100 rounds thought it (target practice stuff) and has no fear of it at all. She enjoys shooting it. She hasn't yet shot any +P. I don’t think she’ll like shooting the +P but when her life is on the line I think she will shoot what ever it takes to stop the BG.

    We're working on her targeting skills and I have her signed up for training this month which will help her with that. She’s a really good shot when shooting 9mm and 45 cal 1911’s. She just hasn’t figured out how to get a decent grouping with the revolver yet.

    I guess what I want to know is if you had the same gun and a BG was charging you what round would you want to have in it to insure the best stopping power?
     
  4. Blake

    Blake Member

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    I'm an oddball but I carry 158gr LSWC in my S&W 36. I also practice with them. I'm not a fan of all the whiz bang magic bullets out there and I'm a big fan of penetration. :oops:
     
  5. RepeatDefender

    RepeatDefender New Member

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    I carry Speer Gold Dot [s:wy3hflbk]125[/s:wy3hflbk]135gr +P JHP "Short Barrel" in my BG38. I practice with it and I like the ballistic tests on it.
     
  6. 87FieroGT

    87FieroGT New Member

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    Saw some great reviews on these on Midway USA. I’ll be getting a box of these to try out.

    Thanks :righton:
     
  7. martin_j001

    martin_j001 Active Member

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    IMO, stopping power isn't the only thing to consider at all. My line of thought is that my ability to make the shots I have to take count is what will win the fight--many self defense uses of a weapon that I have read required more than one shot. So again, I'd want something I'm comfortable shooting as well. In my case, I've chosen to carry Speer Gold Dot's (not +P) in my Ruger SR9c. Speer Gold Dots have reliable expansion based on lots of research, and the non- +P is not much different to shoot than a hot target load. If my life is in danger, I'll already be stressed enough without having to add to that with recoil/muzzle flip/flash, etc that I'm not used to. In the end, I'll most likely be relying that several shots (not just one) of my ammo of choice will be able to assure the best stopping power.
     
  8. SongDogSniper

    SongDogSniper New Member

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    You guys are referring to the Speer Gold Dot HP "Short Barrel" .38 Special +P 135 gr load, #23921, aren't you? I did not believe Speer offered a "Short Barrel" loading of the 125 GDHP, only the standard "Personal Protection" #23720. Let me know if this is not true.

    .38 snubbies have a long history as LE backups and service weapons for UCs and detectives. The three most popular .38 special commercial loads used by LE that I've worked with are the following. I would think any of them would make a good SD choice:

    1 - Remington 158 gr LSWCHP .38 special +P, #R38S12. This is the traditional lead hollow point "FBI Load" that was used for years and years in law enforcement. Out of the standard 4" barrel service revolver, this venerable round packs a powerful old-tech hardcore punch, and has a proven history of sending many a BG to meet their maker. The Remington version of the "FBI Load" that I listed here is comprised of a softer lead that the similar loading offered by Winchester, and from I recall expands better. However, it is important to keep in mind that expansion from the short barrel of the snubby has sometimes been reportedly problematic, especially when the suspect is clad with multiple layers of heavy clothing. Which is what lead to the development of the load described in #2.
    2 - Speer Gold Dot HP "Short Barrel" .38 Special +P 135 gr, #23921. A high-tech bullet design originally engineered by Speer for the NYPD. This was in response to NYPD's desire for a .38 special +P loading that delivers at least 10 - 12" of penetration and more reliable expansion that the traditional LSWCHP "FBI Load" when fired out of short 1 7/8" barrel snub nosed revolvers. Because of the press and reputation this round has developed, it is currently very popular with law enforcement in off-duty and backup weapons across the U.S. It is an excellent performer and expands fairly reliably out of the snubbie, even after passing through the 4-layer denim test. I carry it in my own 642 backup.
    3 - Federal .38 special 125 gr Nyclad #P38MA. For recoil sensitive shooters, or those whose older snubbies are not +P rated, this is a superb SD choice in my opinion. Was used by law enforcement for years in weapons not rated for +P (like the old Colt Detective Specials). Getting decent expansion while not compromising on adequate penetration has always been a serious challenge for non +P .38 snub nose revolvers. The soft lead, nylon coated bullet used in the Federal Nyclad has an established reputation for providing the best possible combination of both in a non +P configuration. Federal discontinued these for a while, but I am glad to see them back as part of their Premium line of ammo.

    There are, of course, other SD choices, but I just thought I'd pass along what I knew about these three in particular.
     
  9. RepeatDefender

    RepeatDefender New Member

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    Oops, yeah I was off on the weight of the projectile. It is 135gr :oops:
     
  10. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    I carry the Speer 23720 Gold Dot 125+P in my 638.
     
  11. Hock25

    Hock25 New Member

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    Winchester Silvertip +P is the service ammo in our 442.

    I recommend disabling the lock, or having it disabled, if it is an internal lock version. A gunsmith disabled ours for ten bucks, after we encountered problems with it vibrating toward the locked position.
     
  12. Match10

    Match10 Active Member

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    Speer Gold Dots or Winchester Supreme Elite PDX
     
  13. 87FieroGT

    87FieroGT New Member

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    Thanks for all the recommendations.
    I got a few different types ordered both +P and not. We'll see what she likes. Thanks again for the help.
     
  14. 87FieroGT

    87FieroGT New Member

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    I have read this someplace else too. This gun does have the lock. I just have some concern about disabling a “Safety Device†but then again if it engages at the wrong moment and keeps her from being able to defend herself…...I’m so confused [​IMG]
     
  15. Match10

    Match10 Active Member

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    It's not a safety device, it's a political device.
     
  16. 87FieroGT

    87FieroGT New Member

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    Well that makes it an easier decision to make.
     
  17. SongDogSniper

    SongDogSniper New Member

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    87FieroGT, I would recommend before you go taking your brand new 642 to a gun smith to have the lock modified you give it some time and see if the lock gives you any trouble at all. I've had a 642 for a long time, shot a few thousand +P rounds through it, and the lock has not budged one bit. I don't plan to use the lock, and I don't plan to rip it out either. Your mileage may vary of course.

    Just take the 642, shoot the hell out of it (or let your wife do so) and become confident with its use under stress. And just chill and don't sweat the lock thing, at least for now. :righton:
     
  18. SheriffOconee

    SheriffOconee New Member

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    The one 38 Spl load with a proven record of fight stopping is the 158 grn LSWCHP+P "FBI" or "Chicago" load.
    The Remington version of this round is in my Model 49 as I type this.
    Buffalo Bore makes a "heavy" and a regular version of this round as well, which is highly thought of by people who shoot it, although I never have.
     
  19. 87FieroGT

    87FieroGT New Member

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    Thanks...I got some +P on order. We'll run a bunch of that through her gun and so what it tells us.

    Thanks for all the imput guys.... :D
     
  20. MrMorden

    MrMorden New Member

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    I like 158gr LSWCHP, the old FBI load, in +P. It's great and expands reliably at .38spl velocities. A similar load in the semi-jacketed variety is a good second choice (with less lead barrel fouling!).