There space two calibers that dominate the concealed carry scene; the 38 Special and also its huge brother, the 357 Magnum

When shopping because that a revolver, i beg your pardon one must you choose?

The 38 special is a .357-caliber cartridge the was originally occurred in 1898. The was initially intended to press a 158-grain cartridge by means of black powder. Over the 122 years because the 38 unique was introduced, gun powder and also the stamin of gun stole evolved, and also today’s 38 distinct Silvertip pack sends a 110-grain bullet at 945 feet-per-second (FPS), afford 218 ft.-lbs. Of power at the muzzle.

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Unlike rebated-rim cartridges intended because that semiautomatic handguns, the 38 Special functions a rimmed situation that allows it to it is in safely loaded and also extracted in the cylinders the revolvers. The modern 38 one-of-a-kind endures, since it’s a soft recoiling ring that has proven chin accurate and effective. That remains most likely the world’s most renowned revolver round.

In 1934, gun writers Elmer Keith and also Phillip Sharpe upped the power of the existing 38 one-of-a-kind by merely including a heavier dose that smokeless powder to its case. The much more powerful round to be designed particularly for legislation enforcement to achieve greater penetration through practical obstacle materials. The result cartridge was called the 357 Magnum. However, the interior pressures the resulted could dangerously ruin older guns intended for the less an effective 38 Special, so the 357 Magnum’s situation was re-designed 1/8th-inch much longer to avoid it from gift loaded right into a 38 unique revolver. Today,’s 357 Magnum Silvertip ring launches a 145-grain bullet at 1290 FPS through 536 ft.-lbs. Of energy. That’s an ext than dual the muzzle energy of the 38 Special. Of course, recoil is likewise nearly double as well.

But here’s the deal: because the two rounds space loaded with bullets that room the same diameters, yet the 357 Magnum merely has a longer case and more powder, the 38 one-of-a-kind cartridge can be for sure fired in guns significant 357 Magnum, but not vice-versa. This method that if you purchase a 357 Magnum revolver, you have the right to shoot 38 Special tons in it for practice, then pick the much more potent 357 Mag rounds because that defense. The downside to to buy a 357 Magnum revolver, is that guns designed exclusively for the 38 Special have the right to be do smaller and also lighter, so if pistol size and also weight is your primary concern, the 38 Special could be the much better choice.

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So, if you space recoil perceptible or desire the smallest revolver you can obtain that still has actually adequate downrange power, the 38 Special can be the means to go. If friend don’t psychic a small recoil and believe that a few extra ounces of gun weight is precious nearly dual the downrange energy, the 357 Mag is your finest bet. And besides, friend can always shoot the less expensive, lower-power 38 Specials if you change your mind.