The infamous .38 round


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1911-A1
April 1, 2012, 06:50 AM
At a time when many people are considering a purchase of their first handgun for concealed carry, the most common question is, "What is the best gun for me".
I agree with a previous statement on this subject, "The biggest one you can safely handle". But really, all facts considered, that's not a very good answer to give a first time gun owner.
So the next question is always asked in our training classes. "What is best, .38 Special, 9mm, or .380, since they are all .38 thousands, right?
One instructor i heard made this comment, "A .380 is nice to have, if you don't have a gun". Although James Bond did quite well with it, huh?

So what does the group think about these three rounds, what's the best CCW round?

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beatledog7
April 1, 2012, 07:23 AM
First, they are not actually .38" rounds. The .38SPL is .357-6," and the 9mm and .380 are .355-6."

Any of them can serve as an SD round as long as the bullets go where you aim them.

The real differences are in the platforms designed to fire these rounds and in the bullet weights that each platform can accommodate. Do some study, then try some out.

James Bond's writers did better with a .380 than a real person could have ever done.

joed
April 1, 2012, 07:33 AM
For self defense I'm not a fan of either of these rounds. The .38 Spl used to be a good one years ago but SAAMI nutered it. The 9mm is OK with heavier bullets but the trend seems to light bullets for it, why I'll never know. The .380 is just to small.

Loosedhorse
April 1, 2012, 07:35 AM
Although James Bond did quite well with it, huh?JB's PPK was .32 ACP. :cool:

He also used a .38 revolver.

scaatylobo
April 1, 2012, 07:49 AM
As far as I have seen it is SHOT PLACEMENT and NOT caliber that makes THE difference in a S/D scenerio.

I was LEO for 26 years and I saw a few KIA's from gunfire [ and knives etc ] and the area of the hit was THE deciding factor.

SO, try to hook your mind around whatever gun you shoot REALLY well. and accurately .

Not easy to ignore all the "caliber" snobs and know it alls.

After all "Dirty Harry" was deadly witha .44 magnum,BUT if you listened to his speech at the range on the movie "Magnum Force" he stated his load was a .44 SPECIAL handload.

And of course he did miss many shots too.Even though the gun SOUNDED like a .44 magnum and not a .44 special.

I see NOTHING wrong with a .380 or especially a .38 modern expanding load [ made for snubbys ] as a S/D/ gun-load.

Its how well you shoot that will matter THE most and shooting under stress is the key.

Lawdawg45
April 1, 2012, 08:03 AM
While this general question has been asked a thousand times on here in the past, your particular slant is a good question ...."which is best for a new shooter". For me, this type of question automatically removes the .380 and 9mm, not for it's ballistic data, but for it's reliability and feeding issues. Some are shooter related to poor grip and wrist strength, but some are attributed to the weapon itself, case in point, the Kahr and Ruger LCP. The wide, jagged hollow point such as the Remington Ultimate Defense or Speer Gold Dot that potentially would jam a semi-auto, will perform flawlessly in a wheel gun, and when shot through a heavier frame .357 or S&W K frame, the perceived recoil is very manageable. The 649 I now carry daily in my front pocket replaced an LCP jammomattic!:rolleyes:

LD

RickMD
April 1, 2012, 08:28 AM
Anything that will shoot through two 2X4's is fine with me...

heeler
April 1, 2012, 08:33 AM
Well the other side of the coin Lawdog.
My LCP or Kahr PM9 has never once jammed.
This using a large variety of brands both fmj and hollowpoint.
I sold a Smith M 37 because I never could shoot it worth a damn and the recoil of it was so bad I found it quite unpleasant to shoot.
I can shoot my LCP,Diamondback 380,and my Kel-Tec P32 supremely better than that snub .38.
And my PM9 is extremely accurate and a joy to shoot.

Pilot
April 1, 2012, 08:47 AM
For home defense, you must also consider muzzle blast and deafening sound. While I know people will tell you the adrenaline will keep you from hearing it, your hearing will suffer, and it could distract you from follow up shots.

As others have said, the "best" is the one you can hit with. For me, indoors I prefer 9MM, but if it were a revolver, I'd use .38 Spl +P which is pretty similar ballistically to 9MM.

HGM22
April 1, 2012, 08:50 AM
Like beatledog said, the real difference is the platform. If the new shooter wants a revolver go with one in .38 Special (or .357 Mag loaded with .38's) or maybe .327 Mag. If the shooter wants an auto obviously 9mm or .380 are probably better (though some say .45 is actually softer recoiling).

I would recommend going with a 9mm in a larger framed handgun, but it might be too much in one of the subcompacts like the Ruger LC9 or Kel-tec Pf9. So I'd say have them try out a 9mm and if they can handle it great, if not, go down to the .380 and stress they now have a weaker round making shot placement even more critical. I haven't myself decided, but many recommend going with solid point bullets over hollow points in the .380 and below classes. I'd again make sure they know of the pros and cons of solid and hollow points as applicable to the .380 and below classes so they could make their own decision.

loadedround
April 1, 2012, 10:09 AM
Ole James Bond really upgraded his fire power when "M" forced him to turn in his 25 ACP Beretta for a 32 ACP PPK. Of course 007 was a crack shot and almost never missed his target. I just loved Ian Fleming! :)

eldon519
April 1, 2012, 10:46 AM
For a new shooter, I would recommend the .38 of the three. It has never been a challenge to me, but some people just have trouble making sense of a semi-automatic. My parents have shot with me for years and never really got the hang of it (which lever does what, the loading/unloading sequence involving magazine and slide, etc). A revolver is pretty easy to use and grasp conceptually, and doesn't require much hand strength to operate.

Were it me, I'd prefer the 9mm, .38+P (FBI load), or .357 magnum since it's basically the same diameter. I like a heavier bullet than the .380 tends to utilize.

TarDevil
April 1, 2012, 11:05 AM
You are doing the right thing by asking questions. Don't stop asking, and read everything you can get your hands on. Your opinion about weapons/caliber will change many times as you acquire knowledge.

I used to be a wheelgun fanatic, it was my first acquisition. My next purchase WAS going to be .45 of some type because believed in its "superior stopping capability."

My carry choice, after a long time out to learn, was the culmination of a bunch of factors that all pointed to 9mm (not in any particular order):

Ability to make multiple accurate shots
Something I could afford to practice with OFTEN
A platform and caliber that wouldn't beat up an arthritic hand (see the first two)
A weapon that was big enough for good control, but still concealable.


In other words, do your homework, don't take one person's word as gospel, and make a choice you are comfortable with.

amprecon
April 1, 2012, 11:13 AM
For non-gun enthusiasts, those who won't go to the range regularly I usually always recommend a .38spl revolver. They are just the simplest firearm to operate.
If someone is an enthusiast and goes to the range regularly and are interested in semi-auto's, I'd recommend always a 9mm over a .380. 9mm handguns are made small enough nowadays to trump the biggest quality of .380 handguns, their small size.
.38 revolvers are also viable for enthusiasts as well, some people shoot revolvers better than autos.

Big JJ
April 1, 2012, 11:37 AM
For me only it is a 5 shot revolver in .357 mag. loaded with .38 special +P ammo.
I prefer the Ruger LCR but there are other guns that fit this purpose.
My reasons are:
It is for self defense only.
It fits the pocket in a holster without printing.
It is light enough to carry all day.
The caliber will do the job.
Shoots every time with no jams,racking,safty, or any other problems a common citizen would find challenging in a stressful situation.
I am not in a combat situation.
If I was in combat I would only use this as a backup gun and I would go to a 40 or 45 caliber gun.
This works for me and is just my opinion may not be right for everyone.

Old Fuff
April 1, 2012, 11:40 AM
Well the first question to resolve is, "What handgun? Pistol or revolver?" If a revolver is chosen, particularly a small, easily carried and concealed one, the .38 Special cartridge is an excellent choice. It is available almost anywhere in a wide range of bullet weights, styles and loads.

"Stopping power" might be better described as "incapacitate," which is mostly dependent on bullet placement in relation to a vital organ and not any particular bullet or cartridge. In this regard, none of the specified cartridges has a substantial advantage over the others - except possibly in penetration.

The supposed advantages of high-performance ammunition loaded with hollow point bullets are mostly mythical, unless a vital organ is hit and damaged to the point where it becomes non-functional. A hit elsewhere else may or may not stop a determined attacker or one under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In advising a new shooter, determine what they can handle it terms of size, weight and recoil when picking out a gun. Then match the choice with an appropriate cartridge.

Furncliff
April 1, 2012, 12:52 PM
If you can't shoot your carry piece confidently and accurately it doesn't mater what it is. And, it doesn't matter which modern handgun you choose, so long as you can shoot it confidently and accurately. Best if you try a variety of guns until your hand says, " yes... this one".

Regardless of caliber.

Most modern calibers are available in improved velocity rounds. At close range a .380 or 9mm Mak using SD ammo is no love tap.

CraigC
April 1, 2012, 12:55 PM
I wouldn't recommend any centerfire for a new shooter, IF he wants to actually learn how to shoot proficiently. If all he wants is to make noise at the range every once in a while, impress his friends or just to say he has some "protection", then virtually anything will do. At the moment of truth, the cartridge of choice will be so far down the list of factors affecting the outcome, it does not even bear mentioning.

If the shooter wants to actually learn how to shoot, then I will always recommend a .22LR.

RickMD
April 1, 2012, 05:02 PM
The infamous .38 round

Since when has the .38 Special become infamous? It's one of the best balanced, usable, and accurate cartridges ever developed. I think someone needs to look up the word "infamous" in the dictionary.

TennJed
April 1, 2012, 07:35 PM
Since when has the .38 Special become infamous? It's one of the best balanced, usable, and accurate cartridges ever developed. I think someone needs to look up the word "infamous" in the dictionary.
Unfotunaty, there are a lot of people that consider the 38 (and any round) evil. So the 38 has been considered infamous ever since it was introduced, although I think you were trying to point out in the context of this thread it might not be the best choice.

SFsc616171
April 1, 2012, 10:33 PM
"Best for the new shooter", eh?

Ok, let's take it one more level:
Young adult, adult, or senior citizen - able or disabled?
Male or Female?
'Gunning' family history, or of age to be, or have been, indoctrinated by that lovely Dept. of Education, born under Nixon?
Military tradition family, or, 'crazy uncle Viet Vet'?

"Best gun for the new shooter", and I INCLUDE myself, with a hiatus of many years due to the politics of former ex's families. ("Marry me, you marry the family".) I am 'getting senior' as we speak, and by health, do NOT have those swift kung-fu moves, anymore. Which makes me one of those: "too old to fight, but not too old to shoot", or some epithet like that.

I own both semi- and revolvers. With a new gun, having that 'tap-rack-boom', sure does engrain the fact that there are a lot less possibilities of 'uh-oh's' with a revolver! With a new semi, you CAN forget just how many shots you have fired, even on the range. A revolver has 5, 6, or 7 shots, period, depending on the design. You learn quick to count them! In both designs, there CAN be trigger-hitting-primer-NO BANG's. There CAN be damaged-in-the-loading-process-cases. Revolvers teach better aiming discipline, and trigger patience. New Shooters using 'high-definition' loads, can pick up a flinch, which is a bugger to let go of! To New Shooters, ALL handguns are heavy. To New Shooters visiting an indoor range, it is a big noise environment.

I would NOT shove a semi-automatic in the hand of a New Shooter. I would ask them to handle a revolver. Whether they have mental images of Tombstone, detectives, Edward G. Robinson on the late night cable movie, there is an almost genetic thing about revolvers. Then there those two outstanding photos of snubnose revolvers in use from the '60's: the South Vietnamese General snuffing out a Communist VietCong, or Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. Still, powerful images that prove these things work.

Yes, some New Shooters may have watched Sean Connery as James Bond, with his Walther PPK in 7.65mm. Yes, in his Bentley (in the books), he did keep a 'Fitz-style' .38 SW revolver. Instinctive aiming can be acquired, in time. But that can come, with a revolver, easier, once the basics are engrained.

As a not-so-new shooter, I own Browning BHPs. I own SW M-15's. I carried an M-15 series, as part of my duties in Thailand and Cambodia.

What do I suggest? What fills your hand best; What feels balanced when arms are extended; which action can you manipulate, with what body strength you have; what sight picture can you see best - with and without glasses; from table to arms length, can you get that thing to aim; finally, what do you think is too costly for a firearm, or it's ammunition? Then we start from there. ALL firearms are manufactured to shoot better than the human body can align. It is -we- who have more imperfections, than that manufactured piece of machinery called a firearm.

Choose and Shoot well, New Shooter.

mljdeckard
April 2, 2012, 12:19 AM
James Bond is a fictional character.

Why is "Shoot the biggest one you can safely handle" bad advice for anyone? If it's too big for them, then they can't safely handle it, can they? Even if they can't handle something big NOW, they will learn and possibly upgrade later.

Just like .380 overlaps into 9mm effectiveness, a 9mm overlaps into .380 range for convenience. If they can handle a .380, they can handle a 9mm.

As for a .38, its really more a question of if a revolver suits them than which cartridge suits them.

ColtPythonElite
April 2, 2012, 12:22 AM
Any of the three will work just fine with proper shot placement. Sure, it might take two to the chest and one to the head, but it will do the job.

tarosean
April 2, 2012, 12:25 AM
Although James Bond did quite well with it, huh?

a fictional character probably would not be your best bet for a counter argument.

1858remington
April 2, 2012, 01:52 AM
So why, if the 38 special is a .357 caliber is it called a 38 and not a 36?

Back in the black powder days, There was 36 caliber revolvers. These guns utilized a .375 round ball that after firing was squashed down to 36 caliber.

The gun manufacturers wanted to give there new round the impression of being more powerful, and also didn't want to confuse people with another 36, so they called it a 38.

There were some rounds that were of the Heeled type, in that the bullet head was the same 38 diameter as the case. These were the "True" 38's. (Modern 22LR rounds are heeled bullets)

The .356 to .357 family
1. 38 Short Colt (like a wimpy 380)
2. 38 Long Colt
3. 38 Special
4. 357 Magnum
5. 357 Maximum (Dan Wesson Arms)
6. 380 auto
7. 9X18 Makarov
8. 9mm auto
9. 38 Largo
10. 38 Super
11. 357 Sig

The .38 Family
1. 38S&W


I'm sure there are more to add, but I'm having a senior moment right now.:confused:

Jim Watson
April 2, 2012, 02:00 AM
Don't know why you put the .38 S&W off in "the .38 family" when its bullet is only about three thou larger than the .358" series and it was inside lubricated long before Colt ever broke away from the heel bullets.

Or why you don't segregate the so-called 9x18 Makarov which is really a 9.2, .364" bullet in American money.

Ian Fleming was a desk spy with little connexion to firearms. Bond did ok when Fleming listened to Geoffrey Boothroyd (prototype of movie Q) but not often otherwise.

mes228
April 2, 2012, 06:42 AM
I like many of the smaller .38 frame special revolvers. Mainly because I like the Hornady Critical Defense ammo in 110 grain at 1010 fps. Hardly any recoil and very accurate in the revolvers I've fired it in. Some recommend a small light .38 for women. I seldom do, without suggesting the Hornady round. Maybe I'm a wuss but I think the recoil etc. is brutal in some of the lighter .38 handguns. Especially with hotter heavier ammo. The result is some women will not practice enough to be proficient with a gun that hurts them. Totally different animal when stoked with the Hornady rounds. From test I've seen the Critical Defense ammo seem to do O.K. and it's pleasant to shoot.

TarDevil
April 2, 2012, 09:33 AM
The .38 Family
1. 38S&W


My Colt's .38S&W shoots .360 bullets

Certaindeaf
April 2, 2012, 12:04 PM
.One instructor i heard made this comment, "A .380 is nice to have, if you don't have a gun"..
I've heard instructors/professors profess some pretty stupid stuff.
Perhaps rephrase your original query.

Old Fuff
April 2, 2012, 12:09 PM
My Colt's .38S&W shoots .360 bullets

Maybe not. According to Colt blueprints, chamber throats and bore groove diameters for .38 Colt New Police (same as .38 S&W by another name) are the same as are specified for .38 Special. When reloading exchange the .360 expander plug for a .358 one.

When I get time I'll post the exact dimensions. Keep in mind that this only applies to Colt revolvers.

====================================================

Well I suspect these numbers will cause some lifted eyebrows, but the come from a Colt blueprint:

Chamber throat diameter: .3585"
Bore groove diameter: .353" - .354"

Colt barrels had a reputation for being tighter then some others. Remember that when these dimensions were established, revolver ammunition was usually loaded with soft lead bullets. If you have a Police Positive or Police Positive Special chambered in .38 CNP/.38 S&W there is no reason to use .361" bullets. Those that are .356" or .358" will offer all kinds of possibilities.

1858remington
April 3, 2012, 01:46 AM
Sorry folks,
like I said, my brain was only half working when I posted.
I got the 38 S&W mixed up with the old 38 Rimfires.

Lost Sheep
April 3, 2012, 02:32 AM
At a time when many people are considering a purchase of their first handgun for concealed carry, the most common question is, "What is the best gun for me".
I agree with a previous statement on this subject, "The biggest one you can safely handle". But really, all facts considered, that's not a very good answer to give a first time gun owner.
So the next question is always asked in our training classes. "What is best, .38 Special, 9mm, or .380, since they are all .38 thousands, right?
One instructor i heard made this comment, "A .380 is nice to have, if you don't have a gun". Although James Bond did quite well with it, huh?

So what does the group think about these three rounds, what's the best CCW round?
But Bond's preferred gun was a .25ACP Beretta. M ORDERED 007 to carry the Walther in the larger caliber, referring to the .25 as a "lady's gun". Bond could hit what he aimed at, though.

But then, are your basing your Bond history on the books (the original documents) or the movies?

Note also, that while James Bond was a fictional character, author Ian Fleming had first-hand experience in British Intelligence and commando operations, though it is unclear to me if he ever actually was an operative himself, he would have had close access to all manner of facts and research.

For that matter, are you basing your ballistic choices on works of fiction?

Rememer, Ian Fleming also wrote "Chitty chitty bang bang".

All kidding aside, I would expect Fleming's books to have some good advice. Sorting it out from the spectacular, inserted to sell books might be hard. Sorting out that which was added by the film-makers to sell tickets would be an exercise in futility.

So, here's my take on your question.

The .25 is easier to conceal. Bond was fit and a highly trained fighter bare-handed and with weapons. The kind of threat he was called upon to defend himself against was of a particular sort. What threat are you preparing against and what circumstances will you be carrying in? Those considerations would carry more weight than a simple "what gun"?

Automatics are easier to conceal, generally, than a revolver, but will require more practice to master the mechanics of operation. Revolvers are quite often more powerful and simpler to operate, but marksmanship is a little more difficult to master (double action trigger pull). So, the amount of practice you are willing to invest will matter to your choice.

The choice of "what is the best gun for me" most often comes down to trying a variety of guns and settling on the one that you operate most comfortably and accurately. Only time and first-hand experience and experimentation will tell you this.

The best we can do for you is to point out the pertinent questions for you to ask yourself as you live with a selection of guns.

How many gun experts have tried living with a particular gun for months only to discover that it isn't "the one" and traded for another.

Picking a gun for another person is as difficult as picking a spouse.

Lost Sheep

Note that the calibers you mention are not 38 hundredths of an inch in diameter. They are a little less than 36 hundredths. (9mm AND 380 Auto are .355 to .356" 38 Special is .357".). The diameter of the .38 Special CASE is .379" (close enough to .38" to call it even).

iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns
April 3, 2012, 02:37 AM
Well I'm sorta glad I showed up late, read every post so far and all the most important counter-questions seem to have been asked. :) It's up to you to use them as best you can to find what works well for you. Go with the questions and statements that sound and feel the most 'high road'.

I bought my GP-100 two Octobers ago, and first tried .38 special through it two Decembers ago. I've been shooting that caliber more and more since then, and I truly love it more and more each time! It is SUCH a 'shootable' round in a comfortable way. Kind of a simple statement, but very true in my case. It's my girlfriend's favorite caliber, and she is equally competent with .357 mag and others. Reliability has been absolute thus far, and accuracy is as precise as the shooter.

My favorite 9mm was my first cartridge-firing gun. I owned several percussion powder guns and shot many guns that weren't mine for years before I purchased it, it's a 5906. Recoil is very comfortable, capacity is plentiful, that particular gun is amazingly reliable, and the abundance and availability of the caliber is certainly something to be considered. With the right gun it is as accurate as you'd ever need it to be.

I've shot a friend's .380 on several occasions, and haven't been compelled to purchase one yet. I can't say anything bad about it, except that I prefer other calibers. If one finds you or happened to 'find' me, it might be great for you, and I certainly wouldn't turn it away :D

If I had or made more money than I do now, and/or if I had a reloading set-up, and I will... I would already be into .38 super. Everything I've read about it intrigues me, so I'm looking forward to the day when I own a 1911 in .38 :)

Edit: great post all around LostSheep! you posted while I was writing this one, so I was just now able to enjoy it. I especially enjoyed the last line before your user name at the end. I've always remembered that Ian Fleming wrote 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'! I must say that the book was much darker, more interesting, and much more entertaining than the movie!

ArchAngelCD
April 3, 2012, 04:41 AM
I'm a huge fan of the .38 Special and the .357 Magnum at times too. I don't care for the 9mm but I do like the 380 Auto for those times you need to carry a VERY small pistol (Kel-Tec P-3AT)... I carry a .38 Special J frame daily...

skoro
April 3, 2012, 07:45 AM
So what does the group think about these three rounds, what's the best CCW round?

I have three concealed carry weapons and the one I have with me on any given day is just a function of how I'm dressed. I have one each in 38spl, 9mm, and 380. In any case where it needed to be brought to bear, I'm confident that any of the three would serve well. Having said that, I feel most confident with the 38spl.

WvHiker
April 3, 2012, 10:31 AM
I think people beat themselves up over this way too much. I like my 9mm, .38, and .357 for carry depending on what I'm wearing and where I'm going. Really though I think any of them are just fine. I often carry .38 in my .357, mainly due to noise. In fact if I'm not in the woods I seldom carry .357 at all.

Pfletch83
April 3, 2012, 05:24 PM
In my younger days a .38SPL model 10 or 64 was all I would carry for woods bumming or home defense then later on for C.C.W. It matters more where that bullet lands,When I was in steady practice I could call my shots and either hit the exact spot (or close enough that it wouldn't matter)

Anyone looking to own a .38spl model 10 or 64 (Service length 4-inch barrel) couldn't find a better handgun and caliber combo,keep in mind that the .38 has dropped more goodguys and badguys than we will ever know (from 1899-present)

Anymore though I like the Governor because it's a Smith,it is compact,lightweight,and it can't be beaten for the edge it gives it's owner for close range firepower.

Dave T
April 3, 2012, 05:28 PM
When I retired from law enforcement I ran my own firearms training business for 10 years. The majority of my classes were for CCW permit qualification and renewal. What I told my students was:

The best concealed cary handgun is the one you will have with you.

You can argue long and loud about which caliber is best but if the individual won't carry it on their person every single day, all day long then the caliber really doesn't matter now does it? Get a gun you will actually carry, then train with it like your life depended on it...as that may well be the case.

Dave

blaisenguns
April 3, 2012, 05:35 PM
When people new to firearms ask me this question I always say, unless you are planning on carrying it get a .357 magnum with at least a four inch barrel. I like this for a first time shooter becouse the revolver platform is easier to handle and practice with for a newbie, and the larger frame gun can handle .38s and with practice you can move to the more effective .357 mag. For me I always cary a .45, and a LCP .380, both are very reliable.

PT92
April 3, 2012, 07:47 PM
I think it depends on what if any experience the person has with handguns. If zero, I say start with a revolver (personally I would recommend a .357 compact of which you can begin with by using .38's for training). Semi-auto are a bit more complex (IMO) for a new user and thus more prone to user error.

Oh, and by the way I am of the philosophy that the bigger caliber the better yet I CCW a 9mm when I would much rather do so with my .45 1911--but it's just so convenient to even at times pocket carry my P11 (13 rounds--25 if you include my spare mag). However, the other day it was 92 degrees and I took out the trash with just a pair of shorts and in my right front pocket was my Beretta 21A in .22lr which ,once again, while not my first choice is subjectively speaking 'adequate' for certain dispositions (always carry the 21 as my BUG).

-Cheers

JRH6856
April 4, 2012, 01:35 PM
But Bond's preferred gun was a .25ACP Beretta. M ORDERED 007 to carry the Walther in the larger caliber, referring to the .25 as a "lady's gun". Bond could hit what he aimed at, though.

When he could get a shot off. Bond's preference was a .25ACP Beretta with a silencer carried in a soft chamois leather shoulder holster. When he was attacked by Rosa Kleb with poisoned knitting needles at the end of From Russia with Love The silencer snagged on the soft leather holster and he was unable to draw the weapon.

In the second chapter of Dr. No, the armorer (Major Boothroyd) replace the gun with a Walther PPK 7.62 ("a real stopping gun") carried in a Berns-Martin Triple Draw, IWB.

For something larger, Boothroyd recommended a S&W Centennial Airweight in .38 Special with either a 3.5" or 5" barrel. I think the only factory options were 2" and 3" so it must have been a custom model.

1858remington
April 5, 2012, 03:48 AM
To continue the off topic on stories with bad gun information, I recently read a book where a colt officers 45 1911 shot 18 rounds before reloading.:what:

thecarfarmer
April 5, 2012, 04:42 AM
Honestly, what's with all the James-Bond-this and James-Bond-that?

Chuck Norris > James Bond.

Oh, and I'd second the above poster who recommends new shooters start w/ .22LR; it's a really good round to allow for a lot of cheap practice w/ very modest recoil.

Then, I'd also recommend new shooters try a LOT of guns; shoot everything they can get their hands on. Big, small, revolver, semi auto... 1911 style, Walther style, striker-fired, SA, SA/DA, Tupperware, everything.

I personally like Glock for SD, because I don't have to fumble w/ a safety switch under stressful situations.

And, I like .45 ACP in a full size G21. I like the recoil of the big round; heavier... less 'sharp'. Unlike my aluminum-framed FEG PA-63 chambered in 9x18 Makarov. I've had that thing bruise my hand after 100 rds.

Anyway, the G21 makes ME happy to shoot. It may not be for everyone, but I think everyone should give it (and all the other calibers and platforms) a shot. If for some reason a person needs an SD piece, and isn't tuned into guns, I think a G17 is hard to beat (cheap ammo; moderate recoil, ease of use, and easy to sell if the shooter finds another platform/caliber better suited).

JMO.

-Bill

SimplyChad
April 5, 2012, 06:40 AM
I look at it this way. Im a big guy not huge but 6'1 in the 230's and in shape. I rotate my carry between 3 guns depending on where and weather. Hot texas summers a keltec in .32 coat weather a 357 mag. The majority of the time I carry a bursa 380. I love it and i can hit a grapefruit sized target at 15 meters repeatedly. The wife carries a 327 mag with the same kinda practice. Size matters but not near as much as where you put the bullet. Also for a started gun a single action 22/22mag. Let them learn how to truely shoot in levels.

sirsloop
April 5, 2012, 07:02 PM
ya for real... what makes the .38 "infamous"? If anything its "famous".

Cosmoline
April 5, 2012, 07:07 PM
All are acceptable for concealed carry defense. But while all are more or less the same actual diameter, the rounds as a whole and their platforms are very different. The .38 Special does best with 158 grain soft lead LSWCHP rounds. You cannot have such soft lead hollow points in most 9x19's. They favor lighter jacketed rounds. The .380 is a notch less potent than the 9x19 but has similar bullet limitations.

easyg
April 5, 2012, 08:57 PM
So the next question is always asked in our training classes. "What is best, .38 Special, 9mm, or .380, since they are all .38 thousands, right?

So what does the group think about these three rounds, what's the best CCW round?
I prefer them in this order:

9mm Para
.38 special


I can't see myself ever carrying a .380 pistol.

If I want to carry a light-weight pocket handgun, it will be a snub-nose .38 special.
But if I want to carry inside the waistband, or outside the waistband, then it will be a small 9mm para pistol.

I simply have no need for the .380.

76shuvlinoff
April 5, 2012, 09:32 PM
For myself I rotate between an XD40sc, a fullsize 1911 45acp and yes my pitiful little .380 LCP. :rolleyes:

I tried all manner of bottom feeders for my wife and we kept coming back to my beater Taurus 82 38spcl project gun. I just got her a SP101 .357 with a 4 inch barrel and she loves it. All she has used is 38s with it and I couldn't be more thrilled. Finally a handgun she is comfortable with, totally not intimidated by, and can hit COM at 7 paces 5/5.

What's not to love from this puny round?

Pyro
April 5, 2012, 10:56 PM
Grandfather and others 'oldies' have told me the old .38 Special LRN worked just fine against bad guys...granted you knew how to shoot a gun properly.

Lost Sheep
April 6, 2012, 02:40 AM
Honestly, what's with all the James-Bond-this and James-Bond-that?

Chuck Norris > James Bond.

Oh, and I'd second the above poster who recommends new shooters start w/ .22LR; it's a really good round to allow for a lot of cheap practice w/ very modest recoil.

Then, I'd also recommend new shooters try a LOT of guns; shoot everything they can get their hands on. Big, small, revolver, semi auto... 1911 style, Walther style, striker-fired, SA, SA/DA, Tupperware, everything.

I personally like Glock for SD, because I don't have to fumble w/ a safety switch under stressful situations.

And, I like .45 ACP in a full size G21. I like the recoil of the big round; heavier... less 'sharp'. Unlike my aluminum-framed FEG PA-63 chambered in 9x18 Makarov. I've had that thing bruise my hand after 100 rds.

Anyway, the G21 makes ME happy to shoot. It may not be for everyone, but I think everyone should give it (and all the other calibers and platforms) a shot. If for some reason a person needs an SD piece, and isn't tuned into guns, I think a G17 is hard to beat (cheap ammo; moderate recoil, ease of use, and easy to sell if the shooter finds another platform/caliber better suited).

JMO.

-Bill
Since you asked,

The James Bond references sprang from the original post's mention of James Bond's pistol/caliber choices. How Chuck Norris gets into the picture, I don't know. He did not achieve his real fame with any firearm.

Chuck Norris is a martial arts champion and an actor who also supports several philanthropic endeavors (Veterans, Make-a-Wish, etc as well as the martial arts sports and the Republican Party)

James Bond is a fictional character loosely based on real British soldiers, commandos, undercover operatives and spys who served, fought, lived and died during and after World War II.

Sure, Mr. Norris would very likely beat James Bond, Mr. Fleming or almost any of his associates in a fair fight following the rules of sport fighting. It is doubtful Norris would ever get the chance at a fair fight. Bond and his ilk were soldiers and warriors. Norris, et al, as good as they are, are sportsmen (and I am not ignoring Norris' service in the USAF's military police).

Good men, all, but apples and oranges in the comparison game.

I agree with your thoughts on the 22 Rimfire; it puts you out there practicing, and that is never bad. It also allows you to rub elbows with other shooters and get their views and be exposed to their guns.

However, 9mm or 9x18 Makarov is probably the next-most inexpensive store-bought ammunition and fairly useful and effective as a self-defense round.

Lost Sheep

ArchAngelCD
April 6, 2012, 04:39 AM
Applied correctly and often enough even a pellet gun will make the bad guy go away. (unless the BG has a bigger gun and shoots back)

This is based on a story I read recently where a 12 year old boy protected his mom from a home intruder by shooting him in the face MANY times until he ran away. (good kid!) If I were her I would get that boy a .22 rifle right a way!!!

JoelSteinbach
April 6, 2012, 12:32 PM
I keep a loaded 38special in every room of my house, along with a few 12ga pumps, OK call me neurotic, I would say ready

sirsloop
April 6, 2012, 09:27 PM
Where the level 3 body armor and flashbangs at?

Cosmoline
April 6, 2012, 09:29 PM
I keep a loaded 38special in every room of my house, along with a few 12ga pumps,

? Why not just carry *one* handgun. A firearm you leave around is one that can be used against you, unless you actually have a bunch of gun safes around.

Tcruse
April 6, 2012, 10:06 PM
I suspect that there will always be "discussions" over wheel gun vs semi-automatic. I have tried to like revolvers a couple of times, just could never find anything to like. They have short sight radius, take much too much effort to reload, are heavy, bad trigger and only a few rounds ready to shoot. In fact they are necessarily more reliable or have fewer parts.

The main goal for a new shooter is to practice enough to be able to place the shots at the desired locations. A revolver is just not that easy to get that practice, they are not enjoyable to shoot. So, I think that the vast majority of new gun owners should be using thinking semi-automatic. I also think that it is best to go more in the compact size rather than the super small. Not sure if a 380 ACP is enough less recoil or size to make a noticeable difference from a 9X19. Also, there is a cost difference where the 9 mm shooter is likely to get more practice than the more costly 380 ACP.

A .22 is also a good idea for general practice alone with your carry gun.

ArchAngelCD
April 6, 2012, 10:40 PM
I suspect that there will always be "discussions" over wheel gun vs semi-automatic. I have tried to like revolvers a couple of times, just could never find anything to like. They have short sight radius, take much too much effort to reload, are heavy, bad trigger and only a few rounds ready to shoot. In fact they are necessarily more reliable or have fewer parts.

The main goal for a new shooter is to practice enough to be able to place the shots at the desired locations. A revolver is just not that easy to get that practice, they are not enjoyable to shoot. So, I think that the vast majority of new gun owners should be using thinking semi-automatic. I also think that it is best to go more in the compact size rather than the super small. Not sure if a 380 ACP is enough less recoil or size to make a noticeable difference from a 9X19. Also, there is a cost difference where the 9 mm shooter is likely to get more practice than the more costly 380 ACP.

There is so much in your post I can't agree with... I respect your opinion because it's right for you but really, a revolver isn't enjoyable to shoot??? I really like revolvers and I only own 2 semi-autos, all the rest are revolver of all types and sizes. My daily carry is a M442 in .38 Special. I wouldn't be without a revolver and there are many who feel the same. It's all a matter of preference but many feel revolvers are very enjoyable to shoot.

At the range I shoot at least 300 rounds of .38 Special weekly. At least 50 are in my carry revolver with an additional 20 rounds of my carry ammo. I could go on but I think I got my opinion across...

JRH6856
April 6, 2012, 10:56 PM
Tcruse, you are, of course, entitled to your opinion and your choice in what you shoot. But to project your opinion and choices as being what is best for everyone? Hardly. Your opinions are apparently based on your needs for a concealed carry weapon. Concealed carry and personal defense are not the only purpose for a handgun.

Revolvers do not have a short sight radius because they are revolvers. As with semi-autos, it depends on barrel length. My Security Six has a 7.5" sight radious which is the same as my 1911. The Security Six is longer than the 1911. It would be accurate to say that fore a given barrel length, revolvers generally have a shorter sight radius.

Revolvers can be extremely enjoyable to shoot, especially for new shooters. Revolvers will handle a wider range of ammo than semi-autos, from light target loads to full blown magnums, so a new shooter can start with light loads and progress to more powerful ones as skill and confidence allows. Revolvers can even fire primer only practice rounds with full functionality, allowing you to practice shooting in your garage. A semi-auto can't do this.

Limited capacity? 5 to 7 rounds is adequate according to FBI statistics. Difficult to reload? Not so much with speedloaders but as with any manual technique, practice helps.

From the standpoint of CCW, semi-autos certainly offer more options but for versatility and general purpose use, a revolver is more flexible. I shoot both, and enjoy shooting both. YMMV.

frankmako
April 6, 2012, 10:57 PM
either/or for the three. but for a new shooter i would lean toward the 38 special. after a while the new shooter could move over to an auto. all three rounds will do the job. it is shot placement and shots on target that works no matter the cal.

JFrame
April 7, 2012, 09:54 AM
But Bond's preferred gun was a .25ACP Beretta. M ORDERED 007 to carry the Walther in the larger caliber, referring to the .25 as a "lady's gun". Bond could hit what he aimed at, though.


British spy novelists seemed to have a bit of a penchant for .25 autos. In The Secret Ways, Alistair McLean had American agent Michael Reynolds armed with a .25 Lilliput. Of course, the auto was highly concealable -- but McLean did also allow that Reynolds could (IIRC) hit a hand-sized target in semi-darkness, 20 out of 20 times, at 10 paces...


.

WYOMan
April 7, 2012, 10:34 AM
The .38 has had a bad rap in this country since the Phillipines in 1899.

Tcruse
April 7, 2012, 10:47 AM
Tcruse, you are, of course, entitled to your opinion and your choice in what you shoot. But to project your opinion and choices as being what is best for everyone? Hardly. Your opinions are apparently based on your needs for a concealed carry weapon. Concealed carry and personal defense are not the only purpose for a handgun.

Revolvers do not have a short sight radius because they are revolvers. As with semi-autos, it depends on barrel length. My Security Six has a 7.5" sight radious which is the same as my 1911. The Security Six is longer than the 1911. It would be accurate to say that fore a given barrel length, revolvers generally have a shorter sight radius.

Revolvers can be extremely enjoyable to shoot, especially for new shooters. Revolvers will handle a wider range of ammo than semi-autos, from light target loads to full blown magnums, so a new shooter can start with light loads and progress to more powerful ones as skill and confidence allows. Revolvers can even fire primer only practice rounds with full functionality, allowing you to practice shooting in your garage. A semi-auto can't do this.

Limited capacity? 5 to 7 rounds is adequate according to FBI statistics. Difficult to reload? Not so much with speedloaders but as with any manual technique, practice helps.

From the standpoint of CCW, semi-autos certainly offer more options but for versatility and general purpose use, a revolver is more flexible. I shoot both, and enjoy shooting both. YMMV.
I can see your point of view and certainly do not expect to change very many minds of people that enjoy revolvers. I will also state right up front that my opinion is based on my personal experience and observations.
1) I have seen several people claim that their revolver is more accurate. So, I look at what they shot with that "more accurate" revolver and then what they shot with a semi-automatic. In the last three cases (different people, different ranges) the semi-automatic targets were shot at longer distances and looked noticeably smaller grouping than the revolver targets. So, a lot of this stuff is subjective and not measurable.
2) I went to a range last week with a friend that took a revolver that he liked and had owned for a long time. So, I shot it and did not do well, maybe 4" group at 8 yards. He shot it and did better, maybe 3" group at 8 yards but several inches from the center of target. He is not a fan of Glock or any "plastic" guns. However, he shot sub-1 inch groups with the Glock 17.
3) Here in Texas it really does not make sense for new CCW students to qualify with a revolver, since then they can only carry a revolver. If they qualify with a semi-automatic then they can carry either.
4) I see/hear this all of the time, "If you're not going to train regularly, do not buy a semi-automatic handgun". I agree with the statement, however if you are not serious enough to train regularly, should you have a handgun? IMHO, a gun becomes a liability when you do not KNOW its condition, condition of the ammo, or your ability to use the said firearm. For over 20 years, my only gun was a revolver sitting in my sock drawer. It was a liability. After that extended time, I made the decision to dispose of the left over ammo and gun rather than risk shooting it. As a side note, my Glock and Ruger pistols get used multiple times every month.

As far as round count, in most cases 1 or 2 will be all that would ever be shot in self defense. So, the larger round count is a mute point in the "average" case. However, I can not come up with a single case where a person has had too-much ammo.

The only advantage for a revolver that I can think of is the case where you shoot when the gun is in your coat pocket. Assuming, that the gun does not set your coat on fire you may have the chance of a second shot with a revolver without clearing a jam. I not sure that shooting with the gun in your pocket would be a good idea in any case.

As for comparison, I have a special feeling for 70's Fords with 351 Cleveland motors. I would not want to replace my everyday modern vehicles with them however.

Some interesting views:
http://www.chuckhawks.com/concealed_pistols.htm
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=40414
http://www.christiangunowner.com/revolver_or_pistol.html
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2010/02/brad-kozak/choosing-a-handgun-part-i-revolver-vs-semi-auto/

JFrame
April 7, 2012, 11:07 AM
The .38 has had a bad rap in this country since the Phillipines in 1899.

Yup -- and that was with a cartridge inferior to the .38 special...


.

wanderinwalker
April 7, 2012, 11:30 AM
I'd hesitate to include the .380 ACP in the same class as the .38 Special and 9mm. While paper ballistics make the .38 and .380 equal, the .38 Special has a pretty big advantage in bullet weight (158gr versus 95gr).

As for revolver or semi-auto, pick your poison and learn to use. There's no magic bullet or perfect platform. It's all up the end user to learn how to manage the system and make the most of it. Or as I like to think, put the bullets where they need to go and caliber will take care of itself.

Me? I'm pretty comfortable with either a 9mm or a .38/357 revolver. For a new shooter I have trouble saying one over the other. Go with whichever one strikes your fancy. And then learn to be able to shoot it like this:

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y92/P-990/Target.jpg

(That's 25-yds Double Action with a 4" S&W 586. I'm not sure that load is the best accuracy load either. I can shoot my Glock 17 about as well and would be confident trying to do that with a solid 1911.)

JRH6856
April 7, 2012, 02:16 PM
Tcruse, most of the advantages you cite for semi-autos are related to personal defense and concealed carry. And as I said, within the limits of that application, semi-autos offer more options and some of those options offer actual advantages.

But one gun does not exemplify an entire class. If your friend's revolver could not group less than 3 inches at 8 yards, it could just be that particular gun, or the load being used, or the ability of the shooter, or the type of shooting. For someone not used to shooting a revolver DA, it might require some practice to refine the technique.

I have a semi-auto that won't stay on the paper at 7.5 yards. It isn't because it is a semi-auto, it is because it is a 100 year old .25 auto with a worn out barrel.

As for new shooters, the first time my wife fired a gun of any time, it was a Colt Police Positive, 38 special. She cut a 2" group at 25 yard. Then she did it again. When she tried DA fire the group went to 3".

A good revolver with the right load can group within an inch at 50 yards. Happens all the time in Bullseye competition. And revolvers are used more often then semi-autos in metallic silhouette competition and are accurate out to 100-200 yards.

Revolvers are not the best choice for everyone, neither are semi-autos. Both have their place. (As for recommending revolvers for someone who is not going to practice a lot, I would recommend a 20ga shotgun if they absolutely have to have a gun.)

Agsalaska
April 7, 2012, 11:39 PM
This is going to sound absolutely crazy but, For what its worth, the most accurate pistol I own and have ever shot is a Taurus snubnosed 38. I bought it used from a gun shop in Alaska for $200. It was in perfect as new condition when I bought it. A buddy of mine and I took it along with several other guns down to the range. We were amazed at how accurate it was. So a few weeks later we took it along with two other guys to the bigger range outside eagle river. We probably had 20 handguns including a Kahr k40, 2 or 3 glocks, a colt python, a Remington Rand 1911, A Kimber 1911, and several others. The Taurus, out to 15-20 yard range, outshot or equaled them all. And it did so for all four of us. We were absolutely amazed. One of the gun shop employees didnt believe us. I cant say I blame him so we went later that week to the Bird Creek range. I tried to bet him guns but he thought better of it. He was able to outshoot it with a Competition 1911(I think it was a Wilson Combat) when he passed 15 yards.

Craziest thing I have ever seen. I know it is certainly not the norm for a Taurus revolver. Nothing wrong with them but they are not manufactured to be that accurate. But this one is. Makes you wonder how that happened in the process. They probably made 10,000 of them that year. I got the best one. Haha. It is loaded in my bedroom and occasionally goes for a ride with me.



Edit-I forgot to add. I am guessing year of manufacture is probably 1995-1999. Just a guess though.

thecarfarmer
April 8, 2012, 10:59 AM
@ Lost Sheep, since you asked...

Chuck Norris is as relevant to a firearms discussion as James Bond. Mr. Norris played a Texas Ranger on TV (incidentally, it is rumored that he can divide by zero and also fathered the men who would go on to comprise the 1972 Miami Dolphins team...); James Bond is a character created by Ian Flemming, based more than slightly on the life on one particular British agent, known as Sidney Riley. Bond's proclivities towards enjoying the affection of numerous women, sharp dressing, and taking superhuman risks were all attributes also shared by the real-life Riley.

But, Bond is still a fictional character; the question posed was regarding a real-life choice between .38 spl, .380, or 9mm:

So what does the group think about these three rounds, what's the best CCW round?

9X18 Mak should also be an effective round, but it's not as easy to find here in the Seattle area as 9 Luger, or even .380. The cheapest I ever find it for is like maybe $18.00 per box, unless I buy steel-cased (which indoor ranges seem to have a problem with). Just personal opinion here, but I'd think availability should have some bearing on ammo choice.

(an aside note, while my G21 is down, I'm using my PA-63 as my CCW piece, but I reload for it, and the store 2 miles from home carries ammo in stock)

If the "average" gunfight lasts only a few shots total between to parties; why wouldn't a guy want every shot to be as hard-hitting as would allow him to re-acquire the target? Why limit oneself to those original choices.380/.38/.357/9mm group?

I'd consider 10mm, .40 cal, and .45ACP to all have some advantage over those calibers. Of course there's 'spicier' ones like .44 Mag, .454 Casull, and .50 cal used in the Desert Eagle pistols, but the question is: will a CCW gun actually be chambered for them?

-Bill

thecarfarmer
April 8, 2012, 11:13 AM
Applied correctly and often enough even a pellet gun will make the bad guy go away. (unless the BG has a bigger gun and shoots back)

This is based on a story I read recently where a 12 year old boy protected his mom from a home intruder by shooting him in the face MANY times until he ran away. (good kid!) If I were her I would get that boy a .22 rifle right a way!!!

Sad to hear a kid had to face that kind of terrifying thing, but heartwarming to hear that he stepped up and got the super-deluxe Platinum edition of "Man Card" issued!

-Bill

JRH6856
April 8, 2012, 02:08 PM
Of course there's 'spicier' ones like .44 Mag, .454 Casull, and .50 cal used in the Desert Eagle pistols, but the question is: will a CCW gun actually be chambered for them?

The next question, if there were a CCW gun for thise calibers, who would want to shoot it? Besides the issue of recoil and recovery, a major problem with those larger calibers in a CCW package is the muzzle flash from a short barrel with full house loads.

Probably the smallest package chambered for the .454 Casull is the Taurus Raging Judge with a 3" barrel, and it stretches the limits of concealability (of course, Dirty Harry carried a N frame S&W but he was fictional ;) )

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