I voted for .38spl even though I will admit that the .44spl is probably a more effective round given same shot placement and all else being equal. I'd pick it for either SD or "combat" over the .44. This is why. For SD/CCW, it's darn easy to conceal a 642/442/638/637...any j frame, than it is to carry a .44spl. Even something like the CA Bulldog, or the S&W 696 have medium sized frames. The tiny J frames are just that much smaller, and easier to carry (therefore more likely to be on me when I need it!) On the other hand, there is "combat." The most capacity I can think of in a .44mag/spl revolver is 6 rounds. However S&W's 627, and Taurus' 608 are 8-shot guns. Forgetting their capacity to load .357mag, let's only look at .38 since that is the topic. The .38spl is going to have almost no recoil in those large frames so follow up shots will be easy, and for the same sized frame that would give me 6 shots of .44spl, I can get 8 shots of Buffalo Bore's 158gr. SWCHP that leave a 4"bbl pulling 1162 fps. Is the .44spl more effective? probably. But to me, that difference is counterbalanced by the concealability/weight of a .38spl for CCW, and the capacity of the large framed .357/.38 guns for combat. All this is also compounded by the fact that since I am not a reloader I have to consider that I can shoot nearly 2 boxes of .38 for every one box of .44. That means better shot-placement on my part which as far as I'm concerned, is going to make the difference in the fight a whole hell of a lot more than the .072 caliber difference between the two.