LCR .38+P Self Defense Ammo

Not open for further replies.

dog gone it

Apr 11, 2014
Im looking for a good self defense ammo for my wife. There is a possibility that other people could be near, God forbid should there ever be a confrontation so we believe we want something that will fragment, mushroom, guys know the drill. We just dont want to go through the perpetrator and then hurt someone else.
A couple of different common load names would be great. She currently shoots the .38 special Winchester FMJ 130 grain for practice with no problems if this helps any.
Last edited:
There have been many threads with a concern for rounds which hit center of mass and then over penetrate. The risk to those innocent bystanders behind the intended target is the obvious issue.

In reality, I would suggest there is a much greater risk to those bystanders from rounds which completely miss the intended target and strike the bystanders at full speed.

I pick my defensive ammo for it's ability to meet many different performance milestones, however concern for overpenetration generally isn't one of them.

Pick the best performing ammo you can get and don't restrict yourself based on some overpenetration scenario. Additionally, buy enough practice ammo to help your wife sharpen her aim and reduce those misses.

If overpenetration is still a concern, consider carrying something "less than lethal" such as a chemical spray or a Taser.

This is just one man's opinion... Please don't take my reply as critical to you or your understandable concerns.

Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel ammo. The bullet was specifically designed to reliability expand at the lower velocities associated with short barrel revolvers. In all the tests it passes the FBI requirements without over-penetrating.

I carry a M442 daily and that's what I use but mostly because it's very accurate in my gun. I also like the original FBI Load is some of my other J frames, again because of accuracy.
Thanks for all the suggestions on different ammo. I will check them out. Also especially thanks for my shared concerns for innocent bystanders and for commenting about it. All of the posts are helpful.
I shoot Hornady 110 grain XTPs, mostly because I got hundreds of them for free and they're too nice to plink with. I've got them out the barrel of my LCR at right around 1000 fps, comparable to a factory load in the FTX. Every few months, I'll shot the 5 in the chamber, plus the other 5 on a speed strip and swap out with 10 more......
The Speer 135 grain Gold Dot Short Barrel load was designed to expand reliably when fired from snubbies, so I'd try that. Look for it from places like Target Sports USA or SG Ammo in 50 round boxes - it's a better deal.

The 130 grain FMJ is a great practice round if it hits point of aim.
There's lots of good .38 spl JHP ammo these days but I'm still partial the the classic 158gr LSWCHP +P "FBI Load" when I can find it.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk
There's lots of good .38 spl JHP ammo these days but I'm still partial the the classic 158gr LSWCHP +P "FBI Load" when I can find it.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk
I usually buy the FBI Load from Ammunition To Go and they usually carry it from Remington, Winchester and Federal. It seems no Remington at the moment but they do have together two, and in bulk if you want.

I like the Winchester over the Federal. They are usually more accurate in my revolvers.
And yet another vote for the Speer 135gr short barrel loading. Its accurate in my guns and has a proven track record.

I also really like the 158gr semi-wadcutters. Either will serve you well, just make sure you practice with whatever you choose.
I carry the 129 grain +P Hydra Shok in my S&W J frame. Not something I'd enjoy plinking with, but I do believe it'll do it's intended job quite nicely!
Underwood +P+, though it's got some blast to it. I wouldn't use a .38 special for self defense without that cartridge.
My wife is very recoil shy. We have found that Hornady's 90gr. Critical Defense load is just about perfect for her. It's no 158gr. LSWHP, but she is comfortable shooting it, she can get shots on target, and then followup shots.
Can't argue with getting hits.
The Speer load is great...I just shot some through my Model 15 4" this week.
But I also shot some Winchester pdx1 130 gn. It shot pretty good too. In fact, I shot a slightly tighter group at 25yds with it.
My local walmart carries it, so l likely to buy more.
Not open for further replies.