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Stopping power of a 2-inch barrel 38spl?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by vito, Jan 29, 2013.

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  1. chuckpro

    chuckpro Member

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    First you can protect yourself with a 38 just as well as most hand gun. Good ammo and a well placed shot will get the job done, but just to clarify knock down power is not something that goes eighth hand gun cartridges. If you sever a part of the nerve center with a well placed shot they should immediately stop presenting a danger to you. Everything else is up in the air.

    There was a shooting involving a FED LEO where the suspect forced several agents to a wall. The suspect didn't know they were FED agents, just thought they were business men. When the suspect started to shove the last agent against the wall the LEO emptied his 38 that he had in a chest rig thru the back of his suit coat. The ammo was "FBI load" hp and all 5(chief's special) shots hit center mass. The suspect fled the store and died on the side walk. The suspect had a 12ga and if his response would have been to fight instead of flight he could of killed all three agents before passing.

    I dont know if this has anything to do with the OP but just something to think about. If i had to pull my 642 (or most of my carry guns) out because of a threat 30 feet away it would be because there was no other way to avoid the confrontation.

    OH and i still have some of the factory "FBI Loads" from the late 80's that were issued to federal agents and supposed to be close in power to the 357. I have never done any scientific testing but when shoot them out of my Model 19 a 357 load makes a bigger boom than the 38 FBI Load. Just shooting them the recoil about like a modern +p round.
     
  2. Northrunner

    Northrunner Member

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    Hey Loc N Load,
    What holster do you like for your 49? I've got a 649 (.38) that I'd like to carry but I have not found an IWB holster that I like yet.
    Thanks...
     
  3. vito

    vito Member

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    I have a N8 Tactical holster that feels great for my 640.
     
  4. easyg

    easyg Member

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    ,Can a .38 round from a snubbie deter an attacker?

    Sure. Most criminals don't want to get shot by any caliber.



    Can a .38 round from a snubbie stop a determined attacker?

    With excellent shot placement, and the right ammo, and a little luck, PROBABLY.



    Will a .38 round from a snubbie RELIABLY stop a determined attacker?

    In my humble opinion, even with excellent shot placement, and even with the right ammo, the answer is: NO.


    One of the main reasons so many police agencies abandoned the .38 special in favor of the .357 magnum was because it was a rather poor man stopper, and that was with 4" barrel service revolvers.
     
  5. vito

    vito Member

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    My 640 is made to shoot 357's; in a gun with a 2 inch barrel does it make a significant difference over 38 special? I know it is quite unpleasant to shoot 357mag at the range, and they sure are loud!
     
  6. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    Speer offers a line of HD ammo for short barrel applications.

    Myself - my J-frame is a S&W Model 60 3" Bbl. with ramp front
    and W&E adj rear sight. Carry load is Double Tap .38 +P 125 gr.
    Gold Dot JHP DT rated at 1,125 fps w/4" Bbl. One advantage of
    the 3" Bbl. is the extractor rod is full length to clear the empties

    Randall
     
  7. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    First of all, it will become obvious that I do not agree with easyg. That's OK. Diversity of opinion is what makes the world go round and creates forums.

    For defense against humans, .38 spl. and especially with modern defense loads has a pretty good track record. The caveat offered is with good shot placement. Meaning if you can shoot under duress with chosen gun and load. Good.

    If you can't, .357, 9mm+P, even .44 spl. or mag, hell even .50S&W mag will do NOTHING for you, except probably make the misses worse. I find a fundamental flaw in powering up and expecting more precision, better handling under duress and more effective follow up.

    The modern defense loads, or saying screw the ammo lawyers and exploring the rounds ORIGINAL capacity will serve quite well for SD purposes in a manageable, practical package. The idea that it would not went out with LRN police loads decades ago.

    NO chambering I ever heard of relieves the shooter from training and familiarization necessary to reliably put shots on target. The characteristics and weapon choices found with .38 spl. make this process as freindly and attainable as humanly possible.

    Powering up to replace this essential step is a fool's mission.
     
  8. S&Wfan

    S&Wfan Member

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    Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by a .38 Special snubbie (a Colt Detective Special). Jack Ruby said he wanted Oswald to suffer the most pain before he died so he deliberately shot Oswald in the gut. Oswald went straight down and was dead pretty soon.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-geYdwvIPM

    My "always" on me handgun is a S&W Model 37 Airweight .38 Special. Yes, I have more powerful handguns, but I'm very confident with the little .38 that it will protect my life well. Heck, it is in its pocket holster as I type.

    As with any handgun, or any firearm in general, shot placement is important . . . but if you do your job, the snubbie will do its job well too!!!
     
  9. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Member

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    Knew a LEO back in the late 70's who was called to a burglery in progress in the dark of the early morning....he and his partner found the BG on the roof who drew on my friend...my buddie fired one shot from his model 10 and put it right through the guys pump house....the BG was DRT with the .38 Special RN...no problem.......moral of the story......Shot Placement.
     
  10. jhvaughan2

    jhvaughan2 Member

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    .38 special is enough. Period.
    One thing missing in this discussion. You carry a 2" to be read to shoot someone less than 10' away. If you are 20-30 feet away in a SD situation you run for cover. If in a LE situation you carry something more than a 2".

    (Sorry to be so practical here.)
     
  11. Hapworth

    Hapworth Member

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    Dangit -- you used my example before I could. It was gonna be real cool and simple: "Ask Lee Harvey Oswald." So just to be fussy 'cause you beat me to the punch, it wasn't a Detective Special, it was a Cobra.

    So there.

    ;)
     
  12. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    P.S. The adoption of the .357 (and .38 super) by LE agencies was for the express purpose of combating the depression era crime wave by Dillinger et.al. They wanted a round to penetrate car bodies of the time. A decidedly OFFENSIVE tactic against fleeing felons. Not a SD scenario.

    In the case of the .38 super it was to supplant the .45 acp. Not a round I have ever heard of lacking "stopping power" in SD. The goal was penetration, the sworn enemy of SD commonly referred to as "overpenetration", i.e. collateral damage.

    Once in the LE lineup it remained for many agencies until the adoption of modern semi-autos.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  13. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    Couldn't have said it better.
     
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