.38 Special Ammunition

 

.38 Special is more than just a sub-par band from the 1970s. It is also an iconic firearm cartridge that was developed by Smith & Wesson in 1898. The rimmed centerfire cartridge, which has been used almost exclusively in revolvers, is a versatile cartridge that is noted for its exceptional accuracy and manageable recoil. It also served as the standard service cartridge for many police departments in the United States from 1920 through the early 1990s. But as interesting as that may be, the history of its design and development is just a bit more interesting.

 

As is the case with many firearm cartridges, the .38 Special cartridge was developed as a replacement for an existing cartridge that was found to be ineffective in the field. In the case of the .38 Special cartridge, it served to replace the .38 Long Colt cartridge, which was found to suffer from inadequate stopping power during the Philippine-American War. Though it was originally loaded with black powder, the immediate success of the cartridge led manufacturers to begin offering smokeless powder loads within a year of its introduction. As the years progressed, loadings were updated to meet the changing demands of the field, culminating with the .38 +P+ cartridge. It may also interest you to know that despite its designation, the .38 Special cartridge actually measures about .357 inches in diameter. The ".38" refers to the approximate diameter of the loaded brass case.

 

When it comes to performance, the traditional low-pressure loads characteristic of the cartridge are some of the lowest on the market. Coupled with a medium-sized bullet that is fired at rather low speeds by modern standards, you have a cartridge that is, as noted, recognized more for its accuracy and manageable recoil than its power. However, high-pressure +P and +P+ loads can offer over 20 percent more muzzle energy than standard loads, giving the cartridge a performance that can be compared to the 9x18mm Makarov cartridge. Nevertheless, the .38 Special cartridge remains a popular choice for off-duty police officers and civilians who carry concealed firearms.

 

Today, there are a number of cartridges that easily outperform the .38 Special cartridge. But because its popularity remains consistent, Keepshooting.com has decided to expand its selection by offering a variety of .38 Special ammunition. High-volume shooters will find our Winchester .38 Special value pack, which contains 100 rounds of 130 gr full metal jacket ammunition, a great buy at just $39.47. Those looking for more power, however, may want to look to our Winchester .38 Special +P ammunition. And as always, our selection is always expanding so be sure to check back frequently.

 
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