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Old 02-19-2012, 03:15   #401
M&P15T
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Originally Posted by Berto View Post
You have a camera? I'm still waiting on that Pepsi challenge.
Yeah, I know you are. If we lived close to one another, it would be fun. But the outcome is already pretty obvious. That is a situation where there is a clear and definite mechanical advantage.

I know you love your revolvers, but the capacity and speed /performance of firearms has moved forward, obviously. As has been discussed in this thread many times, .38 is fine, it's that the revolver platform that has been relegated to discrete deep-concealment and back-up roles due to the clear performance benefits of autos. Hell, even Nestor's company is transitioning to the M&P line of pistols, if I read his post in another thread correctly. GASP!!! Nestor's is gonna be carryig an auto!!! Is that correct Nestor?

If you have frequent flyer miles you want to burn up, let me know. I'd welcome you in my home for a visit, and we could hit my range and have all sorts of fun, Pepsi challenge and more. Hell, they even sell tannerite at my range! Booze, lodging and food (plus pick-up and drop-off at the near-by airport of your choice) would be on me.
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:23   #402
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In your penchant for summary statements, what exactly can you do?

Honest question; do you believe the additional capacity is the dealbreaker that will insure your wellness through a gunfight?
Do you believe the vast majority of realistic armed encounters boil down to capacity or maybe a ported barrel?
How often do you actually shoot your firearm?
No Berto, not one thing like capacity, trigger, sights, or porting, is going to give any particular person a clear and definitive advantage over another that would always win the day. The point is that the smart person takes every advantage available to them, gives themself every possible opportunity. And I couldn't care less about the vast majority of armed encounters. What threat you, another person, or myself may encounter on any given day is un-knowable, and totally random.

Years ago I was a once a week+ pistol only shooter. It gradually got down to about once a month. Since I moved from Michigan, it's even less than that, although it's ticked-up the last few months. I hit the range about 3 weeks ago, but I'm much more into shooting my AR at this point, it's so much more fun than pistols. So I did 100 rounds out of my pistol, and 200 rounds out of my AR.
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Old 02-19-2012, 04:07   #403
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Considering that the head is a rather small target under the best of circumstances, and it's not often what you might consider to be a stationary one, it's not all that often you learn or hear of head shots being taken during the chaotic, dynamic and rapidly changing stressful events we generally refer to as "shooting incidents".

Granted, it happens, but it doesn't seem to happen nearly as often in real life as it does when portrayed in TV/Movies (or promoted and/or discussed among online firearms forums).

Of the fair number of shootings I can think of where I either personally knew the cop involved, or was able to listen (in person) to the description of the event and its circumstances from the cop during some training event, I can only think of one incident where the cop made deliberate head shots. (Yes, I said it in the plural tense.)

The severely wounded cop was down, and realized that although the wounded suspect had been hit (4 times, torso), the suspect was still able to remain standing and continue shooting at the involved cops. The cop said he took deliberate aim at the suspect's head and fired 3 rapid shots, getting 3 rapid hits, which stopped the attacker (and killed him). No body armorer, drugs or alcohol involved, as I remember.

Now, could a revolver shooter have made those same 3 hits? Depends on the shooter, doesn't it? Fast misses are not only going to fail to solve the immediate problem, but very likely cause some other "problem", depending on where they do hit. (Okay, even fast hits on such a small target might well result in perforations - what's sometimes called 'over-penetrations' - which can hit an unintended target and cause unintended consequences. That's why we're told to consider the background if we use deadly force/firearms.)

If I were working with someone who had to make such a determination to make such a shot (or shots), I'd really hope their skills and accuracy were such that they could do what was necessary, regardless of what particular pistol (or revolver) they were using. Give me the grizzled veteran with a well worn and well used S&W Model 10, who's BTDT, instead of the young cop who has more time cleaning & admiring their high-tech, hicap wondergun, and who agonizes over the subtle nuances of ammunition selection instead of actually finding out how they react and function (including decision-making) under duress.

"Firepower" is a catchy sounding term. Applying it to handguns is fine for folks who want to do so (like when writing advertising brochures & catalogs, or making press releases, etc).

Using the term "Firepower" without giving attention to the equipment user's training, experience, abilities & skills, though ... and their ability to effectively utilize them under stressful & demanding conditions ... is just a way of describing the potential for some piece of equipment to be properly & effectively utilized by a skilled and experienced user.

It's still more about the user than the equipment, when all is said & done.

Having seen many thousands of quals over the years ... (one year I figured out I'd observed over a thousand guns of various sorts come through qual courses-of-fire, and I've been an instructor since '90) ... I've usually suspected that if more folks devoted more emphasis to their foundation skillset, their actual application of what "tactics" they thought they'd learned ( ), and their mindset, they'd have less reason to worry so much about weapon and ammunition considerations.

Why can't this be a case of suit yourself for folks?
I can't speak for everyone, but during this discussion, I've tried to press the point that having things like additonal capacity, an easier to manipulate under stress trigger, and better sights helps people in bad siuations.

You well written narative of the LEO shooting above might actually shed additional light on this. If the wounded LEO was the only one present, (there weren't others involved) getting 4 torso hits that didn't incapacitate the perp would leave the cop with 2 rounds if he was using a revolver. If he did not have either the physical ability (due to being wounded) or time to re-load, he would only have (at best) 2 rounds left to stop the attacker. If for some reason he hadn't gotten hits with all of his first 4 shots (if he had a miss or two) that cop could have been in a very bad situation.

Do you think that officer could have gotten those 3 rapid-fire head shots off 1 handed with a long DA revolver trigger while wounded? Do you know what type of side-arm he did in fact use?

As far as qualifying LEOs on their firearms, I can see your point. When I lived in the Detroit area, and was shooting often, twice I ended up shooting next to LEOs. One appeared to be trying to sharpen his (extremely poor) skills before attempting to re-qualify, but that's just a guess. Another time it was a female DPD officer on a date with a fella, and they were shooting her DPD issed G22.......neither of them could hit the broad-side of a barn.

For many LEOs, their side-arms are just tools, and most don't seem to be firearms enthusiasts that do much practicing other than what is necessary to re-qualify. An ex of mine had a LEO brother that was his departments firearms trainer. He mentioned that most cops aren't as good with their shooting skills as the average firearms enthusiast, and that makes complete sense.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:51   #404
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... I've tried to press the point that having things like additonal capacity, an easier to manipulate under stress trigger, and better sights helps people in bad siuations.
Maybe. No guarantees.

Especially if they're so overwhelmed by the situation that even things which would be considered as advantages under "normal" range conditions ... ammunition capacity between loading, or a "good trigger" ... simply aren't enough to overcome their inability to draw upon properly practiced and mastered skills, their loss of fine & gross muscle control, inability to react using ingrained skills, demonstrate good judgment making abilities (degradation of cognitive functions under stress), and can't effectively use even the best of equipment due to the adverse effects of stress.

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Do you think that officer could have gotten those 3 rapid-fire head shots off 1 handed with a long DA revolver trigger while wounded? Do you know what type of side-arm he did in fact use?
Other cops were present, at least one other of whom was down due to gunshot.

How would I know if he could have made 3 rapid revolver DA trigger strokes while aiming at a difficult target? Dunno. I've known some great LE revolver shooters who had those sort of skills, though.

I thought it was extraordinary he was able to make 3 rapid hits on the suspect's head with any handgun under those conditions.

He was shooting an issued Sig 9mm.


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He mentioned that most cops aren't as good with their shooting skills as the average firearms enthusiast, and that makes complete sense.
Probably depends on the private citizens being observed in any range or class setting.

The first couple of times I volunteered to become involved in teaching a class to private citizens I was impressed with the skills demonstrated by the small group (compared to the typical LE shooters with whom I'd been working for many years). I figured it made sense, since the private citizens had invested their own money & time in buying their firearms, paying for classes, taking time out of their lives to attend a class, etc. Nobody was paying them to attend, either, right?

However, as I made myself available to help teach more of those classes over several years and got a chance to see a much greater number of private citizen shooters, I realized that most of the folks didn't practice any more (or even as much) as the run-of-the-mill cops with whom I'd worked over the years. A few had taken the time to acquire some basic level of skill and familiarity with their weapons, sure, but it became apparent that those folks were the exception to the rule, so to speak. Kind of like the cop shooters with whom I worked.

Now, when you come across the folks who invest their time, money & interest in becoming skilled in some of the shooting sports and have an interest in them as hobbies (IDPA, or other more formal competitive venues), then you can find some folks who have taken the time and effort to become skilled shooters.

Not really the same thing as the LE and private citizens who have only made what might be categorized as a cursory effort to learning and mastering a good foundation shooting skillset. Lots of folks seem satisfied to invest minimum effort in learning some skillset.

Look at all the licensed drivers on the roads, and think of how many of them can become quickly overwhelmed whenever something unexpected and dangerous happens. Many of them drive most everyday, too, but it's not like they're 'practicing', is it? How much worse off might they be if they only drove their vehicles once or twice a year ... and then had to draw upon that level of actual experience when faced with a rapidly occurring situation which required quick judgment, reaction and driving skills?

Just depends.

Shooting is considered a perishable skill, and rightly so ... no matter who you are (LE or private citizen).

I think it's a fine thing for someone to choose as much inherent advantage in the way of equipment as they can afford to buy and learn to effectively use, but not at the expense of thinking that equipment attributes (capacity & trigger) will offset the value of training, skill, experience and mindset ... or replace them.

FWIW, I've seen private citizen shooters who simply did better with revolvers than with pistols, even when they owned both (and some who actually expressed a preference, or a fondness, for their semiauto pistols over their revolvers).

If they do significantly better with their revolvers when it comes to handling, manipulation & actual shooting, though, then they need to decide whether they want to go with what works best for them, or invest some time & effort in applying themselves to mastering the semiauto pistol (as they've apparently done with their revolvers).

So ... back on topic. Is the .38 Spl "enough"?

Sure. I think so.

However, is it "as much" as some other cartridges? No, it's not.

Doesn't mean it's not enough, though, or that it's become obsolete. It still has a place.

There are other revolver and pistol cartridges that offer "more" in the way of "ballistic advantage" (caliber, power, etc), and obviously pistols may offer more in the way of mechanical advantages (better grips, magazines, different trigger designs, different sights, etc), but I'd suspect that a good revolver chambered in .38 Spl, loaded with modern hollowpoint ammunition, is still a viable defensive handgun for folks who aren't constantly being sent, or placing themselves, into known dangerous situations as a matter of routine job or activity.


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Old 02-19-2012, 19:51   #405
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Fastbolt, your insight is always much appreciated.
Thanks for that.
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Old 02-19-2012, 20:21   #406
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De nada.

This stuff isn't really all that complicated.
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Old 02-24-2012, 17:00   #407
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Lots and lots of pages, which I didn't read them all to see if it was explained therein... But to the original question of "when did the .38 stop being enough?":

In response to problems encountered by American units fighting Moro guerrillas during the Philippine-American War, the then-standard Colt M1892 revolver, in .38 Long Colt, was found to be unsuitable for the rigors of jungle warfare, particularly in terms of stopping power, as the Moros had very high battle morale and frequently used drugs to inhibit the sensation of pain. The U.S. Army briefly reverted to using the M1873 single-action revolver in .45 Colt caliber, which had been standard during the last decades of the 19th century; the heavier bullet was found to be more effective against charging tribesmen. The problems with the .38 Long Colt led to the Army shipping new single action .45 Colt revolvers to the Philippines in 1902. It prompted the then-Chief of Ordnance, General William Crozier, to authorize further testing for a new service pistol.

The ultimate outcome was the Colt 1911 ... And the rest is history...
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Old 02-24-2012, 17:08   #408
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The ultimate outcome was the Colt 1911 ... And the rest is history...
...that was replaced by Beretta 9mm and the rest is history
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Old 02-24-2012, 17:19   #409
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In response to problems encountered by American units fighting Moro guerrillas during the Philippine-American War, the then-standard Colt M1892 revolver, in .38 Long Colt, was found to be unsuitable for the rigors of jungle warfare, particularly in terms of stopping power, as the Moros had very high battle morale and frequently used drugs to inhibit the sensation of pain.
.38 Long Colt was chambered in a number of Colt revolvers and saw some use among target shooters. Various U.S. police forces adopted the cartridge. However, the cartridge became nearly extinct after Smith & Wesson's more powerful .38 Special cartridge became widely popular as a civilian and police service cartridge.

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Old 02-24-2012, 17:31   #410
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Lots and lots of pages, which I didn't read them all to see if it was explained therein... But to the original question of "when did the .38 stop being enough?":

In response to problems encountered by American units fighting Moro guerrillas during the Philippine-American War, the then-standard Colt M1892 revolver, in .38 Long Colt, was found to be unsuitable for the rigors of jungle warfare, particularly in terms of stopping power, as the Moros had very high battle morale and frequently used drugs to inhibit the sensation of pain. The U.S. Army briefly reverted to using the M1873 single-action revolver in .45 Colt caliber, which had been standard during the last decades of the 19th century; the heavier bullet was found to be more effective against charging tribesmen. The problems with the .38 Long Colt led to the Army shipping new single action .45 Colt revolvers to the Philippines in 1902. It prompted the then-Chief of Ordnance, General William Crozier, to authorize further testing for a new service pistol.

The ultimate outcome was the Colt 1911 ... And the rest is history...
It's a popular story, but the reality is nothing really worked that well in handguns against the Moros until the trapdoors and 12ga shotguns were used.
Even the Thompson LaGarde tests were strange in that they validated both big and slow (.45 and .455) and light and fast
(.30 Luger) don't perform all that well in a very unscientific test. Ammunition was the bigger factor vs how it takes a steer to die when shot through the lungs or how much a cadaver sways when hit while suspended.
Best I can gather, a hammer worked best.

Comparing the pointed lead bullet from a .38 DA Colt to say, the FBI .38sp load is apple to watermelons.
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Old 02-24-2012, 18:53   #411
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It's a popular story, but the reality is nothing really worked that well in handguns against the Moros until the trapdoors and 12ga shotguns were used.
Even the Thompson LaGarde tests were strange in that they validated both big and slow (.45 and .455) and light and fast
(.30 Luger) don't perform all that well in a very unscientific test. Ammunition was the bigger factor vs how it takes a steer to die when shot through the lungs or how much a cadaver sways when hit while suspended.
Best I can gather, a hammer worked best.

Comparing the pointed lead bullet from a .38 DA Colt to say, the FBI .38sp load is apple to watermelons.
That is history and all the army had was FMJ ammo. The complete line of ACP calibers were only loaded with FMJ. You couldn't buy an HP round, for a pistol until about 1980. The auto pistols weren't designed for HP ammo and that is what causes so many feeding problems, now (IMO). When limited to FMJ ammo, the 45 ACP is much better than 9mm Luger (IMO). That's what Col. Cooper said, too, in his first paperback book, circa 1953.

The problem with 12GA shotguns was also, ammo trouble. The shells were made of paper and would swell, in the humidity, of the Philippines. They wouldn't chamber or got stuck, in the chamber.
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Old 02-24-2012, 19:01   #412
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.38 SPC never quit being enough.... but it certainly got pushed to the back burner when better options came along in better packages.
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Old 02-24-2012, 19:05   #413
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I can't believe this thread is still going, oh well, I still love the .38spl as much as I did when this thread began!

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Old 02-24-2012, 19:20   #414
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Frank, you have created an "uber" thread!
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Old 02-24-2012, 22:21   #415
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I am starting to look at a 38 spl J frame revolver for pocket carry as a bug or for walking the dog etc.
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Old 02-24-2012, 22:45   #416
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I'm a .45 Glocker but I'm still trying to get that 1976 Colt Cobra from my dad.
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Old 02-24-2012, 23:42   #417
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I am starting to look at a 38 spl J frame revolver for pocket carry as a bug or for walking the dog etc.
You are a fool! You will die! You won't have enough ammo! You are setting yourself up to fail!

Oh...wait....theres a 3" S&W 65 shoved in my waistband as we speak, and, I'm still around to talk about it...


Carry on....
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Old 02-24-2012, 23:59   #418
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People tend to follow what the service ammo is. I have a couple J frame revolvers and they are very easy to carry. I can reload reasonable well, but the shorter extraction stroke and tight clearances slows the J frame reload. Still, they are reliable and very effective with the right training and ammo. If you do not mind making a hole in a pocket, you can fire them through a coat pocket without jamming.

Now, though I am comfortable with the 38 special, I carry it less and less. It is not that the 38 is now bad; it is that there are some better options. Additionally, automatics have improved a lot and have great reliability.

I still carry a Ruger LCR frequently, but only when it would be tough to carry my Glock 27.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:55   #419
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I can't believe this thread is still going, oh well, I still love the .38spl as much as I did when this thread began!
Ya, it is amazing, isn't it?

As I see it, there are those who feel they'll never need the advantages an automatic undeniably has over a revolver......and, the wager is their life!

If the assumed odds are the criteria by which that decision is made, then it's a reasonable bet they could rely on their choice of revolver for protection......over and over and over again.

The fallacy in that reasoning is that the odds more shots and faster reloads will eventually be that which makes the difference between life and death.......cannot be depended upon to happen the tenth time......or the first time!



I sometimes still do use a revolver for ccw, but only occasionally. I am fully aware that the odds of that choice becoming problematic is more of a gamble than choosing an automatic.......but, for those few times, I understand that it is a gamble, and I accept the odds.........

For me, there never has been any question about the adequacy of the 38spl......It will do the job just as well now, as it did a hundred years ago.........

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Old 02-25-2012, 07:27   #420
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When the shoot "till you hit something" crowd
came along. Scatter your shots "ever where
crowd" do not like the 5 shot J frames not,,,,
enough chances for a hit BG for them ,,,,, I
have always believed ,,,, you will likely
only get,,,,, 1 shot ,,,make it count,,,, my
other 4 will be if the 1st BG has buddies.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:40   #421
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I like my revolvers, the .38 Special and bicycles! All obsolete technology.

But, my revolvers are all currently .357 Magnums and my bicycles aren't Ordinaries either. A little technological advancement still provides places for the "obsolete" tech. A firearm is still a tool to launch small pieces of metal at high speed to impact a target, just as much as a bicycle is still a wheeled vehicle to take a user from point to point faster than walking.

(And I'm still waiting for the semi-auto pistol that can run everything from 148gr .38 target wadcutters to 125gr .38 +P JHPs to 158gr .357 Magnums without changing parts. )
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:43   #422
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Glock Talk

I didn't know Glock even made a pistol, for 38 S&W Special.

Are we off topic, maybe?

EDIT: The local idiot just figured out he's in the wrong forum. Just ignore all the stuff, above, please.

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Old 02-25-2012, 18:18   #423
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Glock Talk

I didn't know Glock even made a pistol, for 38 S&W Special.

Are we off topic, maybe?
Glocktalk has a General Firearms Forum, in which this thread exists. Besides, we need non-Glock activity to mask our conspiracy to ride the Glock phenomenon as part of our path for world domination. 17 pages about 38spl can be written off as reasonable overhead to maintain our cover.

I am kidding, of course ... or am I?
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Old 02-25-2012, 19:18   #424
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Glocktalk has a General Firearms Forum, in which this thread exists. Besides, we need non-Glock activity to mask our conspiracy to ride the Glock phenomenon as part of our path for world domination. 17 pages about 38spl can be written off as reasonable overhead to maintain our cover.

I am kidding, of course ... or am I?
You did notice that I figured out, I thought. I was in General Glocking, didn't you?
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Old 02-25-2012, 20:15   #425
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You did notice that I figured out, I thought. I was in General Glocking, didn't you?
My inherent wiseguy streak chose to overlook that postscript to your entry, since doing so would give me greater leeway to unleash my irreverent side on a helpless world. If this is believed contrary to Glocktalk protocol, sue me.
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