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Another .38 Special question.

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by HollowPoint .45, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. HollowPoint .45

    HollowPoint .45 NRA Member

    Feb 21, 2007
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    Nov 6, 2005
    Brett, I haven't run across a case involving that particular USA brand (Winchester's economy generic load). I did do a case a couple of years ago where a center chest hit from the Rem-UMC analog 125 grain.38 delivered an instant and fatal one-shot stop (from a 4" barrel) on a charging man with a knife.

    Speaking more broadly, the .38 Special 125 grain +P semi-jacketed hollow point was in wide use among police back in the Seventies. It had a spotty record. There were certainly instant stops like the one mentioned above, but there were also cases where it failed to open and/or failed to stop attackers with solid hits. A classic was the Chaney case in Baton Rouge where the suspect was shot nine times and still violently attacking officers, killed one and wounded another, and was finally dropped by a tenth 125 grain .38 that broke his hip and dropped him to the floor, where he bled out. He had been hit once in the head and several times in the torso.

    I noticed back then that departments using 125 grain .38 weren't happy with it,and the rank and file agitated for .357 Magnums and other more powerful guns. The departments with 158 grain lead hollow point +P in their .38 Specials, by contrast, were happy with its performance: Chicago PD, Metro-Dade, Miami, St. Louis, FBI, DEA, etc. When those agencies went to autos it was to get more bullets, not more powerful cartridges.

    In the 2" .38 Special, I think you're better off with the 158 grain lead hollow point +P, or the Speer 135 grain +P developed by Ernest Durham and his team especially for maximum performance out of 2" barrels.


  3. HollowPoint .45

    HollowPoint .45 NRA Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    That Speer load sounds promising, thanks Mas!