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I have a S&W Model 10 with a 4" heavy barrel and I want to get some carry ammo for it. I was looking at Hornady Critical Defense but I don't know if I should get the +P or not. The velocity on the regular .38 is 1010 fps and on the +P it's 1090 fps.

Will I get that much more stopping power out of it or will it just be more recoil? What should I do?
 

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Get a box of each, try them, and see if you prefer one over the other.

Personally, in a full-size, steel frame 4" .38 Special revolver, I'd look at FBI loads (158gr LSWCHP +P). They've had a good track record in the 30-40something years they've been in service. Each of the major manufacturers make them, and Buffalo Bore makes a particularly strong loading of it. I have the Buffalo Bore version in my 65. It is a stout load, though.

ETA: FYI, this probably should've been posted in Caliber Corner.
 

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"Don't Tread On Me!"
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+P will be fine in your model 10. I like the Federal Personal Defense stuff my self, used to be called Hydro Shok. Just find something that your gun shoots well and stick with it.
 

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woo woo
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I don't care for 110gr in .38sp, it tends to hit low and the round typically under penetrates.

The FBI load is excellent and proven, the Buffalo Bore version really smokes.

The 135gr +P Gold Dot is also a good one, shoots very well in my K frames, does about an even 1000fps in a 4" gun and is easy to manage.
Did this at 20yrds last time out with the 135gr +P Gold Dots.
 

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I also like the FBI load (158 gr LSWCHP +P load) in my 38's. No frills, but gets the job done. I don't like the lighter weight bullets, as they shoot below point of aim. I have tried 95 grain loads, 110 grain loads and did not like them.
 

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Lean & Mean
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Buy +P for SD.
It's perfectly safe for your S&W.
 

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I carried 158 gr SJHP +P for a long, long time, in K-Frames, including a slim barrel Model 10. No worries. Recoil isn't a problem, and is quite manageable. I've also shot a lot of K-Frame .357 mags. Once you shoot .357, .38 spl +P is easy stuff.
 

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Leonum A Ignis
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I've shot the Hornady CD 110gr. +P from my 642. My impression is it fills a niche, that is, a light recoiling low-flash load. It would be suitable for a recoil shy shooter using a snub and it was pretty accurate. However, the bullet is too light for my taste (heavier bullets penetrate further) and I like something a little "hotter" for SD purposes.

Try the Speer Gold Dot (either 125gr. +P or 135gr. +P) or a good old 158gr. LSWCHP +P. With a 4" barrel your already getting more velocity then a 2" snub anyway. :)
 

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PRO 2A
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158 Gr. LHWCHP from Buffalo Bore. It is the most powerful mass produced round in .38 Special. There is a difference between this round and your run of the mill .38 Special. Some people can't handle the extra recoil so they don't see the benefit, YMMV.
 
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