Day by Day

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

.38 Special

I've known a few people who sneer at a round as small as a .38 Special. "Not enough velocity" they say. "Too small, no stopping power" they say.

"Oh Really?", I say.

An escaped inmate shot to death Monday evening in a Cascade-area home armed with a loaded .22 rifle and a filet knife had vowed not to go back to jail, and threatened to kill the homeowners and any officer who tried to arrest him.

Robert Carl Nylund, 55, shot the intruder, Paul Anthony Anderson, 26, once in the chest with a .38 revolver he was able to retrieve from his bedroom, Cascade County Sheriff Kent T. Funyak said.


Now THAT is goblin control. It's not the size of the round, folks. It's what you do with it. Put enough .22LR in someone, and they're going down for the count. I have some copper jacketed wadcutters that I slide into my .38 revolver when I want to carry it. Those things hit and then spin/flatten/expand/do ungodly amounts of damage. And more importantly, it's more concealable than my .45, so I can take it places that I can't take my main carry piece.

Oh, and since this occurred in Montana, we get this lovely bit of news.

Nylund has not been cited in Anderson's death, and "I don't anticipate any charges being filed," Funyak said Tuesday.

Cascade County Attorney Brant Light will review the sheriff's reports and decide if this was justifiable use of force, but on the face of things, agreed with Funyak.

"If the facts hold up as they've been presented, this is a clear case of defending yourself and your property," Light said.


Reviewing the case is standard protocol, all cops do it before they give the definitive word. But if the sheriff says "I don't see any charges being filed", you can damn well bet good money that there won't be.

For the record - I don't give a damn WHAT caliber of gun you have, so long as you A) know how to operate it, and B) practice enough to hit the target with it. A hand cannon does you no good if you can't hit what you're aiming at. Don't be picky about the caliber, be picky about how it fits your hand, and how well you can operate it.

But be armed.

Link found at Kim du Toit.

UPDATE: Here's a picture of the various rounds we fired off at the last Blastorama that I attended. Mollbot took the picture, I added the text.



Take a look at those rounds. They've all got their differences, their advantages, and their detracting. I'll make my own little list, and anyone with more (or better) info can correct me and fill in the blanks if they need to.

The 500 Magnum - one shot and any man you hit is done. Stick a fork in him. However, the rounds are expensive as all hell, and they can only be fired out of one type of gun. And it's a revolver, so unless you can guarantee "One shot one kill", you'd need to build some sort of speed loader. They don't make speedloaders for this gun. And forget concealing it, this is a hunting gun, not a self-protection gun.

The .45 ACP - Time tested and approved. One of the best rounds out there, and one of the best handgun designs for firing it, the 1911. One or two of these bad boys, even with ball ammunition, and whoever you hit is going down. However, the ammo can get pricey, especially for the Hydro-shock or hollowpoints. Also, a big round requires a big gun, so concealability in hot weather can get somewhat problematic.

S&W 40 - Slightly smaller than the .45 ACP, but quickly becoming a favorite for law enforcement. The safety officer at my work carries this. However, as it's not as widespread as other calibers, ammo cost can become a factor once again. Also, the variety of handguns that use this ammo, while growing, is still somewhat limited. Gun size is also a factor.

9mm - My hatred of this round is well known to anyone who associates with me. However, the round is not without merit. Smaller rounds mean smaller guns, which aids in concealed carry. 9mm is one of the most prolific rounds out there, so getting ammo at a decent price is not a problem. The variety of guns that use the 9mm is ungodly, you can pick and chose. Also, John Browning once called the Browning Benchmark his best design, and if it weren't for the fact that I just don't like this caliber, I would own a Benchmark. Ari (he of the great intellect but few posts) is deadly with the S&W 9mm.

.380 - Think of a miniature 9mm. As far as I can tell, it's the .38 Special round designed to be used in a semi-auto handgun. Easily concealable, yet enough power to hit someone and make them feel it. Not the strongest round, and certainly not the hardest hitting, it will still be enough to stop someone from wreaking violence on you.

.38 Special and .357 Magnum - Same diameter round, but the .357 has a one-tenth of an inch longer case, and more powder behind the bullet giving it a higher velocity. The .38 Special is one of the oldest "modern" rounds, time tested and approved. You can probably find more .38 Special revolvers floating around than almost any other kind of gun, and almost all the .38 revolvers I've seen are easily concealed. Ammo for .38 is everywhere, and at both ends of the price scale. You can also fire .38 Special out of a .357 revolver. The .357 is a ramped up .38 Special, with the higher velocity adding a bit more punch.

.22LR - The caliber that everyone should own at least one firearm in. Hunting for squirrels/gophers/rabbits/small birds/ect., ect., ect., get a .22LR. Picking off annoying vermin? Get a .22. Target shooting? Get a .22. Plinking away at the range? Get a .22. Ammo is cheap, plentiful, and literally everywhere. 500 rounds for ten bucks, and you can stay at the range for hours. You can get hollowpoint, ball, full metal jacket, and sub-sonic, which means you can make a fully suppressed firearm. Concealable? Hell yes. Controllable? Yep, without a doubt. Stopping power? Not unless you're rabbit sized. However, the .22LR was the favorite round of many a hitman back in the day, due to the fact that they could walk up, pump two rounds in someone at close range, and that person would go down. This isn't a sniper rifle by any means, but Kim du Toit did find the report of a goblin being removed from the gene pool by a woman with a six-shot .22LR revolver. You might not kill a man with a single shot, but you'll make him SERIOUSLY reconsider his actions. And I don't care who you are, six little pieces of metal entering your body at high speed will take you out of action. Hit anything vital, and you're done.

So there you are - my humble opinion on several rounds. You want more in depth, go check out Kim's Gratuitous Gun Pics. I'm sure that there are many people with more knowledge than I have who will make corrections to this list, either now or in the future. That's fine. I'm not an expert, and I never claimed to be. But this is my opinion and limited knowledge laid out on these rounds. And with the exception of the S&W 500, ANY of these rounds would be decent for self defense. Some are better than others, in my opinion, but any gun in any of these calibers can save your life, or the lives of your loved ones.

It doesn't matter HOW you're armed, it just matters that you're ARMED.

Let the corrections commence.

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