List Alert: These .38 Special Revolvers Are Certain To Pack A Punch
Inexpensive and available in a wide variety of configurations.
Key point: Durable, simple, and popular revolvers.
The .38 Special is one of the most durable cartridges in history. Introduced in 1898 as the .38 Smith & Wesson Special, it was meant to upgrade the U.S. Army’s firepower. The Army’s .38 Long Colt cartridge proved mediocre at stopping Philippine insurgents in close-quarters combat—the .38 Special was one proposed remedy.
Although the Army eventually chose a different caliber (the .45 ACP), .38 Special eventually became one of the most popular cartridges in America. The .38 Special became popular with police in the Depression era, when a heavier round that could penetrate the car bodies of motorized bandits was needed. The round was soft-shooting and easy to train police recruits on. The round reigned supreme among law enforcement until the 1970s and 1980s, when 9mm high-capacity semi-automatic handguns became popular.
Today, the .38 Special is still popular, particularly among those who prefer the simplicity and aesthetic of revolvers. It is inexpensive and available in a wide variety of configurations, from regular ball ammo to hollow points to high pressure +P rounds. Here are five of the best guns you can shoot .38 Special out of.
Introduced in the early 1990s, the Ruger SP101 was the company’s dominant .38 Special–only platform for decades. The SP101 was similar to the larger GP100, but with a shorter barrel and more compact frame. The SP101 has a 2.25-inch barrel, slightly longer than many concealed carry barrels, and features a five-round cylinder. The revolver itself has a stainless steel frame with a satin finish. The SP101 was Ruger’s concealed carry handgun until the arrival in the mid-2000s of the Ruger LCR.
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