The 38 Special for Home Defense

We had a reader ask about the 38 Special for home defense.  There are tons of 38s out on the market and in households in the US. While it might not 38 Special for Home Defensebe the choice to hold off the hoards, it is a nice carry weapon that you won’t have a problem wearing or putting in a purse.

What is a 38 Special?

Most of the time when you think of a 38 special you are thinking of a short barrel revolver.  The term “38 Special” actually refers to the round a 38 caliber .357–.358 inches long. It is known in the metric world as 9×29.5mm.  What you may not know is that the 38 Special is identical to that of the .38 Short Colt, .38 Long Colt, and the .357 Magnum.  The difference is the length of the cartridge.  You wouldn’t want to fire a 357 Magnum in a weapon not designed for it due to the high pressure of the round.

The classic 38 Special is the Colt Detective Special. As I mentioned before, it is an excellent carry weapon. It is double action, light weight and easily concealable in most situations.


One of the major drawbacks people mention for the 38 Special is that of stopping power.  As mentioned in the video below, that comes from the original ball ammunition.  Modern hollow points and other special rounds will do a good job of putting someone down.  As I have mentioned in other posts, the real determining factor of you surviving a home defense situation is not the size of the weapon or bullet, but your ability to hit accurately what you are shooting at.

38 Special for Home Defense

Now I am not suggesting that a 38 Special be your only home defense weapon.  You still might want a carbine or shotgun and even a bigger bore semi auto for situations that need more firepower.

At the same time, It is really uncomfortable to carry a large revolver around with you or have it handy, especially if you are smaller framed.  Remember if the weapon is a pain to carry you are going to find all sorts of excuses to “forget it.”

The 38 Special makes a nice carry weapon in the house or as you go out and about. Remember it is not the size of the dog in the fight, the size of the fight in the dog.  Whatever weapon you carry, take lessons, practice with it both on the flat range and in situations you might encounter.

What do you think of the 38 Special?  Have any favorite models.  Tell us in the comments.

Check out the nice, short video below on a discussion of the 38 Special.

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