.38 Smith and Wesson Ammo

The .38 Smith & Wesson ammunition category features a collection of rounds that have stood the test of time, admired for their reliability and moderate power. Suited for revolvers, this cartridge is a classic choice for short-range shooting, including self-defense, target practice, and police use, especially in vintage and British Commonwealth firearms. Our assortment highlights premium ammunition from the most reputable brands, ensuring performance and dependability for both contemporary shooters and historical firearms enthusiasts.

Intended Use: The .38 S&W is primarily utilized for personal defense and target shooting. Its mild recoil and effective stopping power at close ranges make it a favored option for those who prefer the tactile feel and mechanical reliability of revolvers, including collectors of historical firearms and enthusiasts of traditional shooting disciplines.

Caliber/Size: Introduced in 1877, the .38 Smith & Wesson cartridge predates many modern cartridges and has a unique place in the history of ammunition. It is shorter and wider than the more popular .38 Special, offering a distinct ballistic profile that has been optimized for use in compact revolvers.

Performance Characteristics: Known for its manageable recoil and effective performance at short distances, the .38 S&W delivers sufficient stopping power for close-range encounters. It is not designed for long-range accuracy but excels in self-defense situations where reliability and immediate impact are crucial.

Material and Construction: .38 S&W rounds are traditionally constructed with lead bullets and brass casings, reflecting the design principles of late 19th and early 20th centuries. Modern iterations of the cartridge may feature jacketed or semi-jacketed bullets to improve performance and reduce barrel wear, catering to both contemporary use and compatibility with historic firearms.

Brands and Manufacturers: This category includes ammunition from brands that have a longstanding commitment to quality and historical accuracy. These manufacturers ensure that today’s shooters have access to .38 S&W ammunition that meets high standards of reliability and performance, suitable for both defense and recreational shooting.

A Brief History: The .38 Smith & Wesson cartridge has served various military and police forces around the world, particularly within the British Commonwealth, where it was widely adopted for service revolvers. Its lasting presence in the world of shooting is a testament to its reliability and the enduring popularity of the revolvers chambered for it.


  1. Can I use .38 S&W in a revolver chambered for .38 Special? No, .38 S&W and .38 Special are different cartridges with distinct dimensions. .38 S&W cannot be safely fired in a .38 Special revolver due to its wider diameter.
  2. Is the .38 S&W suitable for modern self-defense use? While it may not match the power of more modern cartridges, the .38 S&W can still be effective for self-defense, particularly in situations where its lower recoil and ease of handling are beneficial.
  3. How does .38 S&W compare to .38 Special? The .38 S&W is generally less powerful than the .38 Special and has a shorter and wider case. It offers manageable recoil and is suitable for close-range defense scenarios, while the .38 Special is more versatile, offering higher velocity and greater accuracy at longer distances.

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