38 SPECIAL

38 Special ammo is a legendary round and is probably one of the longest lasting rounds for police service there ever has been. The cartridge has been around for more than 110 years! 38 Special as a caliber is the derivative of several different kinds of 38 Special, which all eventually settled into the mainstream SAAMI spec-cartridge that we use today, more or less.

Up until the 1980’s police officers could still be found with Smith and Wesson K frame 38 specials. These six shooters became symbols of the lawman, long after being retired from military service. With the explosion of concealed carry those who prefer the wheel gun can’t go wrong with a snub nose 38 special. The 38 spc has been around so long it has a wide variety of different rounds, including oddballs like wax and snake shot.

Today, you’ll find 38 special rounds for target practice as well as self-defense. Most shooters opt for a full metal jacket bullet for training or plinking while the jacketed hollow point rounds with an expanding bullet are better for self-defense/protection.

Major ammo companies are still tweaking the 38 special design to get the most they can out of it. Look for rounds in-stock from well-known manufacturers like Hornady, Winchester and Federal.

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1 - 20 of 85

  1. 500rds - 38 Special Prvi Partizan 158gr. LRN Ammo 500rds - 38 Special Prvi Partizan 158gr. LRN Ammo
    $204.95
    $0.41/ppr

    41 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Lead Round Nose (LRN)
    Muzzle Energy
    283
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    902
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
  2. 1000rds - 38 Special Magtech 158gr. LRN Ammo 1000rds - 38 Special Magtech 158gr. LRN Ammo
    $409.95
    $0.41/ppr

    14 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Lead Round Nose (LRN)
    Muzzle Energy
    200
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    755
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
    Ballistic Data Available
  3. 1000rds - 38 Special Speer Lawman 158gr. +P TMJ Ammo 1000rds - 38 Special Speer Lawman 158gr. +P TMJ Ammo
    $419.95
    $0.42/ppr

    7 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Total Metal Jacket (TMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    284
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    900
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
    Ballistic Data Available
  4. 1000rds - 38 Special Sellier & Bellot 158gr. LRN Ammo 1000rds - 38 Special Sellier & Bellot 158gr. LRN Ammo
    $419.95
    $0.42/ppr

    14 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Lead Round Nose (LRN)
    Muzzle Energy
    349
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    997
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
  5. 1000rds – 38 Special +P Blazer Clean-Fire 158gr. TMJ Ammo 1000rds – 38 Special +P Blazer Clean-Fire 158gr. TMJ Ammo
    $424.95
    $0.42/ppr

    14 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Total Metal Jacket (TMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    234
    Casing Type
    Aluminum
    Muzzle Velocity
    850
    Primer Type
    Berdan
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
  6. 1000rds – 38 Special Magtech 158gr. FMJ Ammo 1000rds – 38 Special Magtech 158gr. FMJ Ammo
    $424.95
    $0.42/ppr

    15 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    200
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    755
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
  7. 500rds - 38 Special Prvi Partizan 130gr. FMJ Ammo 500rds - 38 Special Prvi Partizan 130gr. FMJ Ammo
    $214.95
    $0.43/ppr

    39 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    229
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    890
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    130 Grain
  8. 1000rds - 38 Special PMC 132gr. FMJ Ammo 1000rds - 38 Special PMC 132gr. FMJ Ammo
    $429.95
    $0.43/ppr

    ☆☆☆☆☆ 1 Review

    12 In Stock

    ☆☆☆☆☆ 1 Review

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    232
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    917
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    132 Grain
    Ballistic Data Available
  9. 1000rds - 38 Special Magtech 130gr. FMJ Ammo 1000rds - 38 Special Magtech 130gr. FMJ Ammo
    $429.95
    $0.43/ppr

    7 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    185
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    800
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    130 Grain
  10. 1000rds - 38 Special Remington UMC 130gr. MC Ammo 1000rds - 38 Special Remington UMC 130gr. MC Ammo
    $439.95
    $0.44/ppr

    14 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    180
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    790
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    130 Grain
    Ballistic Data Available
  11. 1000rds - 38 Special +P Blazer 125gr. JHP Ammo 1000rds - 38 Special +P Blazer 125gr. JHP Ammo
    $444.95
    $0.44/ppr

    13 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Jacketed Hollow-Point (JHP)
    Muzzle Energy
    248
    Casing Type
    Aluminum
    Muzzle Velocity
    945
    Primer Type
    Berdan
    Bullet Weight
    125 Grain
    Ballistic Data Available
  12. 1000rds - 38 Special Armscor 158gr. FMJ Ammo 1000rds - 38 Special Armscor 158gr. FMJ Ammo
    $449.95
    $0.45/ppr

    13 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    300
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    900
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
  13. 1000rds – 38 Special Sellier & Bellot 158gr. FMJ Ammo 1000rds – 38 Special Sellier & Bellot 158gr. FMJ Ammo
    $449.95
    $0.45/ppr

    13 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    278
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    889
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
    Ballistic Data Available
  14. 1000rds - 38 Special Federal American Eagle 158gr. LRN Ammo 1000rds - 38 Special Federal American Eagle 158gr. LRN Ammo
    $454.95
    $0.45/ppr

    ☆☆☆☆☆ 1 Review

    14 In Stock

    ☆☆☆☆☆ 1 Review

    Bullet type
    Lead Round Nose (LRN)
    Muzzle Energy
    208
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    770
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
    Ballistic Data Available
  15. 500rds - 38 Special Winchester USA 130gr. FMJ Ammo 500rds - 38 Special Winchester USA 130gr. FMJ Ammo
    $229.95
    $0.46/ppr

    10 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    185
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    800
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    130 Grain
    Ballistic Data Available
  16. 1000rds - 38 Special Federal American Eagle 130gr. FMJ Ammo 1000rds - 38 Special Federal American Eagle 130gr. FMJ Ammo
    $459.95
    $0.46/ppr

    ☆☆☆☆☆ 4 Reviews

    16 In Stock

    ☆☆☆☆☆ 4 Reviews

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    229
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    890
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    130 Grain
    Ballistic Data Available
  17. 1000rds – 38 Special +P Blazer 158gr. Flat Nose FMJ Ammo 1000rds – 38 Special +P Blazer 158gr. Flat Nose FMJ Ammo
    $459.95
    $0.46/ppr

    8 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    253
    Casing Type
    Aluminum
    Muzzle Velocity
    850
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
  18. 1000rds – 38 Special Ammo Inc. 158gr. TMJ Ammo 1000rds – 38 Special Ammo Inc. 158gr. TMJ Ammo
    $459.95
    $0.46/ppr

    12 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Total Metal Jacket (TMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    213
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    780
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    158 Grain
  19. 1000rds – 38 Special Ammo Inc. 125gr. TMJ Ammo 1000rds – 38 Special Ammo Inc. 125gr. TMJ Ammo
    $474.95
    $0.48/ppr

    13 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Total Metal Jacket (TMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    249
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    947
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    125 Grain
  20. 500rds - 38 Special Remington UMC 130gr. FMJ Ammo 500rds - 38 Special Remington UMC 130gr. FMJ Ammo
    $239.95
    $0.48/ppr

    32 In Stock

    Bullet type
    Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    Muzzle Energy
    173
    Casing Type
    Brass
    Muzzle Velocity
    790
    Primer Type
    Boxer
    Bullet Weight
    130 Grain

1 - 20 of 85

Geltest header image

38 SPECIAL ballistic gel test results

We shot 16 different loads of 38 Special self-defense ammo into ballistic gel

Used firearms icon
Firearm Used S&W 640
Barrel length icon
Barrel Length 2.125"
Distance target icon
Distance to Target 10 Feet
Barrier icon
Barrier 4-layer cloth
Ammo 5-shot average penetration depth 5-shot average diameter 5-shot average velocity
500rds - 38 Special Black Hills 125gr. +P Jacketed Hollow Point Ammo 50rds - 38 Special Black Hills 125gr. +P Jacketed Hollow Point Ammo 50rds - 38 Special Black Hills 125gr. +P Jacketed Hollow Point Ammo
  22.12"
0.35" 822
20rds - 38 Special +P Federal Personal Defense Micro 130gr. HST JHP Ammo 200rds – 38 Special +P Federal Personal Defense Micro 130gr. HST JHP Ammo 200rds – 38 Special +P Federal Personal Defense Micro 130gr. HST JHP Ammo
  12.66"
0.72" 872
20rds - 38 Special Federal Hydra-Shok 129gr. +P HP Ammo 20rds - 38 Special Federal Hydra-Shok 129gr. +P HP Ammo
  19.56"
0.35" 828
20rds - 38 Special Federal Hydra-Shok 110gr. HP Ammo 200rds – 38 Special Federal Hydra-Shok Low Recoil 110gr. JHP Ammo 200rds – 38 Special Federal Hydra-Shok Low Recoil 110gr. JHP Ammo
  14.52"
0.51" 936
50rds – 38 Special Fiocchi 158gr. JHP Ammo 1000rds – 38 Special Fiocchi 158gr. JHP Ammo
  15.5"
0.35" 686
25rds – 38 Special +P Hornady Critical Defense 110gr. FTX Ammo 250rds – 38 Special +P Hornady Critical Defense 110gr. FTX Ammo 250rds – 38 Special +P Hornady Critical Defense 110gr. FTX Ammo
  14.64"
0.47" 961
25rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Defense 110gr. FTX Ammo 250rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Defense 110gr. FTX Ammo 250rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Defense 110gr. FTX Ammo
  14.78"
0.46" 829
25rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Lite Defense 90gr. FTX Ammo 250rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Defense 90gr. FTX Ammo 250rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Defense 90gr. FTX Ammo
  13.9"
0.45" 910
25rds - 38 Special Hornady 158gr. JHP XTP Ammo 250rds - 38 Special Hornady 158gr. JHP XTP Ammo 250rds - 38 Special Hornady 158gr. JHP XTP Ammo
  18.58"
0.35" 675
50rds – 38 Special +P Remington HTP 125gr. SJHP Ammo 500rds – 38 Special +P Remington HTP 125gr. SJHP Ammo 500rds – 38 Special +P Remington HTP 125gr. SJHP Ammo
  14.78"
0.44" 898
20rds - 38 Special SinterFire Special Duty 110gr. Frangible HP Ammo
  16.3"
0.35" 1060
50rds - 38 Special Speer LE Gold Dot Short Barrel 135gr. +P Ammo 50rds - 38 Special Speer LE Gold Dot Short Barrel 135gr. +P Ammo
  13.74"
0.57" 886
200rds – 38 Special +P Winchester Defender 130gr. PDX1 Bonded JHP Ammo 200rds – 38 Special +P Winchester Defender 130gr. PDX1 Bonded JHP Ammo
  17.86"
0.51" 843
50rds - 38 Special Winchester Silvertip 125gr. +P JHP Ammo 500rds - 38 Special +P Winchester 125gr. Super-X Silvertip Jacketed Hollow Point Ammo 500rds - 38 Special +P Winchester 125gr. Super-X Silvertip Jacketed Hollow Point Ammo
  15.96"
0.49" 871
20rds - 38 Special Winchester W Train and Defend 130gr. JHP Ammo 200rds - 38 Special Winchester W Train and Defend 130gr. JHP Ammo 200rds - 38 Special Winchester W Train and Defend 130gr. JHP Ammo
  20.28"
0.38" 857
50rds - 38 Special Federal LE Hi-Shok 125gr. +P Hollow Point Ammo 1000rds – 38 Special +P Federal LE 125gr. Hi-Shok JHP Ammo 1000rds – 38 Special +P Federal LE 125gr. Hi-Shok JHP Ammo
  15.82"
0.35" 841
50rds – 38 Special +P Federal LE Tactical 129gr. Hydra-Shok JHP Ammo 50rds – 38 Special +P Federal LE Tactical 129gr. Hydra-Shok JHP Ammo
  16.44"
0.4" 878
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