The .38 S&W is a popular revolver cartridge that has been in use for over a century. It has a rich history and continues to be a favorite among shooters and collectors. In this article, we will explore the origins of the .38 S&W, its ballistics, popular firearms chambered in this caliber, and much more.

History of the .38 SW

The .38 S&W cartridge was introduced by Smith & Wesson in 1877 for their top-break revolvers. It was designed as a black powder round and was later adapted to smokeless powder. The cartridge gained popularity and was widely used by law enforcement agencies and civilians alike. Over the years, the .38 S&W has evolved, and different variations have been developed to suit various firearms and shooting needs.

Ballistics and Performance

The .38 S&W cartridge typically fires a heavy, round-nosed bullet at a moderate velocity. While it may not be as powerful as some of the newer handgun cartridges, the .38 S&W is known for its reliability and accuracy. It is a great choice for target shooting, plinking, and even self-defense at close ranges. The mild recoil of the .38 S&W makes it an excellent option for shooters who are sensitive to heavy recoil.

Popular Firearms Chambered in .38 SW

Several firearms are chambered in .38 S&W, making it a versatile and widely supported caliber. Some of the popular handguns chambered in .38 S&W include the Smith & Wesson Victory Model, the Webley Mk IV revolver, and various other vintage revolvers. Additionally, there are modern production firearms that are chambered in .38 S&W, offering shooters a wide range of options to choose from.

Uses of the .38 SW

The .38 S&W cartridge is used for a variety of purposes, including target shooting, recreational shooting, and even self-defense. Its mild recoil and versatility make it suitable for shooters of all experience levels. Whether you are a seasoned shooter or a beginner, the .38 S&W offers a pleasant shooting experience and can be an excellent addition to your handgun collection.

Reloading the .38 SW

Reloading the .38 S&W cartridge is a popular practice among enthusiasts who want to customize their ammunition for optimal performance. By reloading, shooters can tailor their loads to suit their specific needs, whether it’s for target shooting or self-defense. With the right tools and components, reloading the .38 S&W can be a rewarding and cost-effective endeavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The History Of The 38 S&W Cartridge?

The 38 S&W cartridge was introduced in 1877 for small revolvers, known for its reliability.

How Does The 38 S&W Differ From Other Calibers?

The 38 S&W has a larger diameter compared to the 38 Special, offering a different performance.

What Are The Common Uses Of The 38 S&W Round?

The 38 S&W is often used for self-defense and target shooting due to its versatility.

Is The 38 S&w Suitable For Concealed Carry?

Due to its moderate power, the 38 S&W is suitable for concealed carry purposes.


The .38 S&W is a timeless cartridge that has stood the test of time. Its historical significance, ballistics, and versatility make it a favorite among firearms enthusiasts. Whether you are drawn to its historical appeal or its shooting characteristics, the .38 S&W continues to be a popular choice for both collectors and shooters alike.

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