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Forget all the nonsense that one caliber is far superior to others. When it comes down to when shooting a person with a hand gun NOTHING is more important than shot placement. As Greg Ellifritz said after producing a study of shootings over a 10 year period hand gun stopping power stinks, use a rifle or a shotgun.

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This is mostly true in common scenarios faced in civilian self defense shootings.

HOWEVER, I believe that when you consider performance when penetrating barriers like autoglass, vehicle panels, doors, furniture and other objects there is often a significant difference between something like a .380 or .38sp and 9mm, 40 cal or 357.

Will you have to shoot through a barrier in your hypothetical self defense scenario? Probably not... but who knows.

Maybe you're in a restaurant and have to shoot through a booth or pane of glass. Maybe you're in your vehicle and have to shoot through the door. Perhaps you're in your home and you have to shoot through drywall.

All outside chances and certainly not the 'norm', but certainly worth considering. I believe Paul Harrel has a video out there where in a test .380 caliber bullets only penetrated a vehicle door about 50% of the time at a relatively short range.

With that said, I carry a .380 pistol quite often. Is it the most effective firepower? Absolutely not, but by carrying a pistol instead of a rifle I'm kind of already sacrificing power for concealment. Sacrificing a bit of barrier penetration for substantial increases in concealment is something I can live with. If it leaves me dead in the streets then so be it, at least I tried... and god willing there will be an empty pile of brass around me.
 

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I had one and traded it for one in 9mm because there's more choices for 9mm self defense ammo that will actually expand and penetrate better than 38 special. When it comes to 38 special the new federal HST 130 grain looks pretty good, but the projectiles sit flush inside the casing which means they might be harder to use when reloading the gun. For my 9mm LCR I just carry a spare semi auto magazine to use if I ever needed to reload the revolver because I can just use my thumb to push feed each round from the mag into the cylinder. I know they wont eject without the moon clip, but the chance I would ever need to reload the revolver twice is probably less than being struck by lightening.

Check out the lucky gunner labs ammo tests

https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/revolver-ballistics-test/
 

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LCR 38 is my favorite carry gun going on 7 or 8 years now.
Same for me. Easy to carry (pocket holster) and easy to shoot accurately with the right ammo. For me its 148 gr wadcutters which is also my carry ammo. Shooting +P out of any lightweight snub was never any fun for me so I stopped doing it. WC are a joy and you dont have to worry whether they will expand or not in a self defense situation.

Allen Ruger Stash Pocket Holster
 

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I've had a few LCR's and never quite got used to them after having a few SP101's...ended up selling the LCR's and keeping the SP101's...
My SP101's are both .357 magnum but I often carry 158 grain Hornady XTP JHP's in the 2.25" version...and it shoots great.
I'm more comfortable with a .38 revolver than a 9mm, round-4-round, and the recoil is minimal with with the heavier revolver.
 

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I liked it fine, though I preferred the LCR .357. Had more heft and to my hand, a smoother trigger. It was my #3 pick for pocket carry, after a DAO Kimber with a boot grip or a DAO SP101.

You will not go wrong with any of them. They can all handle .38+p, which did well in the Lucky Gunner ballistics test. My favored round is Hornady Critical Defense. Works well from a speed loader or strip (I carry and train with a Tuff strip).
 

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Shooting +P out of any lightweight snub was never any fun for me so I stopped doing it.
It's all relative. I have the LCR .38 DA, LCR .357 DA, and LCR .38 DA/SA.

A good number of years back I started my range sessions with a dozen or two rounds with .357 and still do.

Then I go to .38+P. It's such a relief there's no problem at all. Dropping back to .38 is like shooting a toy cap gun as a kid.
 

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"Not leaving any evidence behind" is totally accurate, but probably shouldn't be high on the list of anyone using their weapon for lawful reasons.
Said tongue in cheek. During my remote EMS days (late 70's/early 80's when EMS was new) a homicide victim with a .38 spl to the chest was a "clean" pickup due to lack of external bleeding though it had it's desired effect.
 

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Said tongue in cheek. During my remote EMS days (late 70's/early 80's when EMS was new) a homicide victim with a .38 spl to the chest was a "clean" pickup due to lack of external bleeding though it had it's desired effect.
No doubt... but less tongue in cheek, there may actually be an advantage/disadvantage to not dropping brass in a lawful self defense shooting now that I think about it.

Your brass casings could hurt OR help your case. Depending on where they fall it's entirely possible they could exonerate you... it's also possible they could damn you, even in an otherwise lawful shooting. Say, if the prosecutor tries to 'read the tea leaves' and draws some unfounded/unfair conclusions about the shooting based on where the brass was found it could potentially hurt you.
 

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This is mostly true in common scenarios faced in civilian self defense shootings.

HOWEVER, I believe that when you consider performance when penetrating barriers like autoglass, vehicle panels, doors, furniture and other objects there is often a significant difference between something like a .380 or .38sp and 9mm, 40 cal or 357.

I've never heard about any of the above on trial for trying to commit a crime on a human with a gun. What about an Oak tree or brick wall?

Will you have to shoot through a barrier in your hypothetical self defense scenario? Probably not... but who knows.

Yeah, I could see being stuffed in the trunk of a car with my gun and having to shoot my way back out.

Maybe you're in a restaurant and have to shoot through a booth or pane of glass.

May be best to plan on eating at restaurants with open seating.

Maybe you're in your vehicle and have to shoot through the door.

Best to stay out of those parts of town.

Perhaps you're in your home and you have to shoot through drywall.

And then be forced to pay to have it all replaced? I'm too cheap. I'll wait for 'em to poke their head around the corner.

All outside chances and certainly not the 'norm', but certainly worth considering.

I just did. Sounds like 1 in a 300 million longshot for all of them.

I believe Paul Harrel has a video out there where in a test .380 caliber bullets only penetrated a vehicle door about 50% of the time at a relatively short range.

Sounds pretty good to me. 50-50 chance of living. What are the chances of any caliber bullet getting straight through the door without the flight being altered by what it hit in the door or outside steel of the door?

With that said, I carry a .380 pistol quite often. Is it the most effective firepower? Absolutely not, but by carrying a pistol instead of a rifle I'm kind of already sacrificing power for concealment. Sacrificing a bit of barrier penetration for substantial increases in concealment is something I can live with. If it leaves me dead in the streets then so be it, at least I tried... and god willing there will be an empty pile of brass around me.
Phew! We're finally on the same page and you said it perfectly. :thumbsup:

(the rest of the stuff I posted above it is what's called, "yankin' yer chain". Don't get upset.) :D
 

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I quickly went through these posts and saw nothing about the LCR 327 Federal Magnum. This is my EDC. Reasons:
1. all the Ruger LCR design features. Weight, size, etc.
2. The ballistics of the round fall between the 38 spl and the 357 mag.
3. You get 6 rounds instead of 5.

What's not to like?
 

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This is mostly true in common scenarios faced in civilian self defense shootings.

HOWEVER, I believe that when you consider performance when penetrating barriers like autoglass, vehicle panels, doors, furniture and other objects there is often a significant difference between something like a .380 or .38sp and 9mm, 40 cal or 357.
Caliber war, anyone? In the house, I reckon I should have a long arm. I shoot shotguns a lot. No one argues about what a 12 gauge does, in slug or buckshot, to a human.

As for handguns, carry what you shoot well, and train a lot. Few handguns have the momentum of a rifle or shotgun round.
 

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Toakey45036 again. Sorry I'm a newbie and I couldn't see any way to edit my previous post.

Another advantage of the 327 mag is you can shoot multiple calibers at the range. 32 S&W, 32 S&W Long, and 32 H&R Magnum. My LCR will even shoot 32ACP however the don't extract very well because they are semi-rimmed. BTW I have a S&W 32 H&R Mag, Model 43PD, and it doesn't shoot the 32 ACP reliably. Probably has to do with the depth of the chamber to the shoulder.

A disadvantage is the the ammo is on the expensive side and sometimes hard to find. I'll shoot 32 Longs for trigger control and general practice and once a month or so shoot 327 mag. to remind myself that it kicks more than the longs.
 

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LCR 38 is my favorite carry gun going on 7 or 8 years now.
Here that and totally agree. I've been carrying my LCR .357 for going on 4 years...prior was a spurless SP101 .357. Both are great guns. I carry mine IWB appendix at about 1 o'clock. So very comfortable that I get home and I forget that it's even there until I change clothes or use the can. :eek:
 
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