Welcome back to another edition of the TFB Round Table sponsored by Ammunition To Go! For those who are first joining us, this is a multi-part series where TFB discusses the characteristics of great ammunition for specific applications. This could vary from big game hunting, plinking, precision rifle matches, small game hunting, or even pistol competitions. Chances are there is someone here at TFB who can offer you advice on buying the right round for your task at hand. This week we return on TFB Round Table to take a look at one of the lesser common cartridges for handguns that used to be all the rage back in the day, but now has fallen to the wayside as both ammunition and handgun technology has advanced. Let’s see what kind of hidden super powers are actually in 38 Super!
TFB ROUND TABLE: the origin of 38 super
With the pantheon of cartridges we have available to us in 2020, it is bewildering why people would still choose 38 Super as a preferred round. To better understand the simple question of why 38 Super, we need to gain a better perspective of where it all started. Many people will be surprised to learn that 38 Super is not some recent hot rod round meant to compete with 10mm from the last 20 years. In fact, this round is almost 100 years old! AmmunitionToGo does a terrific job of explaining how it all got started:
Introduced in 1929, 38 Super ammo was the answer to a tough problem. This was the height of dust bowl gangsters robbing banks, and even National Guard armories. The bad guys of the era were embracing body armor with as much excitement as one would who lived by the gun. Crooks wearing body armor and wielding light machine guns from national guard armories were quite the threat to police and federal agents at the time. The standard modus operandi for bad guys was to hit hard and fast and drive away. Again rounds were failing to penetrate the vehicle bodies. Law Enforcement needed a round with more penetration than the standard 45 ACP, so the 38 Super was born.
38 Super was designed to function in 1911s so additional training required to understand the round was minimal. The 38 Super proved a superior penetrator and punched through body armor and vehicles of the time too, a welcome bit of power.
38 Super ammunition has become the preeminent cartridge for competition shooting. A powerful round that offers more capacity over 45 ACP in the 1911 platform, and less recoil it’s a popular choice among some shooters to this day.
TFB ROUND TABLE: 38 super… why?
So, the question still remains… why? Well, even if you are firmly addicted to 9mm or some similar cartridge, there are a lot of positive attributes to owning and shooting 38 Super. Ammunition might be less common traditionally than 9mm and other rounds, but when the world is flipped upside down (like it is now) it is oddly enough available. Here is a Top 3 list of reasons to own 38 Super:
- STOPPING POW-AH: Comparable to 38 Special and 357 Magnum
- Lighter, Faster: Less recoil and higher velocities than .45 ACP in a 1911
- 1911 Platform: Endless ways to upgrade a 1911 chambered in 38 Super
The phrase “stopping pow-ah” is my all-time favorite buzzword, but 38 Super authentically has a lot more power than 9mm and 38 Special. So, if you are thinking of utilizing the round more for defense you are better off than the slew of 9mm carry guns and snubby revolvers when it comes to Foot-Lbs of energy. If target shooting is more your speed and you are still on the 1911 bandwagon, then you could definitely benefit by switching to 38 Super. The cartridge is faster; thus, flatter shooting. It produces less felt recoil for the shooter as well. Both elements traditionally make us better shooters: Win-Win!
My final point 50% of the reading audience will say is a negative, but it all depends on what trips your trigger. If you love the 1911 platform (all the power to you) it will lead to a huge aftermarket pool of accessories in which you can endlessly upgrade and customize your firearm over the years so it hopefully never gets stale for you. So, during the zombie apocalypse (that is scheduled for September, right?) you can keep fixing your sidearm and still find ammunition when 9mm is nowhere to be found.
As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for the TFB Round Table brought to you by Ammunition to Go! Also, let us know what you think in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.
TFB’S ROUND TABLE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY AMMOTOGO.COM
Let’s say you’re having yourself a nice old Philippine day. You’ve had yourself a good lunch of lumpia and sinigang with a little pancit palabok on the side, just watched the latest episode of Magandang Buhay, and drove to the range while playing your favorite Zsa Zsa Padilla album. Wouldn’t you like to keep that Philippine momentum going with an appropriate range round? Well, if you get this 38 Super Auto by ammo by Armscor, you’re going to be able to do exactly that!
This cartridge sports a 125 grain bullet, a conventional weight for its caliber that will deliver good, balanced performance. Armscor’s jacket is hard enough ot stave off bore fouling without jeopardizing your barrel’s riflings, and along with this bullet’s rounded, nearly semi-conical profile will promote smooth feeding in your semi-automatic. This round also offers a fully reloadable brass casing, and its modern propellant and Boxer primer won’t bathe your action in caustic salts.
Aguila Ammunition has been manufacturing high-quality ammo in their state-of-the-art facility since 1961. Based in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, Aguila Ammunition is the exclusive manufacturer of ammo for the Mexican military and police forces. With the company’s focus on innovative design and quality components, it is no wonder they also produce some of the best ammunition available to the modern civilian shooter. All Aguila ammo is meets military and SAAMI specifications.
Perfect for the high-volume or budget-conscious shooter, this package contains 50 rounds of economically priced Aguila .38 Super Auto ammunition. Each round is loaded with a 130 grain full metal jacket (FMJ) projectile. Designed with a soft lead core surrounded by a full copper jacket, these rounds produce minimal terminal expansion, making them an affordable option for range training and target shooting.
These rounds are factory fresh, 100 percent non-corrosive, Boxer primed, and brass cased. These are +P overpressure loads that produce a muzzle velocity of 1220 feet per second and a muzzle energy of 992 foot pounds.
Hey gun fans! Before we tell you about PMC’s 38 Super +P ammo, let us just say that it is not the same as 38 Special ammo. A lot of good folks order 38 Super and then call us asking why it won’t chamber in their revolvers. Don’t let that be you!
This is the cartridge you want for target practice with your 1911 or other type of semi-automatic handgun. PMC loaded it with a 130 grain FMJ bullet, just a simple lead core/copper jacket combo that delivers a 1,100 fps muzzle velocity for satisfying downrange accuracy. We’d rather use this ammo for self-defense than our bare fists alone, because we hurt our arm playing with the dog last week and can’t punch for beans at the moment, but we wouldn’t expect an FMJ to expand as it tunnels through flesh. For paper targets the economical little range bullet can not be beat, though.
PMC is based in the good Korea and makes their country’s military ammo when they’re not serving the American consumer market. They’re a subsidiary of a massive metal fabricator and accordingly make their own reloadable brass cases. PMC pays attention to every detail to give their Bronze loads consistent, clean, and satisfying performance at the range!