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Posted: 11/5/2015 9:39:39 PM EST
back in the 70s and 80s, the "magic formula" for a self defense handgun round was a .356 slug in the 125 grain range moving 1300-1400 fps...basically the .357 out of a 4" revolver.

My question is why didn't the .38 Super get more attention? It was not that far behind the vaunted .357 magnum, it held 9 or more rounds, recoiled less, and could have probably been awesome in a full sized 2nd and 3rd gen S&W type pistols.

also...an SMG in.38 Super would have been an interesting combo...and would have been flatter shooting than the .45 and harder hitting than the 9mm.

Thoughts?



Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:44:21 PM EST
Familiarity. While known, it wasn't 38spl, or 45acp known.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:45:31 PM EST
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Originally Posted By xachary82:
Familiarity. While known, it wasn't 38spl, or 45acp known.
View Quote


Yeah, It'd only been around since the '30's.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:46:28 PM EST
Wasn't widely known despite 1911s being chambered for it for decades.

In a parallel universe 38 Super supplanted 45 and 9mm.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:46:29 PM EST
Nobody carried semi autos in the 70s. As far as the 80s, I dont know much about the 38super,but Ill bet 9mm was cheaper. Everything in Law Enforcement has to be cheap. Why do you think everybody carries Glocks now?
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:48:10 PM EST
Unsupported chambers and how the round indexed in the chamber. Some fancy talk like that. IIRC.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:48:15 PM EST
I read somewhere (can't verify accuracy) that it was a popular caliber in mexico.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:51:00 PM EST
Revolvers ruled the day. Revolvers were cheaper for depts to buy and officers could be trained to use them easier than an auto.

Back then and today still, many people are swayed by what the military chooses. The military says 1911 .45 then it must be good. The military says hi-cap 9mm Beretta it must be good.


Some LEOs did carry the Super because it supposedly could penetrate heavy metal car bodies of the day. Along comes the .357 and the Super pales.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:51:16 PM EST
Low accuracy due to head space method and the semi rebated rim causing feeding issues.

Kharn

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:52:09 PM EST
I thought it was back in the day because it was able to go through gangsters body armor.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:52:12 PM EST
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:52:19 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Pogo55:
I read somewhere (can't verify accuracy) that it was a popular caliber in mexico.
View Quote

Mexican law forbids, or it did, civilians owning military calibers. So the 9 and 45 were out and the Super was in. I believe now days the law forbids the Super as well.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:52:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/5/2015 9:54:31 PM EST by Hop-Sing]
It IS popular in Mexico and South America. Citizens not allowed firearms chambered in "military" cartridges, hence the 1911 in 38 super is kinda the "Grail gun" on the other side.

Edit: 21 seconds!
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:52:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/5/2015 9:54:06 PM EST by Mister-Z]
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Originally Posted By Pogo55:
I read somewhere (can't verify accuracy) that it was a popular caliber in mexico.
View Quote


That was that bullshit legal issue - no military calibers allowed so............ 38 super!

Eta, damn, beaten twice in under 40 seconds.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:53:20 PM EST
Semi-rimmed case might have been iffy in a subgun. Worked ok in 1911s I guess.
No suitable bullets available that fed well and poked superior holes back then.
The .357 could use larger meplat LSW to get decent wound channels, and didn't need to worry about feed issues.
Also, those .38 Supers were mostly single stack...wasting the key advantage of a smaller caliber-nearly doubled capacity.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:53:43 PM EST
Because existing rounds were "good enough" to do the job
The only reason agencies moved towards semi's was because LE thought it was being out-gunned
Admins are traditionalists who saw no reason to move away from a centuries worth of tried and true technology
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:53:45 PM EST
I seem to remember reading somewhere that it was reasonably popular with federal LE around the time it was introduced.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:55:20 PM EST
The .41 magnum was another 'wonder po-po caliber' that soon fell from po-po grace.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:57:34 PM EST
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Originally Posted By pcsutton:
The .41 magnum was another 'wonder po-po caliber' that soon fell from po-po grace.
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.357 Sig and the .45 GAP are the two latest wonder cartridges that were going to solve all the LEOs problems.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 10:00:24 PM EST
Hell while we are asking, why didn't cops start to use automatics en mass until the late 80s or early '90s?

1911s were popular (hell the US military sidearm since WWI) and all sorts of other single action autos were around.

Link Posted: 11/5/2015 10:02:06 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Pogo55:
I read somewhere (can't verify accuracy) that it was a popular caliber in mexico.
View Quote


i have heard this too, with the reason being that they are not allowed to have "military" calibers.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 10:03:40 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Bunn19:
Hell while we are asking, why didn't cops start to use automatics en mass until the late 80s or early '90s?

1911s were popular (hell the US military sidearm since WWI) and all sorts of other single action autos were around.

View Quote

Already answered
1911s were largely viewed as labor and training intensive.
Few were reliable right out of the box
Admins were largely traditionalists who had carried revolvers themselves
Semi's took off in LE when higher capacity semis were available to the general population and it was perceived that law enforcement was losing to the criminal element
Plus you had companies like Glock that had aggressive marketing tactics that made their products desirable to cash strapped agencies.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 10:03:46 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Bunn19:
Hell while we are asking, why didn't cops start to use automatics en mass until the late 80s or early '90s?

1911s were popular (hell the US military sidearm since WWI) and all sorts of other single action autos were around.

View Quote

Answered above by several posts.

1. what they had (revolvers) was good enough in the eyes of the dept

2. Cost of revolver vs auto and training needed


Link Posted: 11/5/2015 10:04:09 PM EST
Originally Posted By ClatuVertanictu:
back in the 70s and 80s, the "magic formula" for a self defense handgun round was a .356 slug in the 125 grain range moving 1300-1400 fps...basically the .357 out of a 4" revolver.

My question is why didn't the .38 Super get more attention? It was not that far behind the vaunted .357 magnum, it held 9 or more rounds, recoiled less, and could have probably been awesome in a full sized 2nd and 3rd gen S&W type pistols.

also...an SMG in.38 Super would have been an interesting combo...and would have been flatter shooting than the .45 and harder hitting than the 9mm.

Thoughts?

View Quote


The 38 Supers I've seen in USPSA Matches were jam-o-matics.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 10:05:05 PM EST
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Originally Posted By tc556guy:

Already answered
1911s were largely viewed as labor and training intensive.
Few were reliable right out of the box
Admins were largely traditionalists who had carried revolvers themselves
Semi's took off in LE when higher capacity semis were available to the general population and it was perceived that law enforcement was losing to the criminal element
Plus you had companies like Glock that had aggressive marketing tactics that made their products desirable to cash strapped agencies.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By tc556guy:
Originally Posted By Bunn19:
Hell while we are asking, why didn't cops start to use automatics en mass until the late 80s or early '90s?

1911s were popular (hell the US military sidearm since WWI) and all sorts of other single action autos were around.


Already answered
1911s were largely viewed as labor and training intensive.
Few were reliable right out of the box
Admins were largely traditionalists who had carried revolvers themselves
Semi's took off in LE when higher capacity semis were available to the general population and it was perceived that law enforcement was losing to the criminal element
Plus you had companies like Glock that had aggressive marketing tactics that made their products desirable to cash strapped agencies.

The military's move to the Beretta also helped.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 10:06:28 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Bunn19:
Hell while we are asking, why didn't cops start to use automatics en mass until the late 80s or early '90s?

1911s were popular (hell the US military sidearm since WWI) and all sorts of other single action autos were around.

View Quote
I may be mistaken but I believe the fallout from the 1986 FBI Miami shootout really pushed the shift toward semi's by LE.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 10:10:23 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Bunn19:
Hell while we are asking, why didn't cops start to use automatics en mass until the late 80s or early '90s?

1911s were popular (hell the US military sidearm since WWI) and all sorts of other single action autos were around.

View Quote
Back when I was in HS (class of '73) certain individual officers had them. Small PDs would often let you carry

what you wanted since they sometimes didn't issue pistols.
Link Posted: 11/6/2015 12:27:27 AM EST
Because revolvers ruled back in the day
Link Posted: 11/6/2015 12:39:12 AM EST
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Originally Posted By pdg45acp:


The 38 Supers I've seen in USPSA Matches were jam-o-matics.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
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Originally Posted By pdg45acp:
Originally Posted By ClatuVertanictu:
back in the 70s and 80s, the "magic formula" for a self defense handgun round was a .356 slug in the 125 grain range moving 1300-1400 fps...basically the .357 out of a 4" revolver.

My question is why didn't the .38 Super get more attention? It was not that far behind the vaunted .357 magnum, it held 9 or more rounds, recoiled less, and could have probably been awesome in a full sized 2nd and 3rd gen S&W type pistols.

also...an SMG in.38 Super would have been an interesting combo...and would have been flatter shooting than the .45 and harder hitting than the 9mm.

Thoughts?



The 38 Supers I've seen in USPSA Matches were jam-o-matics.


My dead stock Pt-1911 in .38 Super works well enough for me to use as a carry piece.
Link Posted: 11/6/2015 12:52:17 AM EST
My first auto pistol was a Commander in .38 Super. It never really took off in LE circles for several reasons.

1. Reputation for poor accuracy
2. 1911's cost BIG bucks compared to a revolver and a 1911 was the only .38 Super game in town.
3. A lot of your larger agencies did not allow autos of any flavor.
4. By the time they DID allow autos, lots of nice 9mm's were showing up in the market that were STILL cheaper than a 1911.
5. Modern 9mm loads are pretty darn close to .38 Super.

As for the .41 magnum, N frames and a poor duty load doomed it. Carried one of those too.
Link Posted: 11/6/2015 12:57:57 AM EST
it started as a cop gun to help combat against the well made american vehicles the gangsters were driving. Back then though training and reliability were lacking. A guy I used to shoot with used to bring his grandfathers colt 38 super once in a while (old texas ranger)
Link Posted: 11/6/2015 12:58:39 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Pogo55:
I read somewhere (can't verify accuracy) that it was a popular caliber in mexico.
View Quote



Civilians at the time could not own firearms in "military" calibers so the 45 acp was out and the 38 super 1911 was the thing to have .

Not sure of present laws
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