.38 Special (9x29mmR)

.38 Special


The .38 Special (9x29mmR, full name .38 Smith & Wesson Special) cartridge was introduced in 1902. It’s a stretched, more powerful version of the older .38 S&W cartridge.

It quickly became very popular in the USA. During the better part of the 20th century it was the most widely used revolver cartridge in America, for both civilian and police applications. It was also issued to certain military personnel, most notably to USAF and USN pilots during the 1950’s and 60’s.

It is still quite popular and is currently produced by many ammunition manufacturers worldwide in a large number of versions.  There are loadings intended for target shooting, practice or for self-defense.

It must be noted: certain modern ‘high pressure’ rounds, usually marked with +P suffix, are NOT suitable for older revolvers, designed for standard pressure loadings.


Designation Manufacturer Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
 JHP Remington 7.12 290 299 modern loading
JHP +P High Velocity Federal 8.36 290 346 modern high pressure loading with Hydra Shok bullet
LSWC +P Remington 10.2 270 374 modern high pressure loading