Contrary to its name, the .38 special round Is actually .357
inches long (the .38 refers to the diameter of the loaded casing.) Early on, it
was mainly military personnel who were issued .38 specials. However, it wasn’t
long before police departments began making them standard issue as well. It was
expected that, as new technology would be developed, the .38 special would become
a thing of history.
Perhaps the only reason it is still manufactured today is
because of the development of the .357 magnum in the 1930s. Simply, to create
the .357 magnum, the developers lengthened the case of the .38. This made it
possible to also chamber .38 special rounds in a .357 magnum. Many lovers of
the .357 magnum today shoot it for this reason alone. This ensures the .38
special will be around for many more years to come.