When it was originally created in 1898, the .38 special was
thought to be a round that would be quickly forgotten. However, as time would
tell it, the round is now one of the highest-manufactured rounds on the market.
This could be for it’s extremely low recoil rate and ease of shooting for new
shooters. Originally loaded with about 21 grains of black powder, the .38
special was considered an improvement over the .38 long colt.
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.