Pros: A good standard pressure load that is easy to find.
Cons: Uses older bullet technology.
The .38 Special revolver is a popular handgun for recreational shooting, competition, and self defense use. When compared to an automatic pistol, the revolver has the advantages of simplicity and reliability.
This ease of use means that the revolver is often recommend for shooters with little or no previous firearms experience. Typically these shooters have little interest in researching the fine points of ammo selection and need a cartridge and load that works well and is easy to find at common retail outlets.
For self-defense use most .38 Special defensive ammo currently sold is the + P variety. This means that the ammo is loaded to higher pressure then the industry standard and will have both higher velocity and increased recoil.
Unfortunately, + P ammo is not always the best choice, especially for a novice shooter. It should not be used in some older revolvers and the increased muzzle blast and recoil can cause problems for shooters with limited hand strength or other problems. In those cases a standard pressure load should be used instead.
This review is of the Winchester .38 Special 110 gr Silvertip HP load. This is a standard pressure load that uses Winchester's Silvertip bullet design. This load is suitable for use in any .38 Special revolver that is still safe to fire.
This load is one of the few standard pressure .38 Special defensive loads commonly available. This load uses brass cases and boxer primers, which makes it reloadable by the home reloader.
While the Silvertip bullet is older bullet technology, and not usually my first choice for defensive use in this caliber, it is designed to reliably expand at the velocitys obtained in standard pressure ammunition.
Because this load uses a lighter 110 gr bullet, and has the slower velocity common to standard pressure ammunition, the perceived recoil is less then with the + P loads in this caliber.
This load has been reliable in my revolvers, which is something I can't always say about other .38 Special loads. It does tend to shoot a little below point of aim at 25 yards.
While this is not my first choice for a self defense round in .38 Special, due to the older bullet technology, the low recoil and common availability make it a good choice for shooters who are recoil sensitive or who need a standard pressure load to use in an older revolver.
Here are some of my other ammo reviews.
Personal defense revolver ammunition:
Blazer .357 Magnum 158 gr JHP's for target shooting with "Magnum Force."
Winchester .38 Special +P 125 gr Silvertip ammo is not for Werewolves
Target revolver ammunition:
American Eagle .38 Special 158 gr LRN ammo
American Eagle .38 Special 130 gr FMJ ammo
Winchester .38 Special 130 gr FMJ ammo - You can do better
Personal defense ammo for semi-auto pistols:
Winchester Ranger SXT RA9TA 9mm Luger 127 gr +P+ is a top defensive load
Federal C9BP 9x19mm 115 gr JHP is a great standard pressure defensive load
Winchester 9mm Luger 115 gr Silvertip is a good standard pressure load
Winchester .45 ACP JHP's for target shooting or self defense
Economical target ammo:
Blazer 9mm pistol ammo: Blaze away with cheap bulk ammo for target practice
Winchester White Box 9mm 115 gr FMJ ammo is good, cheap target ammo
Remington UMC Mega Pak 9mm ammo is good bulk ammo
Blazer Brass 9mm 115 gr FMJ is good, cheap ammo for shooters on a budget
Sellier & Bellot 9mm Luger ammunition - An OK plinking round
Federal American Eagle 9mm 115 gr FMJ is good, economical bulk target ammo
Winchester White Box 9mm FMJ ammo is 50 rounds of good, cheap practice ammo
American Eagle 9mm 147gr FMJ FP for target shooting
Winchester Win Clean 9mm bulk ammo for lead free target shooting
American Eagle 9mm 147 gr TMJ ammo reduces the risk of heavy metal poisoning
Blazer .45 Auto pistol ammo for 1911 pistols or other .45 ACP guns
American Eagle .45 Auto (.45 ACP) for the classic American 1911 pistol
The Winchester .45 ACP 230 gr FMJ load is a good budget ammo choice
Blazer Brass .45 ACP 230 gr ammo is good, inexpensive fodder for semi-auto pistols
American Eagle .45 ACP 230 gr TMJ ammo reduces toxic chemical exposure
9x18mm Makarov FMJ ammo by American Eagle for the pistol of the Russian Bear
Wolf Military Classic 9x18mm Makarov ammo - Avoid at all costs
Winchester Super-X .22 LR target ammo for .22 plinking