Difference Between 38 and 357 (With Table)

Difference Between 38 and 357 (With Table)

We all exist in a universe where conflict is always a possibility. This is why different countries have their own arsenals of weapons and ammunition. Unnecessary weapons or aggressive weapons bring unnecessary conflicts. The last 20 years have seen a proliferation of weapons worldwide, for nothing less than death. 

The .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammunition are two kinds of pistol cartridges.  Both were developed from small arms. The projectile for the.38 Special was originally a 38-caliber Long Colt cartridge with a half-ounce bullet. Although both cartridges have special characteristics, neither can be used interchangeably with the other. The two kinds of cartridges exercise different operating strokes, measuring their stopping power. In some cases, this difference leads to various conversions. 

38 vs 357

The main difference between the 38 and 357 cartridges is that the 38 is more accurate and has more controlled recoil. On the other hand, the 357 cartridge has a velocity profile of 1090 ft/s and is widely renowned for its effective blocking capacity. The .38 bullet is employed in handguns and carbines, while the .357 bullet is mostly utilized for self-defense because of its high stopping strength.

Difference Between 38 and 357

The 38 cartridges had been initiated in the United States military in 1898 to replace the 38 long colts, which lacked good stopping power. These are some of the few cartridges utilized by the US Army during WWII and even by US officers between 1920 and 1990.

The 357 cartridges were first introduced in 1938. It is primarily used to hunt small animals such as deer. It’s also found in several shooting games. Elmer Keith and Phillip B. Sharpe created and designed it. It has a massive pressure of 35,000 pounds per square inch.

Comparison Table Between 38 and 357

Parameters of Comparison38357
CreatorsSmith and Wesson from the U.s.a designed the. 38 cartridge.Elmer Keith and Phillip B Sharp from the U.s designed the .357 cartridge.
ApplicationsThe.38 bullets were being used by US police and army, and also during World War II.The.357 bullet is primarily used for medium and small sport hunting as well as shooting games.
Highest pressure17000 PSI35000 PSI
Muzzle rate940 ft/sec1090 ft/sec
GearQuasi pistols automatic pistols and assault riflesshooting pistols and rifles

What is 38?

After the failure of.38 Long ammo in the Philippines war, the US army adopted the.38 Special Cartridges. Because of its higher recoil velocity and pressure, it was presented. It has a lot of power and speed, which helped it become one of the few cartridges used by the army and police between 1930 and 1990.

It is one of the most well-known self-defense and aim shooting casings.  When compared to .357 cartridges,38 bullets are generally less expensive.  A standard .38 cartridge has a firing rate of 755 feet per second, significantly lower than the muzzle velocity of .357 cartridges.

The following are the main advantages of the.38 Special Cartridges:

  • One of the most significant advantages of the .38 cartridge is the low cost of ammunition.
  • It does have a lower rate of recoil.
  • It sells firearms for a very low price.

The following are the.38 Special Cartridges’ major flaws:

  • One of the most significant drawbacks of the .38 cartridge is its ineffective stopping force and capacity, which makes it less defensive.
  • In today’s world, .38 cartridges have a limited application and use.

What is 357?

In 1930, the US Army adopted the.357 Magnum cartridge to supplement Colts .38 Super Fully automated pistol cartridges. The cartridge chamber is approximately 1.66 milliliters in volume. It’s one of the most effective cartridges for shooting small and medium-sized shooting games. It has a very effective defense and holding power.

By properly loading it, it could also be utilized against big animals. It is made applicable by security personnel outside ATMs, civilian populations for shooting animals and self-defense, and police during highway patrolling because of its defensive qualities.

The following are the main advantages of the.357 Magnum cartridges:

  • One of the most significant advantages of the.357 Magnum cartridge has a wider range of applications and uses.
  • Because it has a greater velocity component and excellent permeation and stopping power.
  • Another benefit is that assault rifles can be used as well.
  • There are a total of 38 special cartridges.

The following are the main drawbacks of .357 Magnum cartridges:

  • The .357 Magnum cartridge has a lot of recoil, one of its major drawbacks.
  • The .357 cartridge’s ammunition is extremely expensive.
  • This cartridge’s firearms are also quite costly.

Main Differences Between 38 and 357

  1. There are only a few applications and uses for the.38 Special cartridge. The .357 Magnum cartridge, on the other hand, has a broad array of applications and utilizes.
  2. The recoil rate of the .38 cartridge is lower. In comparison, the .357 cartridge has a lower rate of recoil.
  3. The firearms that use .38 cartridges are less expensive than those that use .357.
  4. The maximum pressure of the.38 Special cartridges is 17000 PSI. The .357 Magnum cartridges, on the other hand, have a compressive force of 35000 PSI.
  5. The muzzle velocity of.38 cartridges are 940 feet per second. .357 Magnus cartridges, on the other hand, have a firing rate of 1090 feet per second.


There will always be a debate about which of the two cartridges, the .38 bullet or the .357 bullet, is better. Both have advantages and disadvantages, making it difficult to choose the best option. Bullets in the .38 caliber have a wide range of applications and uses.

In comparison to .357 cartridges, it is also less expensive. The .357 cartridge has a higher firing rate, pressure, and blocking power than other cartridges. It is occasionally used for hunting and by security officers as a defensive weapon. If you’re a civilian looking for bullets, you’ll want to look for .357 cartridges.

Before deciding which cartridge to buy, one must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both cartridges. Let’s hope this article provides enough information about the .38 and .357 cartridges to make an informed decision.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037907381830330X
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0379073811002155
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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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