Except for perhaps a "vintage" collectors piece; I simply could never bring myself to buy a dedicated .38 Spcl. A .357 Mag is simply too much more versatile. Shoot mostly .38s (incl +p options)? Sure. But, to buy a gun that is limited to these options? No way.ninjatoth said:If you are going to be getting a snub then I would really consider thinking about a .38+p snub instead of a .357,the advantage of that .357 round's knockdown power over a .38+p isn't all that superior in a revolver with a barrel under 4",plus .357 revolvers cost alot more.
My way of looking at it is,if i'm gonna get a small ccw sized gun i'll always go with a straight .38 because the gun will cost less and I know i'd never fire .357's through it anyways.Now if we are talking a medium/large framed gun with a 4" barrel,than I will always,always go with a .357 mag,I couldn't bring myself to buy a full sized straight .38,it would be a waste not to go .357Under $400: Taurus, Charter Arms
$400+: Ruger, S&W
I agree about 90% with Ninjatoth's thoughts above. The one caveat is if you'll be carrying it much in the great outdoors, camping, hiking, etc. In that case, buy the 357mag.
I own an SP101 357mag...and it's fun to shoot in 357mag...in a controlled situation, with hearing protection, when you have time to shoot in single action, etc. But I would never carry it in an urban environment loaded with 357mag. A big part of the logic there is the massive flash when dark and decibel level in an enclosed area where the sound has few places to escape.
If weight matters, major advantage to the Ruger LCR in either caliber.