38 Super Conversion questions

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by BCD 45, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    Well it says here "the only dumb question is the one you don't ask." So here it goes.

    I've been thinking about buying a DW 4" 9mm Enhanced Commander Pistol, ECP. Can a conversion be done to make it a 38 Super? What does it involve. Is it really expensive?

    Anything you can tell me about this subject would be greatly appreciated.

    Jim D
  2. Wheels No More

    Wheels No More Long gone

    May 12, 2015
    It would probably be cheaper to just buy the 38 unless you want both barrels.
    ronin11 and ZoidMeister like this.

  3. DukeSoprano

    DukeSoprano Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Jan 17, 2013
  4. Capthobo

    Capthobo NRA Endowment member Supporting Addict

    Nov 9, 2016
    Just get the 38 suberb! No need to downsize.
    Dwe likes this.
  5. Descartian

    Descartian Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2017
    I’m guessing you’re fairly new to guns by the question (not a bad thing, we all started somewhere). My assumption is that you do not reload. If that’s the case I recommend you stick with the 9mm. This is coming from a guy that has 1911/2011’s in 7 calibers. The 38 super is going to get expensive to shoot.

    That said if you want a switch barrel gun, you need the following:
    New Barrel (Fitted Properly)
    New Recoil Springs
    It’s a 4” gun so I would recommend a New Flat Bottomed Firing Pin Stop
    New or Adjusted Extractor
    New or Adjusted Ejector
    New Magazines (depending on the gun and the mag maker)

    To make the gun 100% you usually need all that is listed above. You can tune a ejector to run in both calibers but it takes an experienced smith to shape it.

    When it comes down to it it’s going to be costly if done right by a good smith then you’re probably only going to shoot one caliber out of it. You’re truly better off saving the money and getting a whole new pistol in the alternative caliber of your choice.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
    WWB likes this.
  6. Stogies

    Stogies One more please!

    Aug 22, 2015
    Barrel and spring is all you need.
    I have a custom with that set up.
    You should get the barrel fitted though
  7. Dwe

    Dwe I'm a terminal 1911 Addict!

    Sep 4, 2011
    If you use the search function, you will find plenty of info on the subject.

    Can it be done? yes it’s possible.
    Is it easy? depends on your skills, the parts you use and the gun your trying to convert.

    Generally, many manufacturers use the same slide for both calibers, making the coversion somewhat less complicated. Dan Wesson however uses tighter breechface dimensions
    in their 9mm slides making the conversion to the larger semi rimmed 38 super a possible issue.
    It’s the whole bigger won’t fit
    in a smaller space thing.
    So that being said it is far easier to convert the larger 38 super to 9mm
    then the reverse.

    Suffice it to say it is a far more complicated process than swapping barrels in a Glock. If that is what you have in mind than just buy a 38 super
    and be done. Or find yourself a good
    gunsmith and be prepared to spend
    $500-$1000 depending on the parts and machine shop time if you want it done right.

    There is however an end around the breechface dimension issue.
    If you reload, you can purchase
    38 Super Comp brass which are rimless like 9mm cases. This greatly reduces
    tuning of the extractor and feeding issues. You will still need a new fitted barrel, springs, magazines and ejector tuning.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
    Mike0251, Whiten and Stogies like this.
  8. Descartian

    Descartian Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2017
    I’m guessing that your custom gun cane from the smith with both barrels. I’m guessing most of the things on my list were already done before you got it.
  9. Stogies

    Stogies One more please!

    Aug 22, 2015
    Honestly though, it sounds like a great idea, but in reality, not so much.
    I haven't swapped the barrel out in a long time.
  10. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    Hey guys,
    Thanks once again, that's all I was needing to know. I'll just be looking for a nice used 38 Super and I'm in no hurry, one will show up. I don't mind the price of ammo but yes I've got tons of stuff set up for rifle reloading I just never loaded handgun ammo.

    Jim D

  11. azguy1911

    azguy1911 I'm done buying guns, I'm just a bystander now

    Oct 22, 2015
    The Dan Wesson Guardian chambered in 38 super are a great gun for the $$$, you get a lightweight frame, commander slide and bobtail to boot -- so it's a perfect, hard hitting, carry gun at a pretty fair price.

    Ammo's not terribly more expensive especially if you buy in bulk. If you reload, then all the better ;)
    Dwe and 2sharp2 like this.
  12. 2sharp2

    2sharp2 Well-Known Member

    Apr 17, 2016
    Big Cat, So this is where you've been? Came to the dark side! lol

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