38 Super or .45 ACP

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by BCD 45, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    Hello ya'll.

    Well, I'm in the "Beginners Corner" for sure with only my 1st post since the introduction. I mentioned in my intro that I'm 67 and have had lots of guns but I'm brand new to 1911's for only a month now.

    The 2 1911's that I have purchased are both 9mm's. My 3rd I'd like to be a different caliber, 38 Super or .45 and I want a 4" or 4.25" barrel with a full size grip. You said for dummies to ask away questions so here I am.

    Which caliber do you like/prefer? How well does a 1911 38 Super run as far as reliability goes in the said barrel lengths? I've shot .45's but have never pulled the trigger on a 38 Super. Can the Super be compared to a +P+ 9mm or a 357 Sig in another type weapon?

    Thanks for any input or opinions, I appreciate it very much. BTW, I'm going to have to put a limit on my next purchase at $2500 or less.

    Jim D
  2. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
    I’m in the 38 Super camp. Great caliber, but best to be a reloader. Factory Ammo can be pricey, and sometimes difficult to find locally. However... 38 Super is a reloaders dream. From mild to wild, the option is yours. Very flat shooting, with the umph to get the deal done. Welcome to the forum, and best of luck with your choice!
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
    Fred_G, gps man, joepilot and 2 others like this.

  3. Sneaky One

    Sneaky One Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2016
    This ^^^^^^^^^^^ Welcome to the forum
    41 Charlie and Dwe like this.
  4. Dwe

    Dwe I'm a terminal 1911 Addict!

    Sep 4, 2011
    I also love the 38 Superb however as
    @41 Charlie explained, its availability lends itself to a reloader. If you don’t reload I would tell you to go 45.
    mikegalway and 41 Charlie like this.
  5. Sneaky One

    Sneaky One Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2016
    I don't reload so I watch ammoseek.com for good pricing then get a case. I do love to shoot the round.
    41 Charlie, InstiGator and Dwe like this.
  6. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    Thanks guys, I appreciate all of you. I shot bench rest rifles and reloaded 30+ years but never reloaded for a handgun. I still have all my equipment set up.

    Jim D
    Busa Dave and Old Sea Dragon like this.
  7. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    The only 1911 caliber I'm not a fan of and don't own is .22LR.

    The ones I am curious about and don't own (yet) are:

    • .22 TCM
    • .460 Rowland
    • 9x23mm
    • 50 GI
    • .38 Special
    • 9mm Steyer
    I've got a ways to go . . ...

  8. Oldgunner

    Oldgunner Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2018
    Very limited options on a .38 Special 1911. That's why I picked up an S&W model 52-1 - love it.
  9. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    My first (8) 1911s were all .45s. I didn't consider anything else. As the body got older (pushing 69) I began to acquire 9mm for my wife to shoot. She moved up from .380s. I noticed how much easier on my wrist the 9s were. I came to this forum and now have (3) .38 supers and I am building one for the misses. When I look for new guns now, I gravitate to .38 supers or 9s that can be converted.
    I don't reload so I just consider the price of .38 sup. ammo as the price I pay for the "Addiction."
    cgff, gps man, ZoidMeister and 2 others like this.
  10. InstiGator

    InstiGator Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2019
    I love my .38 supers. As said before, it's a flat-shooting round that can vary from powder puff to power pop levels based on the situation. Nobody stocks it locally, but I can easily find it for a reasonable price online.

    .38 super love aside, if I already had a 9mm I think my next choice would be a .45 and then go for a super next time. Gotta have a .45 in the house.
    Dwe and TheCollector like this.
  11. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    Good point!! about him having 9mms. @BCD 45 mentioned he had (2). Maybe one could easily be converted to .38 sup. Buy a .45 and have all 3.
    mikegalway and InstiGator like this.
  12. k38

    k38 Active Member

    Aug 4, 2014
    I like the 38 Super, but not that much difference from your 9mm's. I'd go for the 45 Auto: since you reload, you can load it down if the recoil is an issue. I'm 70 and it's my favorite caliber. I like to shoot hardball, but 5 gr 231 and a 200 gr SWC is a mild, fun load, and you can go even softer.
    gps man, cgff and InstiGator like this.
  13. Spokes

    Spokes Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Sep 18, 2011
    I have had Supers for close to fifty years and really like them. I reloaded for them for many years also..
    If your hands are still strong get the 45 nothing like shooting a 1911 in 45..
  14. joepilot

    joepilot So soon old, so late smart... Supporting Addict

    May 17, 2015
    You can't really go wrong with either choice. I am a big fan of 38 Super, but as others have mentioned, you really only get the full benefit of the caliber if you reload. Your usual sources for ammo will likely have lots of choices in 45 ACP, both for range ammo and self defense, but may not have 38 Super on the shelf at all. Also, buying magazines locally will be nearly impossible for 38 Super. There are lots of sources online though.

    Whatever you decide, enjoy it and shoot the heck out of it! Welcome to the forum!!
  15. mikegalway

    mikegalway CEO of DILLIGAF industries Supporting Addict

    Feb 23, 2014
    End up with all three , 45 , 9 mm , 38 Super .
    Fred_G, 41 Charlie and SparkyAZ like this.
  16. azguy1911

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

    Oct 22, 2015
    While you may not find 38 super at your local range on-line it's not a problem but It'll run you 50% more over 9mm, roughly $300 per 1,000 rather than $200, per 1,000 for 9mm.

    Personally, I wouldn't let that stop you. It doesn't have the recoil of .45 ACP and is a little bit more of a kick in the pants than 9mm. It's fun to shoot :)

    You can buy a 38 super Guardian, (Dan Wesson bobtail) for a fair price and well below you budget max and they make an amazing gun for the money.

    Good luck and welcome ;)
    41 Charlie and FWoo45 like this.
  17. WoodrowAugustus

    WoodrowAugustus Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2018
    It's hard to imagine having three 1911s and none of them being 45 ACP, so it is tough to recommend against it. But 38 Super is just ideal for a 1911 because loaded hot it edges into 357 Mag energy, loaded mild and you're enjoying 9mm-like recoil, higher mag capacity, and it is utterly reliable in that platform. For purely a range gun, lean towards the 45 ACP due to ammo cost, but I think the 38 Super is perfect for carry and self-defense due to the additional energy, capacity, manageable recoil, and still slim concealable frame.
    Old Sea Dragon likes this.
  18. TRRK Trading

    TRRK Trading Well-Known Member Sponsor

    Oct 18, 2018
    Why not get a .38 Super conversion barrel for one of your 9mm's? Save some money and enjoy the best of both.
    Guy Montag likes this.
  19. WoodrowAugustus

    WoodrowAugustus Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2018
    Because that would be too logical and would keep him from buying another 1911!
    TheCollector and 91045 like this.
  20. Busa Dave

    Busa Dave Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2018
    Welcome and I am in the 38 Super camp as well. Who built your BR guns and by chance are you a long range BR shooter? I am a 1k BR guy myself.

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