.38 ACP

The .38 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) also known as the .38 Auto was introduced at the turn of century for the Browning designed Colt M1900. It had first been used in his Model 1897 prototype, which Colt did not produce. The metric designation for the round is 9x23mmSR (SR - Semi Rimmed) (not to be confused with the modern 9x23mm Winchester).


One of the least successful of Browning's pistol cartridges, it was too powerful for a blowback pistol and not powerful enough to be considered for the United States Military. However, it did see small but steady sales up until the introduction of the more powerful .38 Super. Europe would eventually favor the 9 mm Para cartridge developed from the 7.65 mm Parabellum. The Luger was ballistically similar to the .38 ACP but utilized a smaller case and higher pressures. Browning himself was not done with 9 mm cartridges and would soon introduce the 9 mm Browning Long (9x20mm) in 1903 and the .380 ACP (9x17mm Short) in 1908.

.38 ACP pistols


Even though .38 ACP and .38 Super are the same size, it can be potentially dangerous to use .38 Super ammunition in a firearm intended for .38 ACP, as firearm damage my result.

There are over a dozen autoloading pistol cartridges, both semi-rimmed and rimless, in this caliber. Often, foreign or ambiguous headstamps make identification impossible. When in doubt, it is best not to fire suspicious cartridges in any firearm.

See also


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