I disagree. I think your handgun should be your primary weapon when the SHTF. Life goes on, even after the SHTF. Things might get dangerous during whatever SHTF event, but it may not be appropriate to be walking around with a rifle or shotgun. A handgun offers concealability; the element of surprise.I'd like to start off by saying that this is NOT another one of those pointless "which is better" threads (whew ) I'm just going to ask which would be better for my needs. I realize that with a .357 Magnum you can shoot either for more versatility, but I really only intend for it to be a self defence weapon, maybe to go in the glovebox and temporarily as a home defence "nightstand" gun until I can get a Mossy 500 Field/Home combo. Also as a fun gun to punch paper with and blow crap up with, but hey, all my guns do that :
I intend on using it as a backup weapon for SHTF, because IMO in a SHTF scenario really a handgun of any kind should only be used as a backup weapon if your rifle or shotgun malfunctions or for some odd reason, it isn't on your person (which it probably should be at all times. I don't intend to use it for hunting. Although loaded with snakeshot it would make a good snake gun... but I already have my Rossi .410 for that.
So what i'm really asking is, do I really need to save up the extra money for a .357? Or would a .38 Special suit my needs? Well actually, it'll probably end up being a Christmas gift, but since my family's kinda broke, money is still an object.
.357 will offer you more versatility, but .38 is much more common. Also, you won't have excessive muzzle blast issues with the .38. As far as power goes: .38 Spl < 9mm < .38 +P < .357 Magnum
If I had a choice, I would choose a gun in .357 magnum. However, I wouldn't sweat it if it was .38 only.
If you can trust a 9mm to get the job done, you can trust the .38.