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RM, the 38 super was developed to give increased penetration for the 1911 pistol. I think it came out in the 30's as a higher pressure and velocity version of the 38acp. It is a rather unusual cartridge in the respect that it is semi-rimmed instead of rimless. If you see a 38s case, you will feel a noticable rim on it. This is the only cartridge I know that is still made in this format. As to its application, it is mainly used as a competition cartridge. You probably have heard of the IPSC race guns with compensators and dot scopes. The 38s is the most common chambering of these. It is also gaining some inroads into IDPA because 10rd mags are available for it, making it ideal for ESP class. In a standard gun, it feels like a hot 9mm to me. In a comped gun it is a completly different experiance. These guns don't move as much in recoil, and allow for much faster recoil recovery. I know that some people are getting carry guns in this caliber because it can be loaded to ballistics similar to the 357 mag and Sig, while giving the advantages of a 10rnd capacity in 1911s and higher in the SV/STI platform.
 
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