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According to the press release, “Winchester® Ammunition’s new Ranger® Bonded .38 Special +P round offers a great, new option for all law enforcement officers carrying .38 Special snub nose revolvers. The new round is a 130 gr. bonded hollow point and uses the same technology the Federal Bureau of Investigation uses as its primary service round.” Excellent! A .38 with extra stopping power should—I mean “would” be most welcome for the millions of self-defense-oriented snubbie owners; although you gotta wonder if budget-priced .38 revolvers could take the heat. Anyway, here’s how it works . . .

The proprietary bonding process welds the lead and jacket together to work as one unit, controlling expansion and providing superior retained weight upon impact. By bonding the lead to the jacket, it ensures maximum stopping power.

In addition, this same bonding process is used on the 9mm and 40 S&W ammunition selected by the FBI for use as their duty ammunition.

The bullet offers a six segment jacket design for a consistent and programmed expansion at a variety of impact velocities, including the lower velocities associated with snub nose revolvers, to maximize expanded diameter.

I’m in! Or, uh, not. Why not? Why shouldn’t I be able to buy the the best possible ammo to defend myself? Is it because this round is “armor piercing?”

Hang on. What’s this? is opening a door: “The ammo is restricted by Winchester to Law Enforcement sells [sic] only. This is [sic] Winchester rules not the law.” That said, “Orders will not be processed without the proper Identification information received.” I wonder what ID they require. TTAG is investigating (our ignorance knows no bounds).

Meanwhile, 110-grain Winchester Super X is an excellent choice.

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  1. This is good ammo and the evolution of the Black Talon round. It's available for non-LE types from some vendors and on auction sites.

  2. I don't think this is anything new. There's been talk of "special" law enforcement ammo ever since Sam Colt invented the revolver. I'm one of those who believe shot placement is key, once you have enough caliber. And aren't you a proponent of shotguns, anyway?

  3. Doesn’t ATK (Federal) have a similar policy with their Tactical LE line? They push their old Hydra-Shok in their civilian defense ammo line but restrict their HST ammo to LE only.

    I’ve been able to source some at bargain prices for SD ammo – $34 for a box of 50…

  4. Remington HD "Ultimate Home Defense' .38 special +P 125 gr. HP is what I use for this scenario. Plenty of other options out there if Winchester/Olin don't want to sell to civilians.

  5. Just use Speer Gold Dot 135 grain +p Short Barrel rounds for your snub nose .38. They are bonded and designed to be used in 2 inch revolvers.

  6. Correct, the “LE Only” designation is merely Winchester “policy” and not law. If you look around you can find some. The great irony, is that many of the so-called “LE Only” loads are simply rebranded/reboxed civilian loads, and some of these so-called “LE Only” loads don’t perform as well as other “unrestricted” loads. It’s not a guarantee. So, don’t assume that simply because the box says “LE Ammo” that it’s the best. Often it isn’t.

    Do your due diligence and load your defensive handgun with the best performing ammunition available.

  7. Because certain ammo is “only available” to law enforcement, we should re-load our own. That way we can make ammo as equal,or exceed what the cops carry. I truely believe that the common man should have every advantage possible to defend himself; since most police response times are totally un-acceptable.


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