It is kinda a trade-off. You can buy a S&W and get the better trigger, smoother cylinder and hammer now.......or have the same thing with the Ruger later with greater longevity. I went with the longevity of the sp101. I also believe that carrying 5 to ten rounds less than a 9mm striker fire pistol warrants 357mag loads for maximum one shot stops.
My opinion only. 38 special, even plus p, is subpar to the modern 9mm cartridge. I carry my pistol for ccw. I'm not a competitive shooter, nor do I hunt with handguns. That being said, if I am going to carry only 5 rounds I want them to count.....357mag.
For pure ccw purposes, I would carry a 10 to 15 round striker fire pistol, before I would carry a sp101 in 38 special. I also believe that something is better than nothing. There is nothing wrong with carrying 38 special, however there are better options out there for personal protection.