The June Guns and Ammo tests the new Speer 38+P 135 gr. Gold Dot. It looks like it works as advertised. From a two-inch Model 49, it generates 878 fps. That compares to 760 fps for the Winchester 158 SWCHP and 810 fps for the Black Hills 125 JHP.
Mike from Feces Flinging Monkey emails "I've often wondered if the solution here is to use really heavy bullets and modest powder charges - flatpoints of 200 grains or more, lots of dwell time in the barrel to pick up kinetic energy, and lots of sectional density for deep penetration."
I've wondered the same thing myself. The Brits moved from a 265 grain .455 military loading to a 200 grain .357 loading (the 38 S&W) and claimed to see no difference in effectiveness. Given their colonial activities and the troubles in Ireland, the British army had plenty of CQC experience when they made the change.
I've played around with a similar loading for the 38 SPL. They have much less muzzle blast than .357 rounds andm thus, are more controllable. Penetration at close range should be no problem given their sectional density.