JT: You are correct about the dwell time in short barrel handguns.
S&W sets up the .38s with 158 grain Speer ammo, including the .38 Titanium, that has a 1.75" barrel. When I put in a light, hot +p personal protection round at 10 yards the striking point was a full 8" below the aim point.
S&W was pretty open about the effect, but did not have a good answer when I asked about where to get a 158 grain JHP +p. Triton used to make them but demand was low so thet stopped. The solution? With S&W's concurrence, I filed an eighth inch off of the front site. Voila - all is well with a 129gr JHP from Federal.
Actaully, part of the problem arose when I changed the grip from the little wooden one to a rubber one similar to the one on the small .357 mag. It makes the recoil very tolerable but the added control actually keeps the barrel from rising as quickly as the designers intended thereby adding to the low patterns. With the original handle the problem would have been minor. BTW, S&W sent me a few extra front sights to play with. Nice touch.
One point though, as Van sensei has pointed out, this gun was intended for very short range use, not 25 yard target shooting. At 5 to 7 yards, it is right on. And to my satisfaction, I can hit a target at 25 yards if I need to.