Judging by your questions, you are a new shooter.
If you're going to carry it, you had better practice enough to become accurate and effective with it. It is not enough to merely "sight in and 'get the feel for.'"
It has been my own experience that the easiest-to-shoot .38 Special loads are those with heavy bullets, fired at relatively slow speeds. You might try 158-grain-bullet loads, specifically. I suggest lead-bullet loads for practice, and best-quality hollow-point semi-jacketed or jacketed bullets for self-defense.
You need concern yourself only with the weight and type of the bullet, since there is a limit to the pressure that even a +P gun can withstand. That automatically takes care of the amount and type of powder involved.
I suggest against the use of +P loads, since this "feature" increases the painful part of recoil, while delivering insufficient improvement in effectiveness to make the pain worthwhile.
Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to purchase in-bulk handloads (usually sold in paper bags, or in reused boxes) because you cannot be sure that the ammunition was properly and carefully handled by the loader. Buy "name-brand" ammunition because its manufacturer is a known source, with a well-known ability to produce high-quality products. (But avoid all Russian-made and steel-case ammunition as you would the plague.)
Do not use a friend's handloads, unless you are absolutely certain of his reloading ability and his personal sense of quality control.