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  #51  
Old 03-10-2017, 10:43 AM
gen3guy gen3guy is offline
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Is the .380 cartridge underpowered? Is the .380 cartridge underpowered? Is the .380 cartridge underpowered? Is the .380 cartridge underpowered? Is the .380 cartridge underpowered?  
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The caliber wars go on and on. I have 2 .380s, a Walther PPK/S and a Beretta model 84. The main reason I own these pistols is that they score high on 'cool factor'. I do keep the Beretta in my night stand (accompanied b a CA Bulldog) and I feel OK with it. My away from home carry piece is usually a Glock 23 or a Smith Model 36.

You can inflict a lethal wound on someone with a .22. Who wants that? If I have to use a firearm for defense, it's first purpose will be to intimidate. This is after I have exhausted all opportunities to avoid the situation to begin with. If I can stop the threat by retreating I will do so.

I'm sure that there's somebody out there with a loaded .500 S&W Magnum in their car. They'll need to hit with the first shot, hope there's no bystanders within 1/2 a mile, and know a good audiologist. Carry what you shoot well.
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  #52  
Old 03-10-2017, 11:16 AM
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I see a lot of very small .380's at concealed carry classes that are exclusively carried by women.
They LOVE the size before firing them!
After firing the minimum 50 rounds, ALL of these women have sliced their hand because the slide recoiling back cuts them between the thumb and finger.
Yes, every one of them gets cut.
They like the "pink color" of the pistol.
Most all of these permit holders probably will never practice with this "new item" in heir purses, but I guarantee you that everyone will remember the cut on their shooting hand.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Erich View Post
I think there is a problem trying to make the .380 into something it's not.

I'll thumbnail this, because many here have heard it before. I've worked in some capacity on more than 200 handgun killing cases. After a while a pattern started to emerge, and it's stayed true. The only thing that will guarantee the cessation of offensive action by a human is a hit to either 1) the brain/spinal cord or 2) the heart/aorta. An effective defensive handgun is one that allows the user to accurately target these vitals and provides sufficient penetration to hit them. That's all. Other hits might stop a person, but these will. Period.

You might want expansion to increase the diameter of the tissue damage. Fine, so long as it doesn't trade off the penetration you need to reach these vitals. You might want expansion to prevent overpenetration. Fine and noble - Rule 4 should always remain prominently in our heads.

Turning to the call of the question for this thread: Is the .380 cartridge underpowered?

I have worked now on dozens of killing cases in which .380s were used. I have never seen a case in which .380 hardball failed to penetrate to the depth needed to hit the heart/aorta or brain/spinal cord. .380 ball appears to be effective. (And, while I've worked on one case in which a .380 ball round overpenetrated its intended target and wounded a person beyond, it only hit the first guy's calf so I have a hard time saying that it's a dangerously overpenetrative round.)

However, I have worked on three shootings in which .380 hollow points failed to penetrate sufficiently hit these vitals. (And these were fired from guns with longer barrels than the LCP types have.) Boy, but so many have been convinced that hollow points are the way to go (just look up-thread, for instance), and that's all the gun magazines show as defensive ammo from these guns. Not for me!

Think about what a hollow point does. By opening up and transmitting energy to the target medium, it loses the energy of its forward motion. The opening of a hollow point is like putting on the brakes, like opening a parachute.

It's exactly what you want/need when you're using something penetrative like a 9x19 in an urban setting, but is it a good idea for the slower/lighter .380? In my opinion, based on those three failures I've seen, no. A 115-gr 9x19 bullet traveling at 1150 fps is one thing; a 90-grain .380 bullet at 925 fps is another thing entirely. It can't afford to have the energy bled off - it may well not penetrate enough. Look at the gel tests out there. Do you have a .380 hollow point that meets FBI protocols for penetration from your gun? I doubt it. I would say that a .380 hollow point is not an effective defensive round.

But everyone should use whatever you determine is right for his own needs after doing his research.
I submit that there are several other factors to consider. First, what is your personal threat level? Inner city Chicago or suburban low-crime, picket fence America?

Second, what is your comfort limit with regards to weight and bulk? I absolutely love my BG380 because I retain full mobility and comfort.


Third, are you convinced your defensive use must be lethal? I'm reading "autopsy" a lot in this and similar threads. I firmly believe in stopping the threat. That's not to say I will shoot to wound (not realistic) but if my bullets only penetrate to 9 inches, it may suffice to end hostilities. I'm hoping 13 shots will be enough to save my bacon. My personal tests with Hornady and some other hollow points have only reached this deep in ballistic gelatin.
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  #54  
Old 03-10-2017, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Rustyt1953 View Post
This is just an opinion from the cheap seats.

Four years ago, I removed the words "stopping power" and "ballistics" from my lexicon. My ever-present LCP has 7 rounds of ball ammo at the ready.

If I get into that unexpected, adrenaline dump, tunnel vision, them-or-me, smell their breath range confrontation, I want to punch as many holes into them as fast as circumstance and ability allow.

I, in essence, have handed the protection of my life over to the .380 and am at peace with that.

PS: Erich, you rock.
Aw, shucks!
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:41 AM
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Wow wow wow, expansive topic, I loved the LCP,easy to hide, I love the 642 with Ranger +P+ ,I love the .40 Shield PC , I love theSW 60 pc with hot 357s
I would love to have a 9mm j Frame with Ranger +P+ in it, I'd love a snubby 44 mag. The beauty of it is we can buy all these and carry under various circumstances under no circumstance would I want to be shot in the face with a LCP which is wear I would shoot a attacker.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:41 AM
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Anyone who says the .380 isn't a viable stopper with modern defense ammo should prove it by shooting themselves and staying in the fight.
There's a famous old saying about opinions. Opinions are like ------- The bigger the opinion the bigger the -------
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BB57 View Post
A few thoughts...

2) Bullet placement is paramount as "stops" come in two flavors:
- the half that are "OMG I've been shot! I'm going to stop doing what ever got me shot!" type of psychological stops; and
- the other half where you need to hit the assailant in the central nervous system or in the cardio pulmonary system to get rapid incapacitation. One shuts off the nerve impulses and the other drops the blood pressure quickly (still 10-15 seconds).
For the sake of being thorough, there are THREE "flavors" of stops...the two you mention, and, the stop created by the mere presence of a gun becoming known. This is, as I understand it, the most common.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erich View Post
I think there is a problem trying to make the .380 into something it's not.

I'll thumbnail this, because many here have heard it before. I've worked in some capacity on more than 200 handgun killing cases. After a while a pattern started to emerge, and it's stayed true. The only thing that will guarantee the cessation of offensive action by a human is a hit to either 1) the brain/spinal cord or 2) the heart/aorta. An effective defensive handgun is one that allows the user to accurately target these vitals and provides sufficient penetration to hit them. That's all. Other hits might stop a person, but these will. Period.

You might want expansion to increase the diameter of the tissue damage. Fine, so long as it doesn't trade off the penetration you need to reach these vitals. You might want expansion to prevent overpenetration. Fine and noble - Rule 4 should always remain prominently in our heads.

Turning to the call of the question for this thread: Is the .380 cartridge underpowered?

I have worked now on dozens of killing cases in which .380s were used. I have never seen a case in which .380 hardball failed to penetrate to the depth needed to hit the heart/aorta or brain/spinal cord. .380 ball appears to be effective. (And, while I've worked on one case in which a .380 ball round overpenetrated its intended target and wounded a person beyond, it only hit the first guy's calf so I have a hard time saying that it's a dangerously overpenetrative round.)

However, I have worked on three shootings in which .380 hollow points failed to penetrate sufficiently hit these vitals. (And these were fired from guns with longer barrels than the LCP types have.) Boy, but so many have been convinced that hollow points are the way to go (just look up-thread, for instance), and that's all the gun magazines show as defensive ammo from these guns. Not for me!

Think about what a hollow point does. By opening up and transmitting energy to the target medium, it loses the energy of its forward motion. The opening of a hollow point is like putting on the brakes, like opening a parachute.

It's exactly what you want/need when you're using something penetrative like a 9x19 in an urban setting, but is it a good idea for the slower/lighter .380? In my opinion, based on those three failures I've seen, no. A 115-gr 9x19 bullet traveling at 1150 fps is one thing; a 90-grain .380 bullet at 925 fps is another thing entirely. It can't afford to have the energy bled off - it may well not penetrate enough. Look at the gel tests out there. Do you have a .380 hollow point that meets FBI protocols for penetration from your gun? I doubt it. I would say that a .380 hollow point is not an effective defensive round.

But everyone should use whatever you determine is right for his own needs after doing his research.
While I see the logic in your points I have to ask the question: In the three cases where you say the JHP "failed", was the person presenting the threat not dead? Were they not "stopped?" Did the victim suffer injury as a result of the rounds failure?
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:48 PM
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I think something that tends to get lost whenever "stopping power" topics comes up is the distinction between stopping the attacker and killing the attacker, as a few other posters have mentioned.

The purpose of a self defense gun is to stop a violent attack. The attacker may die as a result, but that is not the goal.

Adequate penetration is one factor. Yes, a round that penetrates deep enough (12-18" if you follow the FBI protocols) will be more likely to stop an attacker than a round that doesn't, but not all wounds are the same. A round that penetrates with a deep, but narrow, wound track, like FMJ, may end up killing the attacker, but because of the elastic nature of flesh it may not necessarily stop the attacker quickly enough. On the other hand, a round that doesn't penetrate deeply but expands or has a cookie-cutter effect, like a JHP, may actually cause more trauma and stop an attacker, even if it's not necessarily a lethal wound.

Of course, a round that both penetrates adequately and expands/cuts along the way will be even more effective at stopping an attacker, which is why typical service calibers, like .38 Special/.357 Magnum, 9mm, .40S&W, .357Sig, and .45ACP, are recommended over the .380ACP.

But even then there's no guarantee. All self defense handgun choices are a compromise in one way or another. While most people can probably carry a service-caliber handgun most of the time, that may not always be feasible. People have to make a choice as to what compromises they're willing to make. A compact, more easily concealed gun in a lesser caliber may be a better choice than a larger gun in a service caliber depending on the situation.

Just my opinion.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:11 PM
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I truly wish people would stop using the term "stopping power". There is no such thing. Even the FBI says the term means nothing. They also state that a "one shot stop" is fantasy unless the individual is hit in the cranial or spinal cortex region. Even a heart shot, regardless of the caliber, will not guarantee a single shot stop. Shot placement and penetration are the primary considerations. A round to the brain with a .22LR will kill you as easily as a .44Mag to the same spot.

You carry what you can shoot comfortably. You practice with it. And you buy the best ammo for its intended purpose. Even if it is the lowly .22.

Start on page 7. This is enlightening for those that don't already have a closed mind on the subject:
http://gundata.org/images/fbi-handgun-ballistics.pdf

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Old 03-10-2017, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CATI1835 View Post

...

Start on page 7. This is enlightening for those that don't already have a closed mind on the subject:
http://gundata.org/images/fbi-handgun-ballistics.pdf
This is a great whitepaper/report. Thanks for posting.
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:45 PM
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"Is the .380 cartridge underpowered?" The short answer is "yes". That being said, it is still lethal. Know it's limitations and practice/plan accordingly.
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:59 PM
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I would feel comfortable with any one of the three final winners...especially the Precision One XTP JHP.

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Old 03-10-2017, 03:02 PM
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I have two .380's: A Ruger LCP and a Hi Point. Obviously, the Hi Point is a range toy of sorts - for a .380, it's too big to be a good SD carry gun, picky on ammo...meaning no hollow or flat points and not high enough quality. A gun that size and weight could be chambered in a far more effective round.

Having said that, the .380 round fits a niche in that it can be chambered for guns as small as the LCP or KelTec PT 3AT. There are times when it is practical to have a gun that small. There are times when having extra loaded magazines would be be better than extra loaded speedloaders for pocket carried J frame, so the .380 is the best option. Better than a .32 auto and way better than a .25.

I'm not sure the LCP is the best version of that option, but the micro compact in .380 is the best case scenario in some circumstances. A 9mm chambering in that size of gun would be less than optimum, accuracy wise. So the big .380's? Yes, obsolete, but the micro pistols, not.
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:21 PM
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I do not feel unprotected with my 22WRM revolver as a pocket bug. Sometimes, for short periods, it is the primary.
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:30 PM
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Why buy a .380 when I can have a 9mm in practically the same size?

It's not that the .380 is a bad cartridge--the balance has just shifted in terms of size/power/capacity compromises.
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:38 PM
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Why buy a .380 when I can have a 9mm in practically the same size?
I see what you're saying, and wouldn't argue if that's what you decided. As to other folks, they might say:

First of all . . . practically . . .



That's a teeny-tiny 9mm there, but I won't be hiding it in my swim trunks. I have a photo of me concealing that LCP in my swim trunks (I'll spare you).

Secondly, some of them are just kinda classy . . .



I'd imagine some people might answer, "That's what I have, and I don't have money to buy something else."
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:31 PM
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I read somewhere that an Army MP stationed in Germany in the '70s asked a German policeman why they carried 7.65 (.32 ACP) chambered Walthers instead of the 9mm Kurz (.380) version. According to the cop, 7.65 penetrated car doors better.
If I were required to carry a pistol of that type, i would seriously consider a quality 7.65 pistol loaded with Euro-spec ball ammo. More penetration, less recoil, possibly more accurate, and one more round in the magazine.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Erich View Post
I see what you're saying, and wouldn't argue if that's what you decided. As to other folks, they might say:

First of all . . . practically . . .


I'm assuming that LCP is a good bit lighter, too. There are times when my Kel-Tec is all I can carry. I try to minimize them, but it's a nice tool in the box.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziggy2525 View Post
I'm not a LEO or a Coroner. I do analytics. Seems to me, in all of these caliber debates, people are trying to use the probability of one event to predict the probability of another event without knowing if they are correlated.

As a civilian CHP holder, I carry to stop a threat that could kill or severely injure me or my loved ones (and possibly a stranger depending on circumstances). The statistic that matters to me is how often a particular caliber and type round failed to protect a defender from death or severe injury when it was fired in self defense and struck the BG.

One extreme could be that every BG that was shot with a .380 died, but before they died the BG was still able to kill or severely injure every GG that was using the .380 (or any other caliber).

OTOH, the other extreme would be that no BG was ever killed with a .380 fired in self defense, but no GG that used a .380 for self defense was ever injured or killed either. That would be pretty effective.

It's what happens to the GG that fired their weapon in self defense that matters (again - pick a caliber) .

The outcome for the BG might be relevant if there was some data that showed that the outcomes for the CHP GG and the BG are correlated. I've looked. I haven't seen anything that relates the two things.
There are some interesting pitfalls when you start looking at data. For example, back in my investigator days I knew a chest cutter (thoracic surgeon) who had emigrated from South Africa. Over his career he had treated about 1500 gun shot wounds and he expressed to me once that he felt the most lethal pistol load was the .45 ACP with a 230 gr FMJ.

That gave me pause for a minute as it's actually counter to what most people on the pointy end of the stick had observed, until I considered his point of reference and the sample of gun shot victims he treated. In short, the majority of people he treated survived long enough to end up on his operating table. He never saw the GSW victims that did not live that long. Thus it skews his sample group pretty significantly as his point of reference excludes the people who were dead at the scene.

It's roughly analogous to the operational research done during WWII into increasing armor protection in bomber aircraft. The conventional thinkers wanted to place armor in the areas where they observed the most damage in aircraft that returned from combat. The out of the box thinkers like Abraham Wald however, noted that the aircraft being studied all returned from combat, and thus the damaged areas represented survivable damage while the areas they never observed damage, were the areas that required protection as damage in those areas was not survivable.

My chest cutter friend also noted that the more bullet wounds a patient had the more likely the patient was going to die, as even small wound tracks compromised more systems and damaged more organs and created a greater possibility of creating damage he could not fix, or could not fix in time. In other words, 10 rounds of .22 LR in the torso may not create any useful degree of rapid incapacitation (and is thus a very poor self defense round), but those 10 .22 caliber wound channels will very likely result in the victim dying in a few hours, day, or weeks, so the .22 LR is potentially very lethal when multiple hits are involved.

----


I'm a moderate in the sense that I see the value of ballistic gelatin testing in terms of measuring and comparing bullet performance, however I don't think that very quantifiable and repeatable data has any real meaning if it is not correlated with actual rapid incapacitation in real world engagements.

I have all of Marshall and Sanow's books on the shelf, but just mentioning their names will get a vitriolic reaction as the hard core jell junkies tend to despise the research and lit reviews they've done trying to develop a better model that does a better job of explaining and predicting bullet performance. The haters go out of their way to find potential flaws in what is a very complex subject.

There's not just room for both points of view, but in fact a need for both points of view.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:26 PM
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I've carried a variety of calibers in my "woods guns" 44, 45, 357, 22, and now my EDC 380. I trained differently for each. As time went on and I relied on smaller calibers to protect myself and anyone who happened to be with me. Shooting for accuracy hitting vitals is paramount in stopping the threat against you. I realized that when toting my 22 on a hike quick, accurate, and multiple shots, were going to be the key to stopping that threat. Keep shooting until you see results.
I'll be honest, the 22 was the most frequently carried pistol I had. and I was glad I had it when I came across a pack of three feral dogs. My training paid off, I escaped without so much as a scratch. The dogs? Well, none escaped...
I have taken this same attitude with my LCP that go's everywhere with me. If I ever do need it god help the poor soul that will be on the receiving end getting a multitude of high velocity implants.
Yes, I feel the 380 has what it takes to protect you hide when called upon. Apply liberally with enough to see results before letting up. Oh, and prior practice helps.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:06 AM
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I carry my Sig P238 with Buffalo Bore's 380+P lead flat point. BB advertises 20" gelatin penetration @ 1072 fps in a Colt Mustang. I chrono'd my P238 with its 2.75" barrel, got 1073 fps. Even with that hot load, the gun is a joy to shoot - comfortable and accurate.
BB shoots and chrono's his stuff in real guns, not test barrels.
I carry the P238 because at its size, weight and concealability, I'll always carry it, pants pocket, with shorts, belt holster, or even in my jacket inside breast pocket when driving.
Sig has a 9mm P938 available now, and it's within 1/8" of the same size of the P238. If it were available when I got the P238, I probably would have gone with that for more choices in ammo and more power in a standard load.

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Old 03-11-2017, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Erich View Post
I see what you're saying, and wouldn't argue if that's what you decided. As to other folks, they might say:

First of all . . . practically . . .

That's a teeny-tiny 9mm there, but I won't be hiding it in my swim trunks. I have a photo of me concealing that LCP in my swim trunks (I'll spare you).
*shrugs* I can think of damn few times when I'm even in shorts. Maybe when I'm out fishing on the boat. But some of them pike get pretty nasty!

All kidding aside--here's how my thought process went when comparing the LCP I was thinking of getting, to the Glock 26 I wound up with.

Compared to the 26, Ruger LCP is 1.3" shorter, .3" narrower, and .5" shorter in height. The Glock is measured at the slide stop, by the way, which protrudes a bit.

(If I drop the 9mm Glock down to a 43, then it's only 1.1" in length, .2" in width, and .6" in height.)

If I want to have the full 7 rounds my state has deemed sufficient for my self-defense needs, I'd have to use the LCP's extended 7-round magazine. The 43 only holds 6 rounds of 9 (it was never even in the running), but the 26's double-stack 10-round magazine would be underloaded. And if the 7-round limitation ever gets unambiguously repealed, then I can go right on to 10 rounds.

I don't find the width to be that big a deal. The length is negligible--it's either inside the pants, or under a cover garment in the winter. Of all, the height matters the most, methinks, because that determines how much the butt is going to push out and print given otherwise equal holsters.

Weight? It sounds cliche, but I've worn the 26 home and literally forgotten about it.

The flip side is--smaller is not always better. Shorter means a smaller sight radius. Less butt means a smaller capacity and less heel on the hand to control recoil. Narrower means nastier recoil and a crappier grip--I like a 1911 with a short trigger, but my fingers get awful crowded on the petite .380s. My fingertips are frequently jammed into the meat at the base of my thumb.

So I wound up with the G26, and I love it. I shoot it pretty much every time I hit the range. I can't say the same about S&W Bodyguard .380s and Ruger LCPs I've tried (and as much respect as I have for Ruger as a manufacturer, I find the LCP to be...not their best effort).

Hence--that's how I see the compromises balancing out. If you emphasize extreme concealability, then the math changes a little. But to be brutally honest: swim trunks??!! C'mon, man, it's not like you can swim with the gun on anyway!



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Secondly, some of them are just kinda classy . . .
I hear ya, but aesthetics for me stop at downgrading the cartridge. Admittedly, though--what are the chances I'm ever even going to need the thing?

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I'd imagine some people might answer, "That's what I have, and I don't have money to buy something else."
*shrugs* Good for them. For 99.99% of us, we're just wasting money and hauling around useless weight anyway, so they're ahead of the game.

I, on the other hand, am completely irrational when it comes to what guns I cravenly lust after.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by indigo22 View Post
/.... I realized that when toting my 22 on a hike quick, accurate, and multiple shots, were going to be the key to stopping that threat. Keep shooting until you see results.
I'll be honest, the 22 was the most frequently carried pistol I had. and I was glad I had it when I came across a pack of three feral dogs. My training paid off, I escaped without so much as a scratch. The dogs? Well, none escaped.../

/....Yes, I feel the 380 has what it takes to protect your hide when called upon. Apply liberally with enough to see results before letting up. Oh, and prior practice helps.
I agree with you on the .380 ACP, and I'll even extend that to the .32 ACP, which usually offers 1 more round than .380 ACP in the same pistol, and can land those rounds on target faster and more accurately than the .380 ACP, while producing equal penetration, but smaller holes.

There is however a lower limit.

For example I can dump 10 rounds of .22 LR into the A zone at 7 yards with a 1911 faster incredibly fast. I am confident that those 10 40 grain projectiles would be lethal a high percentage of the time when delivered to an assailant's torso.

However the wound tracks are too small to promote rapid blood loss in a human sized target and are often too shallow to reach vital organs, particularly when about half those hits will be rib hits. Consequently those 10 .22 LR projectiles are lethal over a period of minutes, or more often hours or day, not seconds.

I'm just not willing to bet my life on the ability of those ten .22 LR projectiles to stop the assailant in time when it really takes a hit in the central nervous system or the upper chambers of the heart or the large arteries above the heart to create rapid incapacitation.

And while it's not as large a legal problem as it used to be with most police departments having policies of shooting until the assailant is down, it's still a potential problem in civil court when the plaintiff's attorney tells a jury that you shot the widow's poor misguided husband TEN TIMES, downplaying the "self defense" part and ignoring the fact that it was a .22 LR that had limited ability to stop an assailant. That kind of thing is just one of the sad realities of our legal system.

Unfortunately it's not a totally out to lunch argument in a civil suit. It could be argued that shooting someone once or twice with a .45 ACP, that would have stopped the assault and resulted in survivable injuries for the assailant, is more responsible than having to shoot him 10 times with a puny .22 LR. If you've claimed you had to shoot him 10 times because you were shooting a .22 LR, you're playing right into his argument for your "irresponsible" choice of caliber.

If your intention is to protect yourself against 2 legged threats - the kind with survivors who have phones and can call shyster attorneys - then you are on firmer ground if you stay with a caliber that is generally accepted to be suitable for self defense.

In the US that's usually regarded as a .380 ACP or larger, with less regard for the .32 ACP, although it has much stronger acceptance in Europe where it was a common police round from the 1930s into the 1990's.

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Old 03-11-2017, 12:14 PM
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My LCP is carried more often than my J frame these days b/c of back and hip problems getting worse as I age (70). My preference would be my Glock 17 but putting that anywhere on my body would induce great pain quickly, so it would wind up left behind when I needed it the most. I'm as comfortable w/the little .380 as I can be given my limitations. My daily travels are pretty tame, I'm smart enough to stay out of bad areas, and I no longer go in harm's way. Like my 91 y/o uncle says; "It is what it is."
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:45 PM
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I've carried a .380 backup gun and occasionally as a concealed carry gun when the threat situation was low but I wanted to carry something small. I have since retired the 380 PPKs and replaced with a 9mm Ruger LC9s which gives me a similar sized but lighter package with a better round.

I've only had to use a .380 one time in a threat situation and it fared quite well with Federal Hydra-Shoks.

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Old 03-11-2017, 01:48 PM
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I'm not a huge .380 fan, but will concede that under certain conditions with reliable pistols, there is a place for them. I've only owned one .380 pistol, a Walther PPK/S, and that was years ago. I was working for an organization that, while it allowed personally owned handguns to be carried for work, did not allow BUGs or anything smaller than a Glock 19. I wanted a smaller, reliable pistol (the G26 was not manufactured at the time) that could conceal so well no one would notice a tell-tale bulge, and was reliable. I would also carry it off duty when I was out running. One of the guns I purchased for the occasion was a Walther PPK/S. Aside from being almost as big and heavy as a G19, its accuracy was horrible at anything greater than 10 yards. While I now realize that pistols like that were not made for 25-yard bulls eye competition, I was still perturbed by the fact that I was just wasting ammo when shooting at greater distances. While the accuracy issues may have been me rather than the gun, I sold it to buy something else. Ironically, the pistol I kept going back to during that period was a Beretta 21A in .22LR. I'd had one since my college days, and could shoot it pretty well. I got in a lot of practice because .22 ammo was cheap. I loaded it with Remington 40 grain solid point "golden bullets," because the hollow points of the day would likely not open or penetrate sufficiently out of a 1.5 inch barrel - an argument still being tossed about when discussing .380 defensive ammo.

I've never seen the end results of actual .380 shootings, but do try to stay current on the data provided by current matter experts, including Greg Ellifritz and Mossad Ayoob. While there have certainly been cases similar to the "hypothetical 6'7", 300 lb" attacker being stopped by one or a string of small caliber bullets, there have apparently been enough cases where the small caliber rounds did not stop the attack. Similarly, there have been cases where .38s, 9mm, .40, etc failed, but actual successful results have been more consistent. There are those members of the human race who, if shot somewhere on the body, even in a nonlethal extremity, will decide they didn't want it to come to that and stop what they're trying to do to the victim. Then again, there are those who have seemed impervious to even multiple shotgun hits. From what I've read, except for well documented law enforcement uses of deadly force, it is harder than thought for researchers to properly categorize data from shootings by bullet type (i.e. Gold Dot HP, Hydra Shok, etc).

As my opinion is long winded, I will say my take on this debate is that shot placement is certainly the key, while using certain calibers and bullet configuration is also an essential element to stopping an attack.

For a number of years, I was the firearms instructor responsible for an area task force. While my employer did not allow its own people to carry .380s, some of the task force members from other agencies did. They were intended to be used primarily as BUGs or for undercover. Those .380 pistols I've seen and worked with were the Walther PPKs, Ruger LCPs, Kel Tec 3AT, and the Glock 42s. In my observations, the Walthers were selected and authorized back when the PPK was considered the best of the breed if one wanted a concealable .380 semi auto. The PPKs I saw on the range, however, were seldom reliable, owing mainly to the fact that they were old, had not received consistent maintenance, and the users were never properly trained on how to shoot and maintain them. Those who carried .380s either had to get the ammo from their departments, or buy it themselves. The next issue I saw was that during ammo shortages, it was hard for departments or individuals to come up with the required number of rounds to complete the mandated qualification course. Furthermore when a shooter was not as competent with a small pistol as he/she was with a full sized duty pistol, there would be instances where more than one attempt to qualify might be needed.

The third thing I have observed based on that task force experience was that many of the folks carrying or wanting to carry the .380s did so out of convenience rather than genuine need. That was always pretty obvious when someone would ask me for my opinion about a certain type of pistol. Most cited wanting something to carry off duty rather than for a BUG or undercover (or even on duty beause they didn't like carrying anything heavy). While having some gun is better than no gun, you have to have something with which you can competently defend yourself, regardless of the package. If anyone asked me five years ago, I would tell them to buy a Glock 26 or 27, or a S&W 5-shot. Now days, I will recommend a Glock 43 or a Shield. My reasoning is that you're starting to get into "enough" gun in a package that most people can manage to conceal if they think it through.

For anyone who still wants a .380 for carry, the guns I've played with that have seemed to work reliably (for the amount of time I've observed on the range them or shot them myself) are the Ruger LCP and the Kel Tec 3AT. I would prefer the Ruger over the Kel Tec, mainly due to ergonomics. Going back to my earlier reference to 25-yard accuracy, I have found that I could actually put all my rounds fired at that distance into the scoring area of a "Q" target with a Ruger LCP. Still, I think a better measure of performance would be something such as a "up" drill fired from concealment at close quarters distances no further out than seven yards, with all hits in something resembling an "A" zone, with off line movement included, and executed as rapidly a possible.

The Glock 42s I've seen either exhibited 100% reliability with quality ammo, or jammed consistently with cheap junk. I have no experience with the Bodyguard .380, but haven't heard anything particularly bad about them. If I had to have a .380, it would either be a Glock 42 or an LCP, both properly broken in, loaded with the Hornaday hollow point round that the subject matter experts seem to concur is consistently most effective. After all, a .380 is a center fire cartridge that is consistently more effective than a .22 rim fire, and does throw a bigger bullet than a .25 or .32.

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Old 03-11-2017, 01:51 PM
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Probably but I wouldnt stand in front of it!
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Old 03-11-2017, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ISCS Yoda View Post
Yes, Dr. No, and he was given a .32 caliber pistol.
I have often heard this. I have never fired a PPK or its variants (not counting a the new .22) but in the past folks complained to me about the recoil of their PPKs and I didn't know what to make of it. I don't recall having significant recoil in my .380s.
I owned a PPKs in .380, it had a grip which tended to twist in the hand, worse than a Colt .45 CLW Commander.

I have fired other PP series pistols, I actually found the 7.65 PPK the most accurate and comfortable for me.

As for power, try the Ruger LC9s Pro in 9mm or the same size gun, without the "Pro" features in .380. Similar size to a PPK with better grip.

Geoff
Who does not feel disarmed with a .380 LCP Mk. I, but if I knew I was headed for trouble, I'd carry my shotgun or rifle!
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Kframerbluvr View Post
I read somewhere that an Army MP stationed in Germany in the '70s asked a German policeman why they carried 7.65 (.32 ACP) chambered Walthers instead of the 9mm Kurz (.380) version. According to the cop, 7.65 penetrated car doors better.
If I were required to carry a pistol of that type, i would seriously consider a quality 7.65 pistol loaded with Euro-spec ball ammo. More penetration, less recoil, possibly more accurate, and one more round in the magazine.
I don't know where the German policeman got his information. The standard 32 ACP load back then was a 71 grain FMJ at 900 FPS. The standard 380 (9mm Kurtz) load was a 95 grain FMJ at 955. Neither one has a reputation for being able to penetrate a car door, but the 380 shoots a heavier bullet faster creating more energy(still not a lot).

European choices of military and law enforcement weapons have always fit into the strange but true category. The standard Italian pistol and sub-machine gun cartridge in WW1 was the 9MM Glesenti which was a 9x19 cartridge loaded down to 380 power levels. When the Russians were issuing 30 calibre (7.62X54R, later 7.62X39) rifles, they issued 30 calibre (7.62X25 Tokarev) pistols. When they adopted a 22 calibre rifle (5.45x39) they adopted a 22 calibre handgun to go with it (5.45X18 PSM). Anybody ever figure out the British reasoning behind adopting the 38 S&W cartridge prior to WW2? (although they did rename it 380 Revolver MkII)

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Old 03-11-2017, 10:07 PM
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All handgun rounds are underpowered compared to 12 gauge and 30-06.

That said, .22 lr *can* be effective. 380 acpt *can* be effective.

Go ahead and read the details of the Israeli sky marshal who killed several AK-47 wielding terrorists with his Beretta .22 lr pistol with only a 10 shot magazine.

Now, I'd much rather have my .357 magnum or .357 SIG on me. But I live in the real world, and I can't always have a service sized pistol on me. Frankly, those 'experts' who deride anyone who carries a caliber less than a '4', speak from a position of special privilege. These tend to be folks who have jobs and lifestyles that allow them to always carry a large pistol due to relaxed dress standards or general lifestyle. Not all of us works or lives in such a 'gun friendly' enviroment, and sometimes the only option we have a super compact .380 or even smaller.

Carry what you are proficient with, and carry what you can, when you can.
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:10 PM
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I assume some know that the .380 is the deadliest round ever, and know the reason why.
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:26 PM
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I assume some know that the .380 is the deadliest round ever, and know the reason why.
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:28 PM
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no it is not under powered...


hope this helps...
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
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I assume some know that the .380 is the deadliest round ever, and know the reason why.
The .380 in the picture Rustyt1953 posted killed 17 million people by starting World War One.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:56 AM
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My one and only .380 shooting story......
I was a mechanic for the city I live in. One day the police showed up with a car. It seems that the owner was sitting in the drive up line at a fast food place and got to fiddlin' with his brand new .380 carry gun. Yep, he shot himself.
I don't know the exact gun used, but it was described to me as one of those little pocket pistols. (On further reflection, I believe they mentioned it was an AMT Back-Up.)
Anyway, police asked me to try to find the bullet. It turns out that the bullet passed completely through the guys upper leg, through the seat, two layers of inside door panel, broke the window glass and finally stopped when it hit the outer door panel where it made a healthy dent. I found a nicely flattened FMJ inside the bottom of the door among all the broken glass.
All in all, this bullet traveled about 24" through a variety of materials including human flesh, foam rubber, plastic and auto safety glass.
I don't know about you, but I consider that pretty good penetration for an under powered .380.

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Old 03-12-2017, 12:04 PM
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Never fails to penetrate a Caldwell... what else ya looking for?

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Old 03-12-2017, 12:19 PM
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"Some experts will say it's barely adequate, and others will say it's barely inadequate." -Massad Ayoob

I'm kind of on the fence regarding the .380's suitability for self-defense purposes. If you gave me the choice between a Glock 42 and a 43, I can't think of any scenario where I wouldn't choose the 9mm. There are some really tiny .380's that are a delight to carry, but I carry a gun because I believe there is a realistic chance that I might have to use it to defend my life and the lives of my family. I honestly would not feel all that comfortable and confident with trying to do so with a 10 ounce .380 that only holds 6 rounds.

A high percentage of the really small .380's seem to suffer from reliabilty problems and are usually pretty finicky about what ammo they'll accept. The ones that are shootable, handle well and seem to run fine(like the Glock 42) are minimally smaller than currently available small 9x19's, which I view as being substantially better suited for defensive use.

YMMV

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Old 03-12-2017, 01:28 PM
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I think we can all agree that a .380 isn't the best choice for self defense...I do feel it has a place in my arsenal.

There are times when carrying a larger gun isn't practical. I'm happy to have my LCP for those rare times. It is reliable (when I do my part) and I shoot it well at reasonable ranges. The 90grn XTP does well in my informal tests also.

My general rule is to carry the largest revolver I can conceal. Usually that's a j frame but when the situation allows a medium frame .357 is my preferred choice.

We all walk different paths...what works everyday for you may not work for me. The micro .380's allow some of us to go out armed when we might otherwise have to go empty handed.
That's a far worse choice than having an "underpowered" round.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:35 PM
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A 442 has been my drop-in-the pocket gun for the last 10+ years now. So it has the virtue of always being there, and--a big deal to me--always works. Mini semi autos are flatter, might carry a couple more rounds, etc, but in my experience, eventually choke for reasons of their own.

When out and about I carry something "bigger and better", with demonstrated reliability.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Erich View Post
I think there is a problem trying to make the .380 into something it's not.

I'll thumbnail this, because many here have heard it before. I've worked in some capacity on more than 200 handgun killing cases. After a while a pattern started to emerge, and it's stayed true. The only thing that will guarantee the cessation of offensive action by a human is a hit to either 1) the brain/spinal cord or 2) the heart/aorta. An effective defensive handgun is one that allows the user to accurately target these vitals and provides sufficient penetration to hit them. That's all. Other hits might stop a person, but these will. Period.

You might want expansion to increase the diameter of the tissue damage. Fine, so long as it doesn't trade off the penetration you need to reach these vitals. You might want expansion to prevent overpenetration. Fine and noble - Rule 4 should always remain prominently in our heads.

Turning to the call of the question for this thread: Is the .380 cartridge underpowered?

I have worked now on dozens of killing cases in which .380s were used. I have never seen a case in which .380 hardball failed to penetrate to the depth needed to hit the heart/aorta or brain/spinal cord. .380 ball appears to be effective. (And, while I've worked on one case in which a .380 ball round overpenetrated its intended target and wounded a person beyond, it only hit the first guy's calf so I have a hard time saying that it's a dangerously overpenetrative round.)

However, I have worked on three shootings in which .380 hollow points failed to penetrate sufficiently hit these vitals. (And these were fired from guns with longer barrels than the LCP types have.) Boy, but so many have been convinced that hollow points are the way to go (just look up-thread, for instance), and that's all the gun magazines show as defensive ammo from these guns. Not for me!

Think about what a hollow point does. By opening up and transmitting energy to the target medium, it loses the energy of its forward motion. The opening of a hollow point is like putting on the brakes, like opening a parachute.

It's exactly what you want/need when you're using something penetrative like a 9x19 in an urban setting, but is it a good idea for the slower/lighter .380? In my opinion, based on those three failures I've seen, no. A 115-gr 9x19 bullet traveling at 1150 fps is one thing; a 90-grain .380 bullet at 925 fps is another thing entirely. It can't afford to have the energy bled off - it may well not penetrate enough. Look at the gel tests out there. Do you have a .380 hollow point that meets FBI protocols for penetration from your gun? I doubt it. I would say that a .380 hollow point is not an effective defensive round.

But everyone should use whatever you determine is right for his own needs after doing his research.
Do you have an opinion on how .380 ACP performs when it hits bone? Especially in comparison to 9mm or .38 special +P.

Against someone armed with a contact weapon, I would imagine inflicting injuries involving shattering bone would often essentially ensure a stop(mechanical or mobility), depending on the specific injury.

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Old 03-12-2017, 05:15 PM
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I've seen homicides with 22's, 380's, 40's, 45's, and lowly FMJ 38 spl from a snub nose. One thing in common was hitting vital organs or brain/spinal shots.
I shoot a full size Glock 45 really well, but carry a J frame daily cause it's easy to have with me and I can shoot it accurately enough.
Situational awareness has saved me more times that the gun I choose to carry, on duty or off.
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:14 PM
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Do you have an opinion on how .380 ACP performs when it hits bone? Especially in comparison to 9mm or .38 special +P.

Against someone armed with a contact weapon, I would imagine inflicting injuries involving shattering bone would often essentially ensure a stop(mechanical or mobility), depending on the specific injury.
Two of those JHP failures were against a skull. Several cases had skulls penetrated by FMJs.
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:06 PM
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I can echo what texmex and Captain TMD have said. While I'll often carry a .357 or a .45, when the situation dictates and I can't carry something larger, I certainly don't feel helpless or uncomfortable packing my Ruger LCP in .380 loaded with Hornady Critical Defense ammo.

Not to disagree with Ken Hackathorn, but I'd certainly prefer to have my friend carry a .380 than to carry nothing.

Sure there are others that are more powerful, but to put it simply...I sure as heck wouldn't want to get shot with one.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:06 PM
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When I am limited to a small .380acp pistol, I practice facial and crotch shots
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:16 PM
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If the .380 ACP is inherently less effective at stopping a bad guy in real life situations (not gelatin bad guys) compared to other common carry calibers like 9mm, 38spcl and 45ACP, you'd think it would show up among this collection of data, but it doesn't. The results among these calibers are eerily similar. Significant differences in failure to incapacitate seems to generally break with calibers either smaller than .380 or with magnums, higher and lower rates of failure to incapacitate.

An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power | Buckeye Firearms Association
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:37 PM
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If the .380 ACP is inherently less effective at stopping a bad guy in real life situations (not gelatin bad guys) compared to other common carry calibers like 9mm, 38spcl and 45ACP, you'd think it would show up among this collection of data, but it doesn't. The results among these calibers are eerily similar. Significant differences in failure to incapacitate seems to generally break with calibers either smaller than .380 or with magnums, higher and lower rates of failure to incapacitate.

An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power | Buckeye Firearms Association
Consider what the author of that article(Greg Ellifritz) had to say about .380 ACP and the guns that fire it... Is the .380 ACP an Adequate Caliber for Defensive Use? | Active Response Training
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:46 PM
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I carry a LCP custom and feel fine with it. I will say that I only load round nose though....

I concur with Erich's long post regarding hollow points...
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Old 03-13-2017, 12:08 AM
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I'm not a LEO or a Coroner. I do analytics. Seems to me, in all of these caliber debates, people are trying to use the probability of one event to predict the probability of another event without knowing if they are correlated.

As a civilian CHP holder, I carry to stop a threat that could kill or severely injure me or my loved ones (and possibly a stranger depending on circumstances). The statistic that matters to me is how often a particular caliber and type round failed to protect a defender from death or severe injury when it was fired in self defense and struck the BG.

One extreme could be that every BG that was shot with a .380 died, but before they died the BG was still able to kill or severely injure every GG that was using the .380 (or any other caliber).

OTOH, the other extreme would be that no BG was ever killed with a .380 fired in self defense, but no GG that used a .380 for self defense was ever injured or killed either. That would be pretty effective.

It's what happens to the GG that fired their weapon in self defense that matters (again - pick a caliber) .

The outcome for the BG might be relevant if there was some data that showed that the outcomes for the CHP GG and the BG are correlated. I've looked. I haven't seen anything that relates the two things.
Hey, stop making sense, will ya. We're tryin' to have a argument here....

I carry a .380 when it's the only legal caliber I'm allowed.
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Old 03-13-2017, 12:33 AM
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It's not that .380 is ineffective--it's that I don't feel like I need it.

I could say the same thing the other way:

"It's not that .357/.41/.44/.357Sig/10mm is overkill, I just don't feel like I need to carry one all the time."
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Old 03-13-2017, 01:04 AM
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That horse must be just about beaten to mush by now.
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