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Old 03-09-2017, 01:52 PM
oldiesradio1560 oldiesradio1560 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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Default Is the .380 cartridge underpowered?

This may be a personal choice thing to many people but I'd like to look at this purely from stopping power. Aside from accuracy placement, is the .380 a good carry round? Balistic wise I am looking at 900-1,000 fps but only around 250-275 fpe. The way I see it is if you can't stop a 6'3" 300 lb. bad guy hiped up on drugs without trying to put 6-7 rounds in him isn't a round then ineffective in those first critical seconds?
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:11 PM
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It sounds as if you've decided already.

By your standards, I would say most handgun rounds are ineffective.

I personally would prefer not to have that energy dumped in me once, let alone a few times.

I think the .380 is an effective round, but slowly becoming obsolete due to the size of the current 9mm models.
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:25 PM
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I've herd good and bad about all calibers. I picked 38 special +P. I can handle it and the load I carry works for The NYPD. Now, I hope I never have to find out just how good it is. You just have to reserch if your load and caliber works on the street. Then you have to practice because shot placement is usually # 1.
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:32 PM
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Load selection is more critical in lower powered cartridges. Some .380 loads expand well but do not get enough penetration. FMJ gets plenty of penetration but doesn't make a very big wound cavity. Some .380 loads (such as Hornady Critical Defense) expand to make a larger wound while still giving adequate penetration. Some of the older models of pocket autos were designed around FMJ ammo and are not reliable with some non FMJ ammo. So if you can find a .380 load that works in your gun and gives adequate penetration while making a decent wound cavity, go for it. Most of the .380 pistols I have owned or shot were very easy to shoot well. Low noise, low recoil. If you have a load that has adequate penetration and the pistol shoots well, shot placement should be a big plus. There are several .380 pistols out there that are well made and almost as small as older .25 Auto designs. I have always enjoyed shooting 32 Autos but .380 shoots a heavier bullet faster. A .380 you have with you is certainly better than a 44 Magnum left at home or in the glove box.
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:33 PM
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I can tell you that in 28 years of active, full time Law Enforcement duty, I have seen numerous persons shot dead with a .380 cal handgun. I have a S&W BG 380 loaded with Hornady Critical Defense, 90gr. FTX that I carry occasionally. I prefer to carry a .40 cal but I don't feel unprotected with the .380
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:41 PM
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To quote a world class trainer Ken Hackathorn, "Friends don't let friends carry .380's"
I have a .380 but my real carry gun is a 3913 or my m36 in my front pocket.
.380 ammo is less popular in stores, costs more and is less powerful than a 9mm. Gun size in 9mm carry guns is now about the same as many .380's as mentioned above.
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:42 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 03-09-2017, 02:53 PM
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All handguns are ineffective without good placement in vitals. A good European 380 ball fmj will reach the vitals! Placement is queen. Any of the small caliber from 380 down are more effective with ball ammo.

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Old 03-09-2017, 02:58 PM
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My post comes from a discussion I have with a friend who just got his carry permit. He wants a Walther PPK .380 to carry. I have a M640-3 .357 mag. I carry Hormany Critical Defense. I look at 600+fpe @ 1000+fps a better manstopper than .380. The purpose is to Stop the threat isn't it?
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldiesradio1560 View Post
My post comes from a discussion I have with a friend who just got his carry permit. He wants a Walther PPK .380 to carry. I have a M640-3 .357 mag. I carry Hormany Critical Defense. I look at 600+fpe @ 1000+fps a better manstopper than .380. The purpose is to Stop the threat isn't it?
Yes- one round of each, in exactly the same place, your .357 is probably the better stopper.

Your friend's pistol is:

1. More comfortable to shoot
2. Possibly more accurate
3. Holds more rounds
4. Might be more concealable due to the width

Different strokes for different folks. I personally wouldn't choose a PPK because there are lighter, more concealable choices in 9mm. That doesn't mean he's wrong, or that his choice won't work for him.
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldiesradio1560 View Post
My post comes from a discussion I have with a friend who just got his carry permit. He wants a Walther PPK .380 to carry. I have a M640-3 .357 mag. I carry Hormany Critical Defense. I look at 600+fpe @ 1000+fps a better manstopper than .380. The purpose is to Stop the threat isn't it?
The element of surprise is critical. Springing a 380 micro with hollow points on the suspect is very effective.
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:13 PM
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There was a post on here some time back by a former LE who had attended a lot of investigations into many shootings. He said something that I have passed on many times here on the range. He said he had NEVER seen a .380 JHP that was successful and had never seen a .380 FMJ fail.
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain TMD View Post
I can tell you that in 28 years of active, full time Law Enforcement duty, I have seen numerous persons shot dead with a .380 cal handgun. I have a S&W BG 380 loaded with Hornady Critical Defense, 90gr. FTX that I carry occasionally. I prefer to carry a .40 cal but I don't feel unprotected with the .380
Ah, some one who has seen it. That's exsperiance you can count on. Better than jello and water tests.
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:32 PM
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Real world does hold a lot of sway, I agree.

I have a number of mouse guns, from .22 Short through .380. That includes .22s/LR and WRM and .25s and a .32 to be clear on the subject. Any and all of them are candidates for carry depending on clothing and circumstances. My main carry, as I just wrote in another thread, is .38 Special, sometimes 9mm, but I have carried everything else as the spirit moves me and circumstances dictate.

Any gun beats no gun. Repeat that mantra anytime you are confused on the subject.

Correction - the .22 Short is NEVER carried. It has been but never again.

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Old 03-09-2017, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee's Landing Billy View Post
There was a post on here some time back by a former LE who had attended a lot of investigations into many shootings. He said something that I have passed on many times here on the range. He said he had NEVER seen a .380 JHP that was successful and had never seen a .380 FMJ fail.
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I am not saying the the former LE that you are talking about is mistaken in his personal observations regarding a .380 JHP not being successful. All I am saying is that I have seen them work several times and the person on the autopsy table was proof.

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Old 03-09-2017, 03:56 PM
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IMHO a number of posts have touched on the underlying issue......... gun size...... "SIZE Matters"

Prior to WWII most civilian concealed carry autos were tiny .25 Colts or .32 and .380s..... if you wanted a .38Super or .45 it was a 5" Colt 1911 in 9mm it was a Browning HP ...maybe a Luger if you were a 'bad" guy in a B-Movie........




When I started carrying a gun in 1978........ the most common 9mm and .45 autos in the US were were still the 1911s, Browning HP and WWII bring backs.... such as Lugers and P-38s....... about the only thing new was the Smith model 39.

Small concealed carry guns remained mostly of blow back design..... Colt's in .380 and .32, some Beretta's and of course "the most famous of all" the Walther PP series....... including Mr Bonds PPK.

Keep in mind that the ".380 aka 9mm Kurtz aka 9x17" is about the most powerful cartridge that can be chamber in a blow back design. (OK today there are the Russian 9x18 and the Hi-Point 9mm but not in 1978 in the US)

The smallest/lightest weight,commonly available, guns were the alloy frame 4.25 inch .45 Colt Commanders...... the smallest 9mm I can remember was the Smith Model 39.

Europe was seeing the development of new 9mm Police guns to replace their .32s and .380s ...... which gave us the P5,P6 and P7... all semi-compact...... but still not really small. (Well maybe the P7 but IIRC it was about the most expensive auto going)




The 1980s saw technological advances... and new trends. Several custom gunsmiths were "cutting down" 9mm and .45s..... giving us the ASP and Devel, along with chopped 1911s, Browning HPs and Smith .59s.

The expression "friends don't let friends carry mouse guns" was coined.....

The gun company's picked up on the trend with the Smith 469........ and by 1990 we has the Colt Officer's and CCO models..... Smith 3913s and 6906s.

The race to smaller and smaller guns in 9mm, .40 and .45 was underway in a big way.....



I carried a Walther PPK as my primary concealed carry handgun from about 1985 to 1990 when I got a early Smith 3913 9mm....... Did I feel under gunned with the .380 PPK.....maybe ...... but it was sure smaller and lighter than my Colt Commander or 3" .357 Model 65 at home.

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Old 03-09-2017, 04:05 PM
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Take it from someone who has been there, stopping power is a myth. Best I can offer is to carry the largest caliber you can handle and practice, practice, practice. Personally I carry a J frame loaded w/+P .38 Speer Gold Dot. When deep concealment is needed I'll carry the LCP loaded w/HPR hollow point 90 grain. UPDATE: I just read a lengthly article written by a cop who had worked a lot of homicides where the .380 was used. His take is the FMJ is a better option b/c it reaches the vital organs where the HP usually stops short. Some say they use a mix in their mags but I'd check reliability carefully before doing this. Some guns choke when HP & FMJ are fed through the same magazine. My LCP is loaded w/HPR 90 grain hollow points b/c they meet the FBI tests for penetration.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:22 PM
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A .380 would not be my first choice as a carry gun, but I would certainly love to have the option of a small gun, like the LCP, for times when even my 642 may not be discreet enough.

Effectiveness is relative. A .380 is going to be more effective than a charming smile if you can't carry anything bigger. Assuming I was able to shoot it well, I would be ok carrying a .380 loaded with 90gr XTP, which seems to be the top performer and most recommended JHP load I've seen. Personally, I see the value of a .380 being a carry gun for times when you can't carry something bigger.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
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Is the .380 cartridge underpowered?
Compared to a .22 Short? No.

Compared to any larger caliber? Yes.

Case closed.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:29 PM
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... "with a delivery of a brick through a plate glass window". What movie was that from ? Dr. No, when he gets his Beretta taken away.

I learned, over the years, PPK, PPKS, and clones are unforgiving when held improperly as they bite ... HARD ! Also, will not tolerate limp-wristing.

I much prefer a compact 9mm or .357 Sig.

I'd take a S&W Model 39 any day of the week but that's probably just my background.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:44 PM
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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.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:46 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Rangeline9!

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... "with a delivery of a brick through a plate glass window". What movie was that from ? Dr. No, when he gets his Beretta taken away.
And Q was referencing a 7.65 (.32) PPK with that remark. Fleming may have sold a lot of pulp, but his gun knowledge is not something to cite as authority.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:54 PM
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A few thoughts...

1) all handgun calibers are under powered when it comes to stopping an assailant.

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).

If you don't get a psychological stop, you need good bullet placement.

You are also going to shoot and then keep shooting until the assailant is down, regardless of the caliber you are using.

3) People will argue for ever regarding the caliber requirements.

The FBI wants expansion of at least 1.5x original diameter and 12-18" of penetration (and that last 4" is arguably more than is needed). The benefit of this kind of ballistic gelatin data based approach is consistency in rating and comparing various calibers and loads.

The downside is that the gelatin data and the performance minimums were derived based on an imperfect theoretical model, and that model doesn't always explain actual results on the street. Ideally you should be using the real world results to inform and revise the results of the model.

For example, if you are carrying a .380 ACP, you need one of a half dozen loads, all using the 90 gr Hornady XTP at around 1000 fps to meet the FBI minimum. However, there are other loads that have performed well on the street.

4) barrel length matters a lot in the .380 ACP and the .38 Special.

A good .380 ACP load in a 3.5" -3.9" semi-auto is more effective than a standard pressure .38 Special out of a 2" snub nose revolver, and the best .380 ACP loads are as good as many .38+p loads in a snub nose revolver. And most .380 ACPs offer 7-8 rounds compared to 5 or 6 for a J or K frame revolver.

5) what ever you carry you need to be able to shoot it well under extreme stress and the vast majority of people who carry a handgun for self protection (including police officers) are not as skilled as they should be.

In an actual self defense situation you will devolve to your lowest level of fully mastered training. For many that operationalizes as pointing the gun in the general direction of the bad guy and pulling the trigger.

6) Carry the largest, most effective caliber that you can shoot accurately under practical combat conditions.

For most folks a 9mm Luger is a good middle of the road choice and it balances speed, power and magazine capacity pretty well. If you are a revolver, guy a .38 +P is probably the choice, unless you're carrying a K or L frame and are well practiced and skilled with .357 Mag.
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Old 03-09-2017, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
... "with a delivery of a brick through a plate glass window". What movie was that from ? Dr. No, when he gets his Beretta taken away.
Yes, Dr. No, and he was given a .32 caliber pistol.

Quote:
I learned, over the years, PPK, PPKS, and clones are unforgiving when held improperly as they bite ... HARD ! Also, will not tolerate limp-wristing.
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.
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Old 03-09-2017, 05:22 PM
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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.
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Old 03-09-2017, 05:25 PM
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I think there is a problem trying to make the .380 into something it's not.

But everyone should use whatever you determine is right for his own needs after doing his research.
Erich, you eloquently summed up why I carry flat points in my Kel-Tec. That little tube doesn't look like enough runway to me. I want the slug to reach where it needs to, not open up and ruin everything in front of it!
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Old 03-09-2017, 05:34 PM
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I have never fired a PPK or its variants ..... 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.
There is a difference in "felt recoil" from a blow-back pistol vs. a lock breach. Perception is a .380 has "more" recoil than a 9mm.


If you ever get the chance shoot a blow back .380 and a Colt Mustang "lock breach" .380 side by side.......
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Old 03-09-2017, 05:47 PM
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The answer to your question is another question....

Would you want to receive 2 .380's in the chest area or head area?

Methinks that answers the question.
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:14 PM
Lee's Landing Billy Lee's Landing Billy is offline
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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.
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:23 PM
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Penetration and placement..repeat 1,000 times.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:21 PM
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As a retired LEO/SWAT I've seen people shot with small calibers, some lived, some didn't. As said many times before, shot placement is the most important factor. That being said, I'd rather make that shot with a larger caliber handgun. My EDC rotation consists of .357, .45acp, .44 sp. and .45 Colt. Someone mentioned earlier that you can get a 9mm pretty close in size to a 380. He is right. I just bought a Kahr CM40 that is only 1/2" longer than my Bodyguard 380 and is actually shorter. Six rounds of .40 over 380 sounds better to me. Only weighs 15.8 is too. If you don't like the recoil of the .40, the CM9 is the same size. I bought it for a pocket carry in warmer weather but I'm thinking it will see more carrying time than that.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:44 PM
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Load your 380 with thermonuclear bullets and shot placement won't matter.
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:01 PM
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I have two a G42 & M&P BG 380's,loaded with Hornady Critical Defense 380 Auto 90 gr FTX.I don't think anyone in their right mind would want to be hit by one of them bullet's.Just my opinion!!!
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:40 PM
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Load your 380 with thermonuclear bullets and shot placement won't matter.
Have you tried the +P heavy duty critical defense tackteacool super duper hollow point that was developed using an amazing new break through and new scientific technology? Larry
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:47 AM
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If a subject is cranked up on drugs, you will be sorely disappointed with the performance of a majority of the handgun calibers. Bigger may be better, but shot placement and tactics win the day.

I carry a Glock 42 on occasion with the mindset that I am trading power for convenience and light weight. I carry Speer 90g GDHP.

I do not train to double tap a violent attacker with a .380 ACP, I train to fire three rounds C.O.M. then fire at alternate areas of the attacker until I am no longer threatened with great bodily harm or death.

People who love .380 autos will give you one answer and those who are not comfortable with the .380 will give an opposing opinion. The real issue is sorting through the people who have no knowledge or experience with using a handgun for self defense and parrot what they read on the internet or heard at the local gun shop.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:01 AM
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This may be a personal choice thing to many people but I'd like to look at this purely from stopping power. Aside from accuracy placement, is the .380 a good carry round? Balistic wise I am looking at 900-1,000 fps but only around 250-275 fpe. The way I see it is if you can't stop a 6'3" 300 lb. bad guy hiped up on drugs without trying to put 6-7 rounds in him isn't a round then ineffective in those first critical seconds?
Without reading all of the replies before writing this, I suspect that 90% of the responses will fall into one or more of the following categories:

1. Yes, underpowered. Friends don't let friends carry mouseguns.
2. No, with modern ammo you will be fine because shot placement trumps everything.
3. For all those who said it was underpowered, at least one person will say some variation of, "I bet you would not want to get shot with a .380."
4. Someone will trot out the tired old phrase that "more people have been killed with the .380 than with all the bigger calibers combined." I used to hear this about the .25, back when .25s were still in the game.
5. A .380 carried with you is better than a .45 in the trunk. This person may quote Skeeter Skelton, who liked his PPK, but only if old enough to remember Skelton.
6. With "super bat hi-vel zombie killer bullet made of exploding unobtainium," the .380 is now the best stopper in the world.
7. The .380 may kill lots of people, but killing is irrelevant. The .380 will not stop anyone fast enough.
8. Your ordinary thug will run away at the sight of any gun, so .380s are fine.
9. The following interchange was heard the last time two people argued about the .380: "James Bond used a Walther PPK - that was a .380, wasn't it?" "No, Ethel, Bond used a PP in .32, at least in Dr. No." "Well, then, if a .32 is good enough for 007, then a .380 is a real manstopper." "You do realize that Bond is a fictional character created by Ian Fleming, who first armed his character with a .25 caliber Beretta, don't you?" "See, I told you. If a .25 is good enough for 007, then certainly a .380 will get the job done." "I give up."
And, the 10th thing you are likely to see in this thread: Carry the .380 because anything bigger will not fit in your pocket.


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Old 03-10-2017, 01:07 AM
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.380 will probably get the job done. I just don't see the point unless you're extremely sensitive to recoil or can't conceal anything bigger than an LCP.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:12 AM
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I wonder what the odds are of having to defend yourself against a 6' 3" 300 pound man on drugs?

Pretty low I would think.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:29 AM
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This old chestnut again.

At white of the eyes range, it'll do fine if you hit someone where it counts.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:52 AM
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This old chestnut again.

At white of the eyes range, it'll do fine if you hit someone where it counts.
You got that right!!!
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:07 AM
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I wouldn't volunteer to take two .22Shorts either, but doesn't make them a good choice for SD either.

9Mm subcompacts are available the sme size as most .380, and are far better choice. If I just had to have a semi of less than 9mm, I'd rather have a .32acp instead. Nearly same power, better penetration-expansion tradeoffs, much o ss recoil, leading to better practical shot placement.

And Skeeter carried a Walther PP in his boot top, not a PPK.
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:46 AM
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I've been reading debates like this on various forums for years.
I haven't seen it lately, but for a long time many of the self proclaimed "experts" swore that anything less than a 9mm was completely worthless and only a fool would carry one. Yet, these same "experts" also recommended 2" J-frames.
OTOH you had those saying carry the smallest gun because you will actually have it with you rather than a big one left at home.
The debate goes on and on.

I'm no ballistics expert nor have I been a cop, medical examiner or whatever. I do know that .22s have killed people and other folks have survived multiple hits with .44 Magnums. The fact is, you just never know how a person will react to being shot.

At various times I've carried just about everything from a .45 Colt to .25 auto. I've never felt undergunned with any of them. You just need to know the strengths and weaknesses of what you have and make the best use of it.
Got a 9mm or .45? You're all set for an extended firefight out to 25 yards or more. But how often does that really happen?
What's that old saw? 3 shots at 3 feet in 3 seconds or whatever? Most self defense shootings happen real fast and real close. Or at least that's what the so-called "experts" claim.
All you have is a .22? Fine. Odds are you're gonna be a bad breath distance anyway. Stick the gun in his damned face and fire.... several times! That should take care of the problem.

JMHO, but I don't think its what you carry so much as what you can do with it.

Just for the record, I happen to be a fan of the Walther PP series pistols and have carried them. In fact, I carry a Colt Mustang XSP on my daily exercise walk. Yep, just a little bitty .380 and I'm perfectly fine with that.

FMJ vs HPs? Why does it have to be one or the other? My magazines are loaded to fire 2 federal Hydra-Shoks followed by four Winchester FMJ flat points. If I have to use it, I'm gonna empty the magazine. I'm sure one or the other will get the job done.
BTW: I carry a spare mag too.

Anyway, y'all can get back to arguing statistics and who saw what. These are just the opinions of one old guy.
But then, I'm no "expert" either.
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:11 AM
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There is a difference in "felt recoil" from a blow-back pistol vs. a lock breach. Perception is a .380 has "more" recoil than a 9mm.


If you ever get the chance shoot a blow back .380 and a Colt Mustang "lock breach" .380 side by side.......
A good example of this is the RIA "Baby Rock", a blow back operated .380 ACP, and a Kimber Micro, Sig P238 or Colt Mustang - all of which are delayed recoil locked breech 1911'esque .380 ACP pistols.



The Baby Rock weighs 23.5 oz empty compared to 13.4 oz for the Kimber Micro. You'll expect the Baby Rock to have less perceived roil, but you'll find the Baby Rock's blow back operation and high initial slide velocity results in much sharper perceived recoil. In comparison the Kimber Micro's delayed recoil locked breech spread the recoil out over a longer period of time, with reduced slide velocity and a much softer feel, even though the pistol is 10 oz lighter.


If you compare the babu rock to the PPK/S you now that two blow back operated pistols that are within an ounce of each other in weight and the felt recoil is for all practical purposes identical.

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Old 03-10-2017, 08:31 AM
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Some one brought up the micro sized 9mm Luger pistols.

For example you can get a Kimber Micro Carry in .380 ACP at 13.4 oz or you can get the Kimber Micro 9 in 9mm Luger at 15.6 oz.

Given the apples to apples operating systems, and the significantly more powerful 9mm Luger round, the Micro 9 is going to generate more recoil, both actual and perceived, than the .380 ACP.

Unless someone is willing and able to shoot the Micro 9 as well as the Micro Carry, the Micro 9 is a bad choice for them - they will be better served getting more round on target in less time with the smaller .380 ACP.

-----

I don't regard the .380 ACP as my first choice as a primary self defense handgun, although I do carry it as my only pistol in some specific situations. I have however carried the PPK/S and more recently the Kimber Micro Carry as a back up on a regular basis. Both are small enough to carry in a pocket holster. The Kimber Micro Carry has the advantage of being about 10 oz lighter, and it's a little shorter, but the PPK/S, despite the sharper recoil, has an edge in accuracy.

I considered the Mico 9, but it doesn't shoot as well as either of the above pistols and with a additional .4" in length, it's just a bit too long for pocket carry as a backup.

And it also fails in one role of a back up pistol in our household - handing it off to my wife. My wife does not conceal carry. While she shoots, she does not shoot nearly as much as I do and is not as proficient with heavier recoiling pistols. She can however shoot a Kimber Micro Carry just fine. Consequently, if we end up walking into a situation where we need to withdraw, I can hand the Kimber Micro to her in its pocket holster and she can then lead the retreat while I cover our retreat with my primary pistol.

In other words, how you plan to use a small pistol should also come into consideration when choosing the pistol.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:04 AM
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I wouldn't go worrying about the 6'3 300lbs guy on drugs. Because if you do you'd need to be carrying some serious firepower. Start with something small like a 8 inch barrel 500S&W! Handgun rounds are generally ineffective, especially against people like you describe. Plenty of people survived bigger and badder rounds. Sometimes multiple rounds.

380s lack penetration with HP and lacks wound cavity with FMJ. For me personally they also lack grip and sights. Even ignoring the sights there is not enough grip to shoot fast and accurate. Getting a bigger 380 like a Beretta 84 is pointless because at this point I'm carrying something the size of a compact duty gun so I may as well take advantage of that and use a 9mm.

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Old 03-10-2017, 09:07 AM
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Some one brought up the micro sized 9mm Luger pistols.

For example you can get a Kimber Micro Carry in .380 ACP at 13.4 oz or you can get the Kimber Micro 9 in 9mm Luger at 15.6 oz.

Given the apples to apples operating systems, and the significantly more powerful 9mm Luger round, the Micro 9 is going to generate more recoil, both actual and perceived, than the .380 ACP.

Unless someone is willing and able to shoot the Micro 9 as well as the Micro Carry, the Micro 9 is a bad choice for them - they will be better served getting more round on target in less time with the smaller .380 ACP.

-----

I don't regard the .380 ACP as my first choice as a primary self defense handgun, although I do carry it as my only pistol in some specific situations. I have however carried the PPK/S and more recently the Kimber Micro Carry as a back up on a regular basis. Both are small enough to carry in a pocket holster. The Kimber Micro Carry has the advantage of being about 10 oz lighter, and it's a little shorter, but the PPK/S, despite the sharper recoil, has an edge in accuracy.

I considered the Mico 9, but it doesn't shoot as well as either of the above pistols and with a additional .4" in length, it's just a bit too long for pocket carry as a backup.

And it also fails in one role of a back up pistol in our household - handing it off to my wife. My wife does not conceal carry. While she shoots, she does not shoot nearly as much as I do and is not as proficient with heavier recoiling pistols. She can however shoot a Kimber Micro Carry just fine. Consequently, if we end up walking into a situation where we need to withdraw, I can hand the Kimber Micro to her in its pocket holster and she can then lead the retreat while I cover our retreat with my primary pistol.

In other words, how you plan to use a small pistol should also come into consideration when choosing the pistol.
I always found the blowback 380s to have much more felt recoil then the micro 9. Shooting my friend's Beretta 84 was extremely unpleasant despite it being rather big for today's standards and all steel. On the other hand I can comfortably shoot a Kahr PM 9 all day

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Old 03-10-2017, 09:10 AM
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Focusing back on the original poster's question... and I admit I haven't read all of the other 40+ responses so far.

The .380 auto can do the job, with the right load, in the right gun, and proper shot placement. ANY gun can be intimidating, and any gun is better than no gun in a bad situation. Also, unless you're willing to strap on some big magnum, or carry a shotgun, the issue of stopping dead-in-his-tracks a 6' 3" giant drugged out bad guy with armor-plated clothing just isn't going to happen.

Every choice on gun, load, holster, etc. is a best compromise. I live in South Florida, and heavy clothing just isn't in the mix. That goes for both legal carry people as well as the bad guys.

I've got a couple of carry gun options. Most DAYS, a 442 (.38 Special), or a Sig P238 (.380 auto). It's difficult to conceal anything too big wearing shorts and a lightweight shirt. When I'm out at NIGHT, dressed up a little bit, a SW99 in .40 comes along.

The new compact 9mm guns are a good option too. I just haven't strayed from what I've found to be comfortable and practical.

Best wishes, and remember... get a good holster (or holsters) for your choice of carry... whatever you choose.

Best wishes,

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Old 03-10-2017, 09:12 AM
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Default Bigger is better but shot placement is King ...

My constant carry gun is a 360PD AirLite with +p .38 loads. At under a pound loaded and holstered it make for effortless carry. Revolver reliability is also a plus with no feeding/ejecting problems.

I also usually carry one of my 3rd gen 9mm as backup for a NY reload if 5 shots is not enough. My 3914DAO is as small and light as many .380's .

I prefer at least .40 S&W if shooting starts and am picking up a 457 in .45 for potential carry.

The .380 "mouse guns" can be effective if the shot placement is well made, but I shoot all of the above with good tactical accuracy so I don't bother with anything under 9mm.

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Old 03-10-2017, 09:41 AM
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Prime real estate and Bullets have MUCH in common


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Old 03-10-2017, 10:03 AM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 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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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.

Last edited by Ziggy2525; 03-10-2017 at 10:29 AM.
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