.380 - enough for SD? Or not... [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Aceman
09-29-2010, 19:52
I often go back and forth on this issue. Sometimes I say "9mm 124g +p - or more" and at other times I say "At a likely SD encounter range out in public...9mm short (.380) would be just fine."

Kind of like 12g and low recoil 12g used in doors.

So what do you think - hit the target issues aside:

Are you comfortable with 380 (not that you wouldn't be more comfortable with .9, 40 or 45) and if so what is your favorite brand, style, load in .380?

I ask because I saw a sweet little Bersa Thunder...

fredj338
09-29-2010, 20:30
Nope, I gave up long ago on the 380 as a viable SD caliber. With the many small 9mm available, why? The light 90gr bullets going barely 1000fps just don't offer much wounding ability. The smaller blowback 380 are also harder to shoot well & you need to shoot well w/ a 380. Sure, if you can shoot em in the brain pan, it works fine, Sure, if it's all you have, better than nothing, but there are better options. I would rather carry a 38snub or ultra compact 9mm.

MrVvrroomm
09-29-2010, 21:08
.380 - enough for SD?...as long as you're able to run away quickly

NonPCnraRN
09-29-2010, 22:35
I think the 380 ACP fills a niche where other calibers are not optimal. The 380 ACP has 2 selling points, low recoil and small concealable handguns made for it. I would prefer my G27 to my Colt Mustang but sometimes especially with minimal clothing in the summer the Mustang is better than a larger gun left at home. I have a Colt 380 Gov't that my wife likes to shoot besides a 22. She will shoot the G27 but doesn't enjoy it. Nor is she as accurate with it. She is not a "gunny" person so I would rather she be proficient with the Colt 380 Gov't. I load it with Buffalo Bore 100 gr hardcast ammo. I am teaching her to put 2 in the chest and one in the head of a silhouette at across the room distances. Because she enjoys shooting that gun I figure she stands a better chance of a successful outcome if she needs to defend herself. In this particular case the 380 ACP fills a niche that would otherwise not be filled. Also somebody else must like the smallish Colts because I have been offered a lot more for them than I originally paid.

fastbolt
09-29-2010, 23:50
The .380 fits a perceived need for many owners. Just look at the current wave of popularity of .380's (which just means the manufacturers are making them because they discovered they sell well ;) ).

I tried it for a brief while when I was young cop. Just once. Then they started making increasingly smaller 9mm's.

I don't denigrate the .380 if someone has already chosen it, bought a gun and then has brought it to the range to qualify with it. I'm not in the business of undermining someone's confidence or telling them they made a bad choice. (I'm the same way when it come to .32's, as well, but sometimes it's hard not to ask why someone has chosen a .25 or a .22LR for a defensive weapon.)

I've seen some excellent shooters using .380's as either an alternative chose, or even their only choice, for an off-duty or CCW weapon. I'd not be inclined to tell them that they're ill equipped with their .380's. They shoot them very well.

Granted, I've observed more feeding stoppages and assorted malfunctions with .380 (and smaller) caliber pistols than I've seen with more powerful caliber pistols and revolvers during 20 years of qualification ranges.

But then I've also seen a couple types of diminutive 9mm pocket pistols exhibit functioning problems over the years, too, so the topic of quality can come into play regardless of caliber.

Some folks simply don't want to own anything more powerful or larger than a .380, and as long as they can shoot their .380's safely, accurately and effectively, I'm more concerned about their skills than their choice in guns & calibers. If they can do well with what they've chosen, it's demonstrated itself reliable in their hands and it remains their choice after they've spent some time practicing and then qualifying with it, then that's the way it is and it's not my business.

I still like a .38 J-frame, too, and it's my usual choice for a small pocket holster gun ... but other folks like .380's. ;)

So, it comes to do asking yourself if you feel the .380 is "enough" in the way of a defensive weapon for you.

You only have to satisfy yourself.

SDGlock23
09-30-2010, 08:33
I have a Ruger LCP. I didn't buy it because of the wonders of the 380 Auto cartridge, I bought it because it's super light and super small, and when it's riding in my pocket, that's what I want. I always carry a spare mag too. I would prefer it to be a larger, more potent caliber, but there are trade offs when your main goal for certain firearms is it's small size.

cowboy1964
09-30-2010, 08:41
I love the size of .380's but feel much more comfortable carrying a 9. A PM9 is still pretty dang small.

I consider .380 and .38 Special to be roughly equivalent. 38+P might have a slight edge. A 9 beats the pants off of all those. Plus most of my larger service size guns are 9s so I have commonality.

J_Rico
09-30-2010, 08:57
Small .380s will fit places other guns will not. People talk about how small some 9mm firearms are these days. I have yet to find one that will fit in my pockets.

Would I prefer a larger caliber, sure.

fredj338
09-30-2010, 11:12
Small .380s will fit places other guns will not. People talk about how small some 9mm firearms are these days. I have yet to find one that will fit in my pockets.

Would I prefer a larger caliber, sure.
Kahr subcompact. Very small, smaller than some 380 designs.
http://www.kahr.com/PA-1_9mm_pm.html

fastbolt
09-30-2010, 11:13
Small .380s will fit places other guns will not. People talk about how small some 9mm firearms are these days. I have yet to find one that will fit in my pockets.

Would I prefer a larger caliber, sure.

This is one of the factors that likely seems to be helping to promote the sale ... (and introduction of some new models) ... of small .380's which are able to fit in many pockets (in pocket holsters) where many 9's & .40's won't fit as easily, or at all.

For example, some of my jeans & pants pockets will allow me to pocket holster my J-frames, but not my G26/27, SW999c or CS9. In some of my jacket & coat pockets, and some pants with cargo-type pockets, however, I can easily accommodate the larger & heavier pistols. Then it becomes more a matter of weight and personal convenience involved in choosing the J-frame or the heavier pistols.

In my case I've handled and tried some of the really small 9mm pistols when they've come through our range, and have observed a lot of folks using them during qual sessions, and I've decided that some of the smallest 9mm 'pocket pistols' won't fit my desires and anticipated needs. Pretty much the same way I feel about the smaller .380's.

However, that doesn't mean everyone else who wants a small pocket-able .380 or 9mm might not find them to suit their desires and needs.

Just depends.

J_Rico
09-30-2010, 12:06
Kahr subcompact. Very small, smaller than some 380 designs.
http://www.kahr.com/PA-1_9mm_pm.html

That does look interesting. Have not seen those before.

Anyone have a pic next to an LCP or P3AT for comparison?

ETA: Nevermind. Looked too fast. I have looked at the PM9. Too big for my pockets.

If someone makes an LCP sized 9mm(that is relaible), I'll buy it.

txgunguy
09-30-2010, 16:29
Kahr subcompact. Very small, smaller than some 380 designs.
http://www.kahr.com/PA-1_9mm_pm.html

$1,000 pocket pistol? No thanks.

James Dean
09-30-2010, 16:46
I would trust my Walther PPK 380 for carry. It got Bond out of a lot of trouble. I would rather a Glock G26

Free Radical
09-30-2010, 17:08
All carry sized handguns are weak.
Run like hell for your car where you should have a long gun.

panzer1
09-30-2010, 17:21
I don't know why they don't just make them small guns in 9 mm makarov(9x18). It as a little more power then the 380.

fredj338
09-30-2010, 17:28
$1,000 pocket pistol? No thanks.
That is retail of course, about $650 most places. I am not a Kahr fan, terrible triggers on the ones I have shot, but if I am carrying 6+1, I'll learn the trigger before packing a 380 or just stick to the J-frame.:dunno:

Sharky7
09-30-2010, 18:21
In Europe, I hear it is common to have the 380 round for military and police as a duty weapon.

In my opinion, the 38 special is just a SLIGHTLY more effective round than the 380 and look at how popular the 38 special is. If I had my choice, I personally would choose the 380 over the 38 special revolvers since you generally have 7 rounds with the 380 pistols and only 5 with the 38 special.

I don't personally carry the 380 now, but I used to as a back up gun some time ago. I think it is the lowest round I would go for self defense, but if I had my choice I would rather have a 9mm. 380 serves a good purpose....Some people are just not able or willing to carry a larger gun for off duty/ccw or back up gun function. The 380 helps fill that void for people.

RottnJP
09-30-2010, 19:10
If you want lots of .380 performance data, this isn't the ideal site. Try KTOG or mouseguns.

I carry a P3AT only when something larger doesn't fit. That's it's role, in my book. It isn't a 9mm, but it beats a sharp stick. From 7m anyway. When things get closer, it's more of a wash, but the P3AT is still smaller than said sharp stick. :supergrin:

The smallest 9mm I am aware of is kel-tec's PF9. I only carry it when I have the room for it, but not a G27. It's bigger than a P3AT, but not dramatically so. It is smaller than any other 9mm I've seen- PM9, walther, etc.

HP is not ideal in .380's. Most will not meet the somewhat arbitrary 12" penetration often demanded of a SD round. A very few hot loads with good bonded bullets are reported to get to 12", especially if there is some clothing over the gelatin to plug the HP a little. Many people who carry .380's recommend ball ammo on the theory that the hole may be smaller, but at least you have a chance at vitals.

dreis454
09-30-2010, 19:19
...as long as you're able to run away quickly

In that case...I'm glad I carry a .45!:whistling:

BOGE
09-30-2010, 20:49
If I had to absolutely CCW a .380 it would be stoked with DPX. However, I would have a Bowie knife in the other hand. :whistling: :supergrin:

RichardB
10-01-2010, 08:19
The .380 has been available for 100 years; it is has a track record. Marshall & Sanow showed it can be an effective anti-personnel round. But it is not a .50 BMG, however at close range it can make a bad guys day worse. If your choice is to leave a bigger, badder gun behind or actually carry a small .380 then the correct answer is .380. For those of you whose body and dress permit something larger then feel free to carry your 45 or 357.

cowboywannabe
10-01-2010, 08:30
sure its enough. the question is are you a good enough shooter for self defense?

MURRAY
10-01-2010, 09:51
its better than nothing at all and sometimes the only option I have a p32 and Ruger lcp I actually like the thinner p32 with euro ball better. For all the people that **** talk it no one ever says sure go ahead and try the ***** gun on me. Alot of people have been put down with smaller calibers. Is it my primary hell no but it is my bug.

nohocop
10-01-2010, 11:27
With the improvements in ammo technology, a well-placed 380 round is very deadly. Would I rather carry my 45? Sure. But as a BUG or for my wife's purse, it's very effective.

legion3
10-01-2010, 12:14
Yes, the 380 has been perfoming the SD role before any of us were born (well maybe not all of us :whistling:)

The smallest 9mm is the Rohrbaugh I believe but at a grand a wack and no +P, I will stick with the 380 for pocket carry with 102 grain remington golden saber.

http://www.rohrbaughfirearms.com/products

legion3
10-01-2010, 12:17
its better than nothing at all and sometimes the only option I have a p32 and Ruger lcp I actually like the thinner p32 with euro ball better. For all the people that **** talk it no one ever says sure go ahead and try the ***** gun on me. Alot of people have been put down with smaller calibers. Is it my primary hell no but it is my bug.

The way some people seem to think getting shot with a 380, 32 or even a 25 is GOOD for you in someway. :supergrin:

But plenty who believe the 9mm is not enough either, so what ya gonna do?

fredj338
10-01-2010, 13:14
The way some people seem to think getting shot with a 380, 32 or even a 25 is GOOD for you in someway. :supergrin:

But plenty who believe the 9mm is not enough either, so what ya gonna do?

No, I think it's more like better tools for the job. I don't want to get shot by anything or stabbed or bludgeoned. The 380 is certainly a compromise. Just not one I am willing to make when there alternatives.:dunno:

legion3
10-01-2010, 14:18
No, I think it's more like better tools for the job. I don't want to get shot by anything or stabbed or bludgeoned. The 380 is certainly a compromise. Just not one I am willing to make when there alternatives.:dunno:

Hmmm... lots of people have died by being shot with the 380. bet they and the shooter don't view it as a compromise.

Certain 9mm "pocket" pistols do not make alternatives to smaller guns depending on wardrobe. You print a lot in a business suit and running shorts which we wear year around kinda droop with too big a gun in the pocket.

DEADEYEGUY
10-01-2010, 21:53
The problem with the .380 has always been getting good penetration and expansion out of a bullet. Much like the .38 Special with a 2" barrel. I know their are some better loads out there now than their used to be. But as other have stated the .380 is barely adaquate or barely inadaquate. The load performs differently out of the longer barreled version than the little P-3AT, LCP, and so on. Some just use ball to assure reaching vitals. Is it adaquate for self defense?
No not really. But neither are any of the rounds you shoot out of any pistol. Compared to a centerfire rifle they are all very weak. Here's the thing. If you get good with your weapon whatever the choice it's probably "enough". What is enough? Being able to hit the bad guy in vitals fast, accurately, and repeat as necessary. The .22 has been "enough" many times. Other times a .45 hasn't done the trick. If you can hit fast, accurate, multiple hits that can reach vitals any gun can be enough. Again penetration and expansion is the problem with the .380. Go for penetration over expansion. Hornady's .380 XTP will usually get 10" of penetration and usually expand to around .45 caliber. Not to shabby. Not great. But it's enough penetration for most civilian use. Their was a post on the net the other day about some guy dropping a large dog that was tearing up the man with the guns neighbor. Head shot, one round, one dead dog. Great. Problem gun jams! Make sure the gun and ammo work everytime all the time. The other dogs went after him. Another neighbor came out with a .22. Shot the legs out from under the dogs. Good strategy! So here a .22 and .380 were "enough". Each hit something vital. One shut down the nervous system with a .380 (head shot) and other shut down their mobility. If your o.k. with the .380 I'd carry it. The only .380 I have right now is a P3AT. And I only use it as a BUG. But 6+1 rounds of .380 to the chest, neck, and head rapid fire would sure ruin someones day!

ronin.45
10-02-2010, 14:09
Of course I woud always prefer to have a larger caliber, but I would never scoff at a 380 up close. With the small size and lightweight of the pocket 380s I fully understand why people carry them.

English
10-02-2010, 16:15
It is the question that is wrong. There is no enough but only better and worse. A 22LR is worse than a .32ACP which is worse than a .380ACP which is worse than a .38SP which is worse than a 9mm and so on upwards. It is principally an matter of what size you can conceal in a given circumstance and then how much power you can control in that size and weight.

The Bersa is quite nice but it is too big for a .380. In that size you can carry 9mm and with a locked breech you won't feel any more recoil than with the blowback Bersa.

English

glocksterr
10-16-2010, 08:27
sure its enough. the question is are you a good enough shooter for self defense?


i like the way you think.


:cool:

+1 on the DPX for .380 carry

Trigger Finger
10-18-2010, 01:09
I agree with DEADEYEGUY! well put.
I live in the county area of Northern California and some times we have a coyote and mountain lion problem. My neighbor has sheep and he always caries a M1 carbine in his truck and a 380 mauser auto on him doing his chores and has killed several coyotes with the 380 when he could not make it in time to his truck before the critters got away. He said with a good hit the 380 would drop the coyote just as fast as with his carbine. He had an instance where a mtn lion killed five of his sheep and his llama in one night. He got a permit from fish and game and we stayed up waiting for this darned cat to come back for one of his kills. Long story short he hit this cat with the 380 and it ran off to be found the next day about a half mile away dead. We tried to use the rifles but in checking the bait it just appeared.
I know hitting 45 lb coyotes and a 90 lb cat is not a human but I was impressed. My neighbor is a retired SWAT Sgt and competes. I have carried my walther 380 frequently when it is too hot to carry my G27. Buffalo Bore 380 ammo is about the best you can buy. It's what my neighbor and I carry in these little guns.
Just my two cents. Is it enough, if you can shoot straight and it works in your gun, Yes, IMO.
Also I read an article that tested Wild Bill Hickok's 36 caliber Colts and found them to be about the same power as a 38 special. No +P, just a regular 38 special power and caliber wise. He was just an outstanding shoot and cleaned his two pistols every morning!

Careby
10-18-2010, 06:29
Weapon selection is ALWAYS a compromise. Starting with a list of what is ideal (most effective round, unlimited ammo, rifle stock & sight radius) and then whittling it down to what is practical. Sometimes the compromise leaves you with a small and light .380 in the pocket. When it's time to use it, I'll wish my LCP was bigger, more powerful, and had greater capacity and better sights. But I'll appreciate the fact that it was THERE WITH ME, because it was so convenient to carry.

BOGE
10-18-2010, 10:10
...Long story short he hit this cat with the 380 and it ran off to be found the next day about a half mile away dead...


No offense, but your buddy ainīt the sharpest tool in the shed if he only has a .380 as a sidearm and is stalking cougars at night. :upeyes: Sure, it died a day later but what if that cougar had say charged your buddy? The cat would still have died but your buddy would be cougar turds. :wavey:

glock20c10mm
10-18-2010, 11:47
I often go back and forth on this issue. Sometimes I say "9mm 124g +p - or more" and at other times I say "At a likely SD encounter range out in public...9mm short (.380) would be just fine."

Kind of like 12g and low recoil 12g used in doors.

So what do you think - hit the target issues aside:

Are you comfortable with 380 (not that you wouldn't be more comfortable with .9, 40 or 45) and if so what is your favorite brand, style, load in .380?

I ask because I saw a sweet little Bersa Thunder...
You already know you're making an attemp to fool yourself in what you posted.

Hit the target issues aside (shot placement), sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Not to mention with such a short sight radius on the platform, along with a poor sight system, the gun itself already hinders proper shot placement at any distance beyond up-close-and-personal.

The bottom line is - terminal performance is generally poor with the 380 Auto. Unless you truely require an extremely small platform for certain carry purposes, ok, do what you gotta do. But IMO, the Bersa Thunder doesn't even begin to fill that niche when other 9mm platforms are available basically the same size and smaller.

I guess the real bottom line is to stop trying to trick yourself into believing something that you already know is more/less absurd to ask in the first place. Not saying you shouldn't have brought it up, as conversation like this helps many others learn too. You just simply already know better.

If you want the gun, buy it for sure. But don't fool yourself into believing it's something it's not and NEVER will be. I shoot the 10mm with relatively explosive loads that still penetrate around 12". My second choice if it ever came down to it for some reason would be 357SIG.

Remember, it's life you're generally using the platform/load to defend. There may be a time and place for the 380 Auto. I have yet to find it.


Good Shooting,
Craig


PS - 223 Rem can work for deer hunting. But that doesn't mean it's a wise choice.:thumbsup:

stormcaller111
10-18-2010, 13:02
When it's time to use it, I'll wish my LCP was bigger, more powerful, and had greater capacity and better sights. But I'll appreciate the fact that it was THERE WITH ME, because it was so convenient to carry.

+1....Glock 27 in a desantis intruder/ntac is my daily carry but my lcp fits in my sweatpants, shorts, pajama pants etc. it accompanies me when nothing else can and i'm happy its there.

Pender1
10-18-2010, 13:07
No. I rotate seasonally between .45ACP and 9mm. I did recently buy a .380 but I only carry it in situations where my other guns are just too big to be viable. I don't really trust the .380 to do what I would want a SD round to do, but it's better than being empty-handed.

Trigger Finger
10-18-2010, 13:22
No offense, but your buddy ainīt the sharpest tool in the shed if he only has a .380 as a sidearm and is stalking cougars at night. :upeyes: Sure, it died a day later but what if that cougar had say charged your buddy? The cat would still have died but your buddy would be cougar turds. :wavey:

From my previous post.
"We tried to use the rifles but in checking the bait it just appeared."

Gunnut 45/454
10-18-2010, 22:38
Also you all are forgetting the 9mm in a small pistol isn't much more then a 380 ACP! Tufffer bullets!! Less exspansion! Is the 380 ACP a great man stopper- Nope! But it's better then nothing! When I carry it I know it's not the best thing to have but I know I also can use it very effectively and if criminal still wants to play after soaking up 4 or 5 slugs ! Then things might get ugly! But seeing how most criminals are headed for the hills after the first shot I'll keep carring the 380 ACP an feel safe when I do!:supergrin:
Though lately my SP101 357 mag gets carried more and more! :supergrin:

Trigger Finger
10-19-2010, 00:06
I do think the 380 is enough at close range, reliable feeding and double tapping.

"Also you all are forgetting the 9mm in a small pistol isn't much more then a 380 ACP! Tufffer bullets!! Less exspansion!"
But Gunnut, I think you are underestimating the 9mm. Through any length barrel and size gun the 9mm is considerably more powerful than the 380!

John Biltz
10-19-2010, 02:18
I do think the 380 is enough at close range, reliable feeding and double tapping.

"Also you all are forgetting the 9mm in a small pistol isn't much more then a 380 ACP! Tufffer bullets!! Less exspansion!"
But Gunnut, I think you are underestimating the 9mm. Through any length barrel and size gun the 9mm is considerably more powerful than the 380!
Seriously,
.380 90gr 900 fps 190 ft/lbs
9mm 124gr 1150fps 327 ft/lbs
even out of a short barrel you are only going to lose 50 fps.

THE PUNISHER
10-19-2010, 10:52
First rule of a gun fight is to have a gun.....22 to 50ae does it really matter as long you have something to fight back with or hold them off till you can get away or (unlucky for them) get something bigger.

Gunnut 45/454
10-19-2010, 14:37
John Biltz
My loads for my Bersa run at 1033 fps and 213 ft/lbs with the 90 gr GD! Thats a max load of W231, best thing is they mushroom every time at SD distances! I've tried just about every factory loading and NONE of them mushroomed every time -my load does! And I still get the three water jug penertration!:supergrin:

Crossfit1981
10-19-2010, 17:58
I carry a LCP wherever I go and am fully confident in its ability to stop someone. I figure I can put atleast 3 rounds of 380 center mass at 5 yards. That should do the trick. S&B 90 gr FMJ is what I carry in my LCP.

CTfam
10-21-2010, 17:40
My beef is with the guns that shoot the round. I know I can't run a mouse gun hard and fast and make consistent hits with it. Also, if I shoot a few thousand rounds training with it will it fall apart? I cringe when people say "oh it's a shoot a little, carry a lot gun". :upeyes:

Of course there are Bersas and other quality steel frame .380s but you are in 9mm territory with that size.

g36user
10-21-2010, 20:31
I don't hesitate to carry my Makarov .380 with 100g hard cast +p Buffalo Bore ammo (1125fps / 281 ft lbs out of a 3" barrel). The Makarov is built like a tank and the ammo is hotter (out of the 3.8" barrel it's closer to 1200fps and 300ft lbs) than the .38 +p I use in my Smith snubbie.

Have a nice day,

g

bac1023
10-21-2010, 20:34
I carry my P3AT as a BUG, but at times when I'm jogging or something, its my main CCW.

It better than nothing. I wouldn't want to get hit with it. :)

EXETER
10-21-2010, 21:15
I had a Bersa Thunder .380 for a few months. I really liked the gun. It felt great in my hand and was at least as accurate as I was. BUT.............

I continually had problems with the round jamming against the top of the chamber; failure to feed. All the folks on Bersa Talk kept saying that the problem would go away after aabout 400 rounds of break-in. Didn't happen.

Perhaps if I could have sent it into the warranty service a few times (something I really hate doing) or kept sending rounds downrange long enough it would have worked out.

I'm a believer in practicing with what I carry. I fire 200 to 300 rounds once or twice a month on the range. Doing that with .380 is almost twice as expensive as 9mm, when you can find .380. It's still a difficult find here other than at gun shows.

I traded the Bersa for a g26. Yeah, it's a little bigger and little heavier, but IT HAS NEVER FAILED TO FIRE!

I'm a happy man.:cool:

John Biltz
10-22-2010, 04:37
John Biltz
My loads for my Bersa run at 1033 fps and 213 ft/lbs with the 90 gr GD! Thats a max load of W231, best thing is they mushroom every time at SD distances! I've tried just about every factory loading and NONE of them mushroomed every time -my load does! And I still get the three water jug penertration!:supergrin:
I used the numbers from a commercial selfdefense load. The first one I found that had both a .380 and 9mm listed. I don't remember which one it was. I'm assuming your loads are handloads. I'm sure someone could post a hot handload for 9mm as well. I think the fact that you are saying .380 in most commercial loads don't open often makes my point for me.

mastrbloata
10-22-2010, 05:09
I carry my P3AT as a BUG, but at times when I'm jogging or something, its my main CCW.

It better than nothing. I wouldn't want to get hit with it. :)

I just picked up a P3AT a couple of weeks ago. Pretty much like some others here have stated, I'll carry it when the other items are just too much. It's just going to have to do in some instances. I'll stick with ball ammo myself.

PS.- bac, I finally did get a new GI Expert. I was surprised to find that it didn't have any issues the first 100 rounds of 230gr. ball, differing quite a bit from the Colt 1991A1 I bought new 10 or 11 years ago. So far so good.

mikegun
10-28-2010, 19:36
The .380 fits a perceived need for many owners. Just look at the current wave of popularity of .380's (which just means the manufacturers are making them because they discovered they sell well ;) ).

I tried it for a brief while when I was young cop. Just once. Then they started making increasingly smaller 9mm's.

I don't denigrate the .380 if someone has already chosen it, bought a gun and then has brought it to the range to qualify with it. I'm not in the business of undermining someone's confidence or telling them they made a bad choice. (I'm the same way when it come to .32's, as well, but sometimes it's hard not to ask why someone has chosen a .25 or a .22LR for a defensive weapon.)

I've seen some excellent shooters using .380's as either an alternative chose, or even their only choice, for an off-duty or CCW weapon. I'd not be inclined to tell them that they're ill equipped with their .380's. They shoot them very well.

Granted, I've observed more feeding stoppages and assorted malfunctions with .380 (and smaller) caliber pistols than I've seen with more powerful caliber pistols and revolvers during 20 years of qualification ranges.

But then I've also seen a couple types of diminutive 9mm pocket pistols exhibit functioning problems over the years, too, so the topic of quality can come into play regardless of caliber.

Some folks simply don't want to own anything more powerful or larger than a .380, and as long as they can shoot their .380's safely, accurately and effectively, I'm more concerned about their skills than their choice in guns & calibers. If they can do well with what they've chosen, it's demonstrated itself reliable in their hands and it remains their choice after they've spent some time practicing and then qualifying with it, then that's the way it is and it's not my business.

I still like a .38 J-frame, too, and it's my usual choice for a small pocket holster gun ... but other folks like .380's. ;)

So, it comes to do asking yourself if you feel the .380 is "enough" in the way of a defensive weapon for you.

You only have to satisfy yourself.

let me say i have seen 12 or 15 deadly street shootings at work where BGS used 380s, is it enough, not for me. ill take a 38, 9mm or 40, but not a 380 as an only gun, as a bu ok...IMHO IF I WALKED INTO AN ARMED ROBBERY, and i thought the bg or bgs were about to hurt someone, i would be very hesitant to intervene with a 380, but with g23 or g19, schools out...IMHO, i say this knowing i shoot me 380 pistols very well and accuratly, they just dont have the punch ......and since i have that mindset,it makes it so imho, at best, for me my 380s are bu guns and i wont fall into the lazy trap of, grabbing it alone for a late night trip to the 711,thats just me..

gatorboy
10-28-2010, 19:53
I've got a Kahr P380 that I like a lot. It's very accurate, totally reliable, light, small and looks good. I can reload much faster than I can a revolver. That said, I trust my S&W 351PD more for SD. It's a .22mag but it penetrates better than any 380. The 351 may weigh an ounce less loaded but it's larger. I still don't trust a 380 to make it through a large, muscular man's chest hell-bent on stabbing me at 10 feet. I'd rather have a .40, .45 or 357sig than either but the 22mag will go deep.

gatorboy
10-28-2010, 20:00
I do think the 380 is enough at close range, reliable feeding and double tapping.

"Also you all are forgetting the 9mm in a small pistol isn't much more then a 380 ACP! Tufffer bullets!! Less exspansion!"
But Gunnut, I think you are underestimating the 9mm. Through any length barrel and size gun the 9mm is considerably more powerful than the 380!


Folks don't pay BIG $ for 9mm conversions to their .38 snubs for nothing. Despite the .38 being capable of using heavier bullets, the 9mm blows it away, especially at + pressures from short tubes. You can long load if you handload also which further increases the gap. A 147 gr. HST should be capable of 4" auto velocities from a 2" snub if tweaked just right. That's a pretty mean projectile for a snub.

EDIT: I forgot about 38 Super, 9x21 and 9x23, all of which are excellent for the reloader.

cole
10-28-2010, 23:58
Not for me. 9mm is my limit.

fastbolt
10-28-2010, 23:59
let me say i have seen 12 or 15 deadly street shootings at work where BGS used 380s, is it enough, not for me. ill take a 38, 9mm or 40, but not a 380 as an only gun, as a bu ok...IMHO

I tend to agree with your sentiment, and for much the same reasons, but that's my choice and I won't force it upon others or tell them they should go bigger if that's their choice.

My baseline is a .38 Spl.

For those occasions when I feel more than a 5-shot wheelgun is merited my choices vary among 9's, .40's & .45's. Sometimes size and weight makes me lean more toward one or another, and sometimes it's simply a whim.

I don't often carry one of my .357's anymore (with the exception of an M&P 340 which remains loaded with +P instead of Magnum rounds).

I haven't carried one of my big bore revolvers for some years. (Although I still remember when .44 & .45 revolvers were found in duty gun belts in the 80's. ;) )

dreis454
10-29-2010, 06:31
I'm a .45 guy but I have picked up a 9mm as my smallest SD caliber, 9mm is the limit.

mesteve2
10-29-2010, 06:50
NO! :wow:

Can you hit the target?

Cops miss only 80% of the time!

So if one does the same as cops. You shoot 10 rounds only two will hit the target.

These little mouse guns do not carry 10 rounds.

So, it looks like not a good idea carry a .380 (9 mm short) :wow:

MountainPacker
10-30-2010, 16:24
I pocket carry an LCP. I also have a 442 and it rarely sees daylight anymore. Right now I'm wearing a 1911, but when I want to pocket carry, it's the LCP that goes with me.

By the way, a lowly .32 was enough to kill a man and start WWI.

Free Radical
10-30-2010, 16:39
I pocket carry an LCP. I also have a 442 and it rarely sees daylight anymore. Right now I'm wearing a 1911, but when I want to pocket carry, it's the LCP that goes with me.

By the way, a lowly .32 was enough to kill a man and start WWI.



Hell, RFK was killed by a .22 short.
You wanna carry that?

English
10-30-2010, 16:43
I don't know why this has to be said so often. The fact that a given round is enough to kill someone is not a qualification for self defence and only a moderate qualification for killing someone. For self defence you need something which will bring the fight to an end quickly under circumstances which are far from the ideal for making an accurate shot.

English

PATRICE
10-30-2010, 17:34
.....

Free Radical
10-30-2010, 17:38
I don't know why this has to be said so often.

English



Because we don't have the same old crowd here day in and day out. New folks are checking in all the time seeking information.
Shot placement is, of course, king, but with higher caliber cartridges it is less of an issue....:supergrin:

blackbmw
10-30-2010, 18:39
I carry a lcp in my back pocket at work, as they really frown upon guns there, I load BB 100gr hardcast rounds that cook at 1100 fps out of my gun. im more than confident that this will get the attention of some hoodrat, Its not my 357 sig, but its better than a .25 auto.....which i have carried also. Animals have no clue what being shot is, so a cat running 200 yards is normal, shoot a human once, the mental thought of being shot is enough to make people turn and run or drop right there, MOST of the time, for the others? they are the reason i have 7rds and 2 mags.

ULVER
11-05-2010, 16:31
I walked in on a strong-arm robbery, at a late-night mom & pop store once. Since I was a mile away from home, I didn't feel like packin' major.

The minute I saw the thug throwing people around like paper dolls, I immediately felt butt-naked with the little .380 I was carrying. FYI- Fox Labs 5.3 OC WORKS! An absolute must HAVE, besides your handgun. Options are a good thing... Seriously though: Carry enough gun!

.38 FBI load mininum for me; better yet my Glock 26 w/ +P GD's.

Berto
11-06-2010, 11:32
Folks don't pay BIG $ for 9mm conversions to their .38 snubs for nothing. Despite the .38 being capable of using heavier bullets, the 9mm blows it away, especially at + pressures from short tubes. You can long load if you handload also which further increases the gap. A 147 gr. HST should be capable of 4" auto velocities from a 2" snub if tweaked just right. That's a pretty mean projectile for a snub.

EDIT: I forgot about 38 Super, 9x21 and 9x23, all of which are excellent for the reloader.

Folks pay big $$ for the moon clips, not this imaginary advantage in power.
I'd rather have a heavy bullet driven faster from the .38sp than a lighter bullet from a 9mm, or 147 going slower.
I'd rather have a 158gr at 1000+fps than a 147gr jhp at 1000fps.
You can moonclip a .38sp too.:supergrin:

unit1069
11-06-2010, 14:39
I had one of the first 2nd generation P-3AT pistols and it just couldn't be made right. I took a chance and bought a PF-9 that so far has been good.

No doubt .380ACP is fully capable of saving your life but 9mm is 66% more powerful than .380ACP. I can't carry as easily as before but I feel more comfortable with the 9mm caliber.

I finally decided to use only FMJ ammo in the smaller pistol but I carry the better JHP round in the 9mm.

And the $10/box difference in the price of range ammo adds up over time in favor of the 9mm. Still, that micro size pistol is a big plus when it comes to always carrying protection.

Berto
11-06-2010, 20:10
The size factor is the only real selling point on the .380, but with ball ammo it certainly could do the job.
Personally I wouldn't use jhps in the small guns, maybe in a longer 3.5"+ but not in something like the LCP.

jlavallee
11-07-2010, 11:03
I personally draw my line at .38 spl +p. The .380 could do the trick but I just can't feel wonderful about it.

Even the lighest 9mm is too heavy and autos can't be shot from a pocket so until a better option comes along I'll stick with my 340PD as my ultra concealment gun. Beyond the price, I can't see dealing with a .380 when I can have 5 rounds of .357 or .38 +p+ on hand.

481
11-07-2010, 12:23
Although I have a self-imposed minimum caliber of 9mm, I would carry a .380 if circumstances mandated it.

A .380 95gr. FMJ @ 900 fps will provide approximately 19.5 inches of soft tissue penetration and provide the best chance of trouble operation and is what I would load and carry if I was forced by situational constraints to do so.

ltj9296
11-11-2010, 06:43
I think a .380 like the lcp makes a good back-up for pocket carry. The 9mm is a little to big for pocket carry for me. A .380 in the pocket is better than a .45 at home in the safe.

mesteve2
11-11-2010, 07:34
NO!
:wow::wow:

oldsoldier
11-11-2010, 08:34
I mostly carry a Kahr MK9 9mm IWB. It's too heavy for pocket carry to me but I like the all steel weight of the gun when shooting it. It's a nice handling small size 9mm. I sometimes carry a LCP .380 when I want or have to pocket carry. I sometimes carry a G30 or 1911 Officer's or Commander size gun OWB in the winter. None of them would be my first pick if I knew I were going to a gunfight. I carry what fits the concealment restrictions at the time and think the .380 is better than nothing.

Ljay
11-11-2010, 13:57
I have a Ruger LCP. I didn't buy it because of the wonders of the 380 Auto cartridge, I bought it because it's super light and super small, and when it's riding in my pocket, that's what I want. I always carry a spare mag too. I would prefer it to be a larger, more potent caliber, but there are trade offs when your main goal for certain firearms is it's small size.

In baggy work attire in slips away perfect, No bumps no notice, Carry mine every day.