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Old 02-07-2011, 10:42   #1
DEPUTY346
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The renowned 380

Hey guys I have come across a great deal on a .380 auto. It is the S&W .380 bodyguard with the laser. I have not bought a gun in over 5 years and am wondering if anyone has any info/experience about/with this gun and the effectiveness of this caliber. I know the .380 is by no means a 9mm but will it get the job done as a summer carry gun? Please any ideas shoot away. No pun intended.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:58   #2
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Originally Posted by DEPUTY346 View Post
Hey guys I have come across a great deal on a .380 auto. It is the S&W .380 bodyguard with the laser. I have not bought a gun in over 5 years and am wondering if anyone has any info/experience about/with this gun and the effectiveness of this caliber. I know the .380 is by no means a 9mm but will it get the job done as a summer carry gun? Please any ideas shoot away. No pun intended.





I'd say that it should do well in that capacity. Of course, I managed to conceal a full size service weapon all year 'round throughout the duration of my LE career (just gotta dress around the gun) so a diminuitive pistol like the S&W BodyGuard would be an easy trick to be sure.

As for what the caliber will do, using the ever present 95 grain FMJ @ 900-950 fps, you can expect 17"-19" of penetration (with no deformation) in soft tissue. After that, it is all about what you hit. (i.e., "shot placement")

Using hollowpoints (ranging from 90 grains to 102 grains in weight) with commensurate velocities and assuming "reasonable expansion" (a big assumption and we all know what they say about assumptions) of about 1.25x caliber you can expect to achieve 10"-16" inches of penetration depending upon the particular design. Once again, after that, it is all about what you hit.

Hope this helps.

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Old 02-07-2011, 13:25   #3
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Yes thanks. I am thinking of it as a summer gun with Golden Saber rounds 120 grain. At least during the summer it has less clothing to go through. Plus it it so small for concealability. My 38 snubbie i still a little large for that purpose.
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Old 02-07-2011, 13:52   #4
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Golden Saber rounds 120 grain. A
Huh?

Is there such a round in .380? I've never noticed bullets over 100 gr.
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Old 02-07-2011, 14:22   #5
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Originally Posted by DEPUTY346 View Post
Hey guys I have come across a great deal on a .380 auto. It is the S&W .380 bodyguard with the laser. I have not bought a gun in over 5 years and am wondering if anyone has any info/experience about/with this gun and the effectiveness of this caliber. I know the .380 is by no means a 9mm but will it get the job done as a summer carry gun? Please any ideas shoot away. No pun intended.
I'm by no means a caliber snob, nor do I want to start up the tired, old caliber thread wars. I'm just looking out for #1 and for me the base caliber for self defense is a 38 Special +P in a revolver or 9mm in an auto pistol. I quite often carry larger, but never smaller.

If you have no problems with the 380 ACP for personal protection, go with the S&W. I have a buddy who loves his Bodyguard. If you want a small "pocket" pistol in 9mm, there will be several new offerings this year from various manufacturers which may fit the small pistol bill with a more potent caliber. I'm not sure if you can wait, but they are coming based on the recent SHOT Show reveals.

To compare the 380 ACP to other common self-defense rounds, here are links to Hornady's Critical Defense Ammo where they list the energy levels for their loadings in each caliber. I'm not trying to sell Hornady's ammo, but rather I am using their online data as a benchmark of sorts to compare energy levels for a similar bullet style in different calibers from one manufacturer.

Listed in order: 380 ACP; 38 Special +P; 9mm; 40 S&W.

http://www.hornady.com/store/380-Aut...tical-Defense/
http://www.hornady.com/store/38-Spec...tical-Defense/
http://www.hornady.com/store/9mm-Lug...tical-Defense/
http://www.hornady.com/store/40-S-an...tical-Defense/

As said many times before, shot placement is key. However, I think you might be better served with a more potent caliber than the 380 ACP if you ever needed it.

...and for those supporters of the 380 caliber: No, I don't want to be shot by a 380 round, a sling-shot, or even a spit wad. Yes they all would hurt and some might be fatal!

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Old 02-07-2011, 17:01   #6
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Why is a .38 snubbie too large for concealed carry?
I consider a small caliber such as a .380 a compromise on the part of someone carrying it.
Why do you want to carry a gun?
If you needed to use it would the .380 be your first choice in a hand gun round?
It certainly wouldn't be my choice.
It is more of a "easy to carry" choice that you may regret if the time comes where you have to use it, especially if the other guy is getting ready to use his gun.
I won't argue the "better than no gun" theory because I certainly would not want to get shot with even a .22.
But I have been shot with a 9mm and luckily I lived through the experience and it made me really glad that I had a large caliber gun on me at the time and I ended the situation.
When you carry a gun because it is easier or more convienient to carry a small caliber gun then you are not really considering the actual time that you may be required to use it. You are considering the chore of carrying a gun and the comfort level that you are looking for and all of that kind of thinking. Probably won't ever need it. Right?
However, carrying a gun does make using it a possibility.
At that time it is not a good time to wish you had a bigger caliber gun.
What you have on you is what you will use.
A .380, or even a .38 spl. is not my first choice for self defense.
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Old 02-07-2011, 17:41   #7
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10-16" of penetration with a JHP is exaggerating a bit. Most tests I've seen show around 8-9" and therein lies the main problem with .380 and the recommendation by some to just use FMJs.

I'd feel a lot better about summer carrying a .380 than winter carry, for sure.

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Old 02-07-2011, 18:27   #8
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Hey guys I have come across a great deal on a .380 auto. It is the S&W .380 bodyguard with the laser. I have not bought a gun in over 5 years and am wondering if anyone has any info/experience about/with this gun and the effectiveness of this caliber. I know the .380 is by no means a 9mm but will it get the job done as a summer carry gun? Please any ideas shoot away. No pun intended.
I recently got to try one (1) shot with a Ruger LCP. I liked enough to add it (or the S&W) to my buy list. I prefer something larger caliber and capacity wise, but it's tiny, light, and I think I can get plenty accurate enough.

Remember - it's the hits that count. If you have to shoot, the odds of you needing more than that IF YOU HIT is slim. I also like Buffalo Bore's loadings: [url]http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=29[/url]
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Old 02-07-2011, 18:56   #9
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10-16" of penetration with a JHP is exaggerating a bit.
No, it is not.

Depending on its design, if the JHP fails to expand to its fullest designed potential, it will exhibit greater penetration than it would were it to expand as intended.

A .380 95 grain FMJ will provide 17-19 inches of penetration which, although it is a little on the "deep end" of the spectrum, at least offers the promise of a better chance of reaching an assailant's vital organs.
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Old 02-07-2011, 21:07   #10
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Sorry is was 102 grain ammo from Remington. I transposed the last two numbers. I am not really in a rush to buy a new gun so if a baby 9 with a integrated laser comes out I would jump all over that but we all know any new gun just coming onto the scene is going to be a hell of a lot more money in the beginning. For some reason my snubbie feels a little too bulky maybe because of the cylinder I dunno. But that little 380 with the laser sure looked pretty.
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Old 02-07-2011, 21:21   #11
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As far as 380 ACP goes, the wife and I presently own a Beretta 84FS Cheetah along with purchasing a brand new S&W Body Guard this past weekend. I tried a Ruger LCP at the range a few months back but just didn't like it enough. I personally think the BG feels better ......... but we have yet to take the BG to the range.

I carry either a SIG 1911 RCS .45 ACP or a SIG 229R 357SIG - but wanted a small back up gun to toss in the vehicle, pocket or pack - so I picked up the Cheetah on a great trade. The wife and I actually enjoy it (13+1 rounds) so much that I purchased a second 380 (the LCP) as well (also for a very good price) for something with a smaller size that would fit in a pocket, but couldn't get over that loooooooong trigger pull. I'm not bashing the LCP, I know the trigger pull is for safety - but it just seems a tad bit too long.

The wife ended up taking her HCP and finally wanted something of her own to carry - something that was a little smaller than the Cheetah but felt better than the LCP. That's where the BG comes in. It seems to be a great fit - hopefully a trip to the range this week will seal the deal. I really like the overall look, feel and function of the BG so far, especially the better grip and iron sights. I don't really like the laser on/off - but that is not the reason I purchased it - so I just consider the laser as a bonus weather it gets used or not.

As far as the caliber - with the right ammo it does have a pretty decent punch that I wouldn't hesitate to use as a deep concealment carry.

Anyhow, try to read this article ........ it's very informative on multiple calibers

http://www.chuckhawks.com/ammo_by_anonymous.htm

Just posted a link here as well

http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1307657

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Old 02-07-2011, 22:52   #12
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Depending on its design, if the JHP fails to expand to its fullest designed potential, it will exhibit greater penetration than it would were it to expand as intended.
If it expands properly (and the whole point of using a JHP is to get good expansion) then most tests indicate about 8-9" of penetration for many types of rounds. A few rounds can get more but generally speaking .380 ACP is on the low end of penetration.

http://www.goldenloki.com/ammo/gel/380acp/gel380acp.htm
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Old 02-08-2011, 00:03   #13
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So let me get this straight...if a JHP fails to perform, it might reach satisfactory penetration, but if it performs and expands, it won't? Not what I want to carry!
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:44   #14
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If it expands properly (and the whole point of using a JHP is to get good expansion) then most tests indicate about 8-9" of penetration for many types of rounds. A few rounds can get more but generally speaking .380 ACP is on the low end of penetration.

http://www.goldenloki.com/ammo/gel/380acp/gel380acp.htm
While this is indeed true, your argument is predicated upon the "iffy" assumption that proper expansion will occur when JHP meets body and this is almost never the case in actual shootings. We are in agreement however, that if a JHP expands as designed, it will be at the expense of penetration.


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Old 02-08-2011, 09:54   #15
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So let me get this straight...if a JHP fails to perform, it might reach satisfactory penetration, but if it performs and expands, it won't? Not what I want to carry!
Yep. This is why many folks simply opt for FMJs when constrained to the .380 and I am one of them.


My personal preference for "heavy for caliber" bullets leads me to a concurrent preference for penetration that falls within the 14"-18" range from the JHPs that I use in both 9mm and .45 ACP platforms (a Glock 17 and HK USP45 respectively) and since .380 FMJs of 90-95 grains in weight @ 900fps +/- 25 fps provide 17"-19" of penetration, I find them to be the most acceptable selection in that caliber. Not an optimal choice, but it is one that I could live with if I had to carry a .380 pistol. YMMV.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:16   #16
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The .380 is typically a 'one or the other' round when it comes to expansion and penetration. I agree with using a decent fmj load to assure good reliability in the tiny guns and good penetration.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:20   #17
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For carry in the winter I prefer FMJ, for summer one of the hotter loads like buffalobore when I can find it.

A couple of folks at a range I go to have the .380 Bodyguard and I got a chance to fire one. Very accurate and a nice pistol to shoot but it does have a trigger pull that's kind of long. Some like it like that for carry.

I'd buy it if the price is right.

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Old 02-08-2011, 13:42   #18
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For carry in the winter I prefer FMJ, for summer one of the hotter loads like buffalobore when I can find it.

A couple of folks at a range I go to have the .380 Bodyguard and I got a chance to fire one. Very accurate and a nice pistol to shoot but it does have a trigger pull that's kind of long. Some like it like that for carry.

I'd buy it if the price is right.

Dave
Officer price at ombexpress.com is $288.00 with free shipping.
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Old 02-08-2011, 16:00   #19
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That is a very good price. I don't know the exact amount that was paid at the range here but I know it was over 350.00.

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