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Old 12-12-2014, 15:44   #1
mj9mm
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.380 or 38 special?

I have both and carry the s&w bodyguard when I need to keep things really inconspicuous. so I realize both cartridges are considered minimal, but, which has the advantage for stopping power?
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Old 12-12-2014, 16:05   #2
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I have never been a 380 fan, never. Guns smaller than 38snubs are not easy to shoot well. So I prefer 38sp, 158grLSWCHP will get it done, +P if you like.
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Old 12-12-2014, 16:42   #3
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I prefer the 38+P myself. I carry either my Mod 442 or Mod 36 with Speer Gold Dot 135gr HP's. With that said, I have a Ruger LCP 380 and I have to say it's a nice shooting pistol considering the size of it. I use the included grip extension on the magazine. I actually prefer shooting the LCP over my revolvers with the stock grips on them. Yet, I'll carry the 442 over the LCP when I'm not carrying my G23.
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Old 12-12-2014, 17:20   #4
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For sheer hitting power. the .38 Special without a doubt.

For the seductive quality of ease of carry. I personally, will frequently tote a .380.

Usually an L.C.P..

I find a .380 much more effective than harsh words.

Last edited by banger; 12-12-2014 at 17:26..
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Old 12-12-2014, 17:32   #5
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Quote:
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I prefer the 38+P myself. I carry either my Mod 442 or Mod 36 with Speer Gold Dot 135gr HP's. With that said, I have a Ruger LCP 380 and I have to say it's a nice shooting pistol considering the size of it. I use the included grip extension on the magazine. I actually prefer shooting the LCP over my revolvers with the stock grips on them. Yet, I'll carry the 442 over the LCP when I'm not carrying my G23.
If you can find them, the Tyler T grip adapters are great for the J frames. No extra bulk but help control the small gripped guns.
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Old 12-12-2014, 17:53   #6
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Even the milquetoast remfedchester .38 offerings are typically a lot better than .380, and the better loads especially with heavier bullets are even with the best 9mmP.
The .380 is great if you like tiny pistols, but that's about it.
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Old 12-12-2014, 18:00   #7
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I personally have no trouble controlling either gun, a s&w BG or my s&w 637. the ammo on the shelf around here is mostly Hornady 110gr for 38 SP. I suppose the higher velocity of a lighter bullet hits hard, but I would rather carry the 158 gr. I am not an internet purchaser, so my options have been less than optimal. thanks for all the good responses
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Old 12-12-2014, 18:57   #8
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The .38 Special is no doubt a bit better as far as ballistics, but I think the extra couple of rounds available in a .380 makes up the difference by giving one some defensive flexibility especially if there is more than one attacker involved.

With the proper defensive ammo a .380 can be quite effective, plus for most it is easier to carry and deploy a reload.
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Old 12-12-2014, 19:10   #9
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I carry a P3AT or LCP 380 over a 38 snub.
-Two more rounds
-Lighter weight

Using typical HP SD ammo the difference in "stopping power" (assuming equivalent shot placement) would be minimal, IMO.
More important would be shot placement and having two additional rounds available.
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Old 12-12-2014, 19:41   #10
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.38 Special, for sure.
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Old 12-12-2014, 19:48   #11
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There are a few 9mms that are smaller than a J frame, hold more rounds, and are slightly better ballistically. Just another option if you're able to add to the collection.
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Old 12-12-2014, 21:04   #12
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For 30 years+, I carried an Airweight/Airlite .38 snubbie as my backup/OD gun. They are relentlessly reliable and have good paper ballistics for their size. I got pretty good with mine because I shot it a lot.

They are also more difficult to shoot than a good auto, less ammo, slower reloads, and downright painful when I shoot with the small grips for pocket carry.

The only people I know who have complied actual statistics on street shootings, 38 2" vs 380, are Marshall/Sanow, Ellifritz, and Ayoob. Marshall/Sanow and Ellifritz both show the 380 as actually a bit more effective than a 2" 38, last I heard from Ayoob he showed it about equal.

Looking at all the factors, it seems to me that a reliable 380 with good sights and good trigger, is a better weapon for most of us. And if I shoot the 380 all day, the only thing that hurts is my wallet. That should improve when I start reloading 380.

My 380 is a pair of G42s, which were the most horribly unreliable pistols I've ever owned until I personally worked on them (slide stop problems). Now, they are great.
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Old 12-12-2014, 21:20   #13
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.38 Special trumps .380 ACP
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Old 12-12-2014, 21:50   #14
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I sold my CM9, a nice little gun, but my arthritis and some nerve damage made it to difficult to grip the slide. the BG380 is just doable. I have larger semi auto's, the larger slides are much easier, so when concealment is easier I like carrying them.
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Old 12-12-2014, 22:00   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim View Post
For 30 years+, I carried an Airweight/Airlite .38 snubbie as my backup/OD gun. They are relentlessly reliable and have good paper ballistics for their size. I got pretty good with mine because I shot it a lot.

They are also more difficult to shoot than a good auto, less ammo, slower reloads, and downright painful when I shoot with the small grips for pocket carry.

The only people I know who have complied actual statistics on street shootings, 38 2" vs 380, are Marshall/Sanow, Ellifritz, and Ayoob. Marshall/Sanow and Ellifritz both show the 380 as actually a bit more effective than a 2" 38, last I heard from Ayoob he showed it about equal.

Looking at all the factors, it seems to me that a reliable 380 with good sights and good trigger, is a better weapon for most of us. And if I shoot the 380 all day, the only thing that hurts is my wallet. That should improve when I start reloading 380.

My 380 is a pair of G42s, which were the most horribly unreliable pistols I've ever owned until I personally worked on them (slide stop problems). Now, they are great.
very good info, I have looked at a lot of stats and they usually show the .380 and 38 SP close in ballistics, when using high end loads, with the 38 sometimes over penetrating and the 380 sometimes under penetrating.

either gun will leave my right hand hurting, but my hands hurt everyday anyway. its much easier to reload my revolvers when spending an afternoon shooting, but its easier to load my pocket with mags than speedloaders when I head out of the house.
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Old 12-12-2014, 22:07   #16
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When it comes down to these two rounds stopping power is not the question, it's about what you can carry and shoot the best. If you want or need power carry a G33 or G27 both can be carried as easily as a J-frame!

Last edited by Railsplitter; 12-12-2014 at 22:09..
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Old 12-12-2014, 22:17   #17
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38 spl good
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Old 12-12-2014, 22:31   #18
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I will pick a j frame over a .380 but sometimes in the hottest summer heat I carry a
P3at. I like to carry larger guns though.
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Old 12-12-2014, 23:44   #19
PhotoFeller
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Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
If you can find them, the Tyler T grip adapters are great for the J frames. No extra bulk but help control the small gripped guns.
I haven't seen Tyler adapters mentioned for years...decades. They were quite popular in the heyday of revolvers.

I wonder if Tyler is still in business.
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Old 12-12-2014, 23:46   #20
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I haven't seen Tyler adapters mentioned for years...decades. They were quite popular in the heyday of revolvers.

I wonder if Tyler is still in business.
Closed a couple of years ago. Just after I bought a vintage Mod 60.
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