.380 auto or .38 revolver thingie for ankle gun?


January 15, 2003, 09:02 PM
If I get my CCW, I may get an ankle gun when belt carry is out of the question.

Is a .38 special much better than a .380? I don't know much about either but can shoot a Beretta 85 quite well. I'm ok with revolvers and never shot a snubby, and I DO have 3 more rounds in the Beretta.

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Marko Kloos
January 15, 2003, 09:15 PM
Revolvers are more suited for ankle gun carry than most autos. I've been carrying an ankle gun for "business casual" attire for years now. The best ankle gun I've owned so far is a S&W Centennial Airweight. It's light, fires a reasonably powerful round with the .38 Special +P, and has a largely closed action.

I've also carried the Baby Glocks G26 and G33 on my ankle. They work pretty well, although they are a good bit heavier than the Airweight snubbie. OTOH, they offer a higher round count and a more powerful cartridge, so it's an acceptable tradeoff.

Sock lint will get into the small crevices of the gun, even after only a day of ankle carry. It accumulates rather quickly, and I trust the revolver to operate with some lint in the action more than I do most autos. The Centennial snub is ideal for ankle carry, because it has a closed action, and therefore does not acquire sock lint as readily as other designs.

Also, the grip of a snubbie tends to be a lot less high and prominent than the grip of an autochucker. Grip height determines concealability, especially on the ankle.

January 15, 2003, 09:55 PM
For reliability sake, I would take the small frame revolver of Colt, Ruger or Smith parenting.
I happen to carry a Glock 27 in that capacity during my work hours, off duty I am almost always in shorts, so an ankle gun does not conceal well then. ;)
I wouldn't carry a 380.
9mm's and 40's are the same size now and the 380 has a diminishing role in concealed carry, IMHO.

Best of luck to ya. :D

Kahr carrier
January 15, 2003, 10:35 PM
I would go with the revolver also for ankle carry,but I prefer pocket holsters.:)

January 15, 2003, 11:35 PM
A .380 stops bad guys just as good as a snubnose .38, if both are loaded with a good hollowpoint. .380 hollowpoints like the Federal Hydra-Shok, Federal Hi-Shok, Corbon, and Winchester Silvertip are excellent choices. That said, I would go with the snubby because, overall, I feel small revolvers are more reliable than small semi-auto's. (I've carried a .380 for 9 years, but I am reverting back to a snubnose.)

January 15, 2003, 11:43 PM
If i had to choose,it would be the 38 but a makarov would be my choice.

January 16, 2003, 12:25 AM
I have found greater versatility w/ the 38 vs. the 380 :cool:

January 16, 2003, 03:15 AM
I like the lightest gun possible for ankle carry, I bought a 342 smith just for that purpose, like was stated above the closed action is a definate plus. Some people just aren't bothered by the weight though, I know a guy who carries sp101 on the ankle....tom

January 16, 2003, 08:20 AM
The Kahr PM9 might be worth a look. I've never carried on the ankle but I think if you are decent with a revolver, one of the light weight 38s (not as light as scandium) may be the way to go.

As far as effectiveness, I think I have a bit more faith in the best 38 Special loads than 380 ACP loads. Would jus as soon avoid finding out first hand, but just my instinct.

Kentucky Rifle
January 16, 2003, 08:25 AM
I carry a S&W 331 .32 H&R Magnum in a Galco Ankle Glove all day long. (11.9 oz plus the cartridges.) Plus something else on my belt. And a "pocket .32ACP" also. And a knife. A little "overkill" I know, but I've seen some things.


Jeff White
January 16, 2003, 11:52 AM
You'll get better terminal effects with the .38 snubby over the .380. Over the years I've carried both a Colt Agent and a S&W Model 36 as backup when in uniform. I've tried both a S&W 3914 and a Glock 21 in ankle holsters and found them to be not nearly as comfortable.

According to Dr. Gary Roberts, plain jane .38 special wadcutters exhibit the best terminal effects out of a 2" barrel.


January 16, 2003, 09:23 PM
I'm a big fan of ankle carry. I've carried a PPK, Glock 27, S&W 344ti, S&W 60 .357, S&W 340sc and Kel-Tec in ankle holsters. My favorite is the S&W 340sc. Yes, I do carry it with .357's most of the time (not always). I don't really have a problem with any of the guns, though I find the Glock somewhat bulky and heavy. My best advice is that the thing that makes the biggest difference is the holster. Don't skimp. My favorite is the Galco or Desantis neoprene and leather holsters, though others swear by Alessi and Renegade. Good luck.

January 17, 2003, 06:48 AM
.380!!!! .38spl!!!! Them's not ankle guns, boy!! :what:

Now strap a Glock 36, that's 7 rounds of hard hitting, bad guy busting, (Are ya up with me???) git yer A&& out a big jam, .45ACP sized death on yer ankle!!!! I carry mine in a Fobus GL4 holster!!! :D :cool: :)

January 17, 2003, 10:10 AM
I am a .45 kind of guy so I am with you in spirit but.....A .357 magnum ankle gun is nothing to scoff at. Much more versatility and 158 grains of high velocity, fire spewing, ear drum busting, set your assailent on fire even if you miss, get your A$$ out of a big jam is nothing to scoff at either.

That being said, I would go with the .38 snubbie, but I always opt for .357 since it can shoot .38 just fine and should the time ever arise that you feel undergunned with the .38 or want a new challenge or toy or whatever, you just start loading and practicing with .357.

You just cannot beat the versatility of a good .357 snubbie, but you will have a bit of a learning curve.

As I don't want to be shot with anything I am not dissing the .380 but the .38 special has more information supporting it as a defensive round since it has historically been used by just about every law enforcement group in the world at one time or another and has a lot more loadings. That 158 grain LSWCHP +P is a pretty nasty beast.

January 17, 2003, 11:30 AM
I carry a Taurus 85 Ti Ultralite in my ankle. I've tried the same with mu Glock 28 and my Taurus PT-138 but weight and grip shape didn't feel as confortable as with the revolver. I'm now waiting impatiently for the new Kel-Tec .380 to replace my PT-138 and that one might feel at home on my ankle.


André Barros

January 17, 2003, 11:41 AM
For me the 340 S&W snub with +P. Can handle the .357s, but much less recoil with the +P.

January 17, 2003, 02:02 PM
Skunk, I carry a .357 ankle gun on duty, and at times when waistband carry won't work. I like it a lot. Also, mine is an all-steel J-frame, and I don't even notice the weight. Its not that big of a deal.

Make sure you get a GOOD ankle rig, though. The Galco Ankle Glove that I bought 4 years ago as a stop-gap until I could afford an Alessi has ended up soldiering on with no replacement date in sight. It is rock solid.


January 18, 2003, 08:20 PM
Skunkster...........as soon as I saw the word "thingie", I knew it twas yoo.

January 19, 2003, 04:10 AM
Yeah, yer probably right, as far as it goes!! :D
Got bit real bad by one of them damn snubbies a few years back. It was a Taurus M605. Made the mistake of trying to touch off a full house 158gr magnum load outta the thing. Tore up my webbing real bad!!! :eek: Took a week for it to heal!!! Hurt like a MF!!!! Swore I would never do it again. Another one of those "once bitten, twice shy" things.
With that in mind, I'll take my beloved G36 or MK9 any day of the week thank yew very much!! :evil:

January 19, 2003, 12:14 PM
What model is that titanium S&W?

January 19, 2003, 12:18 PM
In 30 years, I've tried countless ankle holsters. They are not for me.

But if I were to carry a gun in one, it would be a small auto like a Seecamp or NAA Guardian.

January 19, 2003, 01:57 PM
What model is that titanium S&W?

Go to www.smith-wesson.com

Dave Williams
January 20, 2003, 12:07 AM
Get an alloy or steel snubby. Titanium guns are limited in the rounds they can fire, cost 200$ more, and offer only a scant (IMHO) weight savings. If you gotta have a 380, the Beretta line is my favorite.


January 20, 2003, 12:11 AM
Skunk - stay away from the ultra lite 357 mag snubbies. In my experience, they're just flinch makers...especially if you don't shoot it as much as your other fullsize guns or shoot magnum loads. Heavier yes, but the steel snubbies are just easier to master.

January 20, 2003, 03:15 AM
How do muzzle velocities compare?

.380 has a 3.8" barrel,
.38 has 2.5" barrel.

January 20, 2003, 04:44 AM
I like a .357Snubbie in the ankle.. The snubbies are fairly accurate, and you can shoot 38Spls out of them, but I like the .357Mags for logistical reasons... I can shoot 38's out of a 357, but not 357's out of a 38. That's a big difference; if I carry a revolver for a sidearm, it will probably be a 357, and so I'd like both guns to be able to take the same rounds..

.38Spl in a Semi-Wadcutter is a seriously decent ankle thingie... If you pull the trigger and it goes "click" pull it again!! That's what I love about revolvers... No need to tap-rack-bang!

January 20, 2003, 04:57 AM

Don't forget, semi-auto's, the bullet sits in the barrel, on revolvers, the bullet does not.

So a 3.25" semi-auto actually has the same barrel length as a snubbie with a 2" barrel... Make sure you take that into account...

Snubbies have surprising low recoil, if you aren't shooting hot .357Mags... The gap between the cylinder and the barrel, allows for blowby... .38Spls are pussycats in most snubbies..

Taurus makes quite a few Titanium models. But I can tell you, shooting 357's from Ti's is a hand buster!! Also, as a snubbie owner, a 357Mag from a snubbie has a flame trail like a foot long or so!! If you don't hit the perp, you will at least blind him, and make him deaf...

January 20, 2003, 04:52 PM
With the new Kel Tec .380 coming out, I would take a hard look at it. Weight/size looks very attractive for ankle carry. http://www.kel-tec.com/pr03.htm

January 20, 2003, 10:26 PM
I hope my earlier post wasn't causing any confusion. The hammerless S&W titanium .38 is the 342ti. There was a typo in my earlier post when I said 344ti.

February 5, 2006, 07:39 PM
I have found the 38 Ultralite to be too heavy and hard to conceal to carry at all times,versus the light weight of the Kel-Tec P3AT which I simply place in a small holster and place in my front pocket,it is no more noticeable to me than my wallet or S&W SWAT pocket knife.
As for accuaracy and reliability;I took two new P3AT's to the range to break them in with 95 Grain Winchester Hardball Target Rounds and was immdiately impressed when aiming at the head portion of the paper targets,moving them back until I felt very comfortable with the accuaracy at aprx 15 yards.
I cannot get anywhere near this kind of accuaracy with my 38 Snub which I also brought.I ran 75 rounds thru each Kel-Tec with no failures.My wife however did expeirence one jam with each Kel-Tec,but on Kel-Tec's behalf she is too weak to chamber a round on my CZ52 so it appears to be her not the firearm.She has no problem chambering the Kel-Tecs.
On the other hand,I do not keep a bullett in the chamber on my P3AT and I leave a bullett out on the Taurus 38,so for quick deployment if needed up front the 38 would be beneficial.However,I find more often than not the 38 to get left behind and the P3AT to be a real Carry it Everyewhere item.In a car jacking scenerio or a self defense item at a random shooting I would feel more confident at a distance with the 380 because I do not know how to accurately aim a snubby 38,I am very good with a 4" barrel revolver and wish they would come out with a light weight 11 oz 38 revolver 3 round if need be that would be accurate and reasonable for concealed carry and comfort.

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