.38 Special vs .380


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hurrakane212
January 31, 2006, 06:17 PM
Yeah I know, revolver round vs autoloader round = apples and oranges. However, how do they compare as a self defense round for a pocket gun?~Nathan

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1 old 0311
January 31, 2006, 07:11 PM
Actually they are real close. I keep a .38+P in the nightstand, and my CCW is a .380 Guardian.

Kevin

cookekdjr
January 31, 2006, 07:17 PM
In just a round vs. round comparison, the .38 typically out-penetrates the .380 by a wide margin. However, the increased capacity of .380's gives them a different advantage. Its a trade-off: capacity vs. power.

McCall911
January 31, 2006, 07:26 PM
Yeah I know, revolver round vs autoloader round = apples and oranges. However, how do they compare as a self defense round for a pocket gun?~Nathan

I hope they're good, especially the .380 because a Browning BDA is my CCW.

If it's any help, Firearms Tactical has "Jello tests" of one .38 Spl and a couple of .380s on this page:

http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs.htm

There are a couple of more .38's near the botton of this page:

http://www.firearmstactical.com/wound.htm

Now, if only someone will chime in as to how we're supposed to interpret this data.
:)

MCgunner
January 31, 2006, 08:11 PM
In just a round vs. round comparison, the .38 typically out-penetrates the .380 by a wide margin. However, the increased capacity of .380's gives them a different advantage. Its a trade-off: capacity vs. power.


Don't forget concealability. That's the reason I often carry a .380 over my .38 J frame. The .380 fits a jeans pocket, the J frame, no way. My .380 is 100 percent reliable, not quite as accurate as my .38, but plenty for combat, and holds 12 rounds on tap in a pocket. That's a pretty desirable combination in my mind. Still, I usually have my 9 or .38 on my hip when I'm not forced to pocket carry.

The better .38 +Ps do marginally better in the M/S stats, but it's not that big a deal. Both are in the 70s IIRC. All that means to me is both will do the job acceptably with proper placement.

JERRY
January 31, 2006, 11:54 PM
Mr. Camp, a contributor here, has a great web site in which one of his observations deal with just such a question...........

id recommend a quick browse on his site.

mbt2001
February 1, 2006, 12:26 AM
.38 special or .380....

Well the .38 special gets a hands down better review than the .380 from me, but I respect both cartridges and think that people are too dependent on meaningless ballistics charts.

As Sheriff Jim Wilson said, fast accurate shooting wins gun fights, not the newest toy...

I think I got that quote right, but the point is there.

JohnKSa
February 1, 2006, 12:32 AM
WARNING! BEFORE reading farther, please read the disclaimer at the end of the post.

Typical autopistol to revolver comparison.

Roughly similar performance with light bullets, the edge goes to the revolver with heavy bullets. Concealability, shootability, and capacity tend to favor the auto.

cookekdjr
February 1, 2006, 12:12 PM
Don't forget concealability. That's the reason I often carry a .380 over my .38 J frame. The .380 fits a jeans pocket, the J frame, no way. My .380 is 100 percent reliable, not quite as accurate as my .38, but plenty for combat, and holds 12 rounds on tap in a pocket. That's a pretty desirable combination in my mind. Still, I usually have my 9 or .38 on my hip when I'm not forced to pocket carry.

The better .38 +Ps do marginally better in the M/S stats, but it's not that big a deal. Both are in the 70s IIRC. All that means to me is both will do the job acceptably with proper placement.
MCgunner,
what pocket .380 are you carrying that holds 12 rounds? I'm about to replace my AirLite J-frame, but I may hold off for something like you are describing.
Thanks,

David

gunfan
February 3, 2006, 03:46 AM
MCgunner,
what pocket .380 are you carrying that holds 12 rounds? I'm about to replace my AirLite J-frame, but I may hold off for something like you are describing.
Thanks,

David

David;

If you can find an older, "butter-chubby", Browning BDA .380, you will get that 12-round, double-stack magazine. (BTW, you'll also have that DA/SA trigger that you'll find to be of definite advantage)! :cool:

Scott

unspellable
February 3, 2006, 03:58 PM
While I find the Browning BDA to be a pretty good pistol, I have to say it's too big for a 380 to justify itself. By the time you have a pistol that big it might as well be a 9 mm.

P. Plainsman
February 3, 2006, 04:38 PM
On this question. Just more food for thought.

http://www.gunweek.com/2005/feature0620.html

bowfin
February 3, 2006, 04:50 PM
I am going to narrow the context up as to a single round from any gun vs. a single round from any gun.

In that case, I think the .38 Special is a winner in accuracy, power, penetration, whatever yardstick you want to use for a cartridge vs. a cartridge.

McCall911
February 3, 2006, 06:58 PM
While I find the Browning BDA to be a pretty good pistol, I have to say it's too big for a 380 to justify itself. By the time you have a pistol that big it might as well be a 9 mm.

I pretty much agree with that assessment, but I still like the pistol a lot. Among .380s, I think of the Browning (Beretta) BDA as a "Cadillac."

cookekdjr
February 3, 2006, 07:39 PM
I pretty much agree with that assessment, but I still like the pistol a lot. Among .380s, I think of the Browning (Beretta) BDA as a "Cadillac."
I find the SIG p230/p232 to be the "Rolls Royce". My p230 shoots like a dream.
-David

BloodyRAzorBlades
February 3, 2006, 08:07 PM
i choose 38 special snubby all the way! compact as a 380 but wont have to worry about it jamming up and the rounds dont kick as bad as 380 does. or thats how it feels to me anyway:D

McCall911
February 3, 2006, 09:09 PM
I find the SIG p230/p232 to be the "Rolls Royce". My p230 shoots like a dream.
-David

Oh, yeah! That's what our county's Chief Investigator uses as his primary carry, believe it or not. And that jogs my memory about something I mentioned in another post a few weeks ago...

Anyway, about the "Cadillac" statement I was thinking more along the lines of the size of the BDA instead of the quality. It still has quality, but how can you have a successful Cadillac unless it's first-of-all oversized? ;)

Pilot
February 3, 2006, 09:31 PM
I often carry a Beretta 85FS in .380. In researching the ballistics its pretty similar to a .38 Spl, especially out of a snubby, where the Beretta has close to a 4 inch barrel.

MCgunner
February 3, 2006, 11:01 PM
i choose 38 special snubby all the way! compact as a 380

That entirely depends on the particular .380. ;)

355sigfan
February 4, 2006, 05:47 AM
The 38 special has far more momentium and more energy from similar sized guns. The 380 is a bit too marginal for my tastes.
pat

gunfan
February 4, 2006, 06:10 AM
They will weigh between 95 and 102 (the Golden Saber bullet) grains and will be the fastest .380 ACP on the market! My Bersa can't wait! :evil:

Scott

Alan Fud
February 4, 2006, 08:22 AM
I hope they're good, especially the .380 because a Browning BDA is my CCW.

If it's any help, Firearms Tactical has "Jello tests" of one .38 Spl and a couple of .380s on this page:

http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs.htm

There are a couple of more .38's near the botton of this page:

http://www.firearmstactical.com/wound.htm

Now, if only someone will chime in as to how we're supposed to interpret this data.
:)Based on your references, the .38 does appear to be significantly superior to the .380ACP

Alan Fud
February 4, 2006, 08:31 AM
While I find the Browning BDA to be a pretty good pistol, I have to say it's too big for a 380 to justify itself. By the time you have a pistol that big it might as well be a 9 mm.This brings up an interesting point ...

http://fud-files.netfirms.com/image/private/guns/f77.jpg

... While the 9mm parabellum is significantly superior to the .380ACP, when facing three badies, would you be better serves by being able to fire 2-3 rounds of 9mm at each one of 4-5 rounds of .380ACP at each one? Factoring in the "miss" factor ... is 1-2 hits with a 9mm as effective as 2-3 hits with a .380ACP?

I honestly don't know. Anybody?

McCall911
February 4, 2006, 09:38 AM
Based on your references, the .38 does appear to be significantly superior to the .380ACP

Commonsense tells us that the .38 Spl has the advantage over the .380 ACP. No argument here.

But, in these ballistic gelatin tests, my question is: How do we evaluate them in terms of terminal performance?

Do we give equal weight to the maximum expansion and the depth of penetration? (In other words, the wound area.) Or do we want to know the volume of the wound itself? (Or the average diameter squared times the penetration?)

MCgunner
February 4, 2006, 11:14 AM
I don't lose sleep over any marginal performance advantage the .38 has over the .380. If I did, I would never carry the .38 because if I can carry the .38 I can as easily carry my 9mm! My 9mm shades my .38 by 150 ft lbs!

I carry what is necessary for concealment that day and just figure with ANY of 'em, I'm going to have to put 'em center mass. I don't worry about what would happen if I shot jello with 'em.:rolleyes: If I lived up north where people wear 6 layers of winter coats I might be a little more worried about penetration, but it was 92 degrees in Corpus Christi a couple of days ago and 88 degrees here! Ain't nobody on the street wearin' a coat in 92 degree weather!

If I cannot carry my .38 or 9 IWB, I do have a .380 I can carry. I could go unarmed, reckon that's an option. If you have your choice of .380 or nothing, you gonna choose nothing? Not me. It's still putting up near 200 ft lbs out of my little pocket gun and I can use it and I'm packin' 12 rounds in the little fart so if I miss once or twice I still have some firepower left. I also carry an 11 round reload in my pocket.

Comparing the two, for me, is pointless. I cannot carry my .38 in a jeans pocket. I can carry my little .380. So, the carry mode makes the choice for me. I can't work carrying IWB, not an option. On trips where I may need to disarm and I'm on my motorcycle, I carry the .380 because I can take it out of my pocket in its wallet style holster and no one can discern it from a wallet. I can lock it under the seat of my SV650S or in the trunk of my GoldWing and be happy. If I'm taking my Mitch Rosen IWB rig off my belt in a parking lot, I might give some old lady a heart attack and besides, according to Texas law, I'm not supposed to flash a firearm in public. There have been times, going to sporting events, motorcycle shows, etc, where I need to disarm because guns are not allowed inside the event. When I'm on the bike and am going to have to disarm, the .380 is my only option.

Everyone has their own individual carry problems/things they must work out for themselves. There's a place for a .380 pocket gun in my arsenal and my .380 gets a LOT of carry for these reasons. When I can, I carry IWB and carry something more powerful, but sometimes I just can't. I ain't buyin' no $1000 Roarbucks pocket nine, but if Kel Tec were to come out with a more compact single stack pocketable 9, I might retire the .380. However, I don't think so 'cause I kinda like the gun. :D

Anyway, that's my reason for relying on a .380 sometimes. I do carry a 9 or a .38 IWB when I can, but sometimes I just can't. I'd rather carry a rather capable .380 than rely on my NAA mini revolver in .22lr for primary or carry nothing.

355sigfan
February 4, 2006, 03:08 PM
This brings up an interesting point ...

http://fud-files.netfirms.com/image/private/guns/f77.jpg

... While the 9mm parabellum is significantly superior to the .380ACP, when facing three badies, would you be better serves by being able to fire 2-3 rounds of 9mm at each one of 4-5 rounds of .380ACP at each one? Factoring in the "miss" factor ... is 1-2 hits with a 9mm as effective as 2-3 hits with a .380ACP?

I honestly don't know. Anybody?

Give me the 9mm any day. The 9mm has sufficient energy and momentium to drive bullets 12 inches deep and expand to over .70 caliber. That means I would have to fire far less into each bad guy compared to the .380. Compare the 380 to the 9mm is a joke. The 380 can not expand and penetrate 12 inches. It does one or the other but not both. Its stopping power is sub par. I would rather have 5 38 +p rounds from a snubby than 13 380's from your Beresa.
Pat

TimboKhan
February 4, 2006, 08:44 PM
For me, the .38 special. I own a variety of calibers, and I won't lie to you and say the .38 is my favorite, but I do happen to think that as a cartridge, it gets a bad rap. First off, lets all just agree that historically the .38 has proven itself more than capable of being a good self-defense round. Again, its not perfect, but it does have plenty of notches on its belt. Second, the .38 is pleasant to shoot and easy to control. Third, between the two cartridges specified, the .38 is the more powerful of the two. For me personally, I just like the round, and I don't feel undergunned when I use it.

MICHAEL T
February 5, 2006, 04:28 PM
I carry both My S&W Bodyguard J frame fits my Wal mart Jeans in a Don Hume pocket holster perfect. but most time its My PPK/S in a DH pocket holster.
I would like to know what 380 that holds 12 rounds you can pocket carry but J frame to big in same pocket. You don't pocket carry the Beretta of Browning. Their bigger than a J frame.
Bersa hasn't imported a 12 round 380 since the 10 round mag law Clintion days. Today Thunder handles job and at best its a 9+1

Alan Fud
February 6, 2006, 09:34 PM
Their bigger than a J frame. Depends on how you look at it ...

http://fud-files.netfirms.com/image/private/guns/f12.jpg

... definitely too big for pocket carry.

unspellable
February 7, 2006, 09:19 AM
All this discussion of this caliber vs that caliber is wonderfull, but for me it's generally a case of cocealability trumps all. I simply carry the most potent round that's on a platform I can conceal that day. Sometimes its a 32 ACP. Sometimes its a super compact 380 or a supercompact 9 mm. Rarely its a service sized piece.

If concealability were not an issue I'd simply pack a 357 mag or a 10 mm and be done with it.

Those of us not affiliated with law enforcement cannot afford to print or flash. It can lead to all kinds of hassles.

MCgunner
February 7, 2006, 10:15 AM
Depends on how you look at it ...

http://fud-files.netfirms.com/image/private/guns/f12.jpg

... definitely too big for pocket carry.

My 9mm is smaller than either of those.

mbt2001
February 9, 2006, 05:29 PM
I keep hearing people depending on a meaningless ballistics chart and penetration tests on ballistics jelly. Frankly speaking these are meaningless.

When engaging a target ARMED OR NOT seek cover, and fire 2 hits to center mass and evaluate in the weaver ready then 1 to the head if there is ANY DELAY in the incapacitation of the target. In fact, fire two to the chest and then immeadiatly sight the head and fire.

I don't care what gun you have, he is going down. If the fight is protracted, you have sought cover and delivered two shots on target.

Do not worry about idiotic reports of penetration. Those are ideal at best.

The Red Baron took a round from one of those .50 cal airplane guns RIGHT BETWEEN THE BLOODY EYES and he lived. He had headaches for the rest of his life, but the bullet rode up his scalp and he lived, no big deal!!!!!!!

Keep firing. Seek Cover. Bring 2 spare mags. Retreat for your long gun unless you have a compelling reason not to. Get your long gun. Find cover. Keep firing. Reload. Continue to fire. Use cover. Call for backup.

355sigfan
February 10, 2006, 03:17 AM
I keep hearing people depending on a meaningless ballistics chart and penetration tests on ballistics jelly. Frankly speaking these are meaningless.

When engaging a target ARMED OR NOT seek cover, and fire 2 hits to center mass and evaluate in the weaver ready then 1 to the head if there is ANY DELAY in the incapacitation of the target. In fact, fire two to the chest and then immeadiatly sight the head and fire.

I don't care what gun you have, he is going down. If the fight is protracted, you have sought cover and delivered two shots on target.

Do not worry about idiotic reports of penetration. Those are ideal at best.

The Red Baron took a round from one of those .50 cal airplane guns RIGHT BETWEEN THE BLOODY EYES and he lived. He had headaches for the rest of his life, but the bullet rode up his scalp and he lived, no big deal!!!!!!!

Keep firing. Seek Cover. Bring 2 spare mags. Retreat for your long gun unless you have a compelling reason not to. Get your long gun. Find cover. Keep firing. Reload. Continue to fire. Use cover. Call for backup.

Don't pause fire two or more to the chest and go to the head. If the head is not there then go low for the pelvis if its not there the threat is probably on the ground.

The red barren was not hit from a .50 cal rather a 30 caliber machine gun that was most likly fired from the ground. Even if he was shot down the bi planes of the day did not carry .50's they carried 30 caliber machine guns. Also he was not hit in the head but rather the torso.
Pat

Mad Chemist
February 10, 2006, 03:58 AM
Excuse me if this has already been pointed out. But shouldn't a pocket gun be capable of firing from a pocket more than once?
What about coat pockets during the winter?
I'd vote for the revolver on this one even if it was a .380 revolver.:p
A friend of mine has a S&W 940-1. It's a J-frame in 9mm. It's a very nice pocket gun.:cool: I'm kind of jealous since they're not too common around here.

JH

355sigfan
February 10, 2006, 04:09 AM
Excuse me if this has already been pointed out. But shouldn't a pocket gun be capable of firing from a pocket more than once?

JH

Depends on the pocket. Not sure I would want to fire from a pants pocket would you. :D
I would not make this a qualification. It would be a last ditch move. Because you would have to point shoot and that seldom works.
Pat

Mad Chemist
February 10, 2006, 04:23 AM
Depends on the pocket. Not sure I would want to fire from a pants pocket would you. :D
I would not make this a qualification. It would be a last ditch move. Because you would have to point shoot and that seldom works.
Pat

Ever heard of or been in the FUT as in "messed" up tangle? This is also known as bad breath distance. NS about the pants, I was editing for clarity while you were pointing that out. My typing is a little slow.:o
Think "covert weapon presentation" for another application besides the FUT.
Just my $.02.

JH

mbt2001
February 10, 2006, 07:49 PM
The red barren was not hit from a .50 cal rather a 30 caliber machine gun that was most likly fired from the ground. Even if he was shot down the bi planes of the day did not carry .50's they carried 30 caliber machine guns. Also he was not hit in the head but rather the torso.
Pat

Von Richthofen was wounded on July 6, 1917, by a bullet that creased his forehead. He was momentarily paralyzed and blinded and his plane plunged into a dive, but he recovered in time to make a crash landing. His headgear had filled with blood. The wound never fully healed, and for the rest of his life, his head was bandaged. (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1222347/posts)

My point (that bullets do strange things when they hit targets, especially human targets) still stands... Except for the part about the .50 caliber. I could have made a mistake there.

355sigfan
February 10, 2006, 08:00 PM
I just finished watching a show on the history channel talking about the red barren. The show stated he was hit in the lower torso and did crash but bleed to death on the ground. No mention was made of a head wound.
Pat

MCgunner
February 10, 2006, 08:36 PM
Depends on the pocket. Not sure I would want to fire from a pants pocket would you. :D
I would not make this a qualification. It would be a last ditch move. Because you would have to point shoot and that seldom works.
Pat

Besides, I don't wear a coat much, even in what they call "winter" down here. I have one for riding on a 45 degree morning, but it comes off when I'm working. We just got a "blue norther" in, supposed to be low 40s in the morning, but it'll be in the high sixties by afternoon.

For me, pocket means blue jeans pocket.

mbt2001
February 12, 2006, 02:08 PM
I just finished watching a show on the history channel talking about the red barren. The show stated he was hit in the lower torso and did crash but bleed to death on the ground. No mention was made of a head wound.
Pat

Did they mention the "head wound" he had received that they are pretty sure was the cause of his recklessness the day he was shot down? That was the shot to the head.

DesertFox
February 12, 2006, 09:17 PM
The powder charge I use when reloading 9mm and 38 Special is identical with many powders. The 38 Special case can hold MUCH more powder to create a +P round. The 380 Auto case will max out with a charge before it gets to low 9mm loadings.

IMOHO, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, caliber aside!

355sigfan
February 12, 2006, 09:23 PM
The powder charge I use when reloading 9mm and 38 Special is identical with many powders. The 38 Special case can hold MUCH more powder to create a +P round. The 380 Auto case will max out with a charge before it gets to low 9mm loadings.

IMOHO, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, caliber aside!

The 38 can hold more powder but can not safely use that room. It was designed as a black powder round. The 357 mag is what happens when you use that room for more powder. The 9mm with the hottest ammo out runs the hottest 38 rounds by about 200 fps with all identical bullet weights.
Pat

355sigfan
February 12, 2006, 09:37 PM
Did they mention the "head wound" he had received that they are pretty sure was the cause of his recklessness the day he was shot down? That was the shot to the head.

Not that I remember.
Pat

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