.38 Special vs. .380 ACP?


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StrikeFire83
March 23, 2008, 07:13 PM
Hello, everyone.

Iím more of a semi auto person, as the Ruger SP-01 in .357 mag is the only revolver I own. I wanted to drop in here and ask those in the know about the how the .380 acp measures up to the .38 special. Given that the .380 pocket pistol market seem to be exploding...the Kel-Tec P3AT, the new Ruger LCP, and the forthcoming Kahr P380, many of these guns are going to be compared against the trusty j-frame for pocket carry folks. Now, P3AT sized guns are always gonna carry better than a J-frame, but how does the .380 ACP stack up against the .38 special?

I know that 9mm loads are generally superior to the .38, but I assume that with all that casing the .38 has got to be more powerful then the .380 ACP. Is the difference in ballistics significant?

Thanks in advance.

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batmann
March 23, 2008, 07:37 PM
Personal choice. I doubt there is a lot of difference in the real world with the right ammo choice.
I have both a S&W 442 and a Kel-Tec .380 and I carry the Kel-Tec more.
Hpoe this helps.

Ala Dan
March 23, 2008, 07:48 PM
With the likes of many S&W J-frames in my stable of fine firearms; I find
myself using my KEL-TEC P3AT .380 auto as "my always" firearm, when
a larger weapon such as the J-frames or .45 ACP's are impractical cuz
of dress or rules and regulations. As a personal choice, I carry the 102
grain Remington Golden Sabre's in my P3AT. Probably lacking a bit in
stopping power when compared to the .38 Special JHP's; but with
proper shot placement, the difference is only marginal~! ;) :D

MCgunner
March 23, 2008, 07:52 PM
I plan to pick up probably a new Ruger LCP or perhaps a P3AT alternatively in the future and I own a .380 I occasionally carry, but I really trust the 158 grain .38 special +P load to fully penetrate where as I have more doubt with the .380, but I reckon it's all in where you place it. The .380 is the minimum power level with which I'm comfortable as primary defense, but as it's available in such small, excellent little guns, it is attractive compared to smaller rounds which come in similar sized guns, the .32ACP in particular.

What I normally carry is a 9mm which has more umph than either .380 or .38, but I don't see the .38 as lacking much. The heavy bullet gives it enough penetration.

Dan-O
March 23, 2008, 07:54 PM
I kinda like this article. Follow the link. He has a lot of good things to say about guns in general. Hope this helps. I have a small 5 shot .38 snubbie, two Kel Tec .380's, and they all seem to find their way into may daily carry rotation on a regular basis.

Sorry for the tangent. Here is that link.

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/38specialor380acp.htm

Vern Humphrey
March 23, 2008, 08:24 PM
I assume that with all that casing the .38 has got to be more powerful then the .380 ACP.
The .38 Special has a large case because it was originally a black powder cartridge. Case size, per se, means very little in this case.
Is the difference in ballistics significant?

The .38 Special will drive bullets of similar weight about 200 fps faster than the .380. Given the low velocity range of both cartridges, this is a significant increase in favor of the .38 Special.

The .38 Special will also drive much heavier bullets -- and generally drive them faster than the .380 will drive its lighter bullets.

cherryriver
March 23, 2008, 08:48 PM
To finish Vern Humphrey's thought: And heavy bullets are more likely to get where you need them to be to do the work you need them to do.

mossy141701
March 23, 2008, 09:23 PM
I also own both and carry the p3at most of the time, I carry it with corbon ammo and feel comfortable with it. I carry in a back pocket wallet holster and almost forget it's there.

MCgunner
March 23, 2008, 09:52 PM
I carry in a back pocket wallet holster and almost forget it's there.

That right there is the reason I want one. :D

go_bang
March 23, 2008, 11:42 PM
Muzzle energer wise, factory ammo for the .380 ACP usually clocks in at right around 200 ft lbs, give or take 10-15. The same for .38 Special tends to range between 200-300 ft lbs, depending on the round. Bullet weights for .380 tend to range from 88gr to 100gr or so with your typical defense load being 90-95gr, while .38 Special bullets range from 95gr to 200gr with the typical defense load having a 125 or 158gr bullet.

On paper, the .38 Special appears to be the better stopper. In reality, it's hard to say. The .380 guns can be easier to conceal than snubnose revolvers, are faster to reload, and single stack magazines are easier to conceal than speedloaders. The .38 snubnose revolvers are regarded as being more rugged and can fire in situations that would jam an auto (jammed up against an assailant, fired from a pocket, etc).

As I see it the differences are more in the compromises for the kind of gun each uses than in the ballistic performance. Pick what suits you and go from there.

btg3
March 24, 2008, 12:06 AM
Anyone tried .380 +P from Buffalobore.com?
http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#380
They seem to advocate flat-nose for .380 rather than hollow point or round nose and give their reasons. Also claim higher power than .38 spl.


.

lanternlad1
March 24, 2008, 02:10 AM
.38 is better than .380, hands down. They aren't even in the same class. .38 is actually closer to 9mm (.357 vs .355 diameter bullet size). I read an article by Mas Ayoob once where he compared .380 and .38 by killing pigs with a gunshot to the back of the head. The .38 would drop them like rocks every time, the .380 wouldn't even penetrate the skull in some cases. After a few tries he thought the .380 was inhumane so he stopped using it. I like .380, but it simply does not compare to .38 or 9mm.

"I also own both and carry the p3at most of the time, I carry it with corbon ammo and feel comfortable with it. I carry in a back pocket wallet holster and almost forget it's there."

I can do the same thing with a Smith 642.

shooter429
March 24, 2008, 05:26 AM
No contest. Not even close. My J-frame beats your KT any day. Of course, come to think of it, mine are .357s anyway. :) That having been said, I kept a KT in my tackle box on the boat for years. Nothing wrong with the .380 per se. But no thinking person would choose 80 grains over 180 when the chips are down.

Shooter429

MCgunner
March 24, 2008, 08:54 AM
.38 is better than .380, hands down. They aren't even in the same class. .38 is actually closer to 9mm (.357 vs .355 diameter bullet size). I read an article by Mas Ayoob once where he compared .380 and .38 by killing pigs with a gunshot to the back of the head. The .38 would drop them like rocks every time, the .380 wouldn't even penetrate the skull in some cases. After a few tries he thought the .380 was inhumane so he stopped using it. I like .380, but it simply does not compare to .38 or 9mm.

I don't know where he got that! :rolleyes: I've seen 400 lb slaughter house pigs dropped quite dead by a .22 short properly applied to the head fired from a slaughter house "stun gun" which is a .22 short on a long stick. Whack him on the fore head, the thing fires and he goes down NOW. I've popped pigs and calves with a .22 handgun with good results....to the head point blank. Maybe I'll tote my .380 next time I check my hog trap. I shot the last ones I caught with a .38 to the head, was what I was carrying. One round, a +P 158, penetrated through the head and all the way through the neck and exited the forward chest. I was pretty impressed with the penetration. That's what I like about .38 special, penetration. Energy, well, six of one, half dozen of the other, but neither is powerful enough to kill with energy and I'm an energy kinda guy with the magnums and high caliber guns, anyway. But, 200-300 ft lbs? Sheesh, gimme a break. I'll go with the heavier bullet, though, given the choice for the penetration. Put that .380 on the chest, though, and I have a feeling the fight will stop.

All that said, most of the time, I tote a 9mm loaded with 115 grain Hornady XTPs at 1262 fps. The gun is 1" wide, 14 ounces unloaded, carries 11 rounds on tap, and disappears in a pocket. I made a wallet holster for it and it'll even ride in a jeans back pocket, though it's a bit of a lump. I prefer it in the front pocket. It is easier to carry than a .38 revolver and has more power and more firepower. The subcompact 9s are pretty awesome for CCW.

btg3
March 24, 2008, 11:52 AM
...an article by Mas Ayoob once where he compared .380 and .38 by killing pigs with a gunshot to the back of the head
Seems the comparison was made using .38 +P HP against "various" .380 rounds. This may have excluded .380 +P rounds which are "hotter" than .38spl rounds, so some bias may exist
in the cited comparison?
Suppose the "pig test" were made between various .38spl and .380 +P?
http://www.gunweek.com/2005/feature0620.html

This is not to say which caliber is better, but just trying to avoid conclusions when some of the facts are obscured.

Also, as posted in THR archives:
...there are definitely portions of the pig's skull that are more robust than that found in humans. It has to be in order to support the stressors inflicted on it such as the massive jaw musculature and actual use of the head as a rooting tool.

If Ayoob's tests were side shots with an attempt to penetrate the brain, then his rounds would likely have to pass through some of the heavy jaw muscles before getting to the brain.

Then there is the aspect of unsupported expanses. The human cranium is largely like a hollow ball. There are few folds, angles, ridges on the exteior or interior to really provide any sort of structural support. A pig's cranium has a much smaller area available that is unsupported. I base this on the fact that I have a pig skull with me right now from a male pig that was just reaching adulthood based on eruption of the 3rd molars.

Compare this with a human skull, particularly the cranium (brain compartment). Generally the thickness of a healthy adult cranium will be about 1/4 to just under 1/2 of an inch. The majority of this bone is not solid. Instead, it consists of an interior and exterior thin cortical surface between which is located spongy bone. The spongy bone isn't actually spongy. It just looks like a sponge. You get the same spongy bone at the ends of the long bones where the bone walls are thinnest. Spongy bone provides for excellent lightweight support, but isn't horrible difficult to penetrate with point impacts.

So, the human skull protects the brain, but it isn't terribly thick or tough. Moreover, most isn't covered with heavy musculature or even very thick skin. Folks with hair get a lot more protection to their skulls from the hair than they get from their skull.

Where all this is going is that there is really no legitimate comparison between pig and human skulls when it comes to protection against ballistic impacts in the living animals. To suggest otherwise would be naive.

go_bang
March 24, 2008, 04:01 PM
I was wondering how long this thread would go before the words "hands down", the parroting of old yarns spun by old gun writers, veiled insults, and other such territorial markings would appear.

But no thinking person would choose 80 grains over 180 when the chips are down.

Well, why would any thinking person choose 180gr of .38 Special over 230gr of .45ACP when the chips are down? In fact, why not 240gr of .44 Mag? Better yet, if said thinking person knew the chips would be down why didn't he bring a semi-auto rifle, various BUG's, and several friends toting the same?

btg, excellent point on swine skulls versus human. I was going to dig that up, but you beat me to it.

I like snubnose revolvers, and I've carried snubnose revolvers. They have their place, but they are just one of many options and they don't fit every need.

P. Plainsman
March 24, 2008, 04:24 PM
I'll confine my thoughts to .38 Special in quality +P loadings. What's been documented is that the "FBI load" (Remington or Winchester 158 grain LSWCHP+P) can meet the FBI penetration standard while fully expanding. It's a 158 grain pure soft lead slug that typically leaves a 2" snubby at a bit over 800 fps. It has been viewed for decades as an effective stopper, particularly by small bore cartridge standards.

If we're talking that kind of .38+P, then yes, from the data I've read, I view it as being in a different, superior ballistic category from any .380 available, even the hot Buffalo Bore stuff. It is "more gun."

But the .380 semi-auto pistols have their own advantages. The teensy ones (Kel-Tec; Ruger LCP) are even more concealable than a J-frame revolver. They are the most concealable halfway serious handguns in existence. And bigger .380s like a PPK or Bersa have their own advantage. They are generally easier to shoot than a .38 snub (particularly an airweight snub with .38+P loads like I carry). Plus reloads are quicker and easier with a semi-auto.

rgs1975
March 24, 2008, 04:39 PM
Shot placement shot placement shot placement. What ever you use, practice with it and get good. If you can put that bullet where you want it to go it doesn't matter what caliber you're using. A skilled shooter can kill a man quicker with a .22 than a non skilled shooter can with a 50 cal.

ZeSpectre
March 24, 2008, 05:03 PM
Either. If you are good enough then they'll be good enough. (in other words...shot placement).

Elmer
March 24, 2008, 06:12 PM
The .38 Special will also drive much heavier bullets -- and generally drive them faster than the .380 will drive its lighter bullets.


And heavy bullets are more likely to get where you need them to be to do the work you need them to do.

And that's the bottom line.

When PD's were transitioning to auto's, many of them allowed plainclothes officers to carry .380's as primary weapons, (including my own). That went away after some pretty horrendous failures in gunfights.

Souping up lightweight bullets to hyper velocities, doesn't work any better with .380's than it did with the lightweight +P+ .38's of the dark age "computer man" studies in the 1970's.

The late Gene Wolberg, one of the Father's of modern wound ballistics's, used to recommend ball ammo in .380 or .32 auto's. "At least you have a better chance of penetrating deep enough to poke a hole in something important", he used to say.

But as long as there's a market for +P+P+P rounds that exhibit more "muzzle energy", there will be manufacturers willing to sell them, and gunwriter hacks willing to tout them (for a little......ahem...... consideration..... ).....

Heck, some of them even wrote "books" on the subject.....

:rolleyes:

Cosmoline
March 24, 2008, 06:20 PM
+P .38 Specials are actually *the* standard self defense loads in that chambering. Low pressure .38's are primarily for target use. So you really need to compare 380 with .38 +p. The larger capacity special leaves the small ACP behind quickly, as you might expect.

wnycollector
March 24, 2008, 06:33 PM
I guess for me its not about fps of this and lbs of that...its about the most reliable platform that you can carry. I just can't feel comfortable carrying a small auto in my pocket. I just like the 100% reliability of my j frame revolver. I will say, the Ruger LCP may change my mind sometime down the road...but for now 5 rounds of +p .38 in a S&W 638 is the combo I am sticking with!

bdjansen
March 24, 2008, 06:42 PM
.380 was good enough to stop Hitler. Of course, shot placement was pretty good. :D

351 WINCHESTER
March 24, 2008, 06:50 PM
The .38 is more powerful. It fires a much heavier bullet, penetrates more even from a snubbie.

MCgunner
March 24, 2008, 06:53 PM
So, um, Elmer, you're sayin' I'm better off with a standard pressure 158 grain load than a +P? I don't think so. Remember, a faster bullet of the same weight not only gains energy, it gains momentum. I shoot +P 158s in my .38.

As others have stated, there is no SAAMI standard for +P in the .380 and the blow back nature of many of the pistols severely limits pressure levels in that caliber. You won't find pressures jacked up a whole lot in .380 even if the manufacturer states it as a "+P" load for marketing reasons.

Oh, and Hitler was helped by a cyanide tablet. That stuff doesn't need good shot placement to work. :D I'm pretty sure I can greatly increase the lethality of any .380 hollowpoint by stuffing the hollow cavity full of potassium cyanide. Not sure what a jury would think of the practice, just sayin'.....:D

DougDubya
March 24, 2008, 07:26 PM
.38 has all the power and the reliability.

The .380's have faster reloads, less recoil, more shots, and the option of a proprietary thumb safety.

Both balance out enough that I'd carry a .380 BUG to a .38 Special.

cherryriver
March 24, 2008, 07:46 PM
One other advantage that revolvers have is the ability to reliably use superior bullets. Maybe my age is showing here, but I still can't stop thinking that in the realm of puny pistol-level ballistics, the semi-wadcutter is still the best thing you can use in a defensive load against living things. Expansion is fine, if it happens, but a semi-wadcutter's doing its work from the very first fraction of an inch.
There's no hydrostatic shock at these velocities, and penetration, especially in winter or other heavy-clothing situations, is absolutely essential.
I believe the SWC is a compromise combination of elements that works.
In .36 caliber, I have to like the Keith 158, expanded or otherwise.

Virginian
March 24, 2008, 08:10 PM
Apropos of nothing, there is a hell of a difference between hitting a pig between the eyes or on the forehead with the house bang stick, and shooting one in the back of the head.
I had a Sig 230. Best semi auto I ever had. Never jammed once. It was a joy to carry. I sold it because of puny bullet performance.

Vern Humphrey
March 24, 2008, 08:59 PM
.380 was good enough to stop Hitler. Of course, shot placement was pretty good.

Hitler had two pistols -- one in .25 ACP and one in .32 ACP. He shot Eva Braun, but took cyanide before shooting himself.

So I'd say he proved you can commit suicide or kill a cooperative victim with those weapons.

tblt
March 24, 2008, 09:09 PM
38 anyday

Elmer
March 31, 2008, 11:20 AM
So, um, Elmer, you're sayin' I'm better off with a standard pressure 158 grain load than a +P? I don't think so. Remember, a faster bullet of the same weight not only gains energy, it gains momentum. I shoot +P 158s in my .38.

So, um, no......:rolleyes:

What I meant was a lightweight .380, at hyper velocity doesn't match a heavier weight .38 round. I was comparing the lightweight .38's that were popular back in the 70's, (and still are touted by those with financial agendas....), i.e. the 95-110 grainers, pumped up to faster velocities, did not work as well as the slower 158's. "Energy", is a pretty meaningless word in pistol bullets.

And yes, I carry +P in my .38's also...... Just not the super lightweight stuff....

Bezoar
April 1, 2008, 12:00 AM
the 38 special is better then the .380. however, the handguns in 380 are normally designed in a way that makes them a tad easier to conceal then a revolver in .38 spl.

Given how people are, id rather have a .380 with 12 rounds in it then a .25 auto or a pocket full of rocks.

Marshall
April 1, 2008, 12:15 AM
I have both and I would pick the .38 in a defensive situation. Them heavier +P bullets mean sumpin. I'm with MCgunner on this one. I sure like my BDA .380 though, I'd like it a whole lot better if I could hit a barn with it.

Heem
April 1, 2008, 11:06 PM
I like the fit and balance of my .380 Walther PPK/S in my hand. Everyone who shoots the gun is really impressed with it's handling due to the thinness, the little finger rest, and the longer grip of the "Special" vs the shorter PPK. All this makes for a very nice conceal gun. This said, I'd put much more trust in a revolver in a larger caliber than .380 OR .38 ......... there is no substitute for a cannon.

cornman
April 1, 2008, 11:40 PM
.38 spcl. was once considered the ultimate defence round. When the .357 came out most people thought it was insane that anyone would need or use that much power in a handgun.

Phil DeGraves
April 3, 2008, 10:50 AM
The .38 is much more versatile and you have many more bullet choices (all the way from 95grn to 200 grn bullets) compared to the rather limited options available for the .380.

Phil DeGraves
April 3, 2008, 10:57 AM
"The .380's have faster reloads, less recoil, more shots, and the option of a proprietary thumb safety.

Both balance out enough that I'd carry a .380 BUG to a .38 Special."

Doug, just out of curiosity, if you are carrying a .380 as a back up, then I would think the tactical advantages of the autoloader in .380 do not outweigh the performance of the .38 since, if you needed to reload, you would do so with your primary firearm and not with your BUG. And more shots again isn't a factor (unless you're carrying a Beretta 84) since you have already expended all of your primary arm's ammo. Right? Or am I missing something? Unless you just shoot the .380 better. Personally, I can afford to practice more with the .38. Reloading the .380 is tedious at best.

Phil DeGraves
April 3, 2008, 04:51 PM
"...and the option of a proprietary thumb safety."

Hmmm... Well, I suppose if your primary is a 1911 and your backup is a Colt Mustang, that would make a pretty good justification. I'm still going to go with the J-Frame though and hope I get all the bad guys with my 1911.

40jjb
August 10, 2008, 03:20 AM
I am not a specialist, But one thing I do confirm, i did some informal testing using pigs shoulder cover with jeans, using speer GD for bouth, I found the 380 acp penetrated better and expanded to over a 45 acp, also did some barrier test using books, wood, other materials just to see performance, again the 380 acp past the 38 spl, the guns used were a 2" barrel Snub and a Kel tec p3at :cool: so I defenetly feel good and safe carring a 380 acp, with any of the 2 for uptamisation in a self defence situation you should practice the doble tap.:)

meef
August 10, 2008, 03:43 AM
I am not a specialist, But one thing I do confirm, i did some informal testing using pigs shoulder cover with jeans, using speer GD for bouth, I found the 380 acp penetrated better and expanded to over a 45 acp, also did some barrier test using books, wood, other materials just to see performance, again the 380 acp past the 38 spl, the guns used were a 2" barrel Snub and a Kel tec p3at so I defenetly feel good and safe carring a 380 acp, with any of the 2 for uptamisation in a self defence situation you should practice the doble tap.:what:

Good grief! It hurt my brain just to try and read that.

johnnylaw53
August 10, 2008, 07:45 AM
I had a PPK/S for a short while and also a Mod. 60 at the same time I decided that both of them served the same purpose so i was going to get rid of one. I kept the 60 not because i felt it was such a better round but the ppk would jam on me now and then the 60 always gave me 5. as I stated before it seem small auto's just don't like to shoot for me even my wife kel tec p32 jam on me she don't understand as it have never jam on her. I don't think it the round you should think about with these smaller weapons but how well the weapon shoot for you. Holes in a body is holes in the body no one like them.

be safe

Brasso
August 10, 2008, 10:31 AM
I am not a specialist, But one thing I do confirm, i did some informal testing using pigs shoulder cover with jeans, using speer GD for bouth, I found the 380 acp penetrated better and expanded to over a 45 acp, also did some barrier test using books, wood, other materials just to see performance, again the 380 acp past the 38 spl, the guns used were a 2" barrel Snub and a Kel tec p3at so I defenetly feel good and safe carring a 380 acp, with any of the 2 for uptamisation in a self defence situation you should practice the doble tap.

I find that hard to believe. It defies both logic and most other testing I've seen. The .380 can't even meet minimum penetration standards unless used in the full metal jacket variety. The .38spl can do it with standard, pure lead, un-jacketed, hollowpoints.

pps
August 10, 2008, 11:57 AM
For 380 here are the Buffalo Bore loadings, which appear to be "the biggest, baddest, mostest" Sorry, I have been grammatically inspired by one of the previous posters.

380 Auto +P

Item 27A/20: 100gr. Hard-Cast FN @ 1125 fps 280 ft. lbs

Item 27B/20: 95 gr. F.M.J.-F.N @ 1125 fps 267 ft. lbs.

Item 27C/20: 90 gr. Speer Gold Dot J.H.C. @ 1175 fps 276 ft. lbs.

For comparison, here is the Buffalo Bore 158grain offering timed from a 2" barrel.

158 gr. L.S.W.C.H.P.--G.C. (1,000fps/M.E. 351 ft.lbs.)

The 38 and 380 are nearly identical diameter. There is more kinetic energy AND more momentum from the 38 special rounds. Be it ballistics gel, a bad guy or a pig shoulder wearing jeans the 38 will penetrate deeper than the 380...given the same bullet design.

In the end it will be the same concealed weapon balancing act that comes into play. "Concealability" vs caliber vs reliability vs ammunition capacity vs ease of reloading vs accuracy. For me, I like a j frame in the pocket...or one in each front pocket.

RandomMan
August 10, 2008, 12:21 PM
I had an LCP, I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it, I sold it and went back to my Colt Agent and then I bought a Smith 642 to compliment the Agent. That's the first reason why I don't carry .380 for personal defense.

The second reason is, I fail to see how driving a 100-grain flat nose bullet at 1061fps (BB's rating from Kel-Tec), over a 158-grain lead hollow point at 854 fps is better (BB Standard Pressure Load). So, you're driving a lighter bullet at higher velocity, but it's not a bullet that expands, when the latter bullet has a proven track record in expansion. Furthermore, if you can handle it and you don't suffer bullets jumping crimp, you can run BB's +P 158-grain LHP and shoot a heavier bullet at the same velocity as the +P .380.

Now, the .380 Kel-Tecs and LCPs are really nice for carry, but heck I don't mind carrying my 15 ounce 642 or 17 ounce Agent in my pocket at all, so I'm not gaining much from the carry factor of the Kel-Tec or LCP.

Marlin 45 carbine
August 10, 2008, 12:32 PM
I've owned several different .380acp pistols, still have my BDA (and I can shoot and hit well with it) and also a Makarov (my CCW). never owned a .38spl snubby but have shot friends snubbys many times, like them (most all guns too!). after shooting much into used plywood targets made by 'layering' them to check effectiveness I can say that the .38 158gr SMJHP does penetrate slightly more and takes a slightly bigger chunk out the back side exiting. but a warm-loaded .380acp 102gr Golden Sabre ain't much behind and I wouldn't care to get hit with it for sure! seems that follow-up shots are faster for me with the semi-auto is the biggest advantage besides concealability.
real world advantage? take your pick IMO.

ldp4570
August 10, 2008, 01:51 PM
My .380's;
Browning BDA380
Beretta 85F
Beretta 70s

My .38's;
SW 64 4"
SW 64 2"
SW 67 4"
SW 60 3"
SW 640 ND

The only .380 I would carry, and feel comfortable with is the 85F. As for my .38's, any will fill the bill. All the other WIZBANG talk is moot. Its all about shot placement. If you can reliably put them where they count every time you draw and fire, nothing else matters. The person or animal being shot isn't going to know the difference.

woad_yurt
August 10, 2008, 02:57 PM
My carry piece is strictly a "leave me alone" gun. I think .380 should accomplish that in most situations. The P3AT is so small that I always have it with me, whatever the weather or clothing. A J-frame is just too fat by a bit for me. I wish there was a .38 SPL or 9MM P3AT; I'd carry it.

Drgong
August 10, 2008, 03:05 PM
The .38 is a better round in stopping someone/something, however the .380 does have some really nice easily concealed pocket guns. the P3AT you could put in your front shirt pocket with a piece of paper in front and no one would know you where carrying it.

Both are a HECK of a lot better then fists :)

gruesomenewsom
August 10, 2008, 06:03 PM
i have a couple friends that carry .380's, but I carry .38 spl. My 642 loaded with 129 grain +p hydrashocks hits exactly what its aiming at every time. Plus a friend of mine accidentally shot himself in the knee with a .38 spl and lemme tell ya it did quite some damage, traveling downward behind his kneecap, through several inches of flesh before finally coming to a rest (and shattering) his tibia (lower leg bone). So I'll take a .38.

GP100
August 11, 2008, 12:29 AM
Modern 38 special defense loads will always be superior to any defense 380 load, always...

nelson133
August 11, 2008, 07:32 PM
I solved this problem by carrying a 442 in an ankle holster and a P3-AT in a pocket holster, both to back up my main gun.

elsullo
August 11, 2008, 08:58 PM
Everybody worries about the one-shot-stop. What about PLACEMENT of the SECOND shot? What about controllability? Which is easier to get back on target, the .380 or the .38+P (BOOM!)?

I had a buddy who could pop SIX .22s on target before I could fire two 9mms!

Sure, the .38+P delivers more energy, but the .380 surely is better at shot placement, especially with a mid-mini sized gun like a Walther PPK or Bersa Thunder .380 CC!

I compromised: I like a snubby J-frame..............in .32 Magnum! More energy than a .380; more placement controllability than an ordinary snubby. I post this only to confuse the issue....................elsullo:D

MCgunner
August 11, 2008, 10:04 PM
Hell, what's all the argument about, anyway? I have a snubby .38, a .380, and mostly carry a subcompact 9x19 with +P115 JHPs in my pocket. Ballistically, it's better than either of the other ones at 1263 fps from the gun, it's quite accurate, and carries 13 rounds. Besides, I've fired enough through the gun that it shoots where I look. The 9 fits in a pocket flatter than the .38, but neither is hard to tote. The 9 weighs 14 ounces unloaded and the revolver weighs 17 ounces.

I rarely carry my .380, but I do often swap for my .38, especially when I'm going fishing which I do a lot. It's a stainless gun and salt water is kind of corrosive. I try not to let the gun get wet, but stainless is still better in a salt water environment. The only thing I don't like about .380 is the possibility of not enough penetration. That BB load someone didn't understand with the 100 grain flat nose at over 1000 fps, that helps insure it will penetrate. That's what that particular load is all about. I think it makes sense if you're going to tote a .380; however, a 9 or .38 with the better +Ps make more sense. :D

wjh2657
August 11, 2008, 11:52 PM
As you can see by my signature below, I like short barreled guns. it has a lot to do with my 65 year old eyes! I love both my Glock 23 and my BERSA Thunder 380 but I carry the J-frame Smiths EDC. It has nothing to do with ballistics. It is all due to reliability. Even on the best of days my Glock or BERSA will FTF or FTE. Yes it is usually due to a poor grip on my part. But I don't believe my form is going to be real perfect with a madman shooting at me or rushing me with a knife. With a S&W 64X, I know it is going to go bang and do it five times in succession. There is also the KISS principle in action, relatively hard trigger pull and no safeties mean not shooting myself in leg! (I carry pocket holster) in a NO-S--T situation I just believe I am a whole lot better off with the little wheel guns. Just an old boy's opinion!

Drgong
August 11, 2008, 11:57 PM
What is the most effective...

Whatever you hit better with!

40jjb
August 16, 2008, 03:20 AM
Well this is my list, I have a walther PPS 40 S&W, a KT PF9, 4 P3AT, Glock G27, XD40, XD9, Hi point CC 9mm, Chec. 40, P32, Jennings 22LR, Ect..... the one I carry becouse of size is the KT P3AT, so it might be 62 Percent stoper so you ring a secund time now you complet the other 62 per. 120per. ha your dead :fire: double taps are great never forget that.:)

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