.380's are unreliable


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Soke
September 15, 2008, 12:27 PM
Was hoping you guys could tell me where this comes from as I have heard it several times from different people. Is this true or false?

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The Bushmaster
September 15, 2008, 12:48 PM
Mostly false. Walther PPK and PPK/S come to mind. Plus other quality .380's.

lee n. field
September 15, 2008, 12:58 PM
.380's are unreliable

Probably depends on the gun.

I have one, a .380 makarov. It's been 5 or 6 years since I've shot it, but it was quite reliable. Only malfs were with some quite underpowered handloads, and Winchester Winclean.

highorder
September 15, 2008, 12:59 PM
I have heard people say that the .380 is an unreliable manstopper, but I haven't heard too much about unreliable .380 pistols.

usp9
September 15, 2008, 01:35 PM
Some of the most reliable guns available are made for the .380acp round. Some are classic firearms, much used, much relied upon and have sellar reputations. Among these the Walther PP series, Beretta 70 and 81 series, Sig P230/232, Bersas, and many others. Your pistol information sources sound a little less than well informed IMHO.

Soke
September 15, 2008, 01:47 PM
Your pistol information sources sound a little less than well informed IMHO.

I agree.

This post really cleared that up, thanks a lot.

rswartsell
September 15, 2008, 01:52 PM
Even my Hungarian FEG PPK knockoff has been 100% reliable. Not pretty anymore but certainly reliable.

Revisit the attached range report below.:)

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7398&highlight=range+report

rondog
September 15, 2008, 01:53 PM
My Bersa Thunder .380 is very reliable, but the .380 round itself I'm not so sure about. Might have to use several of them to stop a determined BG.

dairycreek
September 15, 2008, 02:31 PM
Was hoping you guys could tell me where this comes from as I have heard it several times from different people. Is this true or false?

Based on my personal experience with .380 pistols I think that the statement is false!

I have three: a Kel-Tec P3AT (second generation), a CZ83, and a SIG 232. I have fired each of these handguns hundreds of times and have never had any kind of a problem. In my experience the .380 has been highly reliable.

Ben Shepherd
September 15, 2008, 02:37 PM
No different than other calibers. It depends on the actual firearm. 380's are made by some cheap companies. Those will be unreliable.

I had a sig 232. Worked 100%. Currently have a makarov. It has also worked flawlessly to date.

19-3Ben
September 15, 2008, 03:11 PM
My Sig P232SL can run about 250 rounds down the barrel before experiencing failures. But once you hit that 250 number, it's not a matter of if it will fail, but a matter of when.

Most people I know with 232's say the same.

But if I keep it clean, it will run any ammo, and do a great job.

XDKingslayer
September 15, 2008, 03:12 PM
Bersas can be touchy with aftermarket magazines. Mine has run flawless for a couple thousand rounds with factory mags.

slow944
September 15, 2008, 03:52 PM
I've got a Taurus PT58s and it has never failed to go bang. Even after sitting in the gun safe uncleaned for a couple of months(forgot to clean it), I took my daughter to the range for her to learn to shoot and it ran 100rds of CCI Blazer ammo without a hitch. Now she carries it.

blackcash88
September 15, 2008, 03:56 PM
My PPK/s and 2nd gen P3AT are reliable.

VARifleman
September 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
I have one, a .380 makarov. It's been 5 or 6 years since I've shot it, but it was quite reliable. Only malfs were with some quite underpowered handloads, and Winchester Winclean.
A .380 makarov, or a 9x18 makarov? The latter is common, I've never heard of a mak in 9x17.

Girodin
September 15, 2008, 05:54 PM
I wouldn't describe my Colt mustang as unreliable. In fact I cannot recall it ever having an issue.

rswartsell
September 15, 2008, 05:59 PM
or the Government Model Colt in .380. Also very reliable for me (very similar to Girodin's Mustang).

EHL
September 15, 2008, 06:01 PM
Both my P3at and my Walther PPKS have been top notch!!

TexasRifleman
September 15, 2008, 06:05 PM
Bersa Thunder, 500+ rounds with no malfunctions.

P3AT, 250+ rounds with no malfunctions.

Sig 232, 350+ rounds with no malfunctions.

Yep. Pretty crappy.

doc busha
September 15, 2008, 06:11 PM
Boys, Boys, Boys;
Thats why GOD made the 45 ACP

lee n. field
September 15, 2008, 06:40 PM
A .380 makarov, or a 9x18 makarov? The latter is common, I've never heard of a mak in 9x17

Baikal in Russia and Arsenal in Bulgaria both made Maks chambered in 9x17. The magazines are the same. For the mechanically adept conversion barrels can be had.

.380 short 9

9mm == ".380 Long" :D

goon
September 15, 2008, 06:58 PM
Any time you hear someone say something that general about a caliber they probably don't have any idea what they're talking about.

I just isn't possible to make that kind of generalization based only on caliber. A whole lot more than that comes into play when you're talking about mechanical reliability.

searcher451
September 15, 2008, 07:10 PM
There's no question and no debate as to whether the .380 ACP has the stopping power of, say, a .45. At the same time, a great many people use the .380, carry the .380, and trust their lives to a .380 cartridge every single day. I'm one of them. I have a Walther PPK/S and won't leave home without it.

blackcash88
September 15, 2008, 07:21 PM
I have a Walther PPK/S and won't leave ome without it.

PPK/s...why? You can have a REAL 9mm in a smaller, lighter package these days. I still have my PPK/s, but never carry it anymore because my Kahr PM9 replaced it in it's intended role. I still like the PPK/s and it does have that James Bond coolness going for it.

You can put the +1 extension on a Kel-Tec P3AT mag and have EXACTLY the same capacity and firepower as the PPK/s in a MUCH small, lighter package. My 2nd gen P3AT has been very reliable and will feed anything I put through it.

The Lone Haranguer
September 15, 2008, 07:50 PM
If we're talking cycling reliability, I agree this is more a function of the handgun than the cartridge. A Beretta Cheetah, for example, is more likely to be reliable than, say, a Jennings. ;)

harmonic
September 15, 2008, 08:17 PM
I've owned two. The first was the first semiauto handgun, and the second handgun ever, I owned. It was a Llama 380 that literally left me bleeding after every range visit. It bit me on the web of my hand.

I sold it.

The second 380 was a Sig P230. Absolutely reliable and comfortable to shoot.

The cartridge is fine. It's just that not all guns chambered for the 380 are good.

mjrodney
September 15, 2008, 08:35 PM
My Bersa Thunder 380 concealed carry model has been 100% for me.

Stoked with alternating Buffalo Bore solids and Golden Sabers, I don't feel under gunned at the 12 yards or less I would likely expect to be using it at.

moooose102
September 15, 2008, 10:43 PM
it has more to do with a particular gun, than the caliber. i have read that the early kel-tecs were not real reliable, so that may have been what you heard about. i own a newer kel-tec, and a ruger lcp. the kel-tec had to go back to the factory. it had something wrong inside the slide, so it would not fire consitantly. since they replaced the slide, it has been flawless. the ruger had a few minor hickups until i had around 150 rounds through it, since then, it too is flawless.

Mountie855
September 15, 2008, 11:15 PM
My only 380's currently are P3AT's (2),very reliable. Have owned Sig 230's, Berettas, PPK's, PPKs's. Sigs nice, but as big as a 3913; ditto Beretta.

All but PPK & KS's were 100%- never trusted the Walthers much, though they were neat and great to carry, and accurate as well (when they worked!).

cliffy
September 15, 2008, 11:40 PM
Both are popguns, better than a can of pepper-spray. Some mighty small .45 ACPs are available. Just because 007 survived through many movies, does not make a .380 a true man-stopper. Head shots? Maybe, if he doesn't have too hard a head. Look into a mini-1911 in .45 ACP. .45 ACP is a BIG-GUY equalizer. Or a mighty .357 Magnum makes a fine defense caliber. Check-out the ballistics on-line, before buying anything not at least equalling 700 ft/lbs of muzzle energy. Never perturb a big assailant with a popgun. Use .38 Special ballistics as a basis for a 60% man-stopper when hit in the shoulder. Go for 100% with a .45 ACP. cliffy

Noxx
September 16, 2008, 12:34 AM
Meh, if you're a statistics guy, the .357 is the most reliable stopper, and there's plenty available in pocket guns.

I've never experienced a mechanical problem in .380, but if I had to shoot someone with it I would expect to have to shoot them several times.

krs
September 18, 2008, 01:45 PM
A CALIBER can't hardly be unreliable. Plenty of pistols might be unreliable, in any caliber.

Harmony: It was a Llama 380 that literally left me bleeding after every range visit. It bit me on the web of my hand.

I was surprised to hear this, Harmony. I have an old one of these and while I wouldn't carry it because it occasionally develops little issues and fires a peashoot caliber I do find it a fun and comfy little bitty 1911 to shoot.

Right on, cliffy!

MICHAEL T
September 18, 2008, 03:47 PM
I have 5 different 380's from a Kel Tec to Colt Mustang all relieable.

woof
September 18, 2008, 04:13 PM
The .380 round is not reliable. I sent one out with a 20 once for a six-pack and he never came back.

Lonestar49
September 18, 2008, 04:17 PM
Was hoping you guys could tell me where this comes from as I have heard it several times from different people. Is this true or false?


...

True, IF one owns a 380 that uses a blow-back action. This gets any 380 very very dirty in 230 rounds, was my on-going experience. Mix all that black gun powder with oil (and heat) on the feed-ramp, on, and within, (internal walls and mag sping), the first 1/4" of mags and the follower, and the recipe is there for a feed jam, and it will occur with the first or second shot, as was the case with my 380.

Up to 200 rounds, which goes quick at one range session, based on a completely cleaned, and freshly oiled gun, they sing/work great. But come rounds 230 and on, uncleaned, and each mag, thereafter, had a feed jam on the most important shot, the second or third, (for those follow-up shots) and unjamming/clearing them was a "time eater" IF one had a 380 with a Euro style bottom Mag thumb-release..

Keep a round count, keep them clean, both gun and "mags" (internal walls) and one should be OK with any of these type blow-back action 380's.

False IF gun is a Closed breach action with side thumb release mag button and should be FAR more forgiving both, in higher round counts before cleaning needed, and in the time it takes to clear a feed jam, thru dropping the mag and clycing out the jam.

Been there, done that.. with a Sig P232 SL



Ls

GeorgiaGlocker
September 18, 2008, 06:23 PM
My Bersa Thunder 380 is flawless. I use Corbon 90 grainers in it.

jjohnson
September 18, 2008, 06:58 PM
Nope.

My Bersa 383 and Makarov in 380 are utterly reliable - and I mean after thousands of rounds, not after half a box. The Mak was developed by the Russians, and God knows THEIR stuff works, even when it's not pretty. :eek:

As pointed out, the 380 might be unreliable as a man stopper. If people are telling you that 380s aren't reliable, they may have experience with the low end junk guns that are easier to make in blowback designs. I'm not going to say "saturday night specials" but you get the idea.

They're reliable enough that I carry a Mak in 380 as a CCW when I can't hide a .45, which is often. 'nuff said.

russcoh
September 18, 2008, 08:24 PM
I've owned two Bersa Thunder 380's, both have been very reliable. I think where people run into problems with these is over lubrication and using ammo that's either junk or too low of pressure.. which can cause problems with just about any semi auto.

harmonic
September 18, 2008, 09:12 PM
I do find it a fun and comfy little bitty 1911 to shoot.


Well, if you're an itty bitty framed person it's probably different. I'm 6'6" tall and weigh in at about 230. There really wasn't much room for my hand.

MCgunner
September 18, 2008, 09:20 PM
Like any other CENTER FIRE gun, more a function of the gun than the caliber. It was built for small autos and, well, MINE works 100 percent. YMMV I even had a cheap POS Davis that worked well. I've heard guys with the PPK/S that had lots of trouble. Guns can have problems.

The Bersa has a great rep. The little LCP and P3AT have a unique niche, 380 caliber the size of a baby Browning .25. It's a good time to be living for .380 lovers. Me, I don't really swoon over the caliber, but not for reasons of function, more to do with the puny bullet/load and my concerns over adequate penetration. There are 9mms from several manufacturers that are smaller and lighter than a PPK/S. It's also a fine time to be living for 9mm fans. :D

ice monkey
September 18, 2008, 10:47 PM
.380's are unreliable? Hmmm Ö The only quasi deserved caliber I know of that is unreliable, is the .22lr. But thatís because itís a rim fire.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but my Sig 232 is the most reliable pistol I have ever owned. From day one, it has never had any kind of failure of anything occur. :) I am quite sure I have over 1500 rounds through it too.

Marlin 45 carbine
September 19, 2008, 12:36 PM
I've shot enough .380acp, 9X18 Makarov, 9mm Para and .38 Spl into wooden pallets used as target stands to know that I don't wish to be shot with any of 'em. they all take a chunk with them passing through.
The .380acp loaded with Golden Sabre takes a sizeable chunk.

dmxx9900
September 19, 2008, 07:14 PM
How about some of you come to my place and stand proud and let me shoot one .380 FMJ or a Hollow point (your choice) in your chest.Since you think this caliber is weak and a unreliable stopper.

I dont think you will blow hot air anymore since you will spend a long time in intensive care or you will be six feet under.Never under estimate a caliber no matter how small it is or how slow it is moving it might surprise you in what it can do to someone.

Lonestar49
September 19, 2008, 08:18 PM
deleted..

PRM
September 20, 2008, 10:42 PM
My Browning 1910/1955 model in .380 functions flawlessly with all types of ammo.

goon
September 21, 2008, 12:30 AM
How about some of you come to my place and stand proud and let me shoot one .380 FMJ or a Hollow point (your choice) in your chest.Since you think this caliber is weak and a unreliable stopper.

I dont think you will blow hot air anymore since you will spend a long time in intensive care or you will be six feet under.Never under estimate a caliber no matter how small it is or how slow it is moving it might surprise you in what it can do to someone.

No doubts on the lethality of getting shot, but are you really planning to commit a felony just to prove your point?
I highly doubt it.

guntotinguy
September 21, 2008, 01:02 AM
My Bersa Thunder 380,is my BUG gun...it in itself IS reliable as for the .380,a non combat round,still all in all depends on 'shot placement'.I believe that my developing 'skills' with any firearm is the true test of reliable or unreliable.

hemiram
September 21, 2008, 01:30 AM
I've had three, a Beretta 84, a Browning BDA 380, and one of those horrible Erma PPK semi clones, and all three functioned perfectly, the Erma's trigger was downright crunchy, and took about 30 pounds of pressure to fire in DA mode, when it was new. It eventually loosened up to the point it didn't cut your finger to shoot it.

krs
September 21, 2008, 08:50 AM
Well, if you're an itty bitty framed person it's probably different. I'm 6'6" tall and weigh in at about 230. There really wasn't much room for my hand

No, actually, I'm 6'4" and 250 lbs. I do have a long experience shootiing pistols of every variety and know to have a look at the relation of my hand to the slide of one that's new to me so it won't bite me.

My first bite was done by a 1911 because I was young and ignorant of the possibility, but the Llama doesn't even come close because I'm now older and much wiser. :D

denfoote
September 21, 2008, 09:52 AM
Bunk Hooey!!!

Was he, by any chance, trying to sell you a larger caliber gun??

againstthagrane
September 21, 2008, 02:43 PM
where have you seen a .45 acp load that makes 700 joules of energy? i've never seen anything over 550

harmonic
September 21, 2008, 03:47 PM
My first bite was done by a 1911 because I was young and ignorant of the possibility]

Yeah, that's me with the Llama 380. I probably wouldn't get bit today.

Onmilo
September 23, 2008, 10:55 AM
I am going to be the worm in the apple and say I don't feel the .380 is as reliable in older guns as the .32/7.65

This isn't quite as true when looking at most modern pistols such as the Beretta 84/85, the Sig 230 which was built around the .380 cartridge, or even the lowly Makarov which was designed to correct some faults the Walther pistols had in using larger calibers than .32 acp, extractor, feed angle, bad magazine design etc.

There are still some modern pistols that do seem to run better in .32acp than they do in .380
Erma handguns come to mind as do Bersa pistols, the .32s don't seem to wear out as quickly as the .380s
It could be that fewer .32s were/are sold than .380s and greater numbers usually add up to more noticable problems, my jury is still out on this.
Then there is the really pukey Smith and Wesson Sigma .380 but this gun was a dog in any caliber.
The S&W/Walther PPK pistols share the same faults as the original Walther PPK pistols and the few .32s on the market seem to run just fine while there have been numerous problems noted with the .380 caliber guns.

.380 is really a caliber S&W needs to stay away from,,,,,,,:D

krs
September 23, 2008, 01:03 PM
JJohson said: My Bersa 383 and Makarov in 380 are utterly reliable - and I mean after thousands of rounds, not after half a box. The Mak was developed by the Russians, and God knows THEIR stuff works, even when it's not pretty.

As pointed out, the 380 might be unreliable as a man stopper. If people are telling you that 380s aren't reliable, they may have experience with the low end junk guns that are easier to make in blowback designs. I'm not going to say "saturday night specials" but you get the idea.

They're reliable enough that I carry a Mak in 380 as a CCW when I can't hide a .45, which is often. 'nuff said.



No, not quite "nuff said"

Are you saying that you load up your Makarov pistol with .380 ammo and are as happy as a clam?

Most Makarovs do not use .380, they use 9x18 MAKarov which, although FMJ rounds look similar are very much different calibers. The Makarov 9x18 is bigger in diameter by .009" (nine thousandths of an inch). The .380 is also a shorter case at 9x17mm which may bring headspace issues in some pistols.

MICHAEL T
September 23, 2008, 01:30 PM
True, IF one owns a 380 that uses a blow-back action. This gets any 380 very very dirty in 230 rounds,
Wow good to know my PPK/S in my pocket has been fired 229 times with out cleaning . I can empty the mag and save a couple onces of weight..
Most people won't shoot more than a 100 rounds of 380 at range. Then they will clean their pistol at home.
I can't ever see a SD situtition where I will use 230 rounds. That a lot of spare mags on belt .
So for 99% the 380 is relieable as it comes.

RobNDenver
September 24, 2008, 12:04 PM
Others have pointed out that the gun not the caliber of the ammunition drives this discussion. I have a Sig P232 that has never malfunctioned with decent ammunition and a clean action. Actually it never malfunctions with a dirty action after I have fired a couple of hundred rounds through it.

Soybomb
September 24, 2008, 07:07 PM
I think tiny pocket guns are far more likely to have reliability problems than bigger guns. These guns are often chambered in .380, but other calibers too. A giant makarov or ppk sure. A p3at or rohrbaugh? I think the odds aren't as good. And yes dear reader I'm certain you have both a p3at and a rohrbaugh that have fired a millionty rounds without even making the gun dirty let alone malfunction, don't feel like you have to tell me about it.

9x19sig
September 24, 2008, 07:25 PM
Had one of the stainless Sig P232's a few years back that I had to sell. That was an extremely reliable firearm for me, I ran almost all of the factory available ammo through it as well as at least 2000 rounds of my own reloads, never a problem.

I would suggest one, but those Ruger LCP's are very tempting, I'm still in line to get one soon hopefully.

Don357
September 25, 2008, 12:21 AM
The FEG PA61 is a .380 version of the PA63 which is 9mm Mak or 9x18

Rex B
September 26, 2008, 05:47 PM
I have 11 .380s - 7 of them Spanish

Llama .380s most from the 1940s
Star .380s
American Arms Escort
Colt Govt
Keltec
FI Model D

I can only remember one failure of any kind, when one of the Llamas fired a 3-round burst. That was a 5-minute tweak on the sear spring. It was a 60-year old gun that had not been babied.
Looking at the list above, the KT is the only polymer frame. I'm on my 3rd P3AT with no issues.

1 old 0311
September 27, 2008, 05:48 PM
And red cars are not fast!:neener:

JR47
September 28, 2008, 10:42 AM
Most Makarovs do not use .380, they use 9x18 MAKarov which, although FMJ rounds look similar are very much different calibers. The Makarov 9x18 is bigger in diameter by .009" (nine thousandths of an inch). The .380 is also a shorter case at 9x17mm which may bring headspace issues in some pistols.

Hashed out earlier in the thread. Arsenal and Baikal both produced Makarovs chambered in .380 (9x17). The barrel was a dedicated .355", and headspace wasn't an issue. There were even high-cap Makarovs in .380. The Czech CZ83 is also a 9x17 version of the original Model CZ82, in 9mm Makarov. :)

the_skunk
March 26, 2011, 10:11 PM
The Makarov is the gun to buy. Or a Sig p230 (german made) ..... The Sig p232 is a pack of troubles

Hypnogator
March 27, 2011, 12:38 AM
I wish all of my handguns were as reliable as my Ruger LCP! :cool:

makarovnik
March 27, 2011, 01:01 AM
The caliber itself has a mediocre reputation as a man-stopper.

toivo
March 27, 2011, 01:18 AM
And red cars are not fast!

I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. Red cars are the fastest cars made. :neener:

Onmilo
March 27, 2011, 04:12 AM
Two and a half years later and my opinion really hasn't changed.
If I had to pick what I feel is a RELIABLE .380 today, it would be a CZ83.
Just the same, I would chose a CZ82 or 83 in 9mm Makarov caliber before I chose a CZ83 in .380.

ET
March 27, 2011, 12:55 PM
The only reason that the 380 class could be deemed unreliable would be because of the high numbers of pocket size guns being sold in 380acp. The pocket guns just aren't as ftf proof as their larger semi-automatic brethern. They usually need a break-in time to clean up the failures where larger guns are more likely to be 100 % out of the box. Plus these smaller guns work best when squeaky clean. After a box or two at the range many of these guns tend to become erratic because they have a harder time dealing with the dirty conditions.

The design of these small pistols takes away the very attributes that make a larger gun reliable. The weight of the slide and the strength of the recoil spring are major factors in the reliability of a semi-automatic pistol. Because the slides are so light the springs have to be weaker to compensate. A heavy slide slammed forward by a beefy spring isn't going to simply stop when the tip of the bullet makes contact with the feed ramp. That sucker is going to jamb that round into the chamber where the smaller 380's won't. The attributes that have propelled the 380 to it's current success are also the reasons it struggles to be reliable. It's the size stupid, or better yet, size does matter!!!

Sure some pocket sized 380 owners have never experienced an ftf, but as a class, the 380 has a high percentage of pocket size guns. Pocket size guns are more prone to ftf's. Well, there you go. I have convinced myself and that's the only person I care about.:neener:

ET
March 27, 2011, 01:11 PM
I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. Red cars are the fastest cars made. :neener:

Using the scientific method I will clear up this argument. We own a red car, an orange car (yes orange), a blue car & a white car. Going back 10 years and looking at the speeding citations issued to these cars I can deduce which car goes the fastest.

First, the white car (jeep) has amassed 2 total speeding tickets. Both are for more than 10 mph over the limit with one clocked at 85mph. The blue car (Grand Marquis) has accumulated 1 speeding ticket for over 10mph over the limit. The orange car (karmann Ghia) hasn't received a speeding ticket (just a running a red light ticket). The red car hasn't received a speeding ticket...ever.

From this data I can conclude that the red car isn't the fastest car in the herd. It obviously is one of the slowest. Oh & no it doesn't matter that I drive the blue, white & orange cars & my wife drives the red one.:uhoh: The driver has nothing to do with this study. It's never the driver, it's always the car.

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