A little confused about caliber


March 4, 2009, 04:22 PM
I have an AMT that states the following on slide.
"Cal. 380 9mm Kurz
Back Up
This gun is approx. 25 yrs old. The ammo I have for it is Federal .380 Auto-95grain. No. 380 AP

I am not very knowledgable about guns but thought the 380 and 9mm to be different. Can anybody enlighten me on my gun.

Also contemplating buying a new pistol but want to get one that my wife could shoot on occasion also-my concern is recoil. I was told by a few co-workers to get nothing smaller than a 40 caliber as it will be used for HD and some range time. But I don't want to scare her right off the bat-then she wont play anymore!

Thanks for any help/comments, Ken.

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March 4, 2009, 04:28 PM
Some light reading: http://www.reloadbench.com/cartridges/p380acp.html

Dan Crocker
March 4, 2009, 04:37 PM
9mm with modern defensive hollowpoint ammunition works just fine. Pretty much ALL of the gripes about 9mm come from military users who have to use hardball, and it is a BAD man-stopper that way.
And anyway, it's better for your wife to have something comfortable that she can shoot, even if it's a .22, than a hand-cannon that she doesn't practice and can't hit anything with.

March 4, 2009, 04:46 PM
The .40 S&W is not a pleasant gun to shoot for most folks because of the sharp muzzle blast.

My two sons prefer shooting my .45 ACP's to shooting my Glock 23 due to the noise factor.

I think your wife might be better served with a 9mm if she isn't already deaf.

The other thing is, cheap 9mm ammo for the range is much easier to get then cheap .40 S&W.


March 4, 2009, 04:47 PM
.380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) = (9mm Browning Short) = (9mm Kurz) = (9mm Corto)

Not the same as 9mm LUGER / 9mm PARABELLUM

9mm LUGER is fine for self defense (with modern JHP designs). anyone who says otherwise is ignorant.

.380 auto is..."okay" (to me). I'd be okay with it, but not as a primary.

My personal carry pieces are 9mm/.38spl and up.

March 4, 2009, 04:53 PM
The site linked by gb6491 sums it up pretty well.

Dan Crocker also hits on a good point. If she (or yourself for that matter) has not shot much, you don't want to start her off with a gun with a lot of recoil. Sure the .40 is a good round, but it is pretty snappy and may scare her off. Most 9mm pistols are pretty low recoiling, but if she is brand new to it, a 22 would be a good place to start the introduction. Then move up to something a little more substantial.

If you have any ranges in your area that rent guns or if you have any friends that will let you use theirs, you could rent or borrow the 22 if you don't want to buy one.

Travis Bickle
March 4, 2009, 04:59 PM
.380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) = (9mm Browning Short) = (9mm Kurz) = (9mm Corto)

Not the same as 9mm LUGER / 9mm PARABELLUM

What he said. Another name for the 9mm Luger is 9x19mm. When people say "9mm" without further specifying which 9mm round they're talking about, it's usually this round they're talking about, not the 9mm Kurz which your gun is chambered for.

Anyway, here's a good excerpt from an article Chuck Hawk's website that you might want to read:

.380 ACP (9mm Short, 9x17mm, 9mm Kurz)

Now we're getting into some decent stopping power. The three or four best .380 JHP rounds have better stopping power than ANY bullet fired out of 2" barrel .38 Special snub-nose. All of the Big Five make good hollowpoints for this caliber. The Remington 88 grain JHP is the most reliably-feeding hollowpoint but slightly less effective than the Hydra-shok or Cor-Bon. Reliability is crucial, and thus you must test the rounds before carrying.

I recommend the following two cartridges above all others:

-Federal 90 gr. Hydra-shok (P380HS1 H) - the best standard-pressure .380 JHP load, period.
-Cor-Bon 90 gr. JHP - the most powerful .380 hollowpoint, bar none.

These are the two best .380 loads, and I recommend them for these guns:
SIG/Sauer P230, Beretta 84/85, Browning BDA, CZ-83, H&K P7K3, Walther PPK and PPK/s. The Russian, East German, Chinese and Bulgarian Makarov pistols are apparently perfectly reliable with the hot Cor-Bon, and the strong all-steel construction of these guns should stand up to an infinite amount of these potent rounds. I have heard that the Colt does also well with the hot Cor-Bon JHP, which you should definitely look into if you own a Colt .380. You have better stopping power than any .38 snub-nose revolver (the long-time favorite concealment sidearm) when you load your .380 with these two rounds.

Other good .380 ACP jacketed hollowpoints:

- Remington 102 gr. Golden Saber BJHP (GS380M) - Another excellent .380 load (the BJHP stands for "Brass Jacketed Hollow Point"), the heaviest one available. I prefer the Cor-Bon and Hydra-shok, but many (including Sanow) like this new Remington round for its deeper penetration. I'll stick with the Cor-Bon and Hydra-shok, but the choice is yours.
- CCI-Speer 90 gr. Gold Dot JHP A good all-around hollowpoint.
- Remington 88 gr. JHP (R380AI): A good high-velocity hollowpoint that feeds well in: Colt Government Model .380, H&K HK4, Taurus PT-58, older PP and PPK, Bersa .380, Beretta 70s, Makarov and Hungarian FEG. These are all good guns that might choke on other hollowpoints but they will probably feed the Remington fine. This hollowpoint was redesigned in 1993 and gives excellent performance while retaining its rounded shape for positive feeding. If your .380 chokes on other JHP loads, try fifty rounds of the Remington 88 gr. through your gun and see if it improves.

.380 ACP hollowpoints to avoid:

-Winchester 85 gr Silvertip (X380ASHP) I really cannot recommend this weak and jam-prone round. It works reliably in a few modern European guns (e.g. SIG 230, Beretta 84F), but every load named above offers better performance. The Silvertip will likely jam in any American-made .380 automatic. Russian .380 Makarovs and PPK series guns may jam with the Silvertip, as well. The .380 Silvertip was once state-of-the-art, but has since been superceded by superior designs. It is also quite expensive. Look elsewhere.
- PMC-Eldorado Starfire 95 gr. JHP This round is similarly weak and jam-prone.
- Federal 90 gr. JHP (380BP) (see below)
- Hornady 90 gr. XTP-HP (9010) Both the Federal 380BP and the Hornady XTP-HP never expand and may jam many guns due to their truncated-cone bullet nose profiles. Pass by these two.

95 gr ball:

Davis P-380, Accu-Tek, EAA .380, Tanarmi, AMT/OMC/TDE "Back-Up," Heritage, FIE, Jennings, Bryco, Lorcin, Llama, or "other." Hollowpoints should never be used in these low-priced guns.

March 4, 2009, 05:31 PM
BTW, "kurtz" is German for "short". "Corto" is Italian/Spanish for "short". This was to distinguish this round from the longer 9mm Luger parabellum.

March 4, 2009, 07:45 PM
CWL beat me to it, 9mm kurtz stands for 9mm 'short'. I.e. .380. Probably the most well known gun to use .380 is the Walther PPK

March 5, 2009, 10:39 AM
With the .380 question answered, I am going after the wife question...

In my house, I am the gun toting conservative and my wife is the bleeding heart liberal, but she was willing to try shooting.

My suggestion to you is to do what I did. Go to the range yourself and borrow or rent every platform you can find in the caliber you want her to shoot and see which one will meet the need. Leave your own personal biases at the door and concentrate on what will keep her on the firing line. You will find that sometimes the caliber does not mean as much as the platform when it comes to recoil, getting back on target for the second shot, and just plain fitting into the hand.

My wife is actually more comfortable with the HK USP Compact .40 than she is with any other platform or caliber. What this means is that my liberal wife is willing to do range time and will now try other platforms and calibers now that she is comfortable shooting in the first place. And that, IMHO, is priceless.

Claude Clay
March 5, 2009, 11:02 AM
AMT 380 is blowback operated and the recoil is sharp and biting. in a larger bersa the 380 is rather tame. also triple check that the AMT safeties are in fact operational. my OMC [forerunner to the AMT] is the greatest point-shooter i own. i retired it when colt marketed the pony pocketlite.

March 5, 2009, 11:08 AM

I would not recommend a .380 for your wife. The problem is the guns are pretty much pocket rocket backup guns...halfway powerful in small packages. The Walther PPK, one of the best .380s, is really not fun to shoot. It hurts, it is loud, it will bite your hand bad if you are not careful. For the experienced shooter...it is a great gun.

There is a trend to hook up new female shooters with these little powerhouses and it has probably scared quite a few new shooters away.

Same goes for "cute" snubbie .38. They are kind of a handful and take some practice to shoot well.

My advice as someone who has taken several novices out shooting over the years, go with a medium or full sized .38 or 9mm (Glock 19, S&W Model 10 etc). The rounds have sufficient power to give the true shooting experience and be useful for SD, and the guns are large enough to hang onto, soak up some recoil and are easy enough to shoot that she will hit the target.

my $.02


March 5, 2009, 11:09 AM
Personally, I would start the wife off with a ,.22 pistol, just so she can get the feel of shooting and have a good chance of being successful. Once she starts having fun, start moving up in caliber and let HER tell you what SHE likes and get her one,. Then you get the one you like and the two of you can go shooting together.

March 5, 2009, 12:39 PM
As they've said in this thread, there's actually a bunch of 9 x # ammo out there.

9mm Kurtz = 9x17 =.380 ACP
9mm Makarov = 9x18
9mm parabellum = 9x19 = 9mm Luger = 9mm

Theer's also the 9x23 Winchester, 9x21 IMI, and a bunch of others in 9mm.

March 5, 2009, 02:46 PM
Well the wife says she doesn't want a handgun.....or any gun for that matter, so she is out of the equation. Hopefully I can get her to go to the range and maybe she'll change her mind. She has shot my .380 up in mountains several years ago but when she closed her eyes to shoot I politely said my turn! Anyway thanks for all your help/comments, hopefully I will decide what I want in the next few days. One of my problems is I don't have any weekends off for awhile and the local range won't let me shoot unless I go thru the safety course....so I don't want to wait to try out some different guns.

Again thanks for your help, Ken.

March 5, 2009, 05:19 PM
If you MUSt have ONE handgun that MUST be used both to teach the wife to shoot with mild recoil AND use for home defense, the answer is:

...a .357 Magnum double-action revolver with adjustable sights.

The wife can fire mild .38 special target loads that are just a whisper stouter than a .22, and thumb-cock it. For HD, load it with the magnum round of choice and fire double-action.

March 5, 2009, 06:51 PM
Well, the contributors have have pretty much dscribed different names
which arise for the cartridges mentioned. I thought I'd add
for Papafloyd:

A name/title like 9x17 is the european metric designation, because the
caliber or bore of the barrel is 9mm, and the height of the case is 17mm

And for all in caps for emphasis

GUNS ARE CHAMBERED FOR CARTRIDGES with an appropriate bore/caliber

Caliber is NOT a synonomous term for Cartridge

a characteristic of a specific cartridge is it's caliber

if someone asks what's the best .40 load he probably
means the most common cartridge with .40 caliber, the .40 S&W
however, there are other cartridges in .40 cal. like 10MM
AUto, .400 CorBon and .38-40.

This isn't being anal it's being specific in definition and leads
to less confusion.

Multiple names can arise for cartridges due to the proper name,
then over time the popular name as well as the generic euro
metric designation.

WHether or not the .380 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge is or not
is not the question asked


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