9mm x 17 ...... FMJ/HP considerations.


November 2, 2003, 11:10 AM
This has probably been covered before in various threads, even obliquely - but I am thinking that the .380 is hardly (surely?) .... a round where over penetration is that much of a concern .. compared with 9mm Luger anyways. Plus - has this round either got anything like enough power to exploit the ''usual'' benefits we want from an HP? I don't think so. Adequate placement of, if necessary .. 6 or more rounds, is gonna be at least ''useful'' even if FMJ?

I only bring this up because I was vacillating over what to load my Bersa with ... knowing that it shoots better (for some reason, as yet not really explained) ..... with FMJ's. JHP's seem to always go high left somewhat, tho it does feed them OK, so that ain't an issue ... but does strike me that here the FMJ would be the better choice - you may disagree heartily .... but that's what I wanna hear, and why!!

Many regard .380 as something of a mouse cal .. to me it is in a sorta ''halfway house'' .... it is way better than .32 but obviously well under the 9mm Luger, and also below the 9 x18 Makarov.

So ..... the issue is ... FMJ vs JHP in this cal ...... pro's and cons??

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November 2, 2003, 12:11 PM
It's a moot point ,good bullet placement will be the only answer. Make sure whatever you use is 100% reliable...Of course the other solution is to get a Kahr.

November 2, 2003, 12:29 PM
The reliability and shot placement for me, like you is priority. I'd opt for another JHP that was reliable everytime and shot more POA/POI.

That said, down here CCW instructors always say to use JHP, from a liability angle. (liabiilty for instructor, or student I sometimes wonder) These same persons say to NOT use .357 either but to use .38 spl...see why I question?. I say again, reliability and shot placement.

Interesting visit with a guy that was in Special Forces. He actually preferred the .32ACP over the .380, chose ball over JHP.( in his various "travels") Our conversation was cut short, but I have heard this from him and similar persons. I'm curious, was the platform,ammo, or "area" indicative of choice. All he said before we had to run, is he has had a choice and he and other seem to agree.

His work is different than you and I as CCW...still curious tho'

November 2, 2003, 12:35 PM
Hmmm ....... never quite sure what to make of this ''liability'' deal!! I guess if 9 x 19 then penetration excess with ball could well produce litigative probs but otherwise ....... hard to say.

I really can't see JHP's in .380 managing much expansion to speak of .... really. I ought to try some other JHP ammo ... trouble is I got a good deal on 500 Dynamit Nobel JHP's and had hoped to use those but they are the ones that shoot off somewhat.

Still pondering!:p

November 2, 2003, 12:47 PM
I think Liability means CYA for said instructor. Student gets in situation, instructor will most likely be questioned and yes he warned students of ball, reloads and the .357.

Well FWIW I say go shoot the gun, break out the wallet,and have fun trying various loads.

Look up Stephen Camp's review...I forget what he tested, might be some good info there .

November 2, 2003, 02:55 PM
And if some weird twist of fate landed me with a .380, I'd load it with 102 gr Golden Sabre JHP's, if they proved to be reliable in function through my particular weapon. They penetrate better than the 88 grain stuff, are accurate enough and have a good rep for expansion.
I prefer an airweight .38 for deep conceal and bug and use 158 gr LSWCHP's, you will notice that the 38's are nearly twice as heavy as the 88 grain 380's! But this is only a BUG....a .45 auto is my normal carry piece(Officer's). They are not much larger than most 380's and they speak with alot more authority. If it comes down to the nitty gritty, I want some thump!
Over penetration is a liability issue as the NYPD found out when they would not, at first, issue JHP's to the street cops. The ball zipped through and hit other folks...they were afraid of the stigma with 'dum dums', so whose is the dum-dum now?
The 357 with 125 gr JHP should not over penetrate a human, but the 158 grain softpoints probably will. In either case you do get increased recoil, muzzle flash and blast, for the famous 357 is only a hotted up 38!. The .45 hardball can go through a human too.
A JHP gives you better protection all around, but shot placement is vital, and using lethal force as a LAST resort only is too. You will still be into it for civil court when the victim or his family sues you, after the criminal trial. Now if your stray or over pentrating rounds hit other people...you can multiply your troubles by the number you hit! Then there are the idiots that may sue for emotional distress.....that were just in the area when it happened!!
Use OC if you can....the ASP keyring Defender(a kubotan shaped stick that can project several blasts of OC) is very nice impliment...I know several people that will get them as sticking stuffer's this year, the handgun is the last tool you want to employ when you are facing grave life-threatening danger! If you have to use it, use it well! Hit em hard, hit 'em accurate, and hit 'em till they go down.
Some points to ponder...

November 2, 2003, 03:30 PM
I load my 380acp with Rem GS 102 grainers.

November 2, 2003, 03:41 PM
Until someone shows me one single study, professional, amateur, or otherwise that shows FMJ's to have an advantage over hollow points in ANY caliber, the choice will be obvious, for me at least.

I am reminded of the Strasbourg tests in .38 Special, where hollow points were shown to cause incapacitation in around 10 seconds or so, but when the test animal was shot with a .38 FMJ, it showed little visible reaction and eventually had to be euthanized.


Tim Burke
November 2, 2003, 04:24 PM
JHPs in 380 ACP, if they expand, may not penetrate deeply enough to perforate vital structures. "Shot placement," which everybody agrees is critical, is a phenomenon that occurs in 3 dimensions. We rely on the firing of the gun to strike the surface of the target in the appropriate spot, and we rely on the penetration of the bullet to penetrate the appropriate structures.
There is good data to show that JHPs in 380 do not penetrate as deeply as FMJ if they expand. If they penetrate deeply enough, they will work better than FMJ. If they don't they may not. One can argue over whether or not JHPs in 380 penetrate deeply "enough." My correspondants that spend the most effort on this say they don't. I accept that, and use FMJ in this caliber.

November 2, 2003, 06:43 PM
The 380 & Mak. are so close as to be equal.

As many know the legendary stopping power of the 45 was based on ball, round nose & FMJ. The data I have seen from Evan Marshall shows 380 HP comparable. The 380 FMJ was only about 10% lower which may explain the differences of opinion on this. There are also different barrel lengths.

November 3, 2003, 05:06 PM
Is the rear sight on your gun dovetailed in?
If it is, all you need to do is tap it with a hammer to change the POI.

November 3, 2003, 07:02 PM
Goon .... yep, dovetailed.

However, I am as yet reluctant to make a change, when the FMJ is shooting pretty much POA ..... I'll see what some other JHP's do first.

Sean Smith
November 3, 2003, 07:41 PM
The data I have seen from Evan Marshall

Non-sequitur. His One Shot Stop findings are junk "science."

November 3, 2003, 07:50 PM
Marshall's findings sound neat...until you find out that he discarded all the times people had to be shot more than once!!
So, in 10 shooting with a 9m/m 147 gr.......3 were stopped with one round, the other seven needed more than one(not at all uncommon with that round as I have heard...Miami PD switched after they found that they needed ALOT of rounds to stop an attacker!)..then he'd throw away the 7 multiple round cases and use only the three one shot stopper...I hear the famous 125 gr .357 formula was not nearly as good in the field as reported by Marshal and Sandow.....
Quite easy to make a good case for ANY round that way!!
The 380 is a popgun....load it nasty, shoot it well, hit the target with multiple shots as required and buy something bigger at your earliest convienence.......

November 3, 2003, 08:24 PM
The 380 is a popgun....load it nasty, shoot it well, hit the target with multiple shots as required and buy something bigger at your earliest convienence.......
I have a good few things ''bigger''!! :evil: ... but this fella is purely for those carry occasions when the big 'uns just won't cut it ...... summer mostly. I'm no ''pop-gun'' fan but ... at times it'll always be - ''some gun, better than no gun''!:p

November 3, 2003, 08:43 PM
I work in a retail gun shop the pistol will get me to the 12g for my main defense.
I useley carry a Taurus 454- 45 Colt W/ Corbon JHP's 1100FPS but I also carry a AMT 380 backup as a BUG at present I use FMJ in it but am looking at RBCD defensive loads. There video is impressive. By the way there are more than one BUG's in various places in the shop.

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