.380 good enough or 9mm not enough?


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slabuda
April 27, 2010, 08:35 PM
Ok this is not meant to be a caliber war, knocking either caliber etc so keep that out of here please.

My question why is the .380 is considered too weak and the 9mm ok for self defense.

I can see the ballistics of the two. 9mm is usually 15-25gr heavier and also faster than .380.

But looking at the cases, 9mm is "maybe" a .5mm wider and not much longer than a .380.

I cant see it holding "that" much more powder to push a heavier bullet that much faster. Is it the type of powder used? Or is it something else I am missing?

Maybe this could be better answered in the reloading section, but I am speaking of factory ammo. But I thought more in here may know the answer.

Thanks...I was just curious

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zxcvbob
April 27, 2010, 08:42 PM
.380 is loaded to almost 20000 psi. 9mm is loaded from about 35000 to almost 40000 psi. So you have a little more volume loaded to twice the pressure, and a heavier bullet on top of all that.

RevolvingGarbage
April 27, 2010, 08:46 PM
Case volume hasn't had much to do with the power of a round since the days of blackpowder. Take .38 special, for example. It uses a 29mm long case, 10mm longer than 9x19mm, though when using similar weight bullets, the 9mm has as much as 350 more FPS of velocity. 9x19mm operates at a much higher chamber pressure than a .380 auto, and is much more efficient.

You could make a .380 match 9mm ballistics, but it would be way over the established levels of pressure and blow up or at least batter to death within a few shots any .380 pistol you fired it from.

slabuda
April 27, 2010, 08:47 PM
Yes but why the pressure increase? IS the .380 loaded to half capacity and the 9mm full up?. Is the powder a different burn rate?

I am talking the technical aspects here.

mljdeckard
April 27, 2010, 08:48 PM
The difference is 1/1000th of an inch in diameter.

The long and short of it is, you want good penetration from a defensive round. Heavier bullets and greater velocity mean more penetration, and more cm3 of tissue damage, and greater likelihood that you will hit something critical and end the fight.

Both 9mm and .380 have been improved a lot over the last 20 years, to the point where SOME say that the higher end defensive loads for .380 overlap into the 9mm effectiveness scale.

One thing that limits the .380 is that all (that I can think of) of the guns chambered in .380 are compact or sub-compact. This means lower velocity and less penetrating power. Bottom line, no matter what you do to a .380 to make it better, you can do the same thing to a 9mm and make it better still. Handguns are fundamentally inadequate for self-defense at all, you should give yourself all possible advantages.

What the heck do I care? I carry a .45.

lysol
April 27, 2010, 09:49 PM
but i'm pretty sure you wear looser clothes than i do. i like to wear small shirts and will be able to hide an LCP nicely in my attire. I am fully aware that my bullets might not put a hole in someone that will make their intestines fall out through but I do know that anyone looking at the danger end of a pistol instinctively knows that that chunk of metal will hurt when it enters their body. lol. a .45 would be nice to carry though.... hmmm..... i would feel a lot better if confronted with a scenario like that. lol.

i just learned a lot about the pressure. i didn't know that the .380 and 9 were so simmilar except the pressure of the powder. Are you guys saying that the size of the pistol and barrel are limiting raising the pressure of the .380? like the gun would break? I just wish they could manufacture and LCP in 9mm. lol.

wanderinwalker
April 27, 2010, 09:54 PM
Yes but why the pressure increase? IS the .380 loaded to half capacity and the 9mm full up?. Is the powder a different burn rate?

I am talking the technical aspects here.

Well, they are both technically loaded to full-capacity.

The difference is, the 9mm is used primarily in locked-breech semi-autos and was created as a high-intensity cartridge around bullets of the 115-125gr range. The .380 was designed as a low-pressure cartridge around bullets in the 90-100gr range.

Both cases can use the same powders, but 9x19mm can use slower powders, more of them and at higher pressures.

Think about .38 Special versus .357 Magnum. There isn't THAT much physical capacity difference, but the .357 runs at twice the chamber pressure of the .38, creating far more velocity for any given bullet weight. It's not because the .38 is only loaded to "half capacity" but because the pressure standard of the cartridge is only so high. You wouldn't want to stuff a .357-pressure round into an old S&W 1905 any more than you'd be happy putting a 9x19mm pressure round into an old pre-war Walther PPK.

uwspmgc
April 27, 2010, 09:56 PM
i wouldn't say .380 is too weak, but it's definitely the least caliber pistol suitable for personal defense. many law enforcement officers use it as a back-up, undercover or off duty caliber. the .380 shares basic rim and head dimensions with the 9x19mm luger cartridge. basicallly, the .380 is a 9mm luger with a 17mm case length and reduced volume. for this reason, the power of the .380 is volume-limited. to compensate, lighter weight 90 grain bullets must be used rathar than the 115 and 124 grain bullets of the 9mm luger(ammo encyclopedia).
_______
when guns are outlawed, then i will become an outlaw

zxcvbob
April 27, 2010, 09:56 PM
I just wish they could manufacture and LCP in 9mm. lol. No you don't. I have a P3AT (the LCP is a copy of the P3AT with some very minor improvements.) .380 is painful to shoot out of an 8 ounce pistol. You wouldn't be able to hold onto a 9mm from a gun that light. (well, maybe you could, but I couldn't) Now, a 40-something ounce revolver shooting 250 grain bullets at 1000 ft·lbs of energy; that's totally different and is fun. But there's no way you can conceal it. (well, maybe you can... ;))

lysol
April 27, 2010, 10:00 PM
Yea, you are right. I want to go try out the pm-9 and pm-40 just to see... just a little bigger than the lcp. I'm not going to lie, the pm-40 is appealing to me because I have an M&P .40 full size and keeping the same caliber family would make so much more sense.

But you are probably right... they would have it out by now if they could make it and it be practical... wonder where guns/pistols will be at 20 years from now...

Manco
April 27, 2010, 10:01 PM
Yes but why the pressure increase? IS the .380 loaded to half capacity and the 9mm full up?. Is the powder a different burn rate?

I am talking the technical aspects here.

Various powders can be used in either, and some are denser in energy content than others. With some powders, basically you cannot fill up all the space inside the case or else you'd exceed the maximum allowable pressure (the pressure that the case and firearms chambered in each caliber can withstand). So hypothetically, if you used the same powder in both and the 9mm load can take a fully packed case operating at maximum pressure, then the .380 case, being not all that much smaller and holding a shorter bullet, as well, cannot be completely filled or else obviously it would be more than it and the gun can handle. This might sound kind of sad, but it's true, I think.

This is an oversimplification, but I hope that it addresses the crux of your question without being overly technical or confusing.

m2steven
April 27, 2010, 10:39 PM
I just finished shooting a box of Buffalo Bore 380 thru my Sig P238 and I can say that I am now perfectly comfortable with the 380 as a defensive cartridge. That stuff will kill you :)

rbohm
April 27, 2010, 10:53 PM
the .380 is also known as the 9mm kurtz or 9mm short. it is a 9mm round in a 17mm long case. the 9mmx19mm or 9mm parabelum was developed for the german army and is a decent round for self defense also. the kel tec pf9 or p11 is probably the smallest pistol to use a full size 9mm round and still be a decent pistol to handle.

MCgunner
April 27, 2010, 10:55 PM
The .38 vs .357 isn't quite a good analogy as the .357 makes use of less dense powders that burn slower which, in addition to the higher working pressure, gives it it's power and also makes it a better load out of longer barrels. It's not nearly THAT much better loaded with a fast .38 powder like, say Bullseye. .380 and 9x19 burn the same relative burn rate powders. The 9 is just higher pressure.

You could split the difference and get a 9x18 Makarov, about the hottest round designed for blow back guns that's readily available (9mm Ultra isn't). I have a .380, a little 9x18 Radom P64, and a couple of 9x19s. I've been carrying the little P64 a lot lately, very accurate and very reliable little gun and just neat as hell. I kinda like the DA action, too, very PPKish gun. The caliber is closer to .380 than it is to 9x19, but I can put 'em where it counts. :D

MCgunner
April 27, 2010, 11:00 PM
Hmm, .380 works for our governor. :D

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/6978352.html

Old Shooter
April 27, 2010, 11:06 PM
Well, they are both technically loaded to full-capacity.

The difference is, the 9mm is used primarily in locked-breech semi-autos and was created as a high-intensity cartridge around bullets of the 115-125gr range. The .380 was designed as a low-pressure cartridge around bullets in the 90-100gr range.

Both cases can use the same powders, but 9x19mm can use slower powders, more of them and at higher pressures.

Think about .38 Special versus .357 Magnum. There isn't THAT much physical capacity difference, but the .357 runs at twice the chamber pressure of the .38, creating far more velocity for any given bullet weight. It's not because the .38 is only loaded to "half capacity" but because the pressure standard of the cartridge is only so high. You wouldn't want to stuff a .357-pressure round into an old S&W 1905 any more than you'd be happy putting a 9x19mm pressure round into an old pre-war Walther PPK.


locked breech 9mm vs blowbck .380 is a BIG difference.

slabuda
April 27, 2010, 11:07 PM
Ok I sort of get it now. I have the LCP and no its not ideal. If I had my choice and didnt mind sweating my but off in the summer Id carry it all year 'round. Truth is Im in a very low threat area as far as crime. So even though its not the best its good enough vs the comfort I want.

I see now how/why they load it to such a lower pressure. Yea shooting 9mm in an LCP, forget that Id rather shoot a .44 mag all day long!!! This little thing is a pocket rocket. Its the size of an old .22/.25 auto but shooting a much better round for SD.

Like I said I was just curious why such the difference in power in such similar sized cartridges. If they could make it hold together though Im sure some people would by a LCP 9mm. I sure wouldnt want to shoot it however.

MCgunner
April 27, 2010, 11:10 PM
To further confuse you, the LCP is a locked breach gun. :D The slide is very light and locked breach allows it to be.

Manco
April 28, 2010, 11:43 AM
I just finished shooting a box of Buffalo Bore 380 thru my Sig P238 and I can say that I am now perfectly comfortable with the 380 as a defensive cartridge. That stuff will kill you :)

It's an effective defensive caliber against humans, comparable in some respects to the .38 Special. In comparison to 9mm (not trying to start a caliber war here, but some comparison is inevitable), it doesn't have quite enough energy and momentum to get both good penetration and wide expansion at the same time, but with the right loads and shot placement it can be nearly as lethal. A big advantage, of course, is that .380 ACP can work in more compact pistols, which are great for deep concealment and as backup guns, although it's good enough to be a regular service caliber, which it was (and still is?) in Europe.

You could split the difference and get a 9x18 Makarov, about the hottest round designed for blow back guns that's readily available (9mm Ultra isn't). I have a .380, a little 9x18 Radom P64, and a couple of 9x19s. I've been carrying the little P64 a lot lately, very accurate and very reliable little gun and just neat as hell. I kinda like the DA action, too, very PPKish gun. The caliber is closer to .380 than it is to 9x19, but I can put 'em where it counts. :D

9x18 Makarov is MUCH closer to .380 ACP than it is to 9mm. With simple blowback designs, you can't use a caliber much hotter than that without significantly increasing the size and weight of the gun. This quickly gets to the point where larger and more complex operating systems are needed to keep guns as compact as possible, which is the case with 9mm. The Hi-Point C-9 (http://www.hi-pointfirearms.com/handguns/handguns_9mm.html) is a good example of what happens when simple blowback is used with a caliber that has the energy and momentum of 9mm--an oversized slide for a pocket gun.

searcher451
April 28, 2010, 11:43 AM
http://www.goldenloki.com/ammo/gel/380acp/gel380acp.htm

http://www.handloads.com/misc/stoppingpower.asp?Caliber=0&Weight=All

http://www.ballisticstestinggroup.org/

http://www.ktrange.com/articles/a10/a10-14.html

http://www.brassfetcher.com/

For starters. Plenty more where those come from ...

snooperman
April 28, 2010, 12:13 PM
Most gun writers and testers do not like the 380 as a primary carry gun because the bullet does not have enough cross-sectional density for proper penetration and expansion. However, there are new bullets and ammo that have been on the market in recently that have negated some of that thinking. Including the Buffalo bore bullets and the Corbon cartridges. I guess one could include the Magsafe as well since it performed quite well in the French alpine goat tests. I carry a 38 special snubby with +P ammo or a 9mm, but would feel safe with a 380 as a backup with the Corbon 90gr load.

gofastman
April 28, 2010, 04:40 PM
^ I didnt know Buffalo Bore made their own bullets.

Mad Magyar
April 28, 2010, 05:08 PM
I think this guy would say, "It depends on the shot!" A .380 is quite sufficient....:)
http://i41.tinypic.com/i69pck.jpg

KodiakBeer
April 28, 2010, 05:18 PM
If you want a standard sized carry gun, then get a 9mm or something heavier. If you want a very small concealable handgun, then there's nothing wrong with a .380.

I do not believe there is any advantage whatsoever in buying one of the very small 9mms. The velocity loss out of a short barrel is going to be dramatic, and worse (because most defensive shootings happen at night) that fireball from the short-barreled 9mm is going to blind you at a time when you need every advantage.

easyg
April 28, 2010, 05:50 PM
I do not believe there is any advantage whatsoever in buying one of the very small 9mms. The velocity loss out of a short barrel is going to be dramatic,
The .380 will also suffer dramatic velocity loss from a short barrel, and it's already moving slower than the 9mm.
So, even from a short barrel handgun the 9mm will easily outperform the .380.

Personally, I've got no use for the .380.

Manco
April 28, 2010, 05:51 PM
I think this guy would say, "It depends on the shot!" A .380 is quite sufficient....:)
http://i41.tinypic.com/i69pck.jpg

Isn't Bond's PPK chambered in .32 ACP?

wanderinwalker
April 28, 2010, 05:57 PM
9mm reload using Alliant Power Pistol and 115gr Winchester FMJs averaged 1090-fps from the 3" barrel of a PF-9 and 1186-fps from a 4.5" Glock 17. Didn't chrono them from the 3.5" Glock 26, but I'd expect over 1100-average.

Can't comment on the fireball in low-light, other than to note Power Pistol and most everything I've tried that's +P in 9mm tends to have plenty of flash and blast! :eek:

Ben86
April 28, 2010, 06:08 PM
The inherent weakness associated with the .380 lies in the fact that it pushes a light bullet at slow velocities, compared to other serious calibers. This means less kinetic energy and penetration. The .380 usually has only about half the power the standard 9mm cartridge.

I consider it the absolute minimum for serious defense. To be honest I'm not all that comfortable with it.

Mad Magyar
April 28, 2010, 06:42 PM
Isn't Bond's PPK chambered in .32 ACP?
Yeah, I think you're right on this movie...He moves up to a .380 later on and that even changes in future episodes...:)

KodiakBeer
April 28, 2010, 07:30 PM
The .380 will also suffer dramatic velocity loss from a short barrel, and it's already moving slower than the 9mm.
So, even from a short barrel handgun the 9mm will easily outperform the .380.

Defensive shootings usually occur at night.

The .380 was designed to be shot from a short barrel, that's why it has less powder. The 9mm was designed to be shot from a full sized pistol on the order of a 5" barrel.

When you fire each round form a 3" barrel, the 9mm has less than 100fps advantage. 950fps from a premium .380, to about 1025fps from a 9mm.

That's not enough velocity difference to worry about, though the 9 has a bit heavier slug and better penetration. The real disadvantage though, is the enormous fireball coming out of the end of the 3" barrel when you fire a 9mm. The great majority of defensive shootings happen at night and you've just blinded yourself. You can't see your sights, you can't see your assailant. In the real world, the guy with the .380 can continue to keep his eye on the front sight and keep shooting. The guy with the mini-9mm is reduced to spray and pray.

I'd make the same argument for a .357 snubby - great ballistics, unquestioned stopping power, but you're at a severe disadvantage after the first shot. For day carry - great! At night, not the best choice.

MCgunner
April 28, 2010, 08:35 PM
I don't know about Bond's PPK, but he needs to learn the NRA gun safety rules.

snooperman
April 28, 2010, 08:39 PM
done some night shooting on the little range on my farm and the fireball coming from the muzzle of a 9mm is much greater than the 380 or even the 38 special. That said, the 9mm coming out of a 3" barrel has much more energy, as he said than the 380 because of its greater bullet mass. Even from a short barrel , like my Keltec P11 or the Kahr PM9, the 9mm wins hands down in stopping power for sure. My 70 year old mind can not remember the web site on the 380 vs 9mm with energy tables and bullet weights, but I know I studied it not long ago. Suffice to say , I would take the 9mm over the 380 any day for CCW.

KodiakBeer
April 28, 2010, 09:58 PM
Snooperman, I can't disagree with the 9mm having an edge in stopping power, even in a very small package. I'm just arguing that you need to hit the target for that extra stopping power to be useful.

I'd argue that if you want a really small handgun for pocket carry, the .380 is a better choice. If you really want a 9mm, then you might want to step up a little in size to perhaps a 4" barrel carried in an IWB holster.

My .380 is pretty much a tee shirt and shorts pistol. My primary is a compact aluminum .45.

I don't have any compact 9mms, but if I did I'd go out and shoot it against a .380 at night then post the groups here on the forum. It would make for an interesting thread, instead of just chatting theory.

1SOW
April 28, 2010, 10:47 PM
Any gun is better than no gun, especially at close range.

I've been discouraged by 380s due to experiences.

Shooting at the range, I've personally seen 3X where a .380 will accurately hit a steel 'popper' and fail to make it fall or even move. A .22lr will occassionally knock one down if it hits high on the plate.

A cheap 115gr 9mm (Value paks, Rem, Win whatever) knocks them down smoothly.

This isn't meant as an accusation, just why I can't have faith in .380
I have trouble relying on a pistol with so little knock-down power.

Type/amount of powder/barrel length determines flash.

gofastman
April 28, 2010, 11:30 PM
I don't know about Bond's PPK, but he needs to learn the NRA gun safety rules.
If that looks wrong, clearly the NRA needs to rewrite their rules.

snooperman
April 29, 2010, 08:14 AM
The 380 at night is a much better pocket gun , for the reason you have stated. You are correct in your assumption that most confrontations occur at night. For my myself , I have always preferred the 9mm as my primary gun . I might have to practice at night some more on my little range and rethink my night carry as my eyes are partially blinded when shooting the 38 special +P or 9mm carry gun at night .

MCgunner
April 29, 2010, 08:25 AM
The 9x19 has no muzzle flash. Do you shoot .357 magnum? That's muzzle flash. I'll handle what little muzzle flash the 9 produces for the power it produces.

Snooperman, I can't disagree with the 9mm having an edge in stopping power, even in a very small package. I'm just arguing that you need to hit the target for that extra stopping power to be useful.

That's another reason I prefer my subcompact pocket nine, MUCH more accurate than my .380. I can make head shots at 25 yards, not that 25 yards is defense range, but I'm just sayin'. I have less confidence in my .380's accuracy. OTOH, this little 9x18 I have..........:D

MCgunner
April 29, 2010, 08:27 AM
If that looks wrong, clearly the NRA needs to rewrite their rules.

Oh, okay, always leave your finger on the trigger until you're ready to shoot. That makes sense. :rolleyes:

MCgunner
April 29, 2010, 08:30 AM
Shooting at the range, I've personally seen 3X where a .380 will accurately hit a steel 'popper' and fail to make it fall or even move. A .22lr will occassionally knock one down if it hits high on the plate.

Poppers are usually adjustable via a screw at the base that adjusts how close vertical the pepper rests. Closer to vertical, the less momentum it takes to knock it over. But, flesh ain't steel. I do agree, though, that I prefer the 9.

huntsman
April 29, 2010, 09:31 AM
Ok I sort of get it now. I have the LCP and no its not ideal. If I had my choice and didnt mind sweating my but off in the summer Id carry it all year 'round. Truth is Im in a very low threat area as far as crime. So even though its not the best its good enough vs the comfort I want.

Seems you've solved your puzzle already, which IMHO is more important than ballistic discussions.

Life can be full of decisions and compromises and in the end you know your situation better than anyone here.

Manco
April 29, 2010, 11:05 AM
Oh, okay, always leave your finger on the trigger until you're ready to shoot. That makes sense. :rolleyes:

Maybe he's about to shoot somebody over his shoulder, sort of like Bruce Lee and his classic no-look, over-the-shoulder punch in the face. :p

snooperman
April 29, 2010, 11:42 AM
much more flash than a 9mm for sure. I have not shot my wife's SIG P232 380 at night. I am going to try it tonight. I have shot the KelTec P11 that I carry at night and while the flash is there and prevented me from seeing the target clearly, I was able to fire follow-up shots and hit the man-size target in the chest . However, the man was stationary too and not firing back either. Also, I was shooting at 3-7 yards . I am sure the flash will affect the bad guy too. Regardless , I am going to do some night shooting for fun, especially with my 38 special snubby +P loads and the 9mm. I will try 380, even though I have never cared for its puny power.

PhiloebeddoUSA
April 29, 2010, 02:55 PM
Dr. No quote (one of my faves)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Major Boothroyd: [to M, referring to Bond's Beretta] Nice and light... in a lady's handbag.
M: Any comment, 007?
James Bond: I disagree, sir. I've carried the Beretta for ten years, and I've never missed with it.
M: No, but it jammed on you last job, and you spent six months in hospital in consequence. When you carry a 00 number, you have a license to kill, not get killed. Furthermore, since I've been head of MI7
[sic - MI6]
M: there's been a forty percent drop in casualties, and I want to keep it that way. From now on you carry the Walther... unless you'd rather return to standard intelligence duties.
James Bond: No sir,I would not.
M: [to Boothroyd] Show him, Armourer.
Major Boothroyd: [to Bond] Walther PPK, 7.65 millimeter, with a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass window. The American CIA swear by them.
32 auto = 7.65

KodiakBeer
April 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Snooperman: I am going to do some night shooting for fun, especially with my 38 special snubby +P loads and the 9mm. I will try 380, even though I have never cared for its puny power.

That would make an interesting thread, especially if the barrel lengths are the same.

snooperman
April 29, 2010, 09:27 PM
I just got in from my little pistol range about 75 yards from the barn. Pedro, my mule was braying loudly the whole time as he wanted to join me from his corral. Well, I shot my wife's SIG P232 380 at a man size target at about 7 yards and it was quite easy to hit this target even in the moonlit night with quick follow-up shots. I also tried my 9mm KelTec P11 and the Snubnose 38 special . Both the 9mm and the 38 special with +P loads had much more flash than the 380. However, I managed to get follow-up shots quickly with them regardless of the flash and my shots were in the chest area. All shooting was at 7 yards. I admit that Kodiak is right about the 380 having much less flash at night and it not bothering my vision as much. When I fired the 9mm and 38 special , I knew ahead of time where that target was and since it was not moving , I just fired at that spot.If it was someone moving or not still or on the ground the flash could have prevented me from getting a quick follow-up shot on the person. It is not easy to replicate an exact scenario of what could happen. My own thoughts are that I personally do not feel that the 380 is enough gun and much prefer the 9mm or 38 special snubby with +P loads for CCW at night or day. But, Kodiak has point that I can not disagree with .

1SOW
April 29, 2010, 09:44 PM
Poppers are usually adjustable via a screw at the base that adjusts how close vertical the pepper rests. Closer to vertical, the less momentum it takes to knock it over. But, flesh ain't steel. I do agree, though, that I prefer the 9.

The adjustment for USPSA is 120ish power factor, or about 950'/sec for a 124gr 9mm-----S L O W.

You're correct, flesh isn't steel; but larger bullet mass is larger impact.

KodiakBeer
April 29, 2010, 10:23 PM
Snooperman: Night shooting the 380, 9mm and 38 +P snubby..

I really appreciate your little test! It sounds like you've at least partially disproved my opinion. I'm not in a financial position to buy a new piece right now, but I've been considering retiring my Mustang because the value is turning it into a collector piece, that maybe should be put away. I'll certainly look into one of the mini-nines when I get around to shopping again.

Pilgram
April 29, 2010, 11:17 PM
I suggest perusing this site:

http://www.handloads.com/misc/stoppingpower.asp

Based on actual, real world shootings, one shot stopping power with a .380 is in the 70% range.

For a 9mm, one shot stopping power is in the 80% range. For a 38 special 50-60%. 45s are all over the board. Is carrying a "Dirty Harry" hog leg with laser sights and two spare magazine for a 10% advantage worth it? Will you carry it at all?

You'll actually carry the .380 LCP in your back pocket 'cause it fits. The 1911 "I dunno. It's too friggin' hot today. I don't want to mess with it."

The stopping power of the .380 you actually carry is way better than the .45 you leave on the dresser at home.

For civilian concealed carry, the objective is to get out of trouble, NOT to arrest the bad guy. Staying out of the bad areas of town, making noise and running away safely counts for civilians. A .380 that you actually use may fill the bill. For cops who have to arrest someone and deal with gangbangers, maybe a bigger gun is warranted, but for a guy who's idea of a night out is bowling or dinner at Outback Streakhouse, I dunno.

Most police shooting happen within 8-10 feet. Most policemen who are shot are shot with their own gun (by accident or intentially). If you can't hit center of mass in 8-10 feet, leave the gun at home and carry a knife. Don't carry anything you would object being shot with.
:)

RevolvingGarbage
April 30, 2010, 12:14 AM
I think this guy would say, "It depends on the shot!" A .380 is quite sufficient....:)
http://i41.tinypic.com/i69pck.jpg
Except Bonds PPK was a .32 auto : )

KBintheSLC
April 30, 2010, 12:20 AM
Considering that my pocket pistol is a Kel Tec .32acp, I guess I would feel perfectly comfortable packing a .380.

snooperman
April 30, 2010, 08:16 AM
it is much better to carry a 380 than leave the 9mm in the car or at home. That said, there are quite a few 9mm that are not too much heavier than a 380 which will give more stopping power and much more penetration as well. Also , the Corbon 90 gr has good penetration and is worth a look for those who like the 380. That is what my wife has in her SIG P232. She also has a Ruger 38 special LCR loaded with +P and is quite good with it, This is her primary carry gun. There is no one gun to fit all. There are trade-offs either way one goes. I have several carry guns and am looking for the "perfect" one, which I probably will not find.

snooperman
April 30, 2010, 12:10 PM
that the 380 ACP has more stopping power than the 38 special, especially loaded with +P ammo.Every loading manual I have and every book that has charts on this refutes what you and your chart are saying. The 380ACP 90 gr hydra-shok is going 1000ft/sec at the muzzle with ME at 200ft/lbs energy and its stopping power is 68%. The 38 special FBI load that I carry is a 158 gr bullet at 1000 ft/sec and ME at 300ft/lbs and a stopping power of 79%. The 9mm is going 1200 ft/sec with a 115gr bullet with 390 ft/lbs energy. I got this same data from 4 different souces in my books at home and from Marshall and Sanows famous book on stopping power. Most law enforcement officers such as Massad Ayoob , Clint Smith, Wiley Clapp to name a few do not recommend the 380 for CCW because it does not have enough stopping power. It is a marginal caliber and puny in performance.

KodiakBeer
April 30, 2010, 01:22 PM
Snoop, if you look at those same rounds out of 3" barrels, you lose about 200fps in the 115 grain 9mm, and about 50fps in the 90 grain .380 (both are usually tested in 4" barrels) . So, in a pocket gun you get about 950 fps in .380 and 1000 fps in 9mm. The 9 still has 25 grains more weight so still has an edge, but the difference narrows considerably. I didn't look up .38 snubby's, but would expect a similar velocity loss.

Your little night test reassures me about the "fireball factor" (loss of night vision), so even a reduced advantage is still an advantage and puts the small 9's back on my shopping list. But... shorter barrels do reduce velocity, and the more powder the round uses, the greater the loss of velocity.

You'd think with the great growth in pocket CCW guns, that manufacturers would look into faster powders or low flash powders or what-have-you, but I'm not seeing that.

snooperman
April 30, 2010, 08:33 PM
The fact that most manufacturers are making the 380 in concealable, lightweight package, and a sort of rebirth of this caliber , is evidence that most people do not want the larger caliber guns . But one can get a 9mm in a lightweight gun , not much more than the 380 and have a much higher probability of stopping the bad guy. At any rate these are not range guns, they are strictly for carry. my 2 cents.

rugerman
May 1, 2010, 06:27 PM
I have both a keltec p3at (380) and a pf9 (9mm), I got the p3at first and like it a lot but due to problems finding ammo (and bullets for reloading) I got the pf9. I like both the pf9 fits my hand better and has better sights but due to its light weight it kicks pretty hard with the heaver bullets. I carry one or the other on a daily basis, mostly the pf9 but if it seems to be too large I feel good about carring the p3at. Both are plenty accurate for their intended purpose and their size.

MCgunner
May 1, 2010, 06:40 PM
But one can get a 9mm in a lightweight gun , not much more than the 380 and have a much higher probability of stopping the bad guy. At any rate these are not range guns, they are strictly for carry. my 2 cents.

I often see this and wonder how I'm going to be proficient with a gun if I don't take it to the range once in a while? I've fired my P11 more'n any other handgun I own except for my .22s. One way to make it comfy to shoot and be easy on the gun and make it easy to find brass is to download it. My practice load involves a 105SWC and 3.2 grains of Bullseye. Recoil is mild. I carry 115 grain +P stuff and shoot it occasionally.

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