.380acp "better than" 38 Special? Why?


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Orion8472
July 12, 2010, 09:41 AM
I've seen several ballistic charts showing from .22lr up to 45 Long Colt or more. It seems that the .380acp edges out the 38 Special. It seems backwards to me, since the 38 Special almost seems twice the size.

Comments?

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Deus Machina
July 12, 2010, 09:50 AM
I'm betting that very heavily depends on the load.

.380 ACP belongs in the 'light and fast' (sorta) category, and .38 Special in the 'heavy and slow'. One might edge over the other in ballistics, but for a human body, I'm going to go for something with the weight to expand and still penetrate deep, thank you.

TechBrute
July 12, 2010, 09:54 AM
Can you link to any of the charts you are talking about?

How many rounds do the populous pocket pistols hold on a .380? The most popular .38 revolvers hold 5. Platforms are a legitimate part of any caliber discussions.

Orion8472
July 12, 2010, 10:08 AM
One that I recently seen was on MidwayUSA's Youtube channel, as they test various rounds.

As I said, it seems odd that a round that is considerably smaller than another [with the assumption of MORE powder in the longer shell] would even be equal with the larger one, let alone seeming to be more potent.

For example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFruwviuCvw

At 1:04, you have to stop it there. The chart shows the 102gr. .380acp slightly edging out the 125gr JHP 38 Special. The +P version of the 38 Special, on the other hand, is better.

Are these charts [such as MidwayUSA shows] in error, or is there something to this?

loadedround
July 12, 2010, 10:09 AM
I assume you are referring to velocity and if this is the case "cartridge size" has nothing to do with it for several reasons. First of all the 38 special is a lower pressure cartridge compared to a .380 and neither cartridge is filled to capacity with powder. Secondly the 380 round uses similar powders and lighter bullets to achieve it's higher velocity. It will show higher pressure also. Have you compared any 38 special +P loads with the 110 or 125 gr bullets to the 380? See a big difference?ound lial.380 is a higher pressure load . t

MedWheeler
July 12, 2010, 10:12 AM
I agree with TechBrute. A hi-po .380 round fired from a Bersa Thunder or Beretta 85 might very well outperform (in some respects) a standard LWC or LSWC .38 Special round fired from a two-inch snubbie.
The "keychain" .380 pistols hold six rounds in their mags, plus the one on deck, so the round-count-only advantage goes to the .380. The ballistic advantage per shot would seem to go to the .38, especially in a revolver capable of firing +P loads.
I'd like to see those charts, too..

Orion8472
July 12, 2010, 10:20 AM
I'm checking some other sites and it may be that Midway's chart is erroneous. Found another that shows the 38 Special [even non +P] as having more energy . . . being equal with the LWC round, but even then, there isn't much of a spread between them.

SaxonPig
July 12, 2010, 10:22 AM
The 380 is more efficient. The 38 Special was designed for black powder and the case is bigger than it need be. Top 38 Special loads will beat top 380 loads. A 2" J frame Smith is virtually the same size as a small 380.

Advantage to 380 is it holds 2 more rounds and reloading is faster.

Advantage to 38 revolver is that it carries easier (at least for me) being rounded and smooth edged.

Mitch from LA
July 12, 2010, 10:30 AM
The revolver also has less chance (generally speaking) of a mechanical malfunction. Also, if the first round misfires, you can simply squeeze the trigger again.

That said, I'm sure there are incredibly reliable .380's and that many have trigger pulls far superior to that of a double action revolver. To each his own. My wife carries a .38 in a S&W 442 because in her case it leaves the least room for operator error.

Orion8472
July 12, 2010, 10:43 AM
My brother had to resort to a light weight [S&W Airweight] due to back problems. He recently had a bad experience shooting +P with the tiny OEM grip, but changed it to a Hogue grip with the full grip and likes it much better, so I think he will be using +P in his revolver. He was thinking about switching to a pocket .380acp for the sake of weight, but putting the Hogue on the Airweight made his mind up on keeping the S&W. This was all done yesterday.

I know that shot placement is the most important. . . . AND that the likelihood of "using the gun" is extremely low. However, I think that his choice is the best. I have carried .380acp for a while [the 6+1 setup], and it would work, but even still, it is the limit of what I would want to carry. Having said that, finding one that DOES action correctly at nearly 100% of the time is hard. That really IS the "better than" for the 38 Special. No worries if the next round will chamber. . . I know that some will say, "I have [fill in the blank] and it has never failed." So far, I have not had 100% with the .380acp pistols I have shot. Revolvers will be potentially 100% just by their function.

Having said all that, the one pistol that I HAVE had nearly 100% with is my Springfield Armory EMP. I may just carry that all the time and leave my .380acp pistol at home. AND have a more potent round. ;)

Carl N. Brown
July 12, 2010, 11:53 AM
Which ballistics charts are you referencing? Looking in to the Shooter's Bible, I find:

Winchester Ballistics
.38 Special 158gr Round Nose Lead bullet 755 fps 200 ft/lb
.380 ACP 85 gr Silver Tip Hollowpoint 1000 fps 189 ft/lb

Remington Ballistics
.380 ACP 95 gr Metal Case 955 fps 190 ft/lb
.38 Spl +P 125 gr jacketed hollowpoint 945 fps 248 ft/lb

Comparing the "plain jane" loads (158 gr lead roundnose .38 Spl v. 95 gr full metal jacket .380 ACP), the .38 Spl edges over the .380 ACP.

Comparing the "premium defense" loads (125 gr jacketed hollowpoint .38 Spl +P v. 85 gr Silvertip hollowpoint .380 ACP), the .38 Spl still edges over the .380 ACP.

That is on paper. One should be comparing ballistics actually chronographed from a ~3" barrelled .380 vs a 2" barrelled .38 revolver. Comparing forensics ballistics tables that summarize actual shootings would be even more helpful.

I have had a .380 ACP pistol that only fed FMJ reliably; my current defensive gun is a .38 with 125gr +P (partially because I can hit more consistently with it target practice).

Carl N. Brown
July 12, 2010, 12:02 PM
Quote: the 38 Special almost seems twice the size.

.38 Spl was a black powder cartridge originally. You can get the equivalent smokeless powder load in 1/3 the volume of black powder. So the .38 Spl case is big (the .380 was introduced for smokeless powder and has no excess case capacity). The .38/44 Outdoorsman revolver/ammo combination used a .38 revolver on a .44 Special frame to get performance that was not equaled until the introduction of the .357 Magnum.

chieftain
July 12, 2010, 12:16 PM
Here is what the leading researcher on Terminal Ballistics in America has to say on the subject. Dr Gary K Roberts.


BUG's: .380 ACP vs. .38 Sp

If you are an LE officer, carry a BUG!!!

Many small, easily concealed semi-automatic pistols which are recommended for law enforcement backup or concealed carry use fire .380 ACP or smaller bullets. While these small caliber handgun bullets can produce fatal wounds, they are less likely to produce the rapid incapacitation necessary in law enforcement or self-defense situations.

Handguns chambered in .380 ACP are small, compact, and generally easy to carry. Unfortunately, testing has shown that they offer inadequate performance for self-defense and for law enforcement use whether on duty as a back-up weapon or for off duty carry. The terminal performance of .380 ACP JHP's is often erratic, with inadequate penetration and inconsistent expansion being common problems, while .380 ACP FMJ's offer adequate penetration, but no expansion. All of the .380 ACP JHP loads we have tested, including CorBon, Hornady, Federal, Remington, Speer, and Winchester exhibited inconsistent, unacceptable terminal performance for law enforcement back-up and off duty self-defense use due to inadequate penetration or inadequate expansion. Stick with FMJ for .380 ACP or better yet, don't use it at all. The use of .380 ACP and smaller caliber weapons is really not acceptable for law enforcement use and most savvy agencies prohibit them.

While both the .380 ACP and .38 sp can obviously be lethal; the .38 sp is more likely to incapacitate an attacker when used in a BUG role.

BUG--Infrequently used, but when needed, it must be 100% reliable because of the extreme emergency situation the user is dealing with. Generally secreted in pockets, ankle holsters, body armor holsters, etc... Often covered in lint, grime, and gunk. By their very nature, usually applied to the opponent in an up close and personal encounter, many times involving contact shots. A small .38 sp revolver is more reliable in these situations than a small .380 ACP pistol, especially with contact shots or if fired from a pocket.

The Speer Gold Dot 135 gr +P JHP and Corbon 110 gr DPX JHP offer the most reliable expansion we have seen from a .38 sp 2” BUG.

Downside to the 135 gr +P Gold Dot is the appreciable recoil and relatively poor intermediate barrier performance.

There have been many reports in the scientific literature, by Dr. Fackler and others, recommending the 158 gr +P LSWCHP as offering adequate performance. Please put this in context for the time that these papers were written in the late 1980's and early 1990's--no denim testing was being performed at that time, no robust expanding JHP's, like the Barnes XPB, Federal Tactical & HST, Speer Gold Dot, or Win Ranger Talon existed. In the proper historical perspective, the 158 gr +P LSWCHP fired out 3-4" barrel revolvers was one of the best rounds available--and it is still a viable choice, as long as you understand its characteristics.

While oversimplified, bare gelatin gives information about best case performance, while 4 layer denim provides data on worst case performance--in reality, the actual performance may be somewhere in between. The four layer denim test is NOT designed to simulate any type of clothing--it is simply an engineering test to assess the ability of a projectile to resist plugging and robustly expand. FWIW, one of the senior engineers at a very respected handgun ammunition manufacturer recently commented that bullets that do well in 4 layer denim testing have invariably worked well in actual officer involved shooting incidents.

With few exceptions, such as the Speer 135 gr +P JHP and Barnes XPB, the vast majority of .38 Sp JHP's fail to expand when fired from 2" barrels in the 4 layer denim test. Many of the lighter JHP's demonstrate overexpansion and insufficient penetration in bare gel testing. Also, the harsher recoil of the +P loads in lightweight J-frames tends to minimize practice efforts and decrease accuracy for many officers. The 158 gr +P LSWCHP offers adequate penetration, however in a 2" revolver the 158gr +P LSWCHP does not reliably expand. If it fails to expand, it will produce less wound trauma than a WC. Target wadcutters offer good penetration, cut tissue efficiently, and have relatively mild recoil. With wadcutters harder alloys and sharper leading edges are the way to go. Wadcutters perform exactly the same in both bare and 4 layer denim covered gel when fired from a 2" J-frame. For example, the Win 148 gr LWC: VEL = 657 f/s, PEN = 20"+, RD = 0.36", RL = 0.64", RW = 147.4 gr



When faced with too little penetration, as is common with lightweight .38 Sp JHP loads or too much penetration like with the wadcutters, then go with penetration. Agencies around here have used the Winchester 148 gr standard pressure lead target wadcutter (X38SMRP), as well as the Federal (GM38A) version--both work. A sharper edged wadcutter would even be better... Dr. Fackler has written in Fackler ML: "The Full Wadcutter--An Extremely Effective Bullet Design", Wound Ballistics Review. 4(2):6-7, Fall 1999)
Quote:
"As a surgeon by profession, I am impressed by bullets with a cutting action (eg. Winchester Talon and Remington Golden Saber). Cutting is many times more efficient at disrupting tissue than the crushing mechanism by which ordinary bullets produce the hole through which they penetrate. The secret to the increased efficiency of the full wadcutter bullet is the cutting action of its sharp circumferential leading edge. Actually, cutting is simply very localized crush; by decreasing the area over which a given force is spread, we can greatly increase the magnitude to the amount of force delivered per unit are--which is a fancy way of saying that sharp knives cut a lot better than dull ones. As a result, the calculation of forces on tissue during penetration underestimate the true effectiveness of the wadcutter bullet relative to other shapes."

For years, J-frames were considered "arm's reach" weapons, that is until CTC Lasergrips were added. With the mild recoil of target wadcutters, officers are actually practicing with their BUG's; when combined with Lasergrips, qualification scores with J-frames have dramatically increased. Now 5 shots rapid-fire in a 6" circle at 25 yds is not uncommon--kind of mind blowing watching officers who could not hit the target at 25 yds with a J-frame suddenly qualify with all shots in the black…

Before the advent of the 110 gr standard pressure Corbon DPX load, I used to carry standard pressure wadcutters in my J-frames with Gold Dot 135 gr +P JHP's in speed strips for re-loads, as the flat front wadcutters were hard to reload with under stress. My current J-frames are 342's; previously have used the 38 and 649. I like the 342 w/Lasergrips very much. Shooting is not too bad with standard pressure wadcutters and 110 gr DPX; not so comfortable with the Speer 135 gr JHP +P Gold Dots. Any of the Airweight J-frames are fine for BUG use. The steel 649's were a bit too heavy for comfortable all day wear on the ankle, body armor, or in a pocket. There is no reason to go with .357 mag in a J-frame, as the significantly larger muzzle blast and flash, and harsher recoil of the .357 Magnum does not result in substantially improved terminal performance compared to the more controllable .38 Special bullets when fired from 2” barrels.

At this point in time, the two best loads for 2" J-frames are the Corbon 110 gr JHP DPX standard pressure load and the Speer 135 gr +P JHP Gold Dot.

2" J-frames are a great BUG's and marginally acceptable low threat carry guns, because they are lightweight, reliable, and offer acceptable terminal performance at close range--downsides are difficulty in shooting well at longer ranges because of sight and sight radius limitations, along with reduced capacity coupled with slower reloading. Nonetheless, with the addition of CTC Laser Grips and an enclosed or shrouded hammer, the 2" J-frame models without key locks (I personally will NEVER own firearm with an integral lock) may be the best BUG's and most reliable pocket handguns available.

Another great BUG option if it can be comfortably carried, is a compact 3-3.5" barrel 9 mm pistol like the G26, Kahr PM9, Sig P239, or S&W 3913, as these offer superior terminal performance compared to either .380 ACP or .38 Sp handguns. A G26 is particularly nice when using a G19 or 17 as a primary weapon due to the ability to use the same magazines.

As always, don't get too wrapped in the nuances of ammunition terminal performance. Spend your time and money on developing a warrior mindset, training, practice, and more training.


I have been using the S&W “J” frame’s as BUG’s since 1966. Personally up until fairly recent I have preferred the “Bodyguard” series model 38, 49, 649, and 638. It’s only in the last 15 years or so that I have started with the “Centennial” series or 442, 642 family too.

I prefer to carry the “air weight’s” as they work with lead bullets that the ultra lightweights are recommended by S&W not to use.

In the last “snubby” class I took I used a laser on one of my 642’s. It worked wonders for accuracy beyond “belly” range. I am converting all my “J” frame “snubby’s” to Crimson Trace laser grips.

Just applying my experience (both combat and personal preference) my opinion and the Terminal Ballistic science to BUG‘s.

Just my way, YMMV.

Go figure.

Fred

OregonJohnny
July 12, 2010, 02:43 PM
A 2" J frame Smith is virtually the same size as a small 380.

Well, I guess "virtually" is a subjective word. I have both a S&W 642, and a Ruger LCP, and although dimensionally they are similar, the practical "carryability" or "pocketability" of the tiny .380 is far superior to the j-frame, at least for my pockets. Since carrying my LCP in a front pants pocket, my j-frame has been permanently relegated to coat pocket or belt carry. The difference in dimensions between the two, although not substantial on paper, are quite noticeable when carrying the gun.

However, when comparing common .38 Special +P rounds from a 2" barrel to common .380 rounds from a 2.5" barrel (taking capacity out of the mix), the edge goes to the .38 Special, in my opinion.

Manco
July 12, 2010, 05:54 PM
I've seen several ballistic charts showing from .22lr up to 45 Long Colt or more. It seems that the .380acp edges out the 38 Special.

Personally, I wouldn't give much credibility to some random chart that says "Knockdown Factor." It could mean anything depending on who made it.

It seems backwards to me, since the 38 Special almost seems twice the size.

.38 Special was originally a black powder caliber, and black powder is less energy-dense in terms of volume, which requires a larger case. Using modern smokeless powders these days, the case will be mostly empty. Still, most knowledgeable shooters would place .38 Special ahead of .380 ACP in terms of general effectiveness, because while they're comparable in many ways, you can use much larger (longer) and more effective types of bullets in .38 Special cartridges. I have no idea what Midway's chart is based on.

Deaf Smith
July 13, 2010, 12:05 AM
Guys,

First the cartridges:

Yes the .38 special is more powerful than the .380, hands down. Even the top Buffalo Bore .380 loads are no where near top Buffalo Bore .38 special loads. Who argues that the 158gr LSWHP at 1000 fps, which is 100 fps more than the FBI .38 spl load, is not the king of the .380 .vs. 38 debate?

Now guns.

The smallest .380s, like TCP and LCP, are hard to shoot fast at anything but very close range. And the 2 inch snub, especially the airweights, are also hard to shoot fast, especially one handed! But the mid size .380s, like Bersa .380s, are quite easy to shoot fast and accurate.

But I find the revolvers, like Smith J frames and Colt ‘D’s are overall more reliable than .380s. The reason is the .380s have small parts and need lubrication while the revolvers have more robust parts and very little need of lubrication.

So the .380s have a few more rounds and easier to hit with, the .38s are more powerful and a bit more reliable.

I have examples of both types. I use the Smith Centennial .38 as a primary sometimes (other times a Glock 26.) The .380 TCP is a backup gun ONLY. It has to do with its small size and difficulty to shoot fast with accuracy, especially one handed.

I would not lose any sleep if I carried my Bersa .380 as primary as long as I had a backup, say the TCP.

But folks, I do use my Centennial for that. I shoot it well and it is more powerful.

Deaf

Robert101
July 13, 2010, 12:13 AM
Ballistics are relevant and so is real world shooting. I shot a lot of "stuff" as a teenager with 38 and 380: car doors, refrigerators, lumber, trees, trash cans, you name it...... The penetration of a FMJ 380 will suprise a number of people. It really doesn't matter which one is superior as both are in the same class. They are minimal in their role of self defense. I have and still do rely upon the 380/38 class guns as they do play a role. Pick the one you like and shoot it well. What are my classes? I thought you'd never ask...

Self Defense Classes
1. Minimal - .380 & 38
2. Adequate - 9MM
3. Adequate + - .357 SIG & 40 cal. & 45 ACP
4. Optimal - 10MM, .357 Magnum

Anything larger doesn't seem appropriate for self defense due to excessive recoil.

earlthegoat2
July 13, 2010, 12:17 AM
In the confined world of 380 vs. 38 Special

Give me the 38 loaded with 158 gr +P lead hollowpoints (a load all these "studies" repeatedly refuse to mention). The heavyweight bullet will carry through obstructions better than any 380 round and penetration will be better.

Self Defense Classes
1. Minimal - .380 & 38
2. Adequate - 9MM
3. Adequate + - .357 SIG & 40 cal. & 45 ACP
4. Optimal - 10MM, .357 Magnum

At least someone has it finally figured out.:p

The Lone Haranguer
July 13, 2010, 02:28 AM
A long time ago (I first read of it in the early 1970s), the late Skeeter Skelton did some penetration testing of .38 Spl. LRN from a snub revolver and .380 FMJ from a Walther PPK and found the performance to be nearly identical. This was of course with the common ammo of the day, which has improved since then. With heavier bullets the .38 undoubtedly has an edge in power, but .380 can be had in a smaller, slimmer gun that holds a couple more rounds.

KJS
July 13, 2010, 04:37 AM
Self Defense Classes
1. Minimal - .380 & 38
2. Adequate - 9MM
3. Adequate + - .357 SIG & 40 cal. & 45 ACP
4. Optimal - 10MM, .357 Magnum

Anything larger doesn't seem appropriate for self defense due to excessive recoil.

I think some would find the calibers you rate more highly as not appropriate due to excessive recoil for THEM, where excessive is a matter of personal preference and ability.

Didn't the FBI find that 10MM wasn't optimal when a majority of their agents couldn't qualify using it? It doesn't matter if your gun can make a wound the size of the Grand Canyon if you miss.

Isn't the best caliber the one that you can fire the best?

Imagine an 80-year-old woman who can manage to put some holes in a bad guy with a .22 revolver. Isn't she better prepared than an elderly woman who doesn't fire at all because there is no way she can manage to handle her late husband's .357 Mag or .45 ACP 1911?

chieftain
July 13, 2010, 05:35 AM
The smallest .380s, like TCP and LCP, are hard to shoot fast at anything but very close range. And the 2 inch snub, especially the airweights, are also hard to shoot fast, especially one handed! But the mid size .380s, like Bersa .380s, are quite easy to shoot fast and accurate.

So are the mid size revolvers like the “K” frame S&W’s 3” all steel “J” frames, and of course large frame 38 and 357 magnum revolvers. Also in most of the modern renditions of these guns where they were once limited to 38spl, now also offer 357magnum.


But I find the revolvers, like Smith J frames and Colt ‘D’s are overall more reliable than .380s. The reason is the .380s have small parts and need lubrication while the revolvers have more robust parts and very little need of lubrication.

Number 1 requirement of any fighting weapon by a long stretch is reliability. Always, no exceptions, and second to no other requirement. NONE!


So the .380s have a few more rounds and easier to hit with, the .38s are more powerful and a bit more reliable.

Not in today’s world. Those medium sized 38/357 revolvers can have 7 or 8 shots too. The exception are two models that are available in the USA that I am aware of. The Bersa and Beretta.

If I am going that size I will be carrying a 9mm. Same size much more effective on target, and I have yet to find a 9mm SIG/HK/Glock that is less reliable than any 380acp offered.


So the .380s have a few more rounds and easier to hit with, the .38s are more powerful and a bit more reliable.

Yup, more powerful and more reliable. Can’t really beat that combo with anything.


I have examples of both types. I use the Smith Centennial .38 as a primary sometimes (other times a Glock 26.) The .380 TCP is a backup gun ONLY. It has to do with its small size and difficulty to shoot fast with accuracy, especially one handed.

I have both too. Colt Pony Pocketlite is my favorite to shoot of my 380's, but I shoot it sparingly as parts are hard to come by. The Walther PPK, Kel-Tec and Ruger LCP with the Crimson trace laser attached, are all the additional 380's I have right now. Got rid of the Colt 1903, Beretta both 84 & 85 years ago. Never owned a Bersa but shot a couple years ago.

As a BUG I always come back to a S&W “J” frame, and still do to this day. These days it’s usually the 642 from the Centennial family, Up until just recently about 15 years ago, I always used the Bodyguard version, Models 38,49,649,638. In actual combat I used a model 38, never got that bad. Got to my sidearm a few times, but never the BUG.


I would not lose any sleep if I carried my Bersa .380 as primary as long as I had a backup, say the TCP.

380 is better than a spit in the wind, but I would rather have a 5 or 6 shot snubby. See above: More reliable, more powerful cartridge, and if I was going to carry a weapon the size of the Bersa, my HK P2000sk or Glock 26 make more sense to me.


But folks, I do use my Centennial for that. I shoot it well and it is more powerful.

Roger that!

An additional benefit of both the Centennial (hammerless) and Bodyguard (shrouded) families is they are the only handguns that can be fired reliably from a pocket or under blankets/sleeping bag. I do like this benefit. Many a myself and many LEO's I have known, particularly in the cooler months had one of the two models in that jacket pocket when approaching a questionable character. The muzzle was already on the badguy, and all one had to do was pull the trigger 5 times. (Someone made a shroud for the old Colt "Dick" special too, for the same reasons. A bit bigger than the "J" frame but it had 6 vs 5 rounds.)

When you are getting training, don’t forget to train with your snubby. I shot my last snubby class about 18 months ago, again. What was new to me was the Crimson Trace Laser grips. I did learn to love the laser grips on my 642. I am now transitioning all my snubb’s to the laser grip. Much more accurate both up close and at range.

And please read #13 above again. There is both experience and real science talking there. This is the same guy the FBI use.

Go figure.

Fred

Guns and more
July 13, 2010, 03:04 PM
the 38 Special almost seems twice the size.
I'm no expert, but here's my take. .38 special is a revolver round and .380 is for semi-autos.
Just because the round is longer doesn't necessarily mean it has more powder in it.
I also understand the powder is different with the newer more powerful powder in the .380.
I wanted to say smokeless, but I may be wrong.

ArchAngelCD
July 13, 2010, 04:09 PM
When all is said and done the .38 Special is a much better SD round than the .380 Auto...

saturno_v
July 13, 2010, 04:18 PM
To put it in very oversimplified terms

Your run of the mill 38 Special launch a 158 gr. slug with an average muzzle energy of ~250 ft/lb

The 380 Auto reaches about the same energy with a 90 gr. bullet (same diameter)

So the 38 Special has much higher sectional density with the same energy...all things being equal, the 38 Special is the more capable round

SaxonPig
July 14, 2010, 12:54 AM
OregonJohnny- My samples are limited but I have compared my S&W M40 Centennial to my FEG R61 380 (which I think is about the same size as the Walther PPK) and I found them almost exactly the same length, height and thickness. I was surprised at how nearly identical the dimensions were. Other models will vary, of course.

earlthegoat2
July 14, 2010, 01:23 AM
I dont know where all this fluff about snubbies being hard to shoot accurately comes from.

Has anyone seen the size of the sights on most pocket 380s. They are harder to shoot accurately almost universally. At least by those who have tried both.

Yes, I am a snubby fan and being that I am a snubby fan I am biased towards them. So my biased but not necissarily wrong opinion is that universally a snubby loaded with reasonable defensive ammo such as anything +P and over 125 grains is going to give better penetration, accuracy, quicker follow up shots, better grip, and a prettier gun than any 380 pocket rocket.

Robert101
July 14, 2010, 07:09 PM
I do see your point. I like the snub nose revolvers too. I also do believe that a good 380 like a Walther PPK, Browning DBA, and even Bersa Thunder, others as well, are very comparable to the snub nose. Semi-Autos have good sight pictures, more round capacity, easy follow-up shots. The 380's have a lot going for them.

Try some double taps and firing at say 25 feet with each. The accuracy of the 380 platform just might surprise you.

Oyeboten
July 15, 2010, 02:36 AM
Years ago I got an early Colt .380 and I have always been very very fond of it.

Never once carried it, even though I have shot it a few times.

It is very accurate, easy, natural, familiar, rationally designed, and elegent in every way.

Would I feel comfortable Carrying it for SD?

Yes.


Have I?

No.

Call me sentimental...but, my Model 10 S&W Snubby ( or Model 10, 3 inch ) seems more inviting and comforting to me, for SD or Carry.

More Powerful Cartridges, I am just as good a shot if not better, with them, than I am with the Colt .380, and, I have more easy choices for Ammunition variations in .38 Special with or without re-loading my own for them.

I have no doubt of the Colt .380 being an earnest and effective-enough Arm when in the right Hands.

If everyone else was under five feet tall, and weighed under a hundred Pounds, the .380 would probably be all I'd ever need.

But they are not.

357sigRog
July 15, 2010, 05:38 AM
I like both rounds but the 38 Special using the Buffalo Bore 158gr +p lead semi-wadcutters is one good and stout round.

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