Best ammo for Kel-Tec .380 ?


January 25, 2004, 06:22 PM
Am going to pick up one of those Kel-Tec .380 pistols for concealed carry. What is the best ammo to use for self defense in this gun ?

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January 25, 2004, 07:10 PM
230 grain .45 caliber HydroShock, oh, and a 1911 to shoot them in. :D

January 25, 2004, 07:14 PM
Try the Winchester Winclean. It has a flat point. I wonder if the bullet would expand with a HP from such a short barrel. I carry the Winclean in my Browning BDA. Byron

January 26, 2004, 03:18 PM
Some good .380 loads. One shot stops listed as %, Strasbourg times in second ( ) if any:

1. COR-BON 90 gr. SIERRA JHP +P (71%) (11.12)
2. FED 90 gr. HYDRASHOK (P380HS1G) (71%) (10.94)
3. TRITON 90 gr. QUIK-SHOK +P (70%)
4. FED 90 gr. SIERRA JHP (380BP?) (69%) (11.06)
5. WIN 85 gr. SILVERTIP (68%) (12.88)
6. R-P 88 gr. JHP (new) (67%)
7. CCI 90 gr. GD (67%)
8. TRITON 90 gr. JHP +P (65%)
9. FED 90 gr. PD HYDRASHOK (65%)
10. WIN 95 gr. SXT (64%)
11. R-P 102 gr. GS (64%)
12. PMC 95 gr. STARFIRE (62%)

FMJs are around 55%

Gary A
January 26, 2004, 08:03 PM
Without commenting on the controversy surrounding the One Shot Stop theory or the Strasbourg Test reports, it should be noted that those numbers will not be the same coming from the 2.7 inch barrel of the Kel-Tec as they would from a 3.35 to 3.6 or longer barrel of more traditional .380s. Even Sanow has written articles noting that the difference in effectiveness of loads between say a Beretta 85 and a Colt Mustang is striking. Just something to consider. Will those HPs open up from approximately 1 inch less barrel? Certainly the velocity, power, penetration, OSS and everything else will be affected.

Random Discharge
January 26, 2004, 10:02 PM
I'm with Byron and Gary A on this one. When it comes to short barreled blowbacks I'll take the penetration of a flatpoint or FMJ everytime. The JHP statistics look good, but when I factor in my confidence that the bullets will penetrate to where they need to go, I take my chances with FMJ.

Back when a 32 Guardian was my pocket favorite I kept it stocked with Fiochi FMJ. It ran a little warmer than most and fed reliably.

January 27, 2004, 09:52 AM
Living in Michigan, where everyone is bundled up in layers of clothing, I keep my .380 pocket pistols loaded with FMJ.

I also use Fiocchi - I've found it to be a very reliable feeder in my Kel-Tek P-3AT, and a little hotter than other manufacturer's FMJ. 100% reliable in my P-3AT.

Here's what a target looks like after 150 rounds or so of it. ;)

January 27, 2004, 06:21 PM
Man, I'm impressed with the 25yd accuracy you're getting out of your P-3AT!! That in a 150rd group too!!! I can't wait to bench mine! Just kidding!
Good to see that you do shoot yours, so many buy a gun, load it, and carry it forever. In my initial tests three different types of ammo ran perfectly in mine. Mine were all HP ammo, which is what I carry. My take is, if it doesn't expand, it acts like a solid. No harm done there. I doubt if expansion is reliable with any I've tried. I'm gonna chrono mine when the weather improves and do some penetration tests as well.

Random Discharge,
Unlike the Secamp, NAA, and the Tomcat, the Kel Tecs are locked breach pistols. How much of a velocity difference between the blow backs and the locked breach with the same length barrels I don't know. I doubt if it is significant.

January 27, 2004, 06:27 PM
The problem is, if it does expand, it will more than likely not penetrate adequately. At lease with an FMJ, you know you will get adequate penetration. Expantion is nice, but if your round doesn't reach the CNS, it will probably not stop anyone.

January 27, 2004, 06:38 PM
Shooter1 - LOL at 25 yards. :) That was all at about 25 FEET (was actually between the 7 and 10 yard marks, so probably was actually 25 feet.

I've found mine to be pretty accurate once you get how the sights work, and the trigger isn't too bad, either. It's my carry-when-I-can't-carry-something-bigger gun. I just never feel comfortable with just a .380...but I feel more comfortable with THAT than with nothing. And that's the niche this pistol fits nicely into. :)

Darn thing is hardly bigger than my cell phone...

When I do carry it, it's in one of these nice Hedley holsters:

January 27, 2004, 07:03 PM
Here are some links to 380 ammo performance. The Bersa thunder 380 is used in the first link and it does have a little longer barrel then the P-3AT so should produce more velocity, expansion and less penetration due to the better expansion.

The P-3AT was used in the next link

The penetration and expansion produced with the Speer God Dot from the P-3AT looks about as good as you're going to get from it's short barrel!

January 27, 2004, 09:03 PM
Still good shooting. 150 rounds with only a few flyers! My first time out with mine I was able to ring the 8" steel plates most of the time from the 10yd line. I wasn't disappointed
My first requirement for Carry ammo is reliability, second is penetration, anything more is a bonus. I don't have the means to test in gelatin, but shoot a lot of wet phone books. The only thing this does, is give me opportunity to compare a variety of ammo in the same medium. I settled on the Gold Dot for the 32 based on this testing. I will do the same testing with the 380. Actually neither one would be my first choice for a carry gun. That said I carried a P-32 for years before I got the P 3AT, and frequently carried it solo when clothing would not allow a larger gun. Actually I carry mine all the time, mostly as backup to a more effective weapon. Like you, it's my ALWAYS gun!

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