BEST .380 SD Load


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galena
December 4, 2013, 06:39 PM
I am a S&W revolver guy. My EDC is a M-13 3" with the old FBI load. My Better-half just finished her CCW class. She shoots my Smiths well but is not the gun nut that I am. We went CCW shopping earlier this week and she decided on a Ruger LCP .380 with the Crimson Trace lazer sight. (She shoots my Kahr MK9 and PM9 well but finds the slide springs hard to manipulate.) At any rate, it is her money and her choice and she wants the LCP .380. Now my question: What is the best SD round, the 90 gr or heavier? I am not interested in a discussion of the limited effect of the .380........for what she wants it for it will do. Just want suggestions on the best .380 round. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks for your input.

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GyMac
December 4, 2013, 07:06 PM
I carry the Buffalo Bore 95 grain JHP. It duplicates the ballistics of the 9mm Mak load that I prefer.

Wishoot
December 4, 2013, 07:19 PM
I carry Buffalo Bore 100gr Hardcast (standard pressure). IMO, penetration trumps a hollow point that may or may not open and provides marginal penetration if it does.

Just placed an order for Underwoods version of the 100gr HC earlier today. Supposed to have the same velocity and energy as the BB version.

whatever
December 4, 2013, 07:26 PM
Ive been carrying the hydra shocks for years in my 380. It was reccomended to my by a former secret service agent. Recently i have been looking at switching to the critical defense by hornady. Im interested to see the suggestions here as well.

DanTheFarmer
December 4, 2013, 07:59 PM
I believe the most common HD loads for 380 are 90 grain. I like the Hydra-Shok's. There are other good choices as well. Remington makes a 102 grain Golden Saber and many will advocate fmj's (these are usually 95 grain).

I recommend viewing the gell test results at www.brassfetcher.com or watch the zillions of videos posted on YouTube and make up your own mind. I believe the terminal effects are likely to be quite similar among the popular choices. Once you've made a choice (or have several candidates) be sure to function test. The terminal effects differences for Hydra-Shok vs. Buffalo Bore are very small compared to those of BANG vs. misfeed!

Dan

gym
December 4, 2013, 08:09 PM
I had a Walther for 22 years I carried in NYC. I carried Ball ammo in it, mainly because of heavy clothing . The last few years I carried Hydro shock, and finally Hornadey, 90-95 grain, "for the feeding properties". I no longer carry a 380, but would stick to Corbon powerball or Honadey for the plastic tip that helps feeding and spreading.

Schlegel
December 4, 2013, 08:10 PM
Also, a guy on YouTube just did a whole series of 380 tests looking for one that would pass the FBI requirements on gel penetration from a short barrel gun.

The whole series is interesting, but the finale is here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNtPHYwcDts

rockhopper46038
December 4, 2013, 08:13 PM
I've seen a lot of information that leads me to believe that the best round in a .380 may well be plain old FMJ ball. But because I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy, my current S&W Bodyguard BUG magazine is loaded with alternating 95 gr FMJ and 102 gr Remington Ultimate HD "Golden Saber" rounds.

ETA: Apparently the video guy isn't a fan of either. Ah well.

Hunter2011
December 4, 2013, 10:14 PM
Of everything I've ever shot in my 9mm short, Winchester Ranger clearly felt the most powerful. Penetration tests in wood, not scientific I know, it was the best. You can feel how much harder it kicks than for example Hydra Shocks.

decoy562
December 5, 2013, 02:26 PM
I use Remington 102 grain loads.

HammsBeer
December 5, 2013, 09:58 PM
Wife and I both carry LCP's loaded with 90 grain Speer Gold Dots for carry, 95 grain winchester white box fmj for practice.
100 HP and 600 FMJ rounds and no malfunctions from either gun.

Many videos of cronograph tests show the Gold Dots often have the highest velocities.

coolluke01
December 5, 2013, 10:20 PM
The videos I watched showed the Critical Defense having the best penetration. My wife carries the LCP as well. I would rather she carry a gun that is easier to shoot, but she likes the size.

C0untZer0
December 5, 2013, 11:23 PM
these threads always generate posts where people list the round they carry but don't list the reason why.

I think to go about selecting a cartridge. you have to gain an understanding or at least form a belief about what causes incapacitation. After that it is a matter of what part of the bell curve you want to cover. On one end of the spectrum is a frontal shot on the skinny guy wearing a T-shirt. The skinny guy is 11" from front to back - obviously not much muscle, a frontal shot with the 380 ACP hollow points that penetrate 8" to 9" is going to reach vital tissue. On the other end of the bell curve is having to take a cross shot on a barrel-chested, muscle-bound thug wearing a jean jacket over a shirt, and a T-shirt underneath that. Can that same 380 round go through a jean jacket, a shirt, a T-shirt, a bicep, another layer of T-shirt, another layer of shirt, another layer of jean jacket, another layer of jean jacket, another layer of shirt, another layer of T-shirt and still reach vital organs?

Probably not. But maybe you think your odds of facing a barrel-chested muscle bound thug are too slim to go through all the trouble of preparing for such an encounter. Or maybe you think that once a barrel-chested muscle bound thug sees that you have a gun he's gonna high-tail it out of there.

But there has to be some logic behind the selection process.

Tomac
December 6, 2013, 12:23 AM
All handguns are relatively poor "stoppers" regardless of caliber or bullet used. Shot placement and sufficient penetration are paramount, all else is secondary.
Problem w/the .380 is that it's very difficult to achieve both sufficient penetration and expansion.
While justly maligned in other calibers, Hornady's Critical Defense in .380 appears to achieve the minimum 12" w/modest expansion so that's what the wife carries in her .380's. Barring that, my choice would be FMJ (better a non-expanding bullet that reaches the vitals than an expanding bullet that doesn't).
Tomac

chrisTx
December 6, 2013, 02:44 AM
My wife and I carry our 380s with FMJ. With the lower powered caliber, I'd rather have the penetration. I know a few guys who've been in gunfights, and unlike paper targets, real targets usually try and hide behind things.

PabloJ
December 6, 2013, 06:43 AM
I am a S&W revolver guy. My EDC is a M-13 3" with the old FBI load. My Better-half just finished her CCW class. She shoots my Smiths well but is not the gun nut that I am. We went CCW shopping earlier this week and she decided on a Ruger LCP .380 with the Crimson Trace lazer sight. (She shoots my Kahr MK9 and PM9 well but finds the slide springs hard to manipulate.) At any rate, it is her money and her choice and she wants the LCP .380. Now my question: What is the best SD round, the 90 gr or heavier? I am not interested in a discussion of the limited effect of the .380........for what she wants it for it will do. Just want suggestions on the best .380 round. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks for your input.
Ball ammo from genetic brand of Federal called American Eagle. Used that in LCP I used to own with acceptable accuracy and zero functional failures.

OldMac
December 6, 2013, 07:13 AM
Hornady with either the red tip or now available with green tips for zombies seems to expand reliably for me at these low velocities. Golden sabres are great in 357 but my lcp will not make them expand at all. Hydroshoks performed good sometimes not reliable enough for me. My highly scientific method uses a water jug in front of a paper box stacked end to end with soaked phone books. They are easy to peal back pages to recover the bullets, cheap, and recycleable when done.

Hokkmike
December 6, 2013, 11:05 AM
Not to be smart, but these days I am happy to find what I can. Saw one box of Buffalo Bore, and some generic hollow points. Maybe later when the supply thickens up I can be more selective.

gunsablazin
December 6, 2013, 11:13 AM
I use Sellior & Bellot FMJ in my P3AT, it feeds reliably, and will penetrate. I doubt that there is a load out there that will turn the .380 into a good manstopper.

Jim NE
December 6, 2013, 12:04 PM
I really like my LCP too. Make sure the optimum defense load doesn't degrade accuracy for the shooter. In my hands, that little gun, although neat, is really only a 20 footer.

GRIZ22
December 6, 2013, 01:51 PM
Use a FMJ load that is reliable in your gun.

Hokkmike
December 6, 2013, 04:24 PM
GRIZ22, I'd like to hear why you prefer FMJ. Not arguing, just asking. Thanks...

TarDevil
December 6, 2013, 04:38 PM
While justly maligned in other calibers, Hornady's Critical Defense in .380 appears to achieve the minimum 12" w/modest expansion so that's what the wife carries in her .380's.
Apparently (from magazines/YouTupe - not first hand experience), after expanding the petals on Critical Defense continue folding back or shear altogether, allowing additional penetration.

If I carried .380 for SD, it would be my choice.

SeanSw
December 6, 2013, 05:00 PM
For now I have settled on 100gr standard pressure flat nose lead from Buffalo Bore. It was the ammo of compromise to be used in a pistol with it's own compromises. I don't have a link on hand but apparently Remington UMC 95gr flat nose FMJ is loaded pretty to a decent standard and would service well if you're comfortable with that type of load.

wnycollector
December 6, 2013, 06:10 PM
I carry WWB 95gr FMJ flat nose in my Ruger LCP. It shoot POA in my LCP, feeds reliably and will penetrate well. I save the 380 JHP's for my Beretta 84B.

fastbolt
December 6, 2013, 08:19 PM
Why over-think it?

When I dropped my personal retirement CCW caliber threshold to include a LCP, I tried mine with the hollowpoint loads available to me at the time. This included Rem HPJ (Golden Sabre), Speer GDHP & Win RA380T (T-Series). All fed, fired & functioned normally in my gun, in my hands. All were surprisingly accurate during all drills in my hands. (Yes, I also tested the Win FMJFP ball loads, as they were available as training/qual ammo, but I want to carry hollowpoints which feed & function in my LCP.)

I settled on the Speer Gold Dot & Win T-Series. Why? Simply because both loads are available to me at this time in greater quantities than the Rem Golden Sabre.

If other loads by Hornady & Federal were more available, I'd check them for feeding & functioning in my LCP, in my hands, and include them as alternatives in my retirement ammo.

What good quality defensive .380 ammo is available to you in your area, and does it feed & function in her LCP in her hands?

How well can she shoot it, and do so under some demanding circumstances?

Speedo66
December 6, 2013, 08:42 PM
I was a little surprised in the video test he only evaluated the Buffalo Bore standard pressure rounds.

I'm carrying the BB +P HP version. I know there is no industry standard for +P in .380, but these feel hotter when you shoot them.

Ruger doesn't recommend them, but I shot enough to know they feed, and will carry the rest, not shoot them. I practice with standard pressure rounds, aside from the manufacturers warning, who could afford to shoot any of the high end rounds on a regular basis? :eek:

antiquus
December 6, 2013, 08:54 PM
I'm not recommending - BUT...

Tula 91 gr FMJ (steel jacket) gets an honest 980fps out of my LCP. It gets 1080fps from my AP9. With a steel jacket. Did I mention it has a steel jacket?

I'm pretty sure you could over penetrate with it.

200 rounds through the AP9, 50 through the LCP. No Failures.

rick melear
December 6, 2013, 11:19 PM
Rem 102 Golden Saber is my choice, good expansion with good penetration.

C0untZer0
December 7, 2013, 01:01 AM
Rem 102 Golden Saber is my choice, good expansion with good penetration.

What is "good" ?

XD 45acp
December 7, 2013, 06:21 AM
My wife carries the LCP also. Hornady Critical Defense has always functioned fine in it, and that is her carry load. Practice she uses FMJ. My biggest problem with my wife is the constant need to have to clean pocket lint out of it because she refuses to use a holster, and carries in her pants pocket. Her worst enemy in the end will wind up being pocket fuzz and not her load.

HGM22
December 7, 2013, 06:36 AM
I think she's got more to worry about than lint if she's pocket carrying without a holster.

kokapelli
December 7, 2013, 08:37 AM
Ok here I go again. If you think your 8" to 12" penetrating jhp will reach his vitals after going through arms and shoulders, stick with it, in the meantime I will stick with fmj in 380 pistols. I personally chose to use the very inexpensive but totally reliable WWB fmj/fp round that penetrates 18" plus in gelatin.

http://www.firearmstactical.com/tacticalbriefs/volume4/number3/images/armobstacles.jpg

JDR
December 7, 2013, 08:43 AM
CORBON DPX38080/20

The all-copper bullet construction conquers hard barriers like auto glass and steel while still maintaining its integrity. This is an optimum load for Law Enforcement.
- Deep penetration on soft tissue 10-17 inches.
- Easily conquers hard barriers like auto glass and steel.
- Reduced recoil due to lighter-weight projectile.
- Solid Copper Projectile
- Environmentally friendly!
*CERTIFIED: CALIFORNIA LEAD FREE*

Caliber: 380 Auto
Bullet Wt.: 80gr DPX
Velocity: 1050fps
Energy: 196ftlbs
Test Barrel Length: 2.5 Inches
20 rounds per box.

Tomac
December 7, 2013, 09:18 AM
More like 7-8":
http://www.stoppingpower.net/forum/topic.asp?topic_id=10021

Tomac

Cocked & Locked
December 7, 2013, 09:34 AM
When I carry my SIG P230 it is loaded with Speer Gold Dot ammo...just because I have some.

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6263277/404226087.jpg

easyg
December 7, 2013, 12:06 PM
From what I've seen, heard, and read, the 380 hollow-point ammo just doesn't penetrate that great.
So I carry Blazer Brass 95g FMJ ammo in my Ruger LCP.

MICHAEL T
December 8, 2013, 02:26 PM
I use Corbon DPX in all my 380's Picking ammo for a 380 is like what better ford or chev Every body like a different brand it seems like .

I don't worry about what FBI lab boys say . They like 18" of penetration 12 is min. They also shot thru things a civ likely never will

25 auto mets 12" requirement with ball in the jell Do you carry a 25 auto ? Look at security videos of robbery Their close and face to face and just about every one shooting 1 handed.

I will keep my Corbon DPX . I'll take 8" and 45 or larger expansion as I won't be shooting just once any way. With my KelTec , PPK/s, or Bersa

That link is to Evan Marshall board and he says i occassionally carry a .380 as a 3rd gun-this looks promising-some folks will get hysterical that it doesn't penetrate 12" but it works fine for what it is-a .380. He seems to like it and .70 expansion from a KelTec That what they used for test a PPK or Bersa be better in penetration

HammsBeer
December 8, 2013, 02:52 PM
An LCP in a galco holster is so convienent to carry. And as stated I'll take expansion and larger wound channel over a pencil track penetration.

http://s25.postimg.org/yxhkiuc0v/LCP.jpg

beatledog7
December 8, 2013, 03:34 PM
I carry 95-100 grain ball ammo (not even sure what make and model) in my TCP because it feeds well and per the prevailing wisdom is more likely to achieve penetration to vitals.

Kahr33556
December 8, 2013, 04:04 PM
I carry hornady critical defence but I also like the golden saber but they hung up one time in my LCP so I wont use them.I got good expansion results in water with the golden saber 102 gr

kokapelli
December 8, 2013, 04:11 PM
I carry hornady critical defence but I also like the golden saber but they hung up one time in my LCP so I wont use them.I got good expansion results in water with the golden saber 102 gr
Almost all hollow points expand well in water. How about penetration?

easyg
December 8, 2013, 04:25 PM
And as stated I'll take expansion and larger wound channel over a pencil track penetration.
With the possible threat of fat thugs wearing heavy winter clothing, I'll take more penetration every time.
The larger wound tract of the expanded round doesn't do much good if the round fails to reach vital organs or vessels.

BSA1
December 8, 2013, 09:15 PM
Another vote for FMJ due to better feeding reliability and pentration

GRIZ22
December 8, 2013, 11:56 PM
FMJ because it has better penetration. 380 is pretty weak on penetration and a hollowpoint makes it worst. FMJ also has most reliable feeding.

Texan Scott
December 9, 2013, 12:03 AM
I'll second the S&B fmj for penetration. Fiocchi fmj is also good, I think they tend to load them a bit hotter. Use whichever you can get, as long as it feeds, fires, & flings reliably in your wife's gun.

C0untZer0
December 11, 2013, 07:26 AM
The ATF says the .380 AUTO is deadly:

Speaking of their test results with the 3-D printed plastic gun "The Liberator":

"The bottom line is, the penetration results demonstrated that the Liberator is a lethal weapon," Griffith said. "The .380 bullets fired from the Liberator penetrate sufficiently to reach vital organs and perforate the skull."

So their you have it people, your tax dollars hard at work.

Wishoot
December 11, 2013, 08:40 AM
The ATF says the .380 AUTO is deadly:

Speaking of their test results with the 3-D printed plastic gun "The Liberator":



So their you have it people, your tax dollars hard at work.
I'm surprised we haven't seen a study about the relative stopping power of rocks and sticks from our government recently.

BudgetBucks1
December 11, 2013, 09:01 AM
I have used both the Kel Tec P3AT and the Ruger LCP. Very similar guns. I have tested four brands of self defense ammo and the best results(in function, not penetration) were with Hornady Critical Defense red tips. I had some jams with other brands if I was shooting very fast double taps. If I shot slowly then none of the major brands jammed. However, I work in law enforcement and in our training we are taught that 99% of shootings are point blank(within 7 feet). Both of our officers that have recently had to use their firearms shot within two feet(physical contact). At that distance reliability trumps penetration and expansion. I want slick, nickel plated cases that function 100% of the time and Hornady critical defense provides that and goes bang every time in my Kel Tecs as fast as I can pull the trigger. At most self defense ranges any of the major brands are going to penetrate far enough as long as your shot placement is good. Buy boxes of the brands you are considering and shoot them in realistic scenarios and see which one functions in your gun 100% of the time. Carry that. Forget penetration tests. I have shot many deer with a 30.06 and sometimes I get full penetration, sometimes I don't, and sometimes I hit a rib and it deflects out it's rectum. My point is you never know exactly what the bullet will hit when you fire it. The important thing is that your gun is firing. My five cents.

bds
December 11, 2013, 09:41 AM
I think if you live in colder regions where shooting through heavy clothing is a factor, I would support the use of FMJ ammunition. But I live in a region (central CA) where it is sunny and warm/hot most of the year so typical target would be wearing thin or single layer of clothing (likely a T-shirt).

I currently use Winchester PDX1 95 gr bonded JHP for the TCP (latest version of Black Talon). The rounded nose profile reliably feeds/chambers and I suggest the PDX1 to other 380 Auto shooters when they report feeding/chambering issues as it is more readily available in my area than other JHP ammunition.

Winchester advertises 1000 fps muzzle velocity out of 3.75" barrel with 211 ft-lbs energy - http://www.winchester.com/products/handgun-ammunition/Innovative/PDX1-Defender/Pages/S380PDB.aspx

tnoutdoors9's 4 layer denim/gelatin test with 3.5" barrel Bersa Thunder averaged 987 fps and reported PDX1 achieved highest muzzle velocities of all the 380Auto ammunition tested. The PDX1 consistently expanded without cavity clogging with denim and penetrated over 8 inches into the gelatin - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv7ChS7DurE

I like Speer Gold Dot and Remington Golden Saber JHP ammunition for 40S&W/45ACP and use them in my Glock/M&P/Sig but could not find any for 380Auto when the TCP was recently purchased. Here's Speer Gold Dot 380Auto 90 gr HP testing in comparison (1040 fps advertised, average 980 fps with 3.5" Bersa) with over 10 inches of penetration - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTTuXpFChsA

C0untZer0
December 11, 2013, 11:40 AM
I'm surprised we haven't seen a study about the relative stopping power of rocks and sticks from our government recently.

I'd like to see a study of the lethality of fists.

They are a lot deadlier than Hollywood has portrayed, a lot dealier than people generally think and handgun bullets are a lot less lethal than Hollywood has typically portrayed.

I don't think the current administration would fund any study like that since Holder has even said that the concept of self-defense has been expanded beyond reason and Stand Your Ground laws need to be repealed.

kokapelli
December 11, 2013, 11:57 AM
Why over-think it?

When I dropped my personal retirement CCW caliber threshold to include a LCP, I tried mine with the hollowpoint loads available to me at the time. This included Rem HPJ (Golden Sabre), Speer GDHP & Win RA380T (T-Series). All fed, fired & functioned normally in my gun, in my hands. All were surprisingly accurate during all drills in my hands. (Yes, I also tested the Win FMJFP ball loads, as they were available as training/qual ammo, but I want to carry hollowpoints which feed & function in my LCP.)

I settled on the Speer Gold Dot & Win T-Series. Why? Simply because both loads are available to me at this time in greater quantities than the Rem Golden Sabre.

If other loads by Hornady & Federal were more available, I'd check them for feeding & functioning in my LCP, in my hands, and include them as alternatives in my retirement ammo.

What good quality defensive .380 ammo is available to you in your area, and does it feed & function in her LCP in her hands?

How well can she shoot it, and do so under some demanding circumstances?
Personally I couldn't care less about velocity and energy in a 380 pistol. What I care about is will the round function reliably and will the bullet reach critical areas.

bds
December 11, 2013, 01:20 PM
kokapelli, very good point. No amount of muzzle energy of published muzzle velocity will do any good if the pistol can't get that round chambered to fire.

As to deep enough penetration to do damage to the vital organs, I prefer the 10"+ of Speer 90 gr Gold Dot in denim/gelatin over 8"+ of Winchester 95 gr PDX1 but haven't been able to find Gold Dot so I am using PDX1.

I used to load the mag with FMJ and even thought about staggering FMJ/JHP.

fastbolt
December 11, 2013, 02:01 PM
Personally I couldn't care less about velocity and energy in a 380 pistol. What I care about is will the round function reliably and will the bullet reach critical areas.
Uh, where did I say anything about MV & ME?

Reliable feeding & functioning are my primary considerations, as well.

kokapelli
December 11, 2013, 03:28 PM
Uh, where did I say anything about MV & ME?

Reliable feeding & functioning are my primary considerations, as well.
Sorry I meant that to be a response to BDs post #50

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