Recommended .380 bullet for defence?


PDA

steve454
March 21, 2016, 06:39 PM
I am getting my CHL and have a .380.
I've been told that some bullets don't expand reliably.
What is a good round that I can buy at Academy or Gander Mountain?
Nothing exotic and I don't reload.
I am a novice so please don't use terms and abbreviations that I wouldn't understand.
What should I use?

If you enjoyed reading about "Recommended .380 bullet for defence?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
GetmeoutaCT
March 21, 2016, 06:46 PM
I recall reading somewhere recently that the Winchester Silvertip in .380 expanded well and reliably. Of course this still leaves the .380 as a marginal self-defense round, but still much better than nothing.

BSA1
March 21, 2016, 06:52 PM
A good friend and I each own the exact same model semi-auto pistol.

He carries Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) commercial ammunition in his gun. He wants a expanding bullet for greater tissue damage.

I carry Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) in my gun. I want deep penetration to ensure the bullet will reach vital areas inside the body.

We both think we are equally well armed.

I am not trying to be a smart aleck. There is no agreement on what type of bullet is best for the .380 (and whether the .380 is enough for self-defense). I frequently suggest watching the videos on youtube by Shootingthebull done by Ammo Quest. They are very well done.

ROAshooter
March 21, 2016, 06:59 PM
Academy will carry Hornady Critical Defense in 380...many have faith in it doing the job....my wife uses it in her Browning 1911-380

kokapelli
March 21, 2016, 07:11 PM
Just go to this website and be sure to watch the video

http://shootingthebull.net/blog/final-results-of-the-380-acp-ammo-quest/

joem1945
March 21, 2016, 07:23 PM
I load Federals HP in mine.

justin22885
March 21, 2016, 07:50 PM
problem with rounds like the 380 is you generally have to choose between expansion or penetration and without penetration self defensive ammo is nothing

some 380 pistols are able to handle ammunition a bit hotter than others, perhaps even up to 25kpsi like a 9x18 ultra assuming you have a heavy enough slide and spring.. if yours can handle it some of that +P stuff might be what youd want to carry for self defense but id stick to standard pressure for plinking and target shooting

Robert101
March 21, 2016, 07:53 PM
I use the Hornady critical defense as well. You might want to make certain they (or whatever you choose) will function in your gun.

CNobbe
March 21, 2016, 07:57 PM
I keep Hornday Critical Defense 95gr with XTP bullet in my little Kahr 380. I've never had an issue with it.

sequins
March 21, 2016, 08:30 PM
http://www.speer-ammo.com/ballistics/detail.aspx?loadNo=23606

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr5FwlCo3XU

I recommend the Speer GDHP loads, they make the best darn ammo.

C0untZer0
March 21, 2016, 08:45 PM
I am a novice so please don't use terms and abbreviations that I wouldn't understand.

Precision One .380 ACP 90 grain XTP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOwCXXpEP50

Warp
March 21, 2016, 08:57 PM
I'd probably stick to FMJ though I am partial to Gold Dot and back when I actually had a .380 the Corbon DPX round was very popular

guitararmy
March 21, 2016, 09:01 PM
Ruger is marketing a new bullet called ARX that has a solid tip that creates some kind of hydrostatic cavity when it hits tissue....or something like that.

JohnnyFlake
March 21, 2016, 09:17 PM
The .380 simply does not generate enough velocity to expand bullets well. I carry a Sig P238 .380 virtually 24/7.

I have tested many different rounds and IMHO, at least for me, personally, I have decided to carry Hornady Critical Defense .380 Auto 90gr FTX ammo, with the Red Tip. It always expands to some degree. I alternate one of those, with a Buffalo Bore .380 100gr hard cast bullet, for deeper penetration, all the way down my magazines. I am confident, that mix will get the job done!

mongoslow
March 21, 2016, 09:54 PM
anything loaded with a 90 grain XTP will be your best bet

Big20
March 21, 2016, 10:17 PM
I carry Buffalo Bore 100 gr. +P truncated cone FMJ in my Bodyguard. The Luger was originally designed to use this type of bullet to circumvent Geneva Convention hollow point/soft point restrictions. It worked so well they got so much bad press it got pulled from duty.

kokapelli
March 21, 2016, 10:34 PM
It's interesting how many people carry Critical Defense since it is one of the rounds that failed in the "Shooting The Bull" gelatin tests.

WRGADog
March 21, 2016, 10:37 PM
Corbon

kokapelli
March 21, 2016, 10:43 PM
Corbon
Corbin also failed the Shooting a The Bull gelatin tests.

http://shootingthebull.net/blog/fina...cp-ammo-quest/

edmo01
March 21, 2016, 10:51 PM
After you settle on a defensive round, make sure you run some through your gun to verify accuracy and function.

Some of these little guns can be finicky.

Edmo

Llama Bob
March 21, 2016, 11:28 PM
anything loaded with a 90 grain XTP will be your best bet

I agree with this. All .308 ammo sucks when compared to 9mm, but this particular bullet seems to suck less than the alternatives. I think 3 or 4 manufacturers make loads with it.

Strangely the 95 grain Hornady bullet in the Critical Defense line is not nearly as good.

The Speer gold dot offering is also acceptable IMO.

C0untZer0
March 21, 2016, 11:41 PM
I'd probably stick to FMJ

It doesn't make sense to use FMJ with the current selection of JHPs in .380 ACP. There are a few rounds, like Precision One's loading of the Hornady XTP, which penetrate, and expand some. There are many other rounds that either penetrate well when they partially expand, or fail to expand, in which case they act like a FMJ.

If you select a cartridge that has 1 bullet in 6 partially expand and penetrate to 14" while the other 5 fail to expand at all and act like FMJ, that cartridge is still statistically better than FMJ rounds which have no probability of expanding.

Luger_carbine
March 21, 2016, 11:50 PM
The Luger was originally designed to use this type of bullet to circumvent Geneva Convention hollow point/soft point restrictions. It worked so well they got so much bad press it got pulled from duty.


As originally designed by and loaded for Georg Luger by DWM (Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken) the round was an 8 gram (123.5 gr) lead-core bullet. This is the round the German Army originally used, but due to the lead shortage during the war, they developed two additional loads that utilized iron cores.

One type was called "PistolenPatrone 08 mit Sintereisenkern" (with sintered (pressed) iron core). Which weighed 5.8 grams (89.5 gr.) and had markings on the box which said: "Pistolenpatronen 08 S.E."

The other was called "Pistolenpatrone 08 mit Eisenkern" (iron core). That load weighed 6.4 grams (98.7 gr.) and the boxes were marked "Pistolenpatronen 08 m.E.".

Just a note - it wan't called 9mm Luger or 9mm Parabellum, it was called PistolenPatrone 08.


The Myth of the "Geneva Convention and hollow point bullets:

http://www.thegunzone.com/hague.html

steve454
March 22, 2016, 12:18 AM
Thanks for all the great input gang!
Looks like I will try and find the Precision One .380 ACP 90 grain XTP.
If I can't find it locally I can get it here http://www.precisiononeammunition.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_2_37_42&products_id=63
I think this is the same bullet.
The gun that was used in the gel tests is a TCP just like mine so that shows how well it should work in my gun.

DPris
March 22, 2016, 02:35 AM
Dunno if it's on their website yet, but Black Hills has a new 60-grain Xtreme Defense load that doesn't depend on expansion at all.

It has a fully-jacketed cross-tipped bullet, you'd see + if you looked straight on at the nose from the front. Deep quarter-inch flutes behind the nose.
The cross "vanes" are just under a quarter-inch from end to end.

With spin, it'd cut or drill quite effectively through tissue.
Have not had the chance to shoot any yet, two .380 projects coming up that should run it through five different pistols to test for accuracy & reliability.

Might be worth a look.
Denis

tactikel
March 22, 2016, 03:03 AM
When I had a .380 I loaded Speer 88 gr HPs max load. My thinking was if it was too slow to expand I had a FMJ, it it did expand, great, a win win.
Foremost is reliability, whatever you choose it must cycle every time. Then accuracy, then expansion.

Steve C
March 22, 2016, 03:07 AM
Watch the "shootingthebull" video's that kokapelli previously posted the link to.

I have carried Federal Hydrashoks for many years in my PPK/s and still find good cause to carry them. They've been proven over time as a manstopper and do well in expansion and penetration in the gelatin and denim tests even with the micro .380's like the Kel Tec P3AT, Ruger LCP, and others with 3" or shorter barrels. Ammo that is loaded with the Horandy XTP's (not the flex point FTX) works well in these tests also providing both reliable expansion and 12" or greater penetration. Of the exhaustive tests done by Shootingthebull the old Federal Hydrashok and ammo using the XTP bullet where the "winners" as the best available for micro pistols.

AZAndy
March 22, 2016, 05:49 AM
Here's (http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/#380ACP)a gelatin test of 16 different defense loads, with expansion measurements. Critical Defense looks pretty good.

MedWheeler
March 22, 2016, 06:19 AM
Llama Bob writes:

All .308 ammo sucks when compared to 9mm,

I don't know about "sucks", but they're certainly a beast when fired from a gun barely longer than the cartridge..! :D

My Bersa Thunder is loaded with Winchester 95-grain SXZ JHP, a "run-of-the-mill" load marketed for Bass Pro Shops. The gun has a 3.3-inch barrel. My loose rule is HPs are probably okay from a barrel greater than 3 or so inches, and FMJ or FNEB (flat-nosed, enclosed base, kind of a semi-jacketed, slat-tipped solid) are better for the smaller guns. That latter load, by Remington-UMC, is what's in my old Grendel P10 (an ancestor to the Kel-Tec line), but that gun never gets carried.

Tirod
March 22, 2016, 08:56 AM
From all of the above, choose which you prefer and can source. Some localities just don't have ammo readily available.

Go shoot it. If it functions reliably to your standards, ok. Some shooters and makers suggest getting at least 200 to 500 rounds thru the action to break it in and reveal any continuing problem with a particular cartridge.

From there, practice with that specific firearm is the next level of reliability, because shot placement is key. Great penetration and expansion is a goal, but wasted if the bullet is placed where the aggressor is still capable of acting out. Shot placement is key. Practice is the only way to get reliable shot placement.

Too many put a gun in their pocket which fits all their comfort needs having never shot it extensively, loaded with the boutique Ammo of the Month having never proofed it's a good choice, and never having practiced with it to ensure that they aren't the weak link.

Don't be me or the hundreds of others who post.

Bush Pilot
March 22, 2016, 10:26 AM
I agree with this. All .308 ammo sucks when compared to 9mm, but this particular bullet seems to suck less than the alternatives. I think 3 or 4 manufacturers make loads with it.

Strangely the 95 grain Hornady bullet in the Critical Defense line is not nearly as good.

The Speer gold dot offering is also acceptable IMO.
True, but try to find a concealable .308 LOL

stonecutter2
March 22, 2016, 01:42 PM
Corbin also failed the Shooting a The Bull gelatin tests.

http://shootingthebull.net/blog/fina...cp-ammo-quest/
How can you say Corbon "failed" when all that seemed to happen with Corbon that was negative was that it didn't penetrate as well in denim? The bare gelatin scores look near ideal.

JohnBiltz
March 22, 2016, 02:26 PM
With .380 there just is not a lot of energy. Ball ammo will get you reliable penetration. The XTP bullets will get you expansion up to .42 and penetration to 12 inches. That is not much expansion from something starting out at .355. If you get more expansion than you get a lot less penetration. .45 will normally get something like the 8 inches you get with Critical Defense. That is seriously not good penetration and I think with that minimal amount of expansion, from .355 to .45, its a poor round to carry. Penetration is still king. I think ball is the way to go with .380. It is not like 9mm where when we talk expansion we are talking doubling the caliber. We are talking moderate to minimal caliber increases. Its just not worth the loss of penetration.

I had not seen that Gold Dot video before. For .380 that was pretty impressive.

Llama Bob
March 22, 2016, 04:11 PM
How can you say Corbon "failed" when all that seemed to happen with Corbon that was negative was that it didn't penetrate as well in denim? The bare gelatin scores look near ideal.

Well, as long as you only have to defend yourself against naked people you should be good :what:

stchman
March 22, 2016, 05:33 PM
I use Remington Golden Saber 380 in my LCP.

I have read great things about Ruger's new ARX ammo.

JohnnyFlake
March 22, 2016, 06:24 PM
I am always surprised, by the number of people who under estimate the effect of a .380, on the human body. It can be very lethal. As always, shot placement is the key!

Warp
March 22, 2016, 07:01 PM
I am always surprised, by the number of people who under estimate the effect of a .380, on the human body. It can be very lethal. As always, shot placement is the key!

Well, we aren't concerned with being lethal. We are concerned with the round's ability to stop the threat/attacker as quickly as possible.

DeepSouth
March 22, 2016, 07:15 PM
You may find this helpful, I do. :)

http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/#380ACP

A Pause for the Coz
March 22, 2016, 08:38 PM
I carry a Mix of Hornady Critical Defense and XTP's.

The Critical Defense gives a good chance to expand. The XTP's will penetrate more. If they expand... Great if not its the same as shooting Ball ammo.

Troy800
March 22, 2016, 10:21 PM
Speer Gold Dot! I wont say it is the best but it has steet testing that very few other ammos can claim. It is has been used by alot by LEO both domestic and internationaly. It has been tested on the street with great results for alot of years. They also make a version desighned for short barrels with faster burning powder to get maximum performance from compact guns.

You may find alot of ammo with great ballistic gel test and big claims but that list will get very short when you look for data on actual field results on bad guys. Im sure there are some great new SD ammos but when it comes to my gun i dont want to be the "gunie pig". Ill go for the street tested and proven ammo every time. Ill let some one else test the new stuff.

DPris
March 22, 2016, 10:51 PM
Wasn't aware GD .380 had been so thoroughly street tested. :)
Denis

lefteyedom
March 22, 2016, 11:35 PM
I carry FMJ in my P3AT,, at the ranges that this weapon design for they work. (10 feet?)

If a human heart or Aorta is pierce with a .355 projectile the rapid loss of blood pressure quickly renders the person unable to continue hostilities.

The same effect can be expected if the .355 projectile transiting parts of the brain, brain stem.

Humans range in weight from 90 lbs to 400lbs, which effects the distance to the heart, it has little effect on a projectiles access to grey matter.

Proper shot placement is more important than what type of bullet is being used.

MICHAEL T
March 23, 2016, 12:14 AM
Corbon JHP or the copper DPX

WRGADog
March 23, 2016, 10:32 AM
Corbin also failed the Shooting a The Bull gelatin tests.

http://shootingthebull.net/blog/fina...cp-ammo-quest/
Kokapelli--The Corbon round is a bit of a hotter round than some of the others tested, but to say Corbon failed is, in my opinion, an exaggeration. The bullet "failed" by over penetrating the standard of 12 inches penetration established for the ballistic gel/denim test, but the bullets expanded as designed and the author acknowledges that the gel test does not duplicate or replicate flesh penetration. Not trying to be argumentative, just my two cents.

Warp
March 23, 2016, 10:48 AM
Speer Gold Dot! I wont say it is the best but it has steet testing that very few other ammos can claim. It is has been used by alot by LEO both domestic and internationaly. It has been tested on the street with great results for alot of years. They also make a version desighned for short barrels with faster burning powder to get maximum performance from compact guns.

You may find alot of ammo with great ballistic gel test and big claims but that list will get very short when you look for data on actual field results on bad guys. Im sure there are some great new SD ammos but when it comes to my gun i dont want to be the "gunie pig". Ill go for the street tested and proven ammo every time. Ill let some one else test the new stuff.

What law enforcement agencies use .380?

Tirod
March 23, 2016, 11:21 AM
Actually, quite a few do when the off duty or backup gun is left to the officer.

There is an issue with demanding that .380 penetrate to at least 12". Considering that the intent of use is within 21 feet, it's not losing that much velocity, especially when at near arm's length range (not a good time to hold the gun out in front.) The major targets to stop are at close proximity and they are both less than 6" within the body. The problem is they both have bone mass in front of them protecting them - the sternum, and the skull. Ball will likely penetrate but won't expand to shock the organ.

We might call them belly guns but in reality that is one of the less optimal targets - in a violent confrontation you want to stop, and stop quickly. A heart or head shot that can both penetrate bone and also expand and transect the organ does that. It won't necessarily need twelve inches of penetration, what it needs is to break bone and then expand.

Which one of the bullets does that? Maybe not the most highly rated per FBI standards, which are decidedly skewed to work against vehicles and other cover. I'm less concerned about a bullet track thru 18" of gelatin as which does better with a plate barrier in front to simulate bone. Some .380 is known to ricochet off the human skull when we actually need to have it break thru, and round nose is anecdotally the worst at doing that.

If I have to stop an aggressor, I'm much more likely to have to shoot a human or large animal, not Gumby. :rolleyes:

Warp
March 23, 2016, 11:25 AM
Actually, quite a few do when the off duty or backup gun is left to the officer.

Off duty and backup guns aren't used all that much compared to duty guns/primaries.

It's not like there are a bunch of cops out there carrying and using .380, proving the rounds. If there are a bunch of cops using .380 Gold Dots with good result, would you mind showing that?



Which one of the bullets does that? Maybe not the most highly rated per FBI standards, which are decidedly skewed to work against vehicles and other cover.

What? :confused:

The FBI standards we go by are for penetration in bare gel and through four layers of denim into gel. How do you get vehicles and other cover from that?


I'm less concerned about a bullet track thru 18" of gelatin as which does better with a plate barrier in front to simulate bone.

The FBI guideline is 12"-18" of penetration. 18" of penetration is not the goal, it is the maximum.

mavracer
March 23, 2016, 11:54 AM
The FBI guideline is 12"-18" of penetration. 18" of penetration is not the goal, it is the maximum.

You have a link that says 18" is a maximum, HWFE says 12" minimum and 18 would be preferred?

Silver Streak
March 23, 2016, 12:12 PM
The best .380 round is a 9mm.

Just kidding! (kinda :))

Honestly, stick with a premium brand and you're fine...Hornady XTP, Federal Hydra Shok, Speer Gold Dot...

The key with the micro pistols is to test the ammo you will carry to make sure it runs in your particular gun.

Good Luck!

Warp
March 23, 2016, 12:14 PM
You have a link that says 18" is a maximum, HWFE says 12" minimum and 18 would be preferred?

Example

http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2015/4/16/throwback-thursday-the-fbi-ammo-tests/

"The maximum depth of penetration used in the calculation was 18", because a bullet that penetrated any further than that would be presumed to have exited the target."

"But perhaps the most illuminating data is found under the category of “Adjusted Volume.” This is the actual volume of the wound channel produced expressed in cubic inches. The calculation eliminates penetration beyond 18" (penetration over 18" was routine in the tests where wallboard and plywood bar-rier materials were used), but provides a useful means of estimating permanent tissue damage."


Over 18" is considered bad and/or a waste. Hence the maximum.


http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/#standards

"The goal of our project is to test as many loads as possible in order to determine how they compare to the FBI standard recommended penetration depth of 12-18″. "

"Why 12 inches?

The 18 inch maximum penetration depth standard makes sense to most people — too much penetration and the bullet can go clean through the target (possibly changing direction slightly before exiting) and onward to harm an unintended target. "

JohnnyFlake
March 23, 2016, 12:17 PM
For those of you interested enough to spend a few minutes reading, here are two interesting Reports/Charts:

http://www.chuckhawks.com/handgun_power_chart.htm

http://z4.invisionfree.com/Gerrys_Campfire/ar/t42.htm

mavracer
March 23, 2016, 12:44 PM
Warp,
Yes I know gunwriters have misused the 18" prefered and them limiting wound cavity depth calculations at 18". I even get why ammo manufactures strive for maximum expansion at minimum penatration because of this. What I want is the FBI's saying that over 18" means failure because even in the tests you showed from the 90's "penetration over 18 was routine in the tests where wallboard and plywood bar-rier materials were used" did not constitute failure.

Warp
March 23, 2016, 12:49 PM
Warp,
Yes I know gunwriters have misused the 18" prefered and them limiting wound cavity depth calculations at 18". I even get why ammo manufactures strive for maximum expansion at minimum penatration because of this. What I want is the FBI's saying that over 18" means failure because even in the tests you showed from the 90's "penetration over 18 was routine in the tests where wallboard and plywood bar-rier materials were used" did not constitute failure.

I didn't say or intend to imply that over 18" was an outright failure.

We all ought to know that shot placement is king and penetration is queen, as they say. From an effectiveness standpoint it is certainly better to penetrate more than not enough. But when evaluating ammunition, the goal isn't necessarily 18" just because anything beyond 18" is considered wasteful (and potentially an increased liability)

DPris
March 23, 2016, 01:32 PM
Shot placement alone is not an immediate guarantee, precise placement is often difficult or impossible during dynamic encounters, and the .380 will always be a less-than-ideal defensive choice.

I would attempt to find an expanding bullet with REASONABLY deep (for the caliber) penetration. I would not obsess over a couple inches of penetration. I frankly don't consult the FBI on ammunition selection, here or anywhere else.

The BH load I mentioned may be the one I end up with, depending on reliability & superficial water jug tests.
Note I said superficial, water is "a" test medium, it is not "the" test medium. It still gives me an idea for comparisons & I don't have the patience to deal with gelatin.

Not to sound unduly bloodthirsty, but I would prefer a projectile that does as much nerve & tissue disruption as possible on impact as a defensive shield.

I won't depend on FMJ for that purpose just to get penetration, since the FMJ does the LEAST amount of tissue disruption as it travels.
Nor will I count on shot placement.

I don't & won't carry a .380 routinely, but I do own one that gets toted on occasion when the full-sized pistol is contra-indicated.
I don't feel comfortable about it when I do, but sometimes circumstances dictate a tinygun, and it beats the .25 I also have. :)

Those are my feelings, based on years spent seeing the aftermaths of real shootings in various calibers, including the .380.
Denis

Pipe Smoker
March 23, 2016, 02:17 PM
Precision One .380 ACP 90 grain XTP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOwCXXpEP50
ShootingTheBull likes PrecisionOne XTP – modest expansion for good penetration. Hornady's own XTP round penetrates less. Why? Because it's loaded for more MV – more expansion, so LESS penetration. That means that if PrecisionOne XTP is fired from a barrel longer than 2.8", it too will have less expansion.

My preferred .380 SD round is Federal HST – excellent, reliable expansion with sharp-edged petals. Only 8" penetration, but, IMO, that's sufficient, given that the average male torso is 9" thick.

Also, 99gr Federal HST has the highest PF of any .380 round that I know of – that means more reliable cycling, even if limp-wristed. HST also has nickel-plated cases – more reliable extraction. No XTP round that I know of has nickel-plated cases.

mavracer
March 23, 2016, 02:24 PM
From an effectiveness standpoint it is certainly better to penetrate more than not enough. But when evaluating ammunition, the goal isn't necessarily 18" just because anything beyond 18" is considered wasteful (and potentially an increased liability)

So you don't have a link to the FBI saying over 18" is actually excessive and you're just parroting others that misuse the 18" figure?

How about a link where a through and through shot in a defensive shooting actually caused liability?

BSA1
March 23, 2016, 02:51 PM
I recently read a article in which the author reported that in many shootings wounds to the arm(s) were common. The explanation is the victim had their arms covering their chest either for protection or had their arm extended in front to the body such as shooting a firearm.

This is important to consider with marginal ammunition. If the bullet strikes the bone in the arm this means the round will either fail to expand or will already be expanding before it reaches the torso. If the bullet is already expanding before it enters the body then underpenetration to reach the vitals is possible.

Warp
March 23, 2016, 03:10 PM
So you don't have a link to the FBI saying over 18" is actually excessive and you're just parroting others that misuse the 18" figure?

How about a link where a through and through shot in a defensive shooting actually caused liability?

Why would over 18" of penetration be preferred?

That is just wasted energy that could have been used to expand the projectile and make a wider wound channel.

As I said:

"From an effectiveness standpoint it is certainly better to penetrate more than not enough. But when evaluating ammunition, the goal isn't necessarily 18" just because anything beyond 18" is considered wasteful (and potentially an increased liability)"


"Potentially an increased liability" doesn't mean I am going to come up with a list of through and throughs injuries bystanders. It has happened, though I don't know how to find the example right now.

Do you have a link from the FBI where they say the goal is to obtain 18" of penetration?

Ever wondered why the FBI chose the rounds it did, when they don't penetrate 18"?

Kman314
March 23, 2016, 04:56 PM
I believe the Shooting the Bull evaluation listed the following rounds as top tier:

1. Precision One .380 ACP 90-grain XTP
2. Fiocchi Extrema XTP(TM) 90-grain XTP JHP, part # 380XTP25
3. Hornady Custom .380 ACP with 90-grain XTP JHP
4. Federal Premium Hydra-Shok® 90-grain JHP
5. HPR HyperClean XTP 90-grain JHP
6. Any cartridge using Hornady XTP bullet (no plug)

Interesting to note that the top 3 all use the same Hornady XTP bullet (not the one with the plastic plug). Based on his testing, I wouldn't hesitate to carry the Federal Hydra-Shok, even though it's older technology.

fireman 9731
March 23, 2016, 04:57 PM
I shot a cat in the back of the head with Hornady critical defense bullet. It showed back up 3 days later minus an eye.

I carry Speer Gold Dots in my 380 now.

C0untZer0
March 23, 2016, 08:59 PM
Well there you have it...

Pietro Beretta
March 24, 2016, 12:01 AM
+1 for Critical Defense for best overall penetration along with reliable expansion.


(I am not a believer in using FMJ in .380 like others. In my living situation, over penetration is a concern.)

Pietro Beretta
March 24, 2016, 12:06 AM
I shot a cat in the back of the head with Hornady critical defense bullet. It showed back up 3 days later minus an eye.

I carry Speer Gold Dots in my 380 now.

I am a bastard, I couldn't help but think what Jared Lee Loughner carried, because it didn't work either. That cat story is about as useful as my tasteless comment.

C0untZer0
March 24, 2016, 12:44 AM
+1 for Critical Defense for best overall penetration along with reliable expansion.

What tests are you referencing that show the Critical Defense has best over-all penetration?

It didn't do so well in bare gel for the ShootingtheBull410 tests, 8" inches of penetration:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5TJSUADOwA&list=PLgNSGOEQko_MjOCGyqlMTiM2njdQQRbdg&index=11

Through denim they were rather inconsistant.

TruthTellers
March 24, 2016, 01:01 AM
If your gun can shoot it, Buffalo Bore .380+P JHP. The only two guns I know that are .380's rated for +P are the Kahr's and Beretta Pico. The Buffalo Bore .380 JHP's penetrate 11 inches in gel and expand.

If you don't have one of those guns, don't use the Buffalo Bore +P stuff. Use one of the XTP bullet loadings from Hornady, Fiocchi, or HPR. They don't expand much, but they do expand and they will penetrate about 14 inches.

The other .380 ammo that's JHP doesn't penetrate more than 8 inches. The .380 just doesn't have the weight or velocity to go deep in tissue and that's why a lot have resorted to using FMJ or this new ammo Lehigh Defense makes that has flutes cut into the bullet to create a larger wound channel by using the energy of the rotation of the bullet.

Bill4282
March 24, 2016, 03:53 AM
Other than Denis' post, is there any definitive reports on the effect .380 has on a human body other than gelatin tests?

fireman 9731
March 24, 2016, 09:17 AM
That cat story is about as useful as my tasteless comment.

I agree that it doesn't compare to the human body, but when you have full faith in a product and are willing to bet your life on it, then it fails you, it makes you reconsider the other options. It was an FTX bullet that failed on the cat, I would be willing to try the XTP bullet though.

And like I said, I know one story about shooting a cat doesn't amount to a hill of beans. Cats are hard to kill sometimes. But when you carry that bullet to save your life, and it didn't work, you go buy different ammo to carry.

Tirod
March 24, 2016, 09:43 AM
Exactly the point, most .380 tests are gelatin and denim covered gelatin.

The FBI protocol has quite a few barrier tests: http://greent.com/40Page/general/fbitest.htm

My concern is that at close range the bullet needs to penetrate bone in an effort to gain a high level of probability to stop. Shooting muscle mass or intestinal organs won't be sufficient even with 9mm.

Yeah, the best .380 is a 9mm, but the point is the same when 9mm was first introduced - the ammo then available was considered deficient compared to .45 and even .38 in some cases. That's why there has been so much more testing. I find it interesting that some internet bloggers got the testing bug precisely because there was so much He Said She Said about what rounds worked or didn't. Yet nobody does barrier testing, which seems to be the priority due to the nature of the targets I've mentioned.

If a .380 round can pass thru sheet metal or glass with increased lack of deflection and retain both expansion and penetration to a reasonable degree, it's going to be a hot seller. Again, I see little value in hitting muscle mass or the lower torso - the .380 isn't a higher speed rated 9mm and it doesn't carry the foot pounds of force that increases the percentage of stopping.

It's the same as in edged weapons fighting - if someone was wielding the .45 caliber broadsword or 9mm gladius you could expect to get stops with major body hits. With the .380 stiletto those same blows are a waste of effort and won't stop. You need to be hitting specific targets with a much higher likelihood of stopping - and that is exactly the recommended technique for use of the stiletto in combat.

If we accept using the .380 as a defensive round then we also have to accept that it's not a 9mm full power round and that the targets selected must be carefully chosen for a priority hit with higher likelihood of stopping. Because of the nature of that target we need more barrier testing - and that is what is lacking in the literature or on the internet. Everybody tests it like it was a bigger caliber, all the while telling us it's deficient when used the same as a bigger caliber. Right, it IS, same as a stiletto is deficient compared to a broadsword in a general melee.

I'm not concerned much whether a round can go 12 or 18 inches, I want to know what it does going thru an inch of bone and then whether it expands and how far. The .380 isn't a belly gun, but it is up close and personal - otherwise I'd carry the AR pistol and the whole point would be moot.

Kinda hard to stuff one of those in a pants pocket. A 1911 won't for me either. My smallest 9mm is still to big for that kind of carry. So if I choose to carry the .380, then I will choose to carry ammo specific to that application, and that ammo has to penetrate a barrier to do it's job. Accepting the FBI tests on gelatin alone is missing the mark - literally.

mavracer
March 24, 2016, 09:44 AM
Why would over 18" of penetration be preferred?

I never claimed OVER 18" was preferred, however exit wounds leak too.


Do you have a link from the FBI where they say the goal is to obtain 18" of penetration?

From HWFE (http://gundata.org/images/fbi-handgun-ballistics.pdf)
where the 12 and 18" figures originated


"While penetration up to 18 inches is preferable, a handgun bullet MUST reliably penetrate 12 inches of soft body tissue at a minimum, regardless of whether it expands or not."


Ever wondered why the FBI chose the rounds it did, when they don't penetrate 18"?

The Winchester ranger bonded 180gr 40 S&W ammo that the FBI uses averages ~17" in denim and will quite often exceed 18" in the glass and sheet metal tests:uhoh:

Pietro Beretta
March 24, 2016, 11:03 AM
What tests are you referencing that show the Critical Defense has best over-all penetration?

It didn't do so well in bare gel for the ShootingtheBull410 tests, 8" inches of penetration:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5TJSUADOwA&list=PLgNSGOEQko_MjOCGyqlMTiM2njdQQRbdg&index=11

Through denim they were rather inconsistant.

I also think you are average down I thought 9" is the average for that vid.

I found it to be more consistent in my own testing, and penetrated deeper than the video your sighting but I will let other more reputable sources speak for themselves. Carry what you want and what makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Lucky Gunner: Handgun Self-Defense Ammunition Ballistics Test (http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/)


TNOutdoors9 Youtube Channel: Very meticulous in his ammo tests. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H9M6cZGd18)

I have three more videos but like I said, carry what makes you feel good.

Pietro Beretta
March 24, 2016, 11:07 AM
I agree that it doesn't compare to the human body, but when you have full faith in a product and are willing to bet your life on it, then it fails you, it makes you reconsider the other options. It was an FTX bullet that failed on the cat, I would be willing to try the XTP bullet though.

And like I said, I know one story about shooting a cat doesn't amount to a hill of beans. Cats are hard to kill sometimes. But when you carry that bullet to save your life, and it didn't work, you go buy different ammo to carry.


Go grab another cat to try those gold dots on...:scrutiny:

Perhaps you should learn how to strike your target in the brain instead of the eye. If the cat was walking three days later, you missed, don't blame the ammo. :evil:

DPris
March 24, 2016, 02:43 PM
I've personally seen a guy still alive (but quite unhappy) after a suicide attempt where-in he blew a load of birdshot through his chest with his shotgun touching his torso.

I've taken three shots with a .357 Mag to put down a St. Bernard, with the first being a head shot.
I've taken three shots to kill a Dalmatian, same gun.

I've taken three shots to kill a severely injured cat that had been run over, same gun.

I've guarded the widow's home of a neighboring city's officer who was killed on a call by a .38 to the heart & ran a surprising distance chasing his killer on foot before realizing he was dead.

I've seen un-aired news footage of the ending of a hostage situation in my city that originated in a gun-free church 40 miles away, where ex-boyfriend rolled the car-jacked vehicle he was trying to outrun officers from several jurisdictions in, and used the girl as a shield to try to negotiate his way out of the resulting multi-agency standoff.

When he decided that wasn't going to work, he shot her center-of-chest at two feet with a .380.
She walked around the other side of the vehicle & sat down on the ground. As soon as she was safely out of the way, the guy was immediately very dead from larger-than-.380 projectiles.

I have been on-scene and in ERs to see survivors from several caliber gunshots.
I have been on-scene when a single 147-grain 9mm bullet in the heart permanently dropped a guy swinging a hatchet at a fellow officer.

For days I & other officers guarded a fellow cop's family while he was recovering from multiple hits from an SKS rifle.

I have talked to a DEA agent shot through the chest with a .223 on a raid.

I have attended an Ayoob class where in simulated exercises he pointed out how difficult it is to achieve a head shot from even 10 feet away in a dynamic encounter.

I won't go on.

I could not care less about the difference in penetration between 2 or 4 inches.
I will not trust .380 FMJ.
I understand the .380 with ANY bullet is a marginal defensive proposition.
I do not count on "precise placement" to carry the day.

I realize that ANY bullet from ANY practical-to-carry handgun CAN be survivable.
I know that one determined human can still carry on with threatening/lethal activities for a surprising amount of time and distance after being shot, while another shot in the same place with the same bullet may drop instantly.

In my occasionally-carried .380, I understand it's marginal & I understand it may or may not save my butt.
I figure, with a decently expanding bullet, maximum tissue disruption, and hopefully effective placement, I'm better off with it as a defensive shield than with bare hands, should I ever be forced to use it.

All the while being fully cognizant of the fact that there's no magic in the caliber, and no magic bullet for it.
Denis

Edited to add: I have also conducted training involving officers in simulated "real life" scenarios where the use of deadly force was required. The reactions were very illuminating, including one where an officer on a "hot call" conducting a room search with gun already in hand was so startled by an attacker bursting out of an unexpected hiding place that he reacted by back-pedaling to create distance, while also reflexively throwing his arms upward and his gun literally back over his shoulder onto the floor.

Also been peripherally involved on-scene where other officers fired at suspects & either made minor hits, or missed completely under stress in very fast-moving live encounters.
And at surprisingly close distances.

Point being, while we may THINK we know what we'll do if the balloon goes up, until it does, we don't know for certain.
And it's foolish to bank on that "Placement Is Everything" BS.
You can't count on either your ability to make that placement, or that placement to instantly stop the threat.

C0untZer0
March 24, 2016, 06:29 PM
The Hornady Critical D bullets have limited expansion. A Gold Dot or an HST will mushroom out, so when the bullet is pushed to greater velocities, the bullet mushrooms out to greater diameters. You can see this by comparing the regular pressure HST to the +P or look at the regular pressure 147gr Gold Dot compared to the Underwood 147gr +P+ Gold Dot. For the Hornady FTX however, at some point, the petals on the Critical D bullets fold back against the core and the bullet ceases to expand in diameter. So the faster you push FTX Critical D bullets, the more they penetrate. The 90gr Hornady Critical Defense FTX may be one of those rounds that does better in longer-barreled guns like the Browning Black Label 380.

wild cat mccane
March 25, 2016, 08:00 AM
I carry the Gold Dot based on extensive testing by someone called...OldGrampa?...years ago at the KTRange page (dedicated to Kel Tec). He got deeper numbers than shootingthebull.

I like shootingthebulls testing, but the five shot sample screams at my stats background :)

However, I also plunked down $40 bucks recently to pick up the Underwood Lehigh Extreme Penetrator +P after seeing this review...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PDQcE-1T40

kokapelli
March 25, 2016, 09:30 AM
I carry the Gold Dot based on extensive testing by someone called...OldGrampa?...years ago at the KTRange page (dedicated to Kel Tec). He got deeper numbers than shootingthebull.

I like shootingthebulls testing, but the five shot sample screams at my stats background :)

However, I also plunked down $40 bucks recently to pick up the Underwood Lehigh Extreme Penetrator +P after seeing this review...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PDQcE-1T40
If I remember correctly "OldGrampa" did his testing with water filled milk jugs or maybe it was water soaked paper, neither of which simulates human flesh and muscle as well as balistic gelatin.

mavracer
March 25, 2016, 09:50 AM
You can't count on either your ability to make that placement, or that placement to instantly stop the threat.
And yet those are the only two things you actually have some control over, where the bullet goes and how much damage it's capable of doing when it gets there.

fireman 9731
March 25, 2016, 09:51 AM
Perhaps you should learn how to strike your target in the brain instead of the eye

I shot the cat in the back of the head from about 6 feet away. I think the pointy FTX bullet was easily deflected by the skull, traveled around the outside of the skull, then caught the eye on the way out the front.

I agree with everyone that this one particular case doesn't mean much, but the fact is, it happened, and stranger things will still happen again.

I finished it off cleanly with a 22. Does that mean that a 22 is better than a 380? I don't think so.

I just have a little less faith in the FTX bullet now.

DPris
March 25, 2016, 12:15 PM
Mav,
You do the best you can with what you've got.
You try for a decent bullet & you try to hit your threat.

My primary points were marginal caliber, no magic .380 bullet, no FMJ, over concern with inches of penetration, extreme uncertainty & variability in actual use, and can't count on "Placement" for worship as The High Alter Of Absolute Success.

Those are all based on years of personal exposure to the aftermaths of shootings on the job, are all my own opinions, and others are free to form their own. :)

The "Placement" mantra I see way too often simply isn't realistic.
The head as a unit is not all that easy to hit when everybody's moving, even then a hit to the lower half or a grazing strike may not instantly stop aggression, and the section that will is relatively small.

Heard of WWII Finnish sniper Simo Hayha?
Shot in face by a Soviet rifleman in 1940, lost a good section of his left cheek.
Survived.

Remember Moshe Dayan?
His eye patch was the result of a sniper bullet through the binoculars he was using one day in 1941.
Obviously survived.

The actual triangle that IS a guaranteed instant shutdown is pretty much at the top of the nose between the eyes, and relatively small.

Torso-wise, a CNS/spinal strike can stop the action right now, but again that's a tall & very narrow target.

I see way too much emphasis given to "Placement", and far too many people putting far too much misguided faith in it.

"Don't matter what I shoot, placement'll save me!"
BS.
You can't count on YOU being able to pull it off, you can't count on PLACEMENT being able to pull it off.

FMJ penetration, with the least tissue disruption of any bullet type, is another false god to worship.
In an already marginal caliber, using the least effective bullet in terms of tissue disruption that you possibly can strikes me as counterproductive, to say the very least.

Placement & FMJ penetration are two very commonly misunderstood & misguided theories that way too many people base too much confidence on.

Having said all that, not interested in arguing or defending, I've got my experiences, others have their sources to use in selection & use with a .380. :)
Denis

Warp
March 25, 2016, 12:22 PM
Placement & FMJ penetration are two very commonly misunderstood & misguided theories that way too many people base too much confidence on.

Having said all that, not interested in arguing or defending, I've got my experiences, others have their sources to use in selection & use with a .380. :)
Denis
Denis

Still the two best things to have once it comes down to firing the gun you have in defense.

DPris
March 25, 2016, 12:43 PM
See above. :)
Denis

C0untZer0
March 25, 2016, 01:27 PM
I also think you are average down I thought 9" is the average for that vid.

I did round down a little bit, the actual average was 8.35" although he verbally characterized the results thus: "We got basically 8 inches of penetration."

The Critical Defense only did slightly better through denim:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAyUW7s4EJk&index=23&list=PLgNSGOEQko_MjOCGyqlMTiM2njdQQRbdg

Also, I think the average in this test isn't a good indicator of the bullet performance because one bullet failed to expand, traveling 17 inches. If you don't count that round, Critical Defense averaged 11.41 of penetration.

10.13"
11..63"
11.88"
12.00"

Again, when you discount the bullet that failed to expand at all, only 1 bullet out of 4 even made it to 12.00"

Even TNOUTDOORS9's single shot test only penetrated to 11.25"

Also, the TNOUTDOOR9 and Lucky Gunner tests were done with longer-barreled guns than the OP possesses. The OP stated that he has a 380 semi-auto similar to the Taurus TCP.

I think .380 ACP bullet performance is very sensitive to changes in velocity, it seems to be a cartridge that is, by its nature, just on the cusp of failure. The bullets either go too slow and fail to expand, zooming past 18" or they open up and stop short of 12" And I think that there are some cartridges that don't perform well when shot out of 3.5"+ barrels while others do, and some cartridges that don't do well when shot out of 3" barrels.

I think with the .380 ACP it is super important to find test of the cartridges out of a barrel length identical to your own carry gun.

wild cat mccane
March 25, 2016, 04:54 PM
Thanks kokapelli, I think you are right. He tested using wet packs.

I think it isn't terrible to consider these tests too. I recall Gold Dot did better than Critical Defense by a good bit.

kokapelli
March 25, 2016, 05:03 PM
Thanks kokapelli, I think you are right. He tested using wet packs.

I think it isn't terrible to consider these tests too. I recall Gold Dot did better than Critical Defense by a good bit.
Yes wetpack sounds right. The problem is there is no way to calibrate wet packs plus paper does not come even close to simulating human tissue.

I did some wetpack testing twenty years ago and had different results from every pack I used, so I decided that wet packs were useless in predicting performance in tissue.

DPris
March 25, 2016, 08:33 PM
They were popular for a while, but eventually shown to be fairly unrealistic.
Denis

strambo
March 25, 2016, 08:56 PM
Mav,
You do the best you can with what you've got.
You try for a decent bullet & you try to hit your threat.

My primary points were marginal caliber, no magic .380 bullet, no FMJ, over concern with inches of penetration, extreme uncertainty & variability in actual use, and can't count on "Placement" for worship as The High Alter Of Absolute Success.

Those are all based on years of personal exposure to the aftermaths of shootings on the job, are all my own opinions, and others are free to form their own. :)

The "Placement" mantra I see way too often simply isn't realistic.
The head as a unit is not all that easy to hit when everybody's moving, even then a hit to the lower half or a grazing strike may not instantly stop aggression, and the section that will is relatively small.

Heard of WWII Finnish sniper Simo Hayha?
Shot in face by a Soviet rifleman in 1940, lost a good section of his left cheek.
Survived.

Remember Moshe Dayan?
His eye patch was the result of a sniper bullet through the binoculars he was using one day in 1941.
Obviously survived.

The actual triangle that IS a guaranteed instant shutdown is pretty much at the top of the nose between the eyes, and relatively small.

Torso-wise, a CNS/spinal strike can stop the action right now, but again that's a tall & very narrow target.

I see way too much emphasis given to "Placement", and far too many people putting far too much misguided faith in it.

"Don't matter what I shoot, placement'll save me!"
BS.
You can't count on YOU being able to pull it off, you can't count on PLACEMENT being able to pull it off.

FMJ penetration, with the least tissue disruption of any bullet type, is another false god to worship.
In an already marginal caliber, using the least effective bullet in terms of tissue disruption that you possibly can strikes me as counterproductive, to say the very least.

Placement & FMJ penetration are two very commonly misunderstood & misguided theories that way too many people base too much confidence on.

Having said all that, not interested in arguing or defending, I've got my experiences, others have their sources to use in selection & use with a .380. :)
Denis

Good points. Placement is king, it is the only thing that will reliably stop someone (shut down CNS or cause them to bleed out/lack of O2 to brain...which can take awhile). However, most people far over-estimate their ability to get good placement under life or death stress w/o the realistic training and experience to back it up. They think because they can shoot tiny groups at paper targets that the high miss rates in gunfights by police officers won't apply to them because they are better "trained."

Police certainly need more funds spent on training (and the right training), but the average civilian doesn't even have access at all to the most realistic forms of training (FOF-Simunition etc.) so they are way over-estimating their abilities.

steve454
March 28, 2016, 05:47 PM
I ended up buying the Federal Premium Hydra-Shok® 90-grain JHP since that was the only bullet that Academy had that was on the list of top recommended bullets.

I was very interested in the Lehigh Defense Extreme but it looks like that and any other bullets would have to be ordered by mail and that gets expensive.
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/07/daniel-zimmerman/shootingthebull410-380-ammo-quest-sequel-lehigh-defense-xtreme-penetrator/

kokapelli
March 28, 2016, 07:18 PM
I ended up buying the Federal Premium Hydra-Shok® 90-grain JHP since that was the only bullet that Academy had that was on the list of top recommended bullets.

I was very interested in the Lehigh Defense Extreme but it looks like that and any other bullets would have to be ordered by mail and that gets expensive.
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/07/daniel-zimmerman/shootingthebull410-380-ammo-quest-sequel-lehigh-defense-xtreme-penetrator/
Good choice if it feeds well in your pistol.

JB357MAG
March 28, 2016, 08:42 PM
After rewatching the Shoot The Bull tests
I have changed my mind and ordered a
box of Fiochi extrema xtp rounds and will
carry in my TCP 738.

Jimmy

dwight.hopkins.96
March 28, 2016, 08:59 PM
For every "test" that says .380 doesn't penetrate enough or expand enough I'll show you two that do. They're all opinions, some based on more facts than others, but opinions none-the-less. There are .380 rounds that generate almost as much energy as standard 9mm but the fact that most .380's have extremely short barrels lessens that effect to a certain extent. But technology is brining the .380 into the realm of reality for carry purposes if you place your shots well and don't try to take down someone with several layers of clothing.

Warp
March 28, 2016, 10:45 PM
For every "test" that says .380 doesn't penetrate enough or expand enough I'll show you two that do. They're all opinions, some based on more facts than others, but opinions none-the-less. There are .380 rounds that generate almost as much energy as standard 9mm but the fact that most .380's have extremely short barrels lessens that effect to a certain extent. But technology is brining the .380 into the realm of reality for carry purposes if you place your shots well and don't try to take down someone with several layers of clothing.

Well, that stipulation about layers of clothing...not something you get to select about your attacker(s)...just as an example for why people are down on .380 for defense

C0untZer0
March 29, 2016, 08:44 PM
That's why you pull your gun on em and shout "Take off your clothes dammit !"

dwight.hopkins.96
March 30, 2016, 10:57 PM
Well, that stipulation about layers of clothing...not something you get to select about your attacker(s)...just as an example for why people are down on .380 for defense



Hence, not a good round for a novice who hasn't be exposed to such things as shot placement and alternative actions. Also a good reason I don't like .380. If I have to carry a subcompact auto I carry a 9mm Sig P938. It's all about training with what you intend to carry and carry what you train with. Learn the guns, learn their limitations and adjust your carry or your planning accordingly.

Warp
March 31, 2016, 12:18 AM
Hence, not a good round for a novice who hasn't be exposed to such things as shot placement and alternative actions. Also a good reason I don't like .380. If I have to carry a subcompact auto I carry a 9mm Sig P938. It's all about training with what you intend to carry and carry what you train with. Learn the guns, learn their limitations and adjust your carry or your planning accordingly.

I don't think many people are counting on making headshots because they realize their under size carry gun won't penetrate enough through the heavy clothing. I also don't think being something above novice as a private citizen who chooses to carry gun counts for that much when it comes to this.

Zendude
March 31, 2016, 10:20 AM
Anything is possible, but at self defense distance out in public, say inside 10 yards, I think a 380 will have enough power to make a hole in a bad guy. Home and property defense might entail longer distance or shooting through a wall though.

grampajack
March 31, 2016, 11:06 AM
The more I learn about ballistics and the more I read after action reports, I'm starting to come to the conclusion that the 12'' consensus isn't enough minimum penetration. Long story short, I'm more and more convinced that the people who carry FMJ in their .380s are more right than wrong. If I were to start carrying a .380, then I would likely use FMJ. I'm also very intrigued by Lehigh Defense's Xtreme Penetrator .380 bullets. The price isn't bad for premium self defense ammo, and it's hard to argue with the results.

mavracer
March 31, 2016, 11:29 AM
Well, that stipulation about layers of clothing...not something you get to select about your attacker(s)...just as an example for why people are down on .380 for defense

It's a pretty safe bet that if I'm wearing gym shorts, flip flops and a cut off t shirt (which is the only time I carry the LCP) I'm not gonna run into someone wearing a parka ��

Pipe Smoker
March 31, 2016, 02:25 PM
Good point!

Bill4282
April 24, 2016, 10:20 PM
The Army used to test with animal carcasses. Has anyone actually tested the .380 on a pig? Not concerned with unrealistic head shots at a moving target. As for penetration, center mass until perp drops or empty mag- reload if necessary.

tactikel
April 24, 2016, 10:39 PM
I shot .380 for years, if the Ruger ARX pans out it will be a real game changer. The proprietary shape of the bullet causes hydrostatic shock in soft tissue, then tumbles to 14-16". A miss hitting a solid object results in fragmentation. Perfect for SD for a .380.

Balrog
April 25, 2016, 12:12 AM
I like Fiocchi Extrema. It is loaded with the excellent Hornady XTP. Of the tests I have seen, it gives the best combination of penetration and expansion. If I did not have it available, I would just carry hardball.

Dr.Rob
April 25, 2016, 01:49 AM
Federal Hydra Shocks remain my favorite.

Artofgolf
April 26, 2016, 11:58 AM
I recently tried the +P Underwood self-defense ammo with the Lehigh solid bullets.
Spicy & worked very well in my Glock 42. ;)

https://www.underwoodammo.com/380-acp-p-90-grain-xtreme-penetrator/

They also offer the popular Hornady XTP in their line-up.

ROCK6
April 26, 2016, 06:55 PM
I recently tried the +P Underwood self-defense ammo with the Lehigh solid bullets.
Spicy & worked very well in my Glock 42.

https://www.underwoodammo.com/380-ac...me-penetrator/


So far, I've been very impressed with Underwood's production with the Lehigh solids. I've only done some informal testing with their 9mm offerings, but waiting on an order for .380. The penetration is quite good and even though I'm not using ballistic gel, these bullet designs using "hydraulic" pressure are still very impressive on gallon jugs of water:D

I have some of the Ruger ARX ammo as well. These designs are really intriguing. Despite their "light weight" (actually typical, just not heavy), the high velocities, deep penetration and very large permanent wound cavity may really give conventional HP's some serious competition.

ROCK6

If you enjoyed reading about "Recommended .380 bullet for defence?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!