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380 Mousegun

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by earlthegoat2, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    SE GA
    I am quite concerned. There seems to be an epidemic of pocket 380s. Is it the perfect caliber and gun? Why is there so much demand for these guns? Is it the price, or the size, or the feel? At my local gunshop they cant keep these in stock. Just like everywhere probably. They dont have to be pocket guns either. If it says 380 its as good as gone yesterday. Even a 500 dollar IMI Micro Desert Eagle. Why do we feel we have to abide by the minimum acceptable standards. If you ask someone why they carry it they say because its so small and can go in a pocket. Many have said the 380 is not at acceptable power levels for self defense yet this does not seem to be affecting anyone. Its either just barely not enough or just barely enough. I say its not enough by far.

    Its barely enough to meet the first rule of a gunfight. I see it this way: If you are so concerned about the size of your gun then you automatically have to be concerned about the power level because small size generally equals small power. So you are OK with starting out at a disadvantage. Then theres the group that just got their CCW/CPL and need a carry gun. This fills the bill immediately. No need to find a holster for that Glock or 1911 now. Just throw it in a pocket holster and into the pocket it goes.

    Im starting to get leery of the 380 crowd because if they like not putting thought into their method of carry or their carry piece are they putting effort into training with it. Those CCW/CPL classes are all well and good but you need to practice with your carry rig all the time. Unfortunately not many do. They get the license and get the gun and put it in their pocket and wait to be unprepared for a fight they cannot be prepared for without training.

    Obviously the 380 Mousegun will not be the preferred choice of person with the warrior mindset or any gunfighting practitioner. It is slow to deploy and slow to stop. Double taps may bring things into balance if very well placed. I guess the long and short of it is that carrying a gun is all about compromise. But I just feel that the 380 is a bad compromise.

    Naturally, just opinions.
  2. don95sml

    don95sml Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    Near Roanoke, VA
    As you probably already realize, you will get a wide range of responses from those who would settle for .22 caliber to those who want 10mm or even more powerful. I can't buy your analysis in its entirety. I shoot IDPA matches with a 9mm SIG P239, so I get a lot of practice with that weapon. I actually carry a .380 SIG P230 because it is more easily concealable, and I feel it is enough gun in the environment in which I live. The beauty of this arrangement is that these two pistols operate identically (DA/SA), have operating levers in the same location, etc. This means that while I only shoot my carry gun at the range a couple of times a year, my more frequent practice with the 9mm insures that I still will be proficient with the carry gun if the situation requires.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  3. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Elder

    Jul 30, 2006
    Johnson City, TN
    It is hardly the ideal gun or caliber, but its small size makes it easier to carry, helping ensure you will always have something. Also, a .380 has more power than the .25s or .32s that used to be the standard for these pocket guns.
  4. jocko

    jocko Participating Member

    Mar 8, 2008

    a rock
  5. sniper7369

    sniper7369 New Member

    Sep 2, 2008
    The People's Republik of New York
    The .380 may not be ideal, but it beats the heck out of using harsh language and a stick. I carry a KT P-3AT (and sometimes a P-32) as a BUG to my G30. I really think if you were to dump six of those 90gr CorBon rounds into a guys thoracic cavity that he would probably stop what he was doing that made you shoot him. :)
  6. gbelleh

    gbelleh Participating Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    The little .380s make great BUGs. Way better to have a .380 than nothing.

    Just because someone carries a .380 doesn't mean they don't practice or are ill-prepared.

    It's always good to have choices in the carry rotation.

    Some people collect pocket guns.

    The .380 might not be the most effective pistol round, but it's far from harmless.

    Thank goodness for the variety we have. If you don't like .380, you don't have to buy one.
  7. Marcus L.

    Marcus L. Member

    Sep 20, 2008
    If you can carry a 9mm or .38spl, you would be better off. Most 9mm loads will penetrate around 13" in bare gel while expanding to around .60-.65". A .38spl will usually penetrate to around 12" and expand to around .60". A decent .380acp round will penetrate to about 11" and expand to about .50". The best documented loads are the Hornady 90gr XTP, and the new Hornady 90gr FTX which have the best combination of penetration and expansion.:

    However, the .380acp is pretty weak with any load against windsheilds and other commonly encountered barriers.

    So, there is a terminal effects advantage to using 9mm or .38spl.

    I wouldn't want to use a .380acp for duty or serious defense work, but I like to use it for a small pistol to carry around when I don't expect to be running into trouble. It's lighter and easier to conceal than a 9mm or .38spl. Normally, I carry a P239 9mm off duty, but when I'm wearing light clothing and am more focused on comfort than anything else, I don't feel undergunned when my purpose is to escape danger.
  8. eldogg

    eldogg New Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    my mouse gun is a beretta tomcat 32 apc. i load it with a mixture of 71 grn. ball and 60 grn. xtp's. practice practice practice, and it will do the job.
  9. benderx4

    benderx4 Participating Member

    May 4, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Geesh, I probably shouldn't mention that my summer carry is a Seecamp .32. I figure it's better than a sharp stick in the eye.
  10. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Elder

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    We're not gunfighters and warriors. We're armed citizens, and many of us have weighed the odds of ever actually needing the gun against the incuberance of carrying something more potent.

    The .380 performs adequately so long as the target is not wearing really heavy clothing. That's why folks like me often do carry a .380 in the summer months, but switch to something larger when cooler weather sets in and heavier clothing allows the concealment of a larger weapon. As well, the likelihood of the threat wearing a heavy jacket or coat in winter moths justifies the more potent rounds.
  11. buttrap

    buttrap Participating Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Most people dont end up defending their life against windsheilds or barrers. They just want a small easy to hide gun just in case is all and it sure beats peeing on their shoes. I would think you whack a Star Fire JHP in a guys air intake at 4 feet he probably will not go oh my thats a .380 and laugh it off.
  12. moooose102

    moooose102 Senior Member

    Oct 21, 2007
    West Michigan
    for me, the 380 is all about the size. if it were larger, i would have a different gun. it is the MINIMUM caliber i will carry, to protect me and my loved ones. if they made a 45 that was this size, even if it hurt like he!! to shoot (which it would!), i would carry that instead. in the cooler months, i usually do carry my 45. but sometimes, i just cant conceal it well. that is where the 380 really shines. and, by the way, i load alternating fmj and hp pills. i want both penetration, and expansion. since you will probably only realisticly get one or the other with a 380, i do both, just double tap!
  13. usp9

    usp9 Senior Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Bowling Green, Va
    That is a false assumption.
  14. Funderb

    Funderb Senior Member

    Oct 23, 2007
    Jacksonville, Bold new city of the south.
    .380 is a pretty good round.

    I think you are stuck on .25acp there partner.
  15. kokapelli

    kokapelli Senior Member

    Jan 27, 2004
    Personally I don't like having a 9mm or larger pistol stuck down my pants here in Arizona where it gets to 110º + in the summer.

    I decided long ago that I was not going to have a gun determine how I dressed.

    If I know I will be in an unsafe area I'll have a PM9 in my pocket with something larger in my car, otherwise my P-3AT is my always gun.

    I have twice avoided a potential problem by simply pulling my P-3AT partially out of my pocket and the fact that I was armed seemed to be enough.
  16. schnarrgj

    schnarrgj New Member

    Jan 5, 2008
    Saint Peters, MO
    There were a whole lot of assumptions in your statement. What bothered me the most is your statement "Those CCW/CPL classes are all well and good but you need to practice with your carry rig all the time. Unfortunately not many do. They get the license and get the gun and put it in their pocket and wait to be unprepared for a fight they cannot be prepared for without training." I would wager that there are just as many if not more who do not train and cannot shoot the larger callibers. When I am at the range, I see more often than not, people with their pistols who cannot hit the target with any consitancy. Shot placement is the key. If you just buy a handgun, start carring it and not practice, you are kidding yourself that the caliber alone will win. Double tap? They would be lucky to hit a semi. Very often lesser calibers are often easier to learn to shoot , shoot well and get off a second shot quicker. I and my wife are comfortable carrying a 380. We practice and practice often.I am just as concerned with those who scoff at the lesser calibers and tout the larger to the untrained who may not have the skills to shoot them well and are unable to because of their inability to handle the muzzle blast and recoil.

    The 380 is capable and has shown it for many a year. Remember shot placement it the key.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  17. Jason M

    Jason M New Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Central Florida
    I usually like to read every post before I chime in, but I’ll just jump right in here.

    I can’t buy hardly anything you said. Firstly, .380 is not a “mouse gun”. The pompous .45ACP and .40S&W crowd would say something like that. A pistol and its ammunition have one job and that is to inflict mortal damage on a HUMAN target. It was the purpose of their design from the beginning. If the pistol is chambered in whatever caliber (meaning modern pistols, mostly), it will do the job. A caliber does not gain notoriety and popularity because it FAILS to do the job it was designed to do. It really is that simple.

    On conceal-ability, the .380 is a great compromise over even a 9mm. The .380 is advantageous in that is the most powerful cartridge you can chamber a pistol for and still have the pistol a simple, straight blow-back design without making the gun weigh 2 pounds (see Hi-Point firearms). This makes the gun thinner, shorter and easier to conceal because of those reasons.

    The con, however, fall to the poor ballistic coefficients of .380ACP bullets. The 90gr pills are rather short and thusly have poor flight characteristics. The longer the bullet is, the better penetrating power it can have (this is one reason why an arrow may go right through a black bear but FMJ .460 Ruger round may not, even though the .460 has WAY more energy than the arrow).

    Calling .380 a “mouse gun” is a statement from the uniformed. And I actually do not own a .380ACP pistol. I carry 9mm, .40 and .45 and I still advocate .380 as perfectly acceptable.
  18. huntsman

    huntsman Senior Member

    Apr 11, 2003
    ohio's northcoast
    I believe that is exactly who Mr. Browning designed the caliber for.
  19. skeptiq

    skeptiq New Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    I agree with most of what JasonM said, however, I was of the assumption that "mouse gun" refers to the size of the gun, not the caliber (please correct me if I am wrong).

    I do not have my carry permit (yet), so I have not purchased my carry piece yet. I am however researching them now so I know what I want when the time gets closer.

    My debate with a carry piece is between the 380 and 9mm. I am looking at: Bersa 380 and Kel Tec PF9. The major decision for me is going to be based more on if I want a different caliber or not. My current handgun is a 9mm, so I am debating from more of an ammunition standpoint. Would I rather have to buy one type of ammo for both my guns, or different ammo for HD than my carry gun. Right now I am leaning towards having just 9mm's, but it has nothing to do with 380 being "inferior" as some would put it.

    10.5 inches of penetration is plenty, just ask my wife (sorry couldn't help myself). But seriously, I am pretty sure there isn't one person saying a 380 is not good enough that would stand in front of one.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  20. SniperStraz

    SniperStraz Active Member

    Nov 13, 2006

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