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.380 vs compact 9mm?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Dollar An Hour, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. Dollar An Hour

    Dollar An Hour Well-Known Member

    Considering a Bersa or CZ-83 in .380 but with the cost of ammo and the compact 9mm's available, is there any reason to get a .380 instead of a compact 9mm?

    I know a ton of guys here have .380's. What is it about them you like? Doesn't a 9mm do everything better, for less $$?
  2. Texfire

    Texfire Well-Known Member

    Well in my opinion, and it might be the minority one, the difference between .380, 9mm Makarov and 9mm Parabellum is minimal in comparison to pistol caliber vs. rifle caliber. More important for self defense with a pistol caliber is bullet construction.

    There are lots of choices, but any form of deforming defensive round will be more effective than ball ammuntion. This, with some exceptions, means some type of hollow point round vs. a full metal jacketed round.

    This is grossly simplified, but the hollow point round will deform more than a ball round, and the increased surface area will expend more of it's energy in the target before exiting, if at all. Unfortunately the hollow point that makes that round so effectively expand can cause it to misfeed when being chambered in some firearms.

    So a primary consideration for me in a defensive firearm is how well it feeds defensive rounds, more so than what the actual caliber is.

    I have a CZ-82 which is identical to the CZ-83, except chambered in 9x18 Makarov, and my pistol feeds fairly deep hollowpoints without a problem. I also have a Browning BDM in 9mm Parabellum, and it handles hollowpoints without a problem. So I can suggest these two specific pistols, and can fairly assume that another two identical pistols might do as well, but you'll have to ask someone else about other pistols.
  3. Lonestar.45

    Lonestar.45 Well-Known Member

    The only reason I like my .380 is because it's in a Kel-Tec 3AT--the size of the platform makes all the difference. There's not a 9mm out there that light and small. I wouldn't buy a .380 in anything else most likely.

    I like Walther PPK's, but always balk on buying one because it's a .380 in a 9mm sized gun. Bersas are fine guns by many accounts, but in something that size you can get 9mm. Guess it depends on what you want to use it for. If it's for defense or concealed carry, get the 9mm. If it's mostly for plinking and range work, then the .380 may be more of a joy to shoot for you.
  4. VG

    VG Well-Known Member

    .380's can be lighter and smaller as many of them are blowback designs.

    If your hands are at all big, though, you may find that a small 9 fits you better.
  5. Mulliga

    Mulliga Well-Known Member

    A .380 can always be lighter than a 9mm, because there isn't as much recoil, and, as people mentioned above, you can use blowback. I'm guessing a sub 10 oz. gun like the P3AT would be fairly unpleasant to shoot in 9mm (the P3AT uses locked-breech, so it's apples-to-apples as a 9mm version would be locked-breech too). Performance wise, 9mm blows .380 out of the water (something like 50% more energy which is reflected by 9mm's superior penetration/expansion from almost every load).
  6. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member

    If the size and weight of the Bersa and CZ are good for you, you can get many pistols in 9mm that are similar in size and weight.

    The advantages of 9mm over the .380 are:
    greater power,
    less expense,
    and greater variety of ammo.
  7. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Well-Known Member

    I carry both, P3AT and a P11. The one I pick depends soley on how I am dressed. As stated above, the only reason I have a .380 is becuase of the P3AT. It is just too concealable.

    Now with winter coming on, more clothing means I can conceal my P11 easy enough and with the bad guys wearing more clothing, the 9mm is more likley to penetrate heavy coats and still get to vitals better than the .380. Likewise, in the summer, the .380 will still punch through a light shirt and make it deep enough to do what is required.

    I know this doesn't help with your decision, but for less than $500.00 you can have both 9mm and .380.
  8. Dollar An Hour

    Dollar An Hour Well-Known Member

    Ammo cost difference?

    What's typical ammo pricing for .380 vs 9mm? Does the .380 cost 50% more to shoot? Or is it only a dollar or two per box of 50?
  9. Berg01

    Berg01 Well-Known Member

    IMHO, Nein, Nyet, Nada, NO! This "perceived recoil" business gets blown way out of proportion. Anyone who tells you to go .380 over 9mm, because of less recoil, needs to get out to the range & practice with the 9mm. In other words, shoot the damn thing until you get accustomed to the way it shoots, then the "perceived recoil" won't bother you anymore.
  10. outofbattery

    outofbattery Well-Known Member

    My alloy 232 has more felt recoil than my 239; less mass and blowback operation tend to make this so.Even so,it isn't unpleasant or difficult to shoot but OTOH the 9mm is scarcely bigger and holds one more,more powerful round.
  11. Dollar An Hour

    Dollar An Hour Well-Known Member


    I guess I'm thinking the CZ-83 is a fine gun, but for a little more money the 9mm RAMI is cheaper to shoot, conceals better and hits harder. Sortof a no-brainer.

    What other compact 9mm's are worth a look?
  12. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Well-Known Member

    If you want 9mm, try out a Kel-Tec P11. I really like mine.
  13. obiwan1

    obiwan1 Well-Known Member

    Kel Tec P11 or any flavor Kahr. :D
  14. jem375

    jem375 Well-Known Member

    I once had a AMT back-up 380 and was out in the woods and shot at an old piece of tin shed roofing and all it did was dent the tin and that was enough for me, got rid of that pistol in a hurry....
  15. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member

  16. Wilson 17&26

    Wilson 17&26 Well-Known Member

    P-3AT, 8oz & ¾" thick, under $250. Nuff said :)
  17. camper

    camper Well-Known Member

    Get a Kakr PM9.
  18. Lonestar.45

    Lonestar.45 Well-Known Member

    I've got the 3AT and the Kahr PM9, and I can tell you that the 3AT has more recoil and is harder to control than the PM9 any day. It's not the most pleasant pistol to put 100 or more rds through in a single sitting, lets put it that way. But, the trade off is that it is lighter and smaller than just about anything out there, and easier to carry.
  19. KnightHawk67

    KnightHawk67 Well-Known Member

  20. Dollar An Hour

    Dollar An Hour Well-Known Member


    Do the RAMIs have the same gritty out-of-the-box trigger usually found on the CZ-75s and P-01s?

    Is it a pretty accurate pistol out to 25 yds in your experience?

    Is it pretty snappy, or mild-shooting? Seems like a 9mm that small might be a bit snappy.

    No decocker, so either C&L carry, or you must drop the hammer (gently) on a live round for 1st shot DA, correct?

    What's a fair price, around $425 NIB?

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