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380acp penetration

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by jimbo555, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Gary A

    Gary A Well-Known Member

    What I am about to say is purely supposition but I believe it is a reasonable supposition. For many years .380 (and .32) was a very popular civilian self defense caliber and even police caliber in Europe and other overseas locations. During many or most of these years, hollowpoints were either non-existent or very rare and typically did not feed well in most semi autos. I believe .380 was popular in civilian settings because .380 fmj penetrated enough but not too much and if it over-penetrated, most of its energy was spent. 9mm fmj, on the other hand, clearly was over-penetrative and still carried lethal energy after doing so which made it suitable for military use but not in a crowded civilian setting. I believe the same physics apply today and agree with those posters who recommend a truncated cone fmj in .380. I also agree that most, if not all .380 hollowpoint ammo and pistol combinations are unable to provide both adequate expansion and penetration. .380 can provide one or the other but seldom both. JMO.
  2. exavid

    exavid Well-Known Member

    To me the higher price of ammo such as Hornady Critical Defense isn't worth considering since I use that ammo for carry and my handloads for range practice. One thing I like about them is that they are cannelured so are much likely to have bullet setback due to recoil or feed ramp while in the magazine. I've seen some smiley's on bullets in my LCP, not deep ones but definitely some contact with the bottom end of the feed ramp while in the magazine. It's never caused a problem though set back is a possible cause of overpressure. With the cannelured rounds you can tell at a glance if the bullet(s) in the magazine have been set back. I think a lot of set back in .380s is due to the thin shell mouth not providing a strong enough crimp, especially on used brass in hand loading.
    Here's an interesting posting on the matter. It's written concerning the Keltec but the LCP is very similar and does show smileys in some guns.

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    I carry Corbon DPX in all of my 380's. Majority of BG's run at sight of pistol . If shooting starts their really trying to get out. Their looking for easy target. Not a firefight.
    Look at all the video's of robberys. Where clerk is armed Their trying to get out the door . Look at the 2 in Fl The old man with the 380 in the computer cafe. He started firing BG falling over each other trying to get out door. Security guard drawing and firing again the BG's trying to get back out.
    I keep my DPX Demin doesn't bother it and it expans . If goes 10 inches Iam happy Also I never seen any BG in robbery films doing that 2 handed type hold in the picture .
  4. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Well-Known Member

    ^ BG#1 in Florida Internet casino had a non-functioning pistol, BG#2 had a baseball bat, so yes they were making tracks - but this is anecdotal.

    You can't base your bullet selection on some statistical data of the behavior of felons.

    For these 380s that are penetrating 16"+

    I wonder how many of those bullets have the energy to actualy break out of the back of an assailant's body. I kind of think that regardless of what they're doing in gel, in actual shootings I think they probably recover those bullets embedded in the back ribcage - or maybe just under the skin on the back. Just a hunch...
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  5. kokapelli

    kokapelli Well-Known Member

    Awhile back a guy committed suicide in my area while in his car and he shot himself through his heart with a 380.

    The bullet went clean through his body, through the back of his seat and through the back of the rear seat of his car and was recovered in the trunk.

    The article included the brand of pistol, but I don't remember what it was, but the type of ammo was not mentioned.
  6. Cokeman

    Cokeman Well-Known Member

    What brand?
  7. Odd Job

    Odd Job Well-Known Member

    I've tried the P3AT and the 238 and if it was up to me I would pick the 238 and use FMJ.
    Not sure whether I would use the truncated cone or the standard round nose, that would depend on reliability testing (I would favour the truncated cone if it is reliable as folks indicate in this thread).

    Regarding penetration, the little .380 does just fine in FMJ. One of my research cases involved a woman who was shot with her arms raised up in a defensive posture by a bad guy. The bullet hit her hand at the base of the fifth proximal phalanx in the web and caused multiple fractures:

    1) Fifth proximal phalanx
    2) Fifth metacarpal
    3) Fourth metacarpal
    4) Hamate
    5) Distal ulna
    6) Radial head

    The bullet ended up posterior to the distal humerus. Here is one possible trajectory (other arm shown down for clarity):

  8. kokapelli

    kokapelli Well-Known Member

    Brand or bullet type wasn't mentioned in the report.
  9. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    As always an excellent post, Odd Job.

    Your preference for the FMJTCs is well taken. Truncated cone FMJs offer slightly greater penetration than round nose FMJs when weight and velocity are held constant.

    For example, according to the Schwartz bullet penetration model, a .380 95 gr FMJTC @ 900fps will produce 19.41 inches of soft tissue penetration whereas a .380 95 gr FMJRN @ 900fps will produce 18.68 inches of soft tissue penetration- the difference being about 0.73 inches or 3.9% more penetration.

    The meplat on the FMJTC will also tend to cause the FMJTC to track straighter than the FMJRN which may yaw during penetration reducing penetration depth further.
  10. 3twelves

    3twelves member

    Being that there are plenty of small 9mm pistols out the same size as a .380 and cost the same (ammo/gun), .380 pistols and ammo are obsolete.
  11. Gary A

    Gary A Well-Known Member

    I think that's absurd. It's like saying that because there are plenty of small .357 revolvers out there the same size as a .38 and cost the same, .38 Special revolvers and ammo are obsolete.
  12. 3twelves

    3twelves member

    Can you shoot .380 in a 9mm? No
    .38 spl costs less and can be shot out of a .357 so that makes it useful.

    Would rather use a .38spl+p for SD than a .380
  13. kokapelli

    kokapelli Well-Known Member

    My son who had a P238 purchased a P938 a few weeks ago also and they are almost identical accept the 938 is slightly larger.

    After shooting the P938 I can tell you there is a very significant difference in recoil and it is enough for me to to not want to upgrade from my P238 to the 9mm P938.

    I'm not sure what you mean about 380 ammo being obsolete?
  14. 3twelves

    3twelves member

    I would rather have a little more recoil than an inferior cartridge.
  15. kokapelli

    kokapelli Well-Known Member

    And I would rather have a gun I can shoot better. To each his own.
  16. WYO

    WYO Well-Known Member

    I ditched my P238 as soon as I declared my P938 reliable. They both shoot great, although follow-up shots are slightly slower with the P938. But, an extra 100 fps with a hollow point bullet weighing 29 grains more is worth the trade off in split times to me.
  17. Gary A

    Gary A Well-Known Member

    That's a good point, 3twelves, but I still believe it is all about different options for different people and needs and small 9mm pistols do not obsolete small .380 pistols IMO. It's all about options.
  18. Cokeman

    Cokeman Well-Known Member

    Pistol. You said the pistol type was mentioned.
  19. Cokeman

    Cokeman Well-Known Member

    Tell me about the plenty of 9mm pistols that are the same size as my P380. I can think of one that comes close and I can't cough up the $1000+ for it.
  20. 3twelves

    3twelves member

    The 4 in the middle, little bigger.


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