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practical .380 use?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by redraider1109, May 20, 2010.

  1. redraider1109

    redraider1109 Member

    Hey guys, looking at a Bersa Thunder .380 for CHL. It seems like it is a great gun from a ton of different reviews. Although the .380 does seem to get relegated to a backup gun because of its lack of punch, a while back I came across a youtube video with some company talking about a new version of .380 which gave amazing penetration through ballistics gel. I could have sworn it was hornady TAP, but I have not been able to find it since.

    So basically I am looking for anyone, either police or otherwise, that have ever found themselves using a .380. Is it a viable round? Or is this more like a "make noise and run" type weapon?

    Thanks for all the help and experience!
  2. snooperman

    snooperman Well-Known Member

    I am not a fan of the 380 ...

    However, with the right kind of new ammo on the market today , it would be fine as a back-up gun. I would prefer at least a 38 special loaded with +P loads or a 9mm for primary carry gun. The 380 does not have enough cross-sectional density in the bullets to give enough energy in my opinion. You have a higher probability of stopping an attacker with the 38 special +P or a 9mm .The best ammo for the 380 can not match the best or hottest loads one can get for the 38 special or 9mm. Yes, there are so many nice 380's being made for conceal carry and it is a good thing that more people are carrying something, even if it is a 380.
  3. gofastman

    gofastman Well-Known Member

    You're probably thinking of Hornady Critical Defense.
    The .380 is certainly a man stopper, however its what I personally consider the bare minimum.
    I think flat nose FMJ or hardcast bullets are better suited to the .380, but thats just my opinion.
  4. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

    Stops Texas coyotes on contact.
  5. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    The problem with a Bersa .380 is that it's big and heavy for not enough power.

    For the same size and weight, if not LESS, you can get a 9mm, 40 or even .45

    So why wouldn't you?
  6. kludge

    kludge Well-Known Member

    I have a Bersa .380 Thunder. It is quite accurate and recoil is quite a bit lower than similar sized (Kel-Tec, Kahr) 9mm pistols.

    It is much easier to rapid fire than the Kel-Tec P11. (FWIW I sold the P11 and got a SP101)

    I have not had any feeding or reliability issues with mine with any of the ammo I've tried so far.

    For .380 find the fastest 90-100gr stuff that runs in your gun regardless of whether it HP or not. I tend toward Gold Dot for mine. I've not tried the FTX.

    It's not my carry gun, or even my backup. But for some of the people that take NRA Basic Pistol, it's the berries.
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    The only big problem with .380's right now is the unavailability of .380 ammo.
    It is out of stock everywhere.

    You can find 9mm cheaper all over the place.
    The current .380 ACP ammo shortage that has lasted two years now and is just now beginning to get better.

    Still, 9mm is cheaper, and available at Wal-Mart even..

  8. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    And herein lies the real purpose of a larger .380: if it's all you can control, then it's a good caliber choice.....but I bet most folks could control a more potent caliber with proper training.
  9. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Well-Known Member

    no. it's not. just walmart is out.

    try www.classicarms.us right now. they have all the brass cased .380 you could want. so do jgsales and aimsurplus, iirc.
  10. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Well-Known Member

    kel-tec pf-9 is smaller and lighter than a bersa thunder, and then you can fire 9mm+p instead of .380.

    the bersa, however, is one SWEET firing gun. i love mine.
  11. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    I think the cartridge really shines nowadays in little pocket autos like the LCP, SIG P238, Kahr P380, etc. With compact, subcompact and even some pocket-sized pistols (think Kahr PM9) in 9mm Luger, I see little use for the .380 in this size gun when you can have more power in the same package.
  12. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Well-Known Member

    I shot a new Bersa .380 an off-duty cop was trying out for his off-duty carry. favorably impressed me. the .380 is plenty enough at practical s-d range. past about 50-60' I'd prefer something stouter though.
  13. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Well-Known Member

    Ditto on what Harmon Rabb said. I also have both. The Bersa is definitely the nicer gun to spend time at the range with. The Kel-Tec is the nicer gun to have on my hip or in my pocket, but it's downright rude on the hand after any extended time firing it.
    I carry both, sometimes one, sometimes the other. The Bersa is loaded with 95-grain UMC FNEB loads most of the time, though I do have plenty of 88-grain JHPs from the same maker here, too. The extra barrel length of the Bersa and its better sight radius add to that more comfortable shooting grip to make the gun potentially more lethal as a defensive weapon than the same shooter being armed with one of the more popular "keychain" 380 pistols available, though more difficult to actually have on ones person than they are.
    If .380ACP ammo was the same price as, and as available as, .22LR, the Bersa would be my favorite pistol to shoot (and I do have a .22LR Ruger.)
  14. mongo4567

    mongo4567 Well-Known Member

    I carry a Keltec P3AT all the time. It is a great pocket gun for quick trips. I would feel more comfortable with something bigger, but I trust my life to it and it is better than throwing rocks. If I want something bigger, I carry a Kahr PM40...it is about the same size and weight as the Bersa with a lot more energy.
  15. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    I did have a large .380 at one time, a Beretta 86. But I bought it as more of a "collector" or "fun" gun because of its unusual design, I liked it and had the money. I still went to my Glock 19 for a defensive sidearm; it is a 16-shot 9mm Luger the same size as the nine-shot .380.
  16. Weevil

    Weevil Well-Known Member

    Control is always something to consider.

    The almighty 9mm and even that Hammer-of-Thor .45acp often require more than one shot to bring a man down. One shot stops look cool on TV and in the movies but are a lot more rare in real life.

    The ability to make rapid and accurate follow-up shots may well be what decides whether you live or die.

    Those wee little 9 & .45s are a real bear to shoot and very difficult to control and keep centered on the target, who may well be hard charging down on you real fast to rip your head off.

    Shot-placement is what is critical, well aimed on target shots from a .380 will be far more effective than misses from the most ground-pounding nuclear .45 loads you can find.

    Frankly I've found that itty-bitty little pistols in powerhouse calibers don't offer enough control for me and .380 is better suited to small CCW type pistols.
  17. cwbjaxfl

    cwbjaxfl Well-Known Member

    cabelas has s&B .380 in stock for 17.99 for 50

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

  19. FLAvalanche

    FLAvalanche Well-Known Member

    I found out where all the .380 ammo is going. I walked into Shoot Straight in Ft. Myers, Florida and they had a little castle built in the middle of their showroom, gun safes at each corner for turrets, all made with CASES of .380...
  20. rkammer

    rkammer Well-Known Member

    Plenty of 380 ammo available here in Orlando. Shoot Straight has a huge display of it. I believe it was $22 a box.

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