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The concept of 380 vs more powerful rounds

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by kokapelli, Dec 4, 2012.

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  1. kokapelli

    kokapelli Well-Known Member

    This is mainly for the people that always jump into a discussion of the 380 round with, why carry a 380 when you can carry a bigger round?

    A lot of people just can't seem to grasp the concept that a 380 round is effective enough to be a viable self defense round, but do these people really have any facts to back that view up.

    Does anyone really know how many times the 380 has saved someone's life compared to how many times a larger cartridge like 45, or 40, etc has saved lives? I'm not talking about killing someone, I'm talking about self-defense.

    The fact is I just don't need to carry a large heavy recoiling pistol for the purpose of self defense.

    Now if I were in Afghanistan chasing down some Taliban, or a cop chasing some criminal that would be a different story, but that's not why I carry.
  2. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    Do YOU have statistics to back up YOUR assertion?

    The ALL suck. Some suck more than others. I won't tell people to NEVER carry a .380, but if they do, I will tell them to use modern ammo from the premium manufacturers that push it into 9mm power rangs.
  3. Gary A

    Gary A Well-Known Member

    kokapelli - you are right, in my view. One of the most common mistakes people make (including me, at times, though I try to avoid it) is in insisting on answering questions that have not been asked. A persistent, related, and usually more sinister corollary is insisting to believe that one's personal beliefs and choices should be adopted by everyone else. Liberals are not the only people who think they know what others should do, think, believe, and choose. (They may be the most annoying, though.).
  4. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    IMO, the .380's raison d'etre is that you can make the gun smaller for specialized deep concealment, BUG, etc., roles. In the same size gun - and within reason - why handicap yourself with a .380 when you can have 9mm Luger power? Why not take every advantage you can get? In guns Kahr PM9-sized and larger, 9mm Luger does not have excessive recoil.
  5. Orion8472

    Orion8472 Well-Known Member

    Agree. Use a .380acp, but make sure you're using the newest and best projectiles offered.

    I carry a .380acp all the time. Sure, it isn't up to the "power" of other calibers, . . . but realistically, I may never find myself in a position to even NEED to pull it out for defense. It is there, should the need arrise, and I am confident enough that it would be useful. Remember, no one wants extra holes in them. The odds that you'll be attacked by someone on crack is pretty low.
  6. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Well-Known Member

    There are worse calibers than the .380 ACP. I would feel comfortable enough carrying a .380 because it is my ability to shoot quickly and accurately that will bring me home, not the cartridge used. Mindset, skill set, tool set, in that order.
  7. kokapelli

    kokapelli Well-Known Member

    This is exactly what I'm talking about.

    I have a PM9 but usually carry my P238 because I can shoot it better and it carries much better in my pocket.
  8. SigMic

    SigMic Well-Known Member

    Most of us who have .380s have them because of their size. I personally own an LCP for those times when my main gun (G19) on my hip just won't work. Then I carry my LCP in a pocket holster.

    But, I would much rather carry the G19 with it's larger capacity, more powerful ammo. It is much more accurate (due to longer sight radius and far better sights). It is easier to handle - recoil of G19 is better than the LCP.

    All around, I'd much rather carry a double stack 9mm.....but when you can't, you drop down to the .380. It's better than not having one, but not my first choice.
  9. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    There are four ways in which shooting someone stops him:

    1. psychological -- "I'm shot, it hurts, I don't want to get shot any more."
    2. massive blood loss depriving the muscles and brain of oxygen and thus significantly impairing their ability to function
    3. breaking major skeletal support structures
    4. damaging the central nervous system.

    Depending on someone just giving up because he's been shot is iffy. Probably most fights are stopped that way, but some aren't; and there are no guarantees.

    Breaking major skeletal structures can quickly impair mobility. But if the assailant has a gun, he can still shoot. And it will take a reasonably powerful round to reliably penetrate and break a large bone, like the pelvis.

    Hits to the central nervous system are sure and quick, but the CNS presents a small and uncertain target. And sometimes significant penetration will be needed to reach it.

    The most common and sure physiological way in which shooting someone stops him is blood loss -- depriving the brain and muscles of oxygen and nutrients, thus impairing the ability of the brain and muscles to function. Blood loss is facilitated by (1) large holes causing tissue damage; (2) getting the holes in the right places to damage major blood vessels or blood bearing organs; and (3) adequate penetration to get those holes into the blood vessels and organs which are fairly deep in the body. The problem is that blood loss takes time. People have continued to fight effectively when gravely, even mortally, wounded. So things that can speed up blood loss, more holes, bigger holes, better placed holes, etc., help.

    So as a rule of thumb --

    • More holes are better than fewer holes.
    • Larger holes are better than smaller holes.
    • Holes in the right places are better than holes in the wrong places.
    • Holes that are deep enough are better than holes that aren't.
    • There are no magic bullets.

    And sometimes a .380 might not be enough because sometimes even a .357 Magnum isn't necessarily enough. LAPD Officer Stacy Lim was shot in the chest with a .357 Magnum and still ran down her attacker, returned fire, killed him, survived, and ultimately was able to return to duty.
  10. 56hawk

    56hawk Well-Known Member

    A lot of people dispute the findings, but Marshall and Sanow is the only statistical analysis of handgun effectiveness that I know of. They found 380s to be between 51% and 75% and 9mm to be between 81% and 94% depending on ammo used. That's a pretty big difference as far as I'm concerned.
  11. kokapelli

    kokapelli Well-Known Member

    If you're willing to accept the Marshall and Sanow statistics fine, but I tend to believe the growing number of people that don't.

    I was a member of Marshall's "stopping power.net" board for a while, but found Marshall to be, well I best not say, but less than believable and a bully that would kick anyone out that disagreed with him.
  12. jem375

    jem375 Well-Known Member

    Of course then you went and did research of thousands of shootings yourself instead of reading what he researched?...
  13. kokapelli

    kokapelli Well-Known Member

    How do you know what I did or did not do? You can believe whatever you want but don't make assumptions as to what I do or do not do.
  14. jimbo555

    jimbo555 Well-Known Member

    I spent a lot of time and money searching for the perfect compromise in comfort and power,and I decided for me full size and high capacity is doeable for every day carry. A handgun that is accurate,a service caliber and high capacity will not fit in a pocket. If your going to carry on a belt you might as well go full size. For me it's a m&p9. My 380 is for backup and special conditions. Of course what works for me won't work for everyone,I also live in the free state of Georgia and printing is not an issue. Generally speaking a full size pistol is more reliable,has a longer sight radius and higher capacity than a smaller pistol.
  15. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    Most studies which look at handgun caliber effectiveness are well-meaning, but flawed in their approach. After reading a lot of them, and their reviews, I'm *starting* to get a good idea of what goes into handgun wounding mechanics.

    With that said, I think the .380 is fine, the problem is most people who buy a .380 also get some fast-expanding JHPs that won't penetrate very deep. Something with more energy, like a 9, is more likely to penetrate deeper without getting that one specific brand of ammunition.

    The other reason is that people mention the size...well, there are very few .380s that have a comfortable size grip. Most are for deep concealment. Even less of these .380s are available to the public (why the Glock .380 is illegal here really baffles me). So even though the .380 has the least energy of any of my handguns, it's the only one that hurts my hand when I shoot it.

    Now, I'm not going to mock people for carrying a .380, but personally it just wasn't for me, and I can see why people mock it.
  16. jem375

    jem375 Well-Known Member

    I asked a question, if you don't want to answer it, don't...
  17. jem375

    jem375 Well-Known Member

    In my opinion, any caliber less than a 9MM is foolish for self defense when carrying. I carry a 45ACP and sometimes a 9MM, and that's just plain good sense in this age of people high on drugs or bent on robbery or assault..
  18. weblance

    weblance Well-Known Member

    I see these comments all the time. Why carry a 380 when there are 9mm guns the same size as the 380s. These sub compact 9mms are not the same size and size isnt the issue for me anyway, its the weight. The Kahr you mention is 17 oz empty. The LCP is 9oz, the Keltec P32 is 6oz. No one will argue that the 380 or 32acp is as effective as the 9mm. Try lugging around a 20oz gun in your pocket. I will only pocket carry, so for me its an LCP or P32 or Smith Airweight. When someone comes out with a REASONABLY priced 9mm that weighs 10oz loaded, I will be all over that, and only then, will the argument over 380 vs something more powerful, really be over.
  19. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    I guess this raises a question in my mind about what exactly you're looking for or hoping to get out of this.

    The thing is that there's no magic information out there. There have been a number of studies done. They all have their flaws and their critics. And one can wonder if there really is a definitive answer possible given all the variable involved.

    There's no doubt that a .380 has been used effectively in self defense, but there have most likely been times when it wasn't that effective. And on the flip side, there have been times when a .45 or a .357 Magnum wasn't immediately effective. But overall, based on an understanding of the physiology of stopping, a more powerful cartridge using a larger diameter bullet is more likely to effective more of the time.

    And handgun cartridges are generally underpowered in any case.

    There will always be a trade-off, so you need to make your decision. You can choose greater convenience and accept the possibility of reduced effectiveness. Or you can learn to live with greater inconvenience in exchange for a probability of somewhat greater effectiveness.
  20. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    While the decision to draw is in effect a decision to shoot, we should keep in mind that it is still possible that presenting your firearm will be enough to terminate the threat, which is your goal.

    The assailant who just plain doesn't want to get shot could conceivably be quick enough in responding favorably to your presentation that you get to not shoot him. Rest assured, no part of his snap decision to stop attacking is based on his assessment of what cartridge you have in the chamber.

    I'm currently assessing a recently acquired .380 (not a pocket gun) as a CCW, and it's looking good. I'll be loading 95gr FMJ rounds. Regarding .380 as a carry round, I'm confident in two things: First, if I have to shoot an attacker, I'll score hits and he'll bleed heavily. Second, my attacker will never decide to keep coming at he because he can tell all I have is a .380.
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