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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. Skribs

    Skribs New Member

    See that's actually why I shied away from the .380. I have an LCP. By combination of it being so small that only a small portion of my hand absorbs the recoil, and so light that the gun doesn't absorb any, the LCP hurts. So I belt-carry a double-stack 9.

    One mistake I made in the past is to assume that 9mm and .380 are basically the same, just the 9mm will go deeper. The 9mm also has the potential to expand wider than the .380 if penetrating to the same depth, so if both rounds penetrate about the same, you'll still see slightly better performance out of the 9.


    In that case, we should all just buy the cheapest and/or smallest firearm we can find, because we probably won't need to shoot anyway. In reality, I don't choose my firearm based on psychological stops.
  2. PRM

    PRM Active Member

    LOL - I'll keep my Walther .32, not because its the top of the food chain, but because over the last 30+ years, I have shot uncounted rounds (thousands) down range with it and it does what I ask. I'm not one to jump ship just because someone comes out with something new.

    If your comfortable with a different caliber, good for you. I'll take practice and familiarity as a part of my choice.
  3. weblance

    weblance Member

    There it is in a nut shell. I feel very confident that the Keltec P32, with 11 rounds, in my pocket, will get me out of any situation short of an all out urban war. I doubt that will happen anytime soon in my travels to the bank, or grocery store.
  4. Teachu2

    Teachu2 New Member

    Defensive handguns are tradeoffs, just like any other mechanical device. Light weight is easy to carry, harder to shoot. Same for small size.

    Lots of humans have been killed with .22LR weapons - but I won't carry smaller than 9mm, and still prefer a .45.
  5. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale New Member

    I think folks get too caught up on 380's shortcomings compared to "service " handgun calibers and overlook another excellent caliber 32acp.

    Yes 380's are much much smaller than 9's. But that also makes them a real handful to shoot accurately and fast. The same gun in 32 suddenly becomes something you can control and get accurate hits with.

    As to ammunition its my opinion that the latest rapid expansion super special SD loads in mousegun calibers are absolutely the wrong way to go. Once bullet velocity and weight drops below 1000/100 penatration becomes severely hampered if any expansion occours.

    If you accept this, and many do. With these fmj only rounds why not opt for less recoil, faster followups and one more round and get a 32

    posted via that mobile app with the sig lines everyone complaints about
  6. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer New Member

    kokapelli said:
    A gun you can shoot and hit with better, as well as have with you, certainly has much going for it, but don't be under any illusions that you didn't trade off any cartridge power. In order to attain the other qualities, you sacrificed some.

    weblance: Where did I say 9mm subcompacts are the same size as .380 pocket pistols? I didn't, and they aren't.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  7. kokapelli

    kokapelli Active Member

    I may have over reacted to your post and yes I did see the "?" but took it as sarcasm rather than a serious question.

    To answer your question, yes I have read Sanow and Marshall's statistics, but based on other analysis of they're work I do not consider they're work reliable.
  8. 3twelves

    3twelves member

    lol .380, I hope you never have to shoot someone with that crappy caliber...god forbid if the bad guy takes cover behind a metal trash can or something.

    There is no reason you can't carry a bigger caliber.

    I like .40 the best in a full size, but 9mm will do in smaller pistols.

    The whole reason to carry in the first place is to stop the attacker.
  9. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Active Member

    I've said it before, but the .380 is what I carry when I "can't carry a gun". I mean that not as a disparaging dig at the caliber. I sure as hell would not want to be shot with one. If I were a criminal looking for a soft target and an LCP was shakingly thrust into my face as victim started to white-knuckle the trigger...I'd be out of there in a hurry.

    However, I only carry the LCP when I absolutely HAVE to. In the winter I carry a large .45 or big bore revolver because I can comfortably dress around it. On warmer days or when concealment is a real issue but I can still get away with a larger gun, I MUCH prefer my Glock 26. I feel WAY better carrying 10+1 rounds of jhp of 9mm over 6+1 of .380.

    That said, there are days when I can't carry the Glock. In the summer, my dress attire is a company shirt tucked into jeans. I'm a contractor, and I can't wear a sloppily untucked shirt or jeans 2 sizes too big to hide a pistol. The LCP goes into a back pocket holster, and I go about my day lightly armed. Same thing when I go to my mom and stepdad's. They aren't gun folks at all. I'm not trying to change their minds. I respectfully carry my LCP in my back pocket.

    There is a place for a smaller gun. It's not an IDEAL situation to get caught only having a slim .380 on your person if something nasty goes down, but then again it's not an ideal situation to have to defend yourself using deadly force at all. As has been said many, many times, "beats a sharp stick".
  10. mavracer

    mavracer Active Member

    If we just accept that what would we argue about. lol
  11. kokapelli

    kokapelli Active Member

    Certainly a 9mm has more power than a 380, but my point is so many people feel they need to jump into 380 threads to try and convince everyone that they really need to carry a 9 rather than a 380.

    I think that most, if not all of the people here are fully aware and know the 9mm is more powerful than a 380, but many, me being one of them prefer to carry a 380 on a regular basis and believe it just isn't necessary to carry a larger and more powerful pistol.

    I guess what I'm trying get across is, is do you really believe that the 380 is not effective and you must do what I do which is carry a more powerfully gun or your really vulnerable?
  12. beatledog7

    beatledog7 New Member

    On the contrary, God help the assailant who takes 13 rounds from my .380. If he's behind a trashcan, the attack is over, right?
  13. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer New Member

    Well, I for one have never said the .380 is ineffective. Obviously, if you shoot somebody with it, they aren't going to feel better. :p But you can't tell me it is as effective as a 9mm. Certainly it is more effective than the 9mm left at home.
  14. WYO

    WYO Member

    The fact is that nobody knows what they need until they need it. When I actually think I may need to use a gun, I grab a rifle. On a pre-need basis, people have to theorize as to their expected encounter and prepare accordingly. Statistically, the chances of a person who is not in a high risk occupation needing any firearm is so slim that the overwhelming majority of people don't bother to carry a gun at all. An example of that would be the people sitting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado for the Batman movie.

    The Sig P238/P938 line has such excellent sights that both are easy 25 yard guns. The P238 does not, however, fire a round that allows it to achieve its full potential as a defensive system. The size and weight difference is so slight that the choice for me to go with the 9mm was a no brainer. I also have fired a Kel Tec .380 and thought the recoil was a lot for such a puny round. I gave it to my father who falls into the "any gun is a death ray" and the "I won't carry a gun that weighs more than a few ounces" categories. It may save him if the bad guy runs away at the sight of the gun, but his odds aren't good otherwise.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  15. 3twelves

    3twelves member

    Im sure most saw this video of a old man shooting a robber 3 times with a .380 and later walked himself to the hospital. If the kids were more determined he could of been killed because he didn't stop the attackers.


    As for recoil, the little .380 guns (lcp) recoil just as much as a 9mm.
  16. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Active Member

    I'm curious as to what .380 ammo equals the power of a 9mm cartridge. I'm pretty sure there are none (though I've been wrong before).
  17. huntsman

    huntsman Active Member

    If your experience with shooting .380acp is a small pocket pistol I could see why it soured you(they're not for everyone) but my BDA and sig P-232 are some of the most comfortable accurate guns I've owned. Yeah I can get some plastic crap 9mm in the same weight and higher cap but my guns are not only for CC.

    I never did fit into the taci-cool crowd because I happen to like the all steel .45 and all metal .380
  18. 3twelves

    3twelves member

    There are none, people with lesser calibers like to tell story's about magic bullets. Same goes for the 9mm crowd.
  19. beatledog7

    beatledog7 New Member


    You quoted this but didn't address it. If the attacker has gone for cover/concealment, the attack has ended; he has surrendered his offensive because he prefers not leaking over getting closer to me. So, to your earlier point:

    I agree, and I have accomplished that. From behind a trash can the attacker is no longer a threat to me. Given that, I'm not shooting at him; therefore, the trashcan's ability to stop or not stop my bullets is irrelevant, as is the chambering of my CCW.
  20. hardheart

    hardheart New Member

    The suggestions to carry modern ammunition from premium manufacturers seems to be a good one. I didn't know it was restricted to the .380.

    It's also a good idea not to compromise in a pistol caliber that has poor energy, momentum, and velocity, because pistol rounds suck. It is a good thing that has been mentioned a few times. Thankfully everyone has abandoned the 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP with their poor velocities and adopted magnum rimmed calibers, 10mm, .460 Rowland, 45 Super, 9x25 Dillon, .50 AEetc. because pistol rounds do suck and it is a better tradeoff to deal with a larger platform and higher recoil for potentially greater effectiveness.

    Oops, I think I placed the arbitrary cutoff at the wrong spot.
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