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Tom on Guntalk said 380 was now comparable to 9

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Droid noob, Jan 22, 2013.

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  1. Droid noob

    Droid noob Well-Known Member

    Tom mentioned quickly, while interviewing someone, that today's 380 is very comparable to 9mm. He mentioned ballistics gel tests were within inches of each other on penetration.

    I mention this because there's so much 380 on the shelf right now that I've been thinking about getting one.

    I'm searching for these tests. Just curious if you all have heard similar things.
  2. mrhill

    mrhill Active Member

    I carry a 380. It is a very good round. I have no doubts on its capablities or my own.
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    "very comparable" is a pretty subjective term. .380 has gotten much better, but are the terminal ballistics as good as equivalent bullet design 9mm?

    I'd like to see "best" .380 and "best" 9mm defensive rounds tested side by side for terminal performance.

    And before some wit comes along and says it - yes, it doesn't start with a 4.:rolleyes:
  4. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    There is only so much you can do with it. It has neither the bullet weight nor the speed of even a feeble 9mm Luger. Its "niche" is that it fits better into little pocket guns ... which reduce its speed even further. To say it is "comparable" - as in the sense of being equal - is not correct.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  5. carbine85

    carbine85 Well-Known Member

    I have to disagree with this. When you consider using a 9mm +P JHP ammo the .380 doesn't come close. Gun makers have 9mm +P rated guns. The .380 doesn't have a +P rating
  6. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Well-Known Member

    I would say it depends on the ammunition used. Several years ago I bought a Sig in .380. Using standard ammo it would not exit a 5 gallon bucket from about 25 feet. The bullet would penetrate the first layer of bucket bubt would only make a severe dimple in the back side. I reloaded that brass using some accurate #2 near the maximum loading and it made a huge difference in penetration and drop on a 25 yard target. I think a .380 with a good load is plenty lethal.
  7. gym

    gym member

    I carried a walther for 20 years, they are good rounds, But the 9mm is better. It's that simple, you may want a 380 as either a back up or for concealment, but a 9 is a few hundred feet faster, so why bother anymore? I carry a shield in 40, only because why not carry the hotter load in a walther sized gun that weighs less, and is thinner, same with the xzs, it's smaller and lighter than most 380's exept a seacamp or lcp, and hit's almost twice as hard.
    We carried the smallest effective guns we could get 20-30 years ago, now you can get a small higher powered gun, so there is no reason to settle for a 380.
  8. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Well-Known Member

    It's kind of like saying those family cars are very comparable to sports cars in performance.

    If you are comparing today's family car to sports cars of 40-50 years ago, it might be true.
  9. Ranger Roberts

    Ranger Roberts Become a THR contributing member!

    When I was a kid I remember my dad calling his .380 a "9mm short". He and my grandfather are the only 2 people I've ever heard say that, so it may just be something that they came up with. Has anyone else ever heard of a .380 referred to that way?
  10. Arp32

    Arp32 Well-Known Member

    Sure, also 9mm Kurz which translates to the same thing. I think I've even seen it on Walther roll marks. Look closely at a PPK next time you run into one
  11. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Well-Known Member

    In Europe, at least at one time, .380 was often called 9mm Kurz. Kurz is German for "short. So, yes.
  12. W L Johnson

    W L Johnson Well-Known Member

    From wiki

    .380 Auto
    9mm Browning
    9mm Browning Short
    9mm Corto
    9mm Court
    9mm Kratak
    Kratka 9 (Devetka)
    9mm Kurz
    9mm Scurt
    9mm Short
  13. W L Johnson

    W L Johnson Well-Known Member

    As a side note 380 will fire out of a 9mm, it just won't cycle the gun.

    Don't ask how I know this :uhoh:
  14. Droid noob

    Droid noob Well-Known Member

    TN outdoors tested a +p 9mm and it only had 11 inches. Cd 380 also went 11 inches. The only difference was diameter of expansion.
  15. shaggy430

    shaggy430 Well-Known Member

    I've bought ammo that said 9mm Browning Court.
  16. CLP

    CLP Well-Known Member

    Barrel length plays a big role here and is not being mentioned.
  17. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Well-Known Member

    Perhaps even more so if you can only have 7 rounds in the magazine..
  18. mastiffhound

    mastiffhound Well-Known Member

    When in doubt go bigger, faster, or harder. During the first AWB a lot of new 1911 manufacturers were started. If you were only able to have 10 rounds in a mag, many said "then I'll carry a 1911 with 10 of the biggest and hardest hitting .45 acp rounds I can put in my firearm". I don't care for "within a few inches", when your life is on the line seconds and inches count. I want to stop and incapacitate an attacker as fast as possible. Taking any possible doubt out of a deadly serious equation is the best idea.

    Here are some energy ratings for reference:

    .22 lr- 30 grain fmj or hp (Aguila Supermaximum Hyper Velocity) 1750 fps with 204 ft lbs of energy

    .380 acp-90 grain ftx 1000 fps 200 ft lbs of energy (Hornady Critical Defense)
    - +P 90 grain jhp 1200 fps 288 ft lbs of energy (Buffalo Bore, the best that I know of)

    9x19mm- 115 grain fmj 1145 fps 335 ft lbs of energy (Remington UMC plinking ammo)
    - +P 124 grain jhp 1225 fps 413 ft lbs of energy (Buffalo Bore)

    The difference in energy isn't a small amount. 9mm has 100 or more ft lbs over the .380, but the .380 is less than 100 ft lbs over the lowly .22lr. All of these will hurt someone, but rapidly incapacitating and the stopping of an attacker is what you want. Will the .380 work, probably. But I would rather be on the safe side.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  19. heeler

    heeler Well-Known Member

    I have watched several youtube ballstic gel tests using both the 380 and 9mm.
    Generally with hollowpoints the 380 penetrates 8-11 inches.
    For some strange reason it's the old Federal Hydra-Shok that gets out there to 11-11.5 inches and still expands.
    I have seen something similiar on the UMC 88 grain Hollow point too.
    With fmj the 380 goes clean thru the 19 inch gelatin block.
    The 9mm hollowpoints almost always gets to at least the 12 inch mark.
  20. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    If you take two similar bullets (i.e. both Speer Gold Dot) and have a .380 that failed to expand and a 9mm that expanded...you'll get similar penetration.
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