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.380 ACP - FMJ or Hollow Point?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Onward Allusion, Jun 9, 2012.

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  1. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    I have gone from a NAA Mini in 22LR to a NAA Mini in 22 Mag to a KT P-32 and in the last couple of weeks a KT PF-9. I can't stand the PF-9. Aside from the trigger, I don't understand why Keltec produced it when they make the P-11 that has significantly better capacity and literally in the same size. The PF-9 bites worst than the P-11 ever did. It's as bad as shooting +P loads in a J-frame with wood grips.

    I just picked up a NAA Guardian in 380. Yeah, I probably could have gone with a P3AT or even a LCP, but the NAA is so much better looking and very likely much more durable. So, now I'm into unknown territory. I've never owned a .380. I've always thought that the 380 was a caliber in search of a reason to exist, except both the Boberg and the Rohrbaugh are going for well over $1K - more like $1,200 to $1,500! Ruger should have copied them instead of the PF-9!

    Bottom line - what should I load the NAA Guardian 380 with? Based on research, I'm leaning toward a hotter FMJ load or even the Winchester truncated FMJ. Thoughts?
     
  2. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    I load my .380's with JHP ammo for self defense carry and fmj for practice. The JHP has more potential IMO than the FMJ in being a better man stopper. FMJ's will never give you a larger wound than .355" diameter while the jHP's will never be any worse than the best FMJ.

    If your pistol will reliably feed JHP then it is at least an option. If it will only be reliable with FMJ then that's what you should use.

    Go to http://brassfetcher.com and watch the slow motion video's on the .380 acp. Go to Youtube and watch some of the other ammo tests to see which brand or type of ammo looks more effective in .380.
     
  3. wnycollector

    wnycollector Member

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    I like Underwoods 95gr JHP for my Beretta 84B. I chronographed it at a very respectable 1092fps/244lbs of energy. It compares with Buffalo Bores 95gr JHP (1125fps/267lbs) at half the price.
     
  4. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    If you're interested in quality subcompact DAO 9x19 check Simpson Ltd site they had Colt Pocket Nine pistol for about 1k. Only around seven thousand were made before Colt lost trigger patent dispute with Kahr Arms. I used to own one about decade ago and have no bad memories of it. The stainless finish magazine holds six 9x19 cartridges if I remember correctly. If you decide to stick with 9x17 American Eagle ball ammo is very good. I have fired several boxes out of the LCP w/o single failure.
     
  5. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    I completely forgot about brassfetcher.com. It is a great resource and the slo mo hi-speed videos are exactly what I was looking for.
     
  6. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

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    I use a hot FMJ. Almost always S&B.

    While Steve is absolutely correct that a a JHP will never be smaller than an FMJ, there is the issue of increased reliability with FMJ.

    My LCP have never once jammed on any JHP ever. Hydrashok, Gold dot, WWB, Hornady somethinerother, you name it. it has never ever jammed on JHP. Not ever. So I have no reason to doubt its reliability with JHP.

    However, it is a pocket pistol which means it's subject to the ravages of pocket lint. I want to give it absolutely every reliability advantage I can. These tiny pistols are already operating right on the edge of the size/reliability ratio. I don't want to give it any more reason to fail than I have to.

    And I KNOW that it is accurate with S&W FMJ and that it's a hot load. It may not make a wide wound track, but it'll go deep and get to vitals if I do my part.
     
  7. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    This Bersa 380 will eat anything I feed It. Finally settled on Aquila 90 gr JHP.

    Good advice to keep it clean and well lubed


     
  8. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    Elmer Keith

    E.K. once wrote an article a while ago about 'mouse guns'.

    He was of the opinion that anything smaller than a 9X19 was a mouse gun.

    he also penned the opinion that you carry ball ammo in any caliber smaller than a 9MM.

    His reason was that a 'social gun' was to stop "dangerous game" and THE most dangerous game is man.

    When hunting big game [ Africa ] you always use FMJ to get a wound channel that will bleed out and STOP the critter.

    I was doing as he suggested for a few decades,until I found that FMJ was no longer available in a hotter round than the H.P.'s.

    I had FTF problems with a few smaller 32's and .380's with ball ammo.

    Then I tried H.P.'s and all seemed hotter and few and extracted well.

    I even used to carry ball ammo followed by H.P. then ball etc.

    If you shoot it well and get good function AND are accurate with it = thats your load.

    At least in my not so humble opinion.
     
  9. Ghost Host

    Ghost Host Member

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    I use Hornady Critical Defense 380 Auto 90 gr. FTX. The "flex tip" insert appears to mitigate the typical "hollow points fill up with heavy clothing fabric and don't expand" problem while still permitting expansion in soft tissue.
    GH
     
  10. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    Mine's loaded with Buffalo Bore 100gr.+P HCFN.
     
  11. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    The way I look at it, it is all a "crapshoot."

    No matter which load you prefer to have in your gun for any given scenario, in the event of an incident whereas you need to use your gun with whatever loads, there will more than likely be both good and bad reasons for whatever load you happen to be using!

    That is why shot placement is key, above all other things. You may use a hollow point only to have the bullet happen to hit a really thick bone at just the WRONG angle, so the shot basically does nothing. On the other hand, you may have FMJ bullets you are using and the shot just so happens to go T&T some body tissue without affecting one single nearby major organ (say, a grazing shot to the head or neck). So, the stud inside the nearby wall ends up taking most of the energy.

    All we can do is shoot, shoot and shoot some more to be proficient with our guns, we can load any load we wish in hopes that, should they EVER be needed, they just HAPPEN to be the RIGHT load for the given situation!

    We can also hope that we NEVER have to use our gun, at all (that's what I hope)!
     
  12. Steve H

    Steve H Member

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    All of my .380's are loaded with Winchester Ranger HP's. All have no feeding issues.
     
  13. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    I use handloaded ("+P")102 gr. Remington Golden Sabers in my .380's. They proved themselves to me in clay and other mediums.

    They are available in factory loadings, albeit a little slower than what I run. Still a darn good bullet, though, and pretty much the practical weight limit for .380.
     
  14. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    I use Remignton Express FMJ in my LCP, BB FMJ+p in my BDA I believe those are the hotest I can get.
     
  15. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    Right up to the moment it fails to penetrate from any marginal expansion.
     
  16. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    I keep my LCP loaded with Cor-Bon DPX for deep penetration and reliable expansion. If I were going to load FMJs, I'd go with the flat-point Winchester rounds for the wider meplat.:cool:
     
  17. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    What kind of 'deep penetration' do you get with the DPX?

    I ask because in all the tests I've read about that was not the case. Good expansion but poor penetration.

    W-M
     
  18. heeler

    heeler Member

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    I carry a very reliable LCP and generally carry a Remington Golden Saber in the barrel followed by six 95 grain Winchester White Box Flat nose.
    I stumbled across some Hornady Critical Defense the other day for under $16.00 a box and ordered three as these do well in my LCP too.
    I am hoping to test an entire box of 25 on water jugs soon to truely see if all open up as they are supposed to.
     
  19. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    Ah, the eternal question!

    Let me be the first to say 9mm (knowing that someone will come back to say there is "essentially" no difference between a short barrel .380 and a 9mm).

    Given the Bobergs and the Rohrbaughs and the 938s and the Guardians, etc., I'm not sure why I would carry a .380. And I have passed up several opportunities to buy .380s at a good price. I do own a great old Mustang Pockelite...that I never carry.

    But to answer your question: HP. It seems that Corbon 90 gr JHP and Speer 90 gr Gold Dot can both get you 12+ inches of penetration after expansion.
     
  20. joecil

    joecil Member

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    My first choice is always Speer Gold Dots regardless of the caliber. For the 380 I use 90 gr. #23606.
     
  21. RX-178

    RX-178 Member

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    I'm echoing what a few people have said before, but here goes.

    When you get to guns the size of modern pocket .380s, by necessity we're dealing with closer tolerances that tend to make them ammo picky. At this point, I just want to find a round that works reliably, some of them prefer feeding FMJ, some of them actually prefer JHP bullets.

    Once that's out of the way, if there's still a choice between FMJ and JHP. Basically the question now is, do you want a deeper, small hole, or a shallower, big hole in the bad guy. I would probably pick FMJ myself, but lots of modern hollow point .380 loads penetrate pretty far in balistic gel, so it's not as big a deal as it used to be.
     
  22. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    Remember, also, that a FMJ, although it does not expand much at all, it will break bone which, in turn, can move rather quickly to provide more than one wound channel. I also have those Winchester white box FMJ's with the flat nose. They are a good bullet, they feed well into my LCP and they shoot well.
     
  23. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    The PF9 is lighter and flatter than is the P11, and is also drop-safe (the last part being important to some people, but not necessarily to me.) However, if you don't care for it, you don't care for it. You need to be comfortable with what you carry. Many people can make the PF9 work, and I'm one of them.
    But, my Bersa Thunder 380 is indeed far more pleasant to shoot. It's loaded with 95-grain JHP ammunition. If it were one of the "keychain" guns, like my P32, it might be loaded with something like Gold Dots in the chamber and next-up in the mag, with the remainder being FMJ stuff.
    My P32 is loaded with WWB FN-FMJ in chamber and "next-up"; the remaining six rounds are a hotter (Fiocchi) FMJ.
     
  24. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    I use DPX in all my 380's
    After you fire that NAA with a hot 380 load you might want the KelTec 9mm back . That snall pistol is a blow back and does have a little kick , because of size . To me KelTec 380 much more plesent to shoot .
    Let me know how you like that 15 lb trigger also.
     
  25. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Member

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    I always carry FMJ in my LCP.

    .02
     
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