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380 defensive ammo? FMJ?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Elkins45, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    After having resisted for years I finally broke down and bought a 380. Buds had a weird blue Camo version of the Ruger LCP for $159 so it didn’t seem like a big risk. Unlike every other caliber I don’t have any plans to load for it so I bought some FMJ ammo to break it in and familiarize myself with the gun.

    Everything I’ve read and all the experts say that sufficient (12”-18”) penetration into vital organs is the most important consideration for defensive handgun ammo. Given how light and slow the 380 bullet is, I wonder if the prudent choice for carry loads might just be plain old FMJ? If not, what’s the general consensus on a decent 380 carry round?
     
  2. TheProf

    TheProf Member

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    When I had an LCP, that was my line of thinking as well. I used fmj ball ammo as a carry round.
     
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  3. Eagle103

    Eagle103 Member

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    Another vote for FMJ. I have some Hornady FTX which IMO is an acceptable option since they generally aren't supposed to open up unless the velocity is there but probably not worth the extra expense. I've come to accept my 380s as highly concealable, short range, last ditch, poke holes type of weapons. No excuse to ever leave home without one.
     
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  4. beeenbag
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    beeenbag Contributing Member

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    Tnoutdoors9 did a series of videos just for short barrel 380 defensive ammo. From his experiment, anything loaded with xtp bullets did pretty well in the 380. So this is what I carry in my LCP II. Reliable expansion but also reliable penetration, the xtp seems to not bloom out and keep as much frontal surface area once it expands, more like an old soft lead hollow point of the day, this is what lends itself to being able to still penetrate after expanding at the lower velocities. Check tnoutdoors9's videos, he's quite thorough.
     
  5. Meeks36

    Meeks36 Member

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    Check out Underwood's 380 ammo. Going to buy some for my LCP. When funds are available. Do a YouTube search. Good penetration and wound cavity. Better then fmj.
     
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  6. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    Before I upgraded my wife to 9mm. . . I read Lucky Gunner Labs report on .380, especially Re: penetration.

    As a result, I loaded the hottest FMJ I had on hand, the Sellier & Bellot FMJ. Never a hiccup, cheap, and fast.
     
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  7. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

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    FMJ here too for the .380
     
  8. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    I use Remington Ultimate Defense in my Remington RM380. Mostly because it is the most accurate shooting round that I have found in this little gun. The 2nd most accurate out my .380 is the Hornady American Gunner round.

    Neither one is a barn burner and they get nominal penetration in ballistic gelatin tests but it is a .380. It’s not a .357 Magnum.

    Here are some links I found to check out.

    https://www.luckygunner.com/380-acp-102-gr-bjhp-remington-ultimate-defense-20-rounds



     
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  9. rskent

    rskent Member

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    I’ve been carrying Hornady Critical Defense in my .380’s. It seems to work fine. I’m comfortable with it.
     
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  10. beeenbag
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    beeenbag Contributing Member

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    its reliable in expansion but most tests I have seen with it, it generally comes in under 12" of penetration.

    Here it gets 11.25"
     
  11. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    FMJ penetrates deeper than hollow point ammo. that said, vital organs lay within 4" of the surface of the body. intermediate barriers or exceptionally obese people are the only concern for hollow points.
     
  12. beeenbag
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    beeenbag Contributing Member

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  13. IdaD

    IdaD Member

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    Check out the Ammo Quest videos on YouTube. I use XTP loads as they've performed the best in every test I've seen regardless of the manufacturer. American Gunner specifically because that's what I've found locally, and they run really well in my LCP. They don't tend to expand as much as a lot of the hollow points but they do expand some, so they seem to hit that sweet spot of some expansion without killing the penetration too much. With a 380 there's a pretty tight balance between expansion and penetration.
     
  14. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Another vote for fmj. You don't need to buy expensive ammo. Just ammo that works.
     
  15. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

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    You may have to shoot through someones arm for example. there may other minor obstacles like objects in the pockets, belt buckles. Pistols, particularly light caliber rounds, do not automatically stop someone after hitting just any vital organ. Hits to the CNS will usually put someone right away, but for example to the liver not right away.
     
  16. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    so you agree with me.
     
  17. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

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    If you accept his criteria than his choices are logical. I do not and it would take a long winded discussion to go over why I do not. but if I was going to choose a hollow point or expanding bullet I would go with his recommendations as to which of the tested brands for this category were best.
    The big thing is that over penetration was considered a no no and this seems to be defined as more than 12 inches.
     
  18. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

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    Not if your position is that 12 inches of penetration soft gel after shooting through denim is enough.
    But to be honest shooting with a .380 that does not actually put someone down will be enough to stop most attackers. The first rule of a gun fighter is to have a gun that goes bang.
     
  19. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    I look at it this way. In .380 ACP a hollow point may not expand and therefore it acts like a FMJ round, but there is a good chance that it will expand. A FMJ round will always act like a FMJ round.
     
  20. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    20+ inches of penetration in ballistic gel might not be enough, 4 inches of penetration in ballistic gel might be plenty. my initial posting was only factual, not conjecture. is that what you want to engage in?
     
  21. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    I use Underwood 380 XTP ... I carried Winchester 95gr FNFMJ for years ...

    image.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
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  22. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

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    One thing to remember is that upon striking flesh fmj bullets may lose their stability and tumble. Probably not so important in a short bullet like the .380, but it does help a bit with the wound channel.
     
  23. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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  24. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Member

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  25. mingo

    mingo Member

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    I'm really happy that we live in a free Country and have the ability to buy and use what we like for ammo!
    It would be a sad day if only one ammo per caliber was available, wouldn't it.
    When I carry my .380, I prefer the Federal Premium 90 grain Hydra - Shock JHP.
    I hope I never have to use my CC rights ...but I have confidence with this mostly during Summer or warm weather months...Winter, I prefer to carry my 40 S&W.

    mingo
     
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