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.380: Is it really that bad?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Heir Kommt Die Sonne, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Heir Kommt Die Sonne

    Heir Kommt Die Sonne Member

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    .380 gets a really bad Rep among shooters. Many consider .22 Lr a better defensive caliber than .380 is. I've even heard stories of .380 supposedly 'bouncing' off bodies.

    But then I think, if .380 is shot out of a full size handgun, like a Sig P232
    1287726495.jpg
    Would it really be too bad? It' would give it more full velocity.
    Anyway I've yet to try one out for myself yet.
    What are all your opinions on .380? What's your experience?
    I mean, after all it was the caliber that started WWI...
     
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  2. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    I've never heard anyone say that the 22LR is a better SD caliber round vs. a.380, and I certainly don't subscribe to that notion. For a close up confrontation, the .380 is usually considered (just barely) acceptable with premium SD ammo, especially if that's all one can carry. A 22LR not so much, though better than nothing. That SIG looks nice!
     
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  3. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    The .380 is more than adequate IMHO.

    I don't think anyone thinks the .22 is a better self defense round. Maybe compared to the anemic .25 acp, but while the .380 performs well under a 9mm or .45, it generally does what it is supposed to do: ignite reliably and penetrate.

    Now, a jhp may not have enough oomph to open up and ball ammo may not penetrate to what many feel is acceptable depths, but underperforming compared to other cartridges does not equate to not performing at all.

    I edc a small .380. Is it what I take on the trail? No. Is it what I grab when i hear a bump in the night downstairs? Nope. What it is is with me...always. 7 rounds of reliable jhp before having to resort to the knife in my pocket certainly makes me feel better than if I didnt have it.

    Do i carry a 9mm when I can, of course. However when deep concealment is of great concern (ie always at work), i regularly carry a .380.
     
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  4. rick melear

    rick melear Member

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    If we’re talking about SD like we so often do, shoot till slide lock or the threat stops,
    same as any other caliber
     
  5. Kendahl

    Kendahl Member

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    Ideally, a good self defense cartridge is one that penetrates to the FBI's 12" to 18" in ballistic gelatin while expanding by at least 50%. .380 ACP is just a weak 9 mm. It doesn't have enough power to both penetrate and expand. Of the two, penetration to the bad guy's vital organs is more important. Several years ago ShootingTheBull410 tested many .380 cartridges and published his results on YouTube. He liked anything that shot Hornady's XTP bullet with Federal Hydra-Shok as a second choice. This is his summary video:


    The reason to carry a .380 is that you can get it in very small, light guns that require no special effort to conceal. Stick one in a holster in a pants pocket. That matters if discretion is so important to you that the alternative is to go unarmed.
     
  6. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    .380 handguns have been in my carry rotation since shortly after I got my first CWP.

    For my out&about SD purposes, I consider a .380 to be adequate ... but when carrying a .380 (other than my Bersa Thunder 380 Plus) I always carry a spare mag. :)
     
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  7. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    I share Skeeter Skelton's opinion that a 380 fmj is about as effective as a 38 special rnl. Either beats any 22 lr.
     
  8. murf

    murf Member

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    only for the bad guy.

    murf
     
  9. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Heir Kommt Die Sonne

    I don't know where you're getting this information from but it just isn't so! A .22 is not considered a better defensive caliber than a .380, at least not in the circle of family and friends I shoot with.

    And as far as "bouncing off bodies" is concerned; I have to ask where did that one come from?

    A .380 is more than up to the task of being a decent caliber for self defense, especially with rounds like Federal Personal Defense HST, Hornady Critical Defense, Remington HTP, or Speer Gold Dot. All of these rounds have adequate penetration, good expansion, and weight retention.

    As to my choice in .380 pistols I prefer the locked breech design and SAO trigger that's used in guns like the Colt Mustang or SIG P238.

    ayF2G2I.jpg

    g3l5ubC.jpg
     
  10. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    If you want the long barrel for velocity and sight radius, I think you want the FN Model 1971. The sights are also way above average for a 380.

    For low recoil, the steel frame, locked breech, and medium size of the Colt Government Model gets my vote.

    For capacity, I like the Beretta Model 84.

    But I end up carrying the LCPII, because it fits in my pocket. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  11. Armybrat

    Armybrat Member

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  12. WYO

    WYO Member

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    The only person of whom I am aware who had a .380 round "bounce off" him took it in the steel trauma plate of his body armor that was rated for much more than a .380.

    How about a gel test with some flesh and bone thrown in for good measure?
     
  13. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    There is nothing more aggravating than a YouTube video with wind noise.

    Just shoot the video and do the voice over back at your house. Jeeez...
     
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  14. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    I'll give 22 one plus. The shorts. Go in and no telling where it will come out or settle.
     
  15. WYO

    WYO Member

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    I'm more of a cinema verite' type, but you can always turn off the volume and avoid Wyoming.
     
  16. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I carried a .380 for many years... first an AMT DAO .380, then a Colt's Government .380 (not a Mustang, the 'full-sized' .380) and never felt undergunned... because the alternative at the time was a .380 or nothing. Rule #1... bring a gun.

    I've since stopped carrying the Colt, for the same size and less weight, I now carry a Kahr CW9 or CM9... but... there are times I wish I had a smaller pistol, and that Kahr .380 is looking pretty good!
     
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  17. tactikel

    tactikel Member

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    The .380, introduced over 100 years ago, got a bad rap because it was loaded with FMJ and many guns were blowback actions, heavy and bulky. Still it is very popular worldwide. Modern design locked breech pistols and JHP ammo have been game changers.
    My LCP weights in at just over 10 oz. I carry Ruger ARX 56 gr @1250 fps with confidence.
    The .380 brilliantly fills the need for an easily concealed, low recoiling, CCW. It has proven to be lethal in countless thousands of instances worldwide in the past 110 years. Bad? Far from it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  18. WrongHanded
    • Contributing Member

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I think it's a great cartridge for a BUG, or a PJs pocket carry around the house.

    IMG_20190618_210733378.jpg

    But as a primary SD caliber? I'm not hanging my hat on it.
     
  19. Heir Kommt Die Sonne

    Heir Kommt Die Sonne Member

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    I was at a gun shop and these two people were mentioning .380 as being a round that 'bounces off people'. Plus I heard a story of a SD instructor telling a story of a .380 being emptied at a guy, "we found No damage on the guy.. they bounced off".

    Tallball, thanks for the .380 suggestions. Those all look like good .380 Handguns. I thought the Bersa's and Sigs were the only good full size .380s. Looks like I have more to add to my gun wishlist!
     
  20. Jack Ryan

    Jack Ryan Member

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    It's not "bad" but how GOOD it is depends on what your OTHER choice is.
     
  21. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    James Bond 007 can drop the bad guy from across the courtyard with a 380.
    What ain’t cool about that?:cool:
     
  22. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    The Russian "commercial" Makarov is a very nice shooter. The DA trigger is kind of stiff, but it's accurate and fairly pleasant to shoot.

    I've never owned a real PPK, but I have this Hungarian copy from FEG. It's not the best pistol for someone who's recoil adverse, but it's small, and heavy enough to be shootable.

    The Sig P230 is more like the size of a PP, and kind of light with its aluminum frame. It sure is pretty.

    Lots of people like the Pico. It doesn't fit my hand that well, but it's a nicely-made pistol and accurate for its size.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  23. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I have declared the .380 adequate for my needs.
    So far I have been right. 20170727_191554.jpg 20190521_213418.jpg
     
  24. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    In the books he started his killing spree wielding a Beretta .25 with "skeleton grips"...whatever those are. :)

    Stay safe.
     
  25. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Man, those zucchinis look like zombie egg pods...nice shooting!

    Stay safe.
     
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