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.380 vs 9mm

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by immaRNurse, Apr 16, 2018 at 7:01 AM.

  1. immaRNurse

    immaRNurse Member

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    now that i have your attention, anybody see this video below? whatcha think? i'm looking for 380 SD rounds. thanks, in advance for reply.

     
  2. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    Interesting video.
    I’m not a fan of 380. I guess I subscribe to the bigger holes cause more damage school. That said I also subscribe to any caliber places right can kill school. So given the choice I prefer a larger caliber with lots of ammo.

    The reality is its not practical to carry a huge gun concealed with tons of ammo. So we have to make trade offs. In my case I usually carry a 45 but I also carry a 9mm sometimes.

    But if the choice is going unarmed or carrying a 380 I’ll take the 380.

    As for your title I don’t think it catches the point if the video and will get a caliber debate going.

    As for the video. I think he gives things to think about, but I do think shot placement trumps ammo type. But that’s another debate.
     
  3. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    I'm a big guy with big hands. .380 micro pistol is just to small for me. I prefer a larger gun than that(still not full sized) so I might as well go for a larger more potent caliber. Like Hokie I've never been a fan of the .380 round.
     
  4. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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  5. Hasaf

    Hasaf Member

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    I am a fan of the .380acp. I have seen both of those links and have even posted them elsewhere on this forum. My preferred pistol seems to alternate between my Kimber Micro 380 and my Glock 42. However, I have been focusing my practice on my Glock 42 lately.

    Yes, I realize that both of the pistols I listed are effectively available in 9mm. All handguns are a compromise. With modern ammunition I find the .380 to be a good compromise for me.

    Some numbers from yesterday:
    velocity_table.jpg
    The Glock 42 has a 3.25 inch barrel
    The Walther PK380 has a 3.66 inch barrel
    Obviously, I need to work on the deviation in my loads.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018 at 8:54 AM
  6. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    It's really about how much powder you put behind a bullet and it's grain weight. .380 vs 9mm is somewhat out of focus - they share the same diameter. In a light carry gun there are also .38 Sp and .357 Mag. Why mention them? Old school snubnose revolvers are still a large seller, S&W's is on the top of their list annually, Taurus gets a lot of volume out of them. A large number of them are still carried, not just collected.

    A .38 +P is no slouch and that is part of the reason. In a conversation about that size bullet, there are alternatives.
     
  7. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    As I walk through this world, I may or may not have a G21 on my hip but I always have a G42 in a cargo pocket. I load it with Hornady CritDef.

    I find the LukcyGunner data to be of more value than the OP video.
     
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  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    It is very easy to question the integrity of most any ballistics gel test conducted by this type of outfit, simply by analyzing the statistical relevancy of their experimental design. Shooting 5 bullets into gelatin simply is not a sufficient test to produce conclusive evidence. Sure, it’s fine for a preliminary exploration to determine direction for further experimentation, but it’s far from conclusive. When you compare, for example, the Lucky Gunner tests to the OP video, the expansion reliability on the Critical Defense vs. the XTP is reversed. Why is that? Did their 5 bullet sample happen across one bad egg of each population? Did their block happen to have an inclusion? Was there some incipient issue with the primer for those specific bullets? The data sample doesn’t reveal enough about the full data set to draw any substantive conclusions. And it only tests under a few specific conditions bare gel almost always, but what else? Consider your own attire choices - some days I wear a wool lined Carhartt parka which is incredibly thick and dense. Some days I wear a down insulated jacket puffy parka. Some days I wear a laminated fleece soft shell. Some days I wear a T-shirt... if I choose a bullet based on how it performs on bare gel or 4 layers of denim, is that really a good representation of anticipated performance in a defense scenario? Not in my opinion, and I’ve been responsible for this kind of testing in my professional career.

    And of course, when comparing different ammunition for the .380acp, it’s really just not productive to have a side-conversation about more powerful cartridges. It really isn’t inevitable, even if it may seem to be so - guys don’t need to weigh in with “get a 9mm” on a “best ammo for 380” thread, any more than they need to tout, “get a .30-06” on a thread asking, “what bullet for .223rem?” I have an F-150 in my driveway because it does what I need on my normal days, but will also pull a gooseneck loaded with bucking stock on those few weekends each year where I need it. I use a Peterbilt for hauling bulls most of the year, but occasionally, I need to use my F-150. “Buy a peterbilt,” isn’t the right answer to, “what pick-up truck should I buy?” I can’t conceal my LC9, G43, or P938 in as many attire options as I can my LCP, G42, and 238... so I DO need the right ammo for my .380...

    I run Hornady Critical Defense and Federal Hydroshocks in my .380’s.
     
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  9. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    Very good point, but IMO it is still useful to look for the degree of performance variability across the test sample.
     
  10. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    All this ballistics obsession is ignoring a very critical aspect. What shoots accurately, reliably, and comfortably in your specific gun? And to the same POA as your practice ammo.
     
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  11. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    It is useful, but it’s also relatively irresponsible. I’ll offer a specific example - the OP video mentions the Critical Defense load didn’t reliably expand, whereas the XTP did. Note the same comparison in the Lucky Gunner database - you see the exact opposite; the XTP slugs were much more varied than the Critical Defense, including one XTP which failed to expand. So given ONE of those data sets, you would condemn one of these bullets, whereas the actual performance based on BOTH data sets shows no conclusive difference in performance.

    If failing to expand for ONE out of 5 bullets is damning in the evaluations, as it seems to be for most of us, then I am very comfortable saying 5 bullets is nothing more than an arbitrary selection basis, and does little more than let you say you “feel good about saying you tested it.” Because you didn’t really test it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018 at 3:31 PM
  12. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    And, if I may add: actually HAVING the gun with you when you absolutely need it.

    This is why there have always been “vest pocket” guns, they’re easy to hide and to carry, so they will be with you more often than if they were bulky and heavy. The Nano/G42/LCP type guns are really easy to comfortably conceal, and will be on you in a wider variety of situations than the 5”1911/G21-17/CZ 75 sized gun will. We’ve all heard “A.22 in the hand is worth more than a 44 left at home” blah blah blah...and a comfy carry gun just may be what one has when it all goes South.

    I must say ammo performance catering to the ccw person is as good as it’s ever been, and .380 JHP ammo performance has improved significantly over the past three decades. It’s no panacea for a limited power cartridge like .380 auto, but based on local coroner reports it does help that slug cause more damage than .380 fmj...

    No handgun can or will produce one shot stops in every instance: I don’t care if it’s a .22 CB or a .500 S&W. But having a plan, having a gun, shooting effective bullets, good shot placement and (honestly) a fair bit of luck will serve you well if you are faced with having to shoot...

    Stay safe!
     
  13. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    Personally, I'd tend to think that the reason someone chooses to carry a .380ACP is more important than the specific brand of ammunition they decide to use in it.

    Some folks "like" a particular make/model of pistol that's chambered in the .380 caliber, so they carry it even though it's chambered in the caliber.

    I decided against carrying a .380 as an off-duty weapon many years ago (80's), but that was mostly because I could carry a more effective caliber (.38SPL or 9mmP) in a gun just about as small.

    Fast forward to several years ago, and the newest of the diminutive .380's offered me something I couldn't get with my smallish single stack 9's, .40 or .45, or even my 5-shot snubs ... which was that I could slip a LCP into some shorter and tighter jeans pockets that wouldn't let me conceal one of the thicker, taller and longer guns. Now I could see a role for the .380 that I couldn't get with the older guns I'd tried in the 80's.

    Ammunition? Hey, it's a .380ACP, not a service/duty weapon. That's why I don't look at the .380 loads I carry as necessarily needing to meet the "12-inch minimum duty" recommendations originally adopted by the early FBI duty ammunition testing, for their duty ammunition. (Ever read the disclaimer in the FBI testing that they weren't, as an agency, recommending other agencies choose their own duty ammunition based upon the requirements adopted by them, in their testing, as other agencies needed to determine their own needs and desires?)

    I carry it as a retirement caliber for activities, conditions and places which I've assessed as likely offering a lower risk than other activities, situations and places. I don't try to boot-strap the little .380 into a more powerful caliber (or at least having a heavier bullet weight).

    It is what it is, and for me, that means it's a personal defensive caliber at the bottom end of the center-fire spectrum, meaning right below the .38SPL. While I much prefer the heavier bullet weights of the .38 (meaning 125-158gr), I'm willing to accept the compromise of carrying a .380 which might hopefully expand and only penetrate 8-11" ... or ... which might plug and essentially turn into "ball".

    Would I carry it as a primary "duty" caliber? Hardly. (While I would be willing to carry a .38SPL as a primary duty caliber, but I come from the days of the service revolver, so I have a different perspective and experience than some folks who entered LE when the hi-cap 9's were de rigueur. ;) (I also carried 9, .40 & .45 during my career, after the days of the service revolver had passed.)

    How about using the .380 as a secondary (backup) duty caliber? Sure, but I'd still prefer to use the .38SPL in that role, for the heavier bullets and the more modern revisions of JHP bullets tweaked for the caliber.

    In my pair of LCP's (blued and stainless slides) I typically carry either Speer GDHP, W-W T-Series or Rem Golden Sabre. They feed and function fine in my LCP's, in my hands. I've tried at least couple of others, but those are the big name brands that have been more easily available to me, so that's what I use. Last I knew, LAPD still authorized the Critical Defense in the 2 makes/models of .380's they approved for off-duty/secondary roles, and they're pretty organized and fussy about the ammunition they approve for use by their folks. If I could get the CD ammo for a decent price, I'd pick a case of it and run several magazine loads through each of my LCP's, and then add it to my retirement ammo options for my LCP's.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018 at 12:14 PM
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  14. Artofgolf

    Artofgolf Member

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    Assuming you're lookin' for ammo off-the-shelf, this one worked well in my Glock 42. (My EDC round) when carrying in-pocket.
    Extrema.pdf

    Good luck immaRNurse! AoG
     

    Attached Files:

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  15. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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    Here are some great .380 ballistics videos (I use Speer Gold Dots in my light loads in that 'other' caliber). If you watch the videos below you may find that Hornady Custom or XTP are better. The HST geometry is made to expand so it is better in a heavier caliber where it can get the required penetration (and I use it there).







     
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  16. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    What would be a reasonable data set to evaluate, and where can I find that?
     
  17. Sappyg2.0

    Sappyg2.0 Member

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    I've watched the OP video before. I'm sure it was posted on THR before.

    1st reaction was to say 'Ball' ammo but I decided to watch the video again. Interesting but, my 2nd reaction was to Check my mag and see what I had on tap. Yep, ball ammo.
    It's not that I'm so inclined to turn my nose up at the latest bullet technology but where the 380 falls into my needs for the caliber and the guns chambered for it. In my case I think penetration is the best option for this round.

    Of course, this is based on close to zero empirical observation. The the round, based on velocity and weight, can't be counted on to expand reliably in my subjective estimate anyway.

    If we were to change the standards for how SD ammo is to perform we would definitely see a different result. My standards are different. I'll stick with ball for now.
     
  18. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I haven’t ever seen one, outside of military or FBI solicitations. The required volume of the sample set is dependent upon the population itself, so it’s hard to nail down an appropriate sample set size, but I can be sure, the dispersion we see in different tests like these is proof enough for me to say the sample sets are insufficient.

    My point is the fallacy so many guys are willing to swallow, hook, line, and sinker, when they see a “test” like Lucky Gunner’s or the OP video. Statistically, the variance and confidence intervals in these small scale tests are insufficient for drawing any conclusions, but unwitting viewers are happy to tout it as thoroughly vetted science. There are lots of this type of test online these days, but you see conflicting information in their results - often, these conflicts are nothing more than the occurrence of sampling
     
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  19. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    Why is that ?
     
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  20. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    Charts are fun.
     
  21. JTHunter

    JTHunter Member

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    immaRNurse - 40 years ago, I got a Spanish-made .380 and I have never had to shoot anybody or ordinance gelatin with the various ammo I have used. Because this is the first centerfire gun I owned, it was also the first on my reloading list. I don't know how my ammo would do in gelatin but both my 90 gr. HPs and the 100 gr. FMJs are just below a "MAX" charge of Winchester 231 powder. It is likely that these loads are a bit "faster" with more muzzle velocity (MV) and kinetic energy (KE) than most factory loads. That being said, I DO have some factory ammo in that gun and that is the "frangible" bullets the guy in the video mentioned. Those are the old blue-tipped Glaser "Safety Slugs" that are designed to shatter on plaster, paneling, etc. and NOT over-penetrate. However, put one on either side of the sternum and I believe they will play havoc with the perp's lungs.

    The first round (8 + 1) is a FMJ, followed by the Glaser, then one of my JHPs, then repeat the same 3 (total now 6) with the last two rounds being FMJs. I don't trust/believe the Glasers would do sufficient damage for a "1-shot-stop" which is why I alternate. It also helps that the barrel on this pistol is a little longer than the pocket pistol he was shooting in the video. His was 2.8" and mine is 3.25" so I get a few more feet-per-second and KE than his pistol.

    Now, .380 vs. 9mm? A 100 gr. FMJ vs. a 124 gr. bullet? Go with the 9mm. You have a larger, heavier gun that can better absorb it own recoil, you have HEAVIER (but not larger diameter) bullets, AND you have a greater number of rounds of ammo in the gun. The 9mm will NOT be as easy to conceal but if you can alter yourself to accept the size and weight difference of the 9mm vs. the .380, you won't have a problem.

    Good luck!
     
  22. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    ShootingTheBull410 was pretty serious about the IWBA tests, you can call out having a sample size of less than 40, but Lucky Gunner did no better in that regard. ShootingTheBull performed 2 tests - one test against a bare "clear" gel block, and one test against real ordnance gel and 4 layers of denim according to the IWBA specification, LuckyGunner performed 1 test - the FBI specification Heavy Clothing Barrier in front of a clear gel block.



     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018 at 8:35 PM
  23. WYO

    WYO Member

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    I have been chronographing and testing ammo through a new S&W Shield .380 EZ and learned that the 90 grain ammo (Critical Defense, Hornady Custom with XTP, Federal Low Recoil Hydra Shok) starting at about 975-1000 fps produces a lot less recoil than the Winchester 95 grain PDX1 starting at 1024 fps and the Federal 99 grain HST starting at 1041 fps (the most recoil). Rather than putting all eggs in the one-shot-stop basket, I tend to go more for accuracy and the fastest split times for follow-up shots. I would rather pick one of the 90 grain rounds that I can shoot like a .22 LR. I wouldn't carry ball in an urban environment. (WWB and UMC/Remington ball also were very slow, but easy to shoot for practice.)

    To the OP, I would shoot a variety of quality defensive ammo and figure out what you shoot best in terms of accuracy and rate of fire rather than wasting time figuring out whose jello test is better.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018 at 9:45 PM
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  24. stchman

    stchman Member

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    .380ACP and 9mm Luger will put the same sized hole since the bullets are the same diameter (0.355").

    .380ACP is perfectly adequate for a SD CCW gun.
     
  25. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    While I love my better half's SIG P-238 (absolutely sweet trigger, tiny soft-shooting baby pistol), I'll go with my SIG P-938 if I'm carrying any sort of micro-pistol. The science as well as the documented results indicate that the 9mm is substantially superior to the .380 ACP.