Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

.380ACP Carry Ammo Question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Gunmeister, Jul 24, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Gunmeister

    Gunmeister Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2004
    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    The Gunshine State==FL
    When one lives in the southern end of Florida, the uniform of the day is shorts, cotton shirt (or "T" shirt) and sandals. I find that my favorite carry guns, either a G26 or a S&W Model 60, are a little too bulky to conceal satifactorily. When carried IWB they tend to generate sweat and skin irritation.
    Having said that, I decided to dust off my NAA Guardian .380 which carries well in my pocket, albiet a tad heavy. I went to the local gunshop for a box of his "most potent .380 ACP SD ammo". I was looking for 70 or 80 gr stuff using the logic that lighter is faster and must hit harder. The shop owner disagreed, saying that in a light caliber cartridge, ie .380ACP, heavier and slower has "better stopping power". He convinced me so I bought a box of Winchester Supreme 95gr JHP Personal Protection ammo and went home.
    After thinking about our conversation, it occured to me that the terms "most potent .380ACP" and "better stopping power" are both oxymorons when used in conjuction with .380ACP ammo.
    Anyway, who was right? The shop owner or me? JW
     
  2. Tomac

    Tomac Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Messages:
    754
    Location:
    Caldwell, Idaho
    I believe that no handgun is a good "stopper" vs a determined and aggressive attacker, regardless of caliber or bullet used. Shot placement and sufficient penetration are the two most important factors, everything else is secondary. If the bullet will reach the CNS/heart/major arteries then it's "adequate" IMHO. If it can't then shot placement is moot. Remember, only a hit to the CNS will guarantee a "stop" and even a solid hit to the heart can leave 10-15 seconds worth of oxygen in the brain, plenty of time for the BG to return the favor. A hit anywhere else may *eventually* cause incapacitation due to pain, bleeding out, etc but it doesn't do you much good in "here & now". I CCW a Makarov in 9x18 (a little more powerful than the .380) and with the lighter 95gr loads I'd carry FMJ for sufficient penetration. In your case check for penetration tests for the loads you mentioned, better a non-expanding bullet that penetrates enough than an expanding bullet that doesn't. This may be of interest to you:
    http://www.firearmstactical.com/hwfe.htm
    Tomac
     
  3. sgt127

    sgt127 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2003
    Messages:
    1,084
    The few times I carry a .32 or .380, its loaded with ball. Reliability and penetration trump any possible expansion as far as I'm concerned. I really don't trust any hollowpoint to open when its coming out of a sub 2" barrel. You should look at a SW 642, weighs less than the NAA and you can reliably shoot HP in it. Since you own a SW 60, I don't have to sell you on the idea of a revolver. (This is coming from somebody that owns a NAA .32 Guardian, a Seecamp, a Kel-tec P3AT and several Walthers) We get pretty toasty down here in Texas too, and I think you will find the little airweight revolver will do everything the baby autos do and hide just as well.
     
  4. bakert

    bakert Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,668
    Although I carry heavier caliber guns(.45 auto mostly but also 9MM and .38 sp) nothing is a sure stopper. I personally would go with the heavier bullets but have no experience other than reading about the .380. Just being shot or threatened to be shot stops aggression by most bad a----es.
     
  5. JERRY

    JERRY Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Messages:
    2,349
    in a small caliber gun like the one you have, FMJ is the only game in town for me.

    i cant count on a h.p. that actually expands as advertised to penetrate a big guys arm, striking bone.....and still go through that same big guys chest deep enough to get the vitals.......not with a .380 or less anyway.

    if the bad guys in your area are meth heads, scrawny, et cetera....you may get the penetration needed. but if you have some guys who served time in the big house, you'll see they are buffed at the joints alot more than the average in shape guy......that is a lot of dense muscle and bone to go through.

    look in the mirror at yourself, and place your upper arm across your chest. you chest muscle tightens and thickens up, and your arm does too somewhat. now double that size cause that what you may have to shoot through. still want a little light h.p.?


    chances are you'll never need your gun as you are probably in a habbit of watching whats going on around you.......avoidance is the best defense in most cases, but if you cant..............................
     
  6. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Messages:
    2,251
    Location:
    Gainesville, Florida
    I vote using the heaviest FMJ you can find. ;)
     
  7. HighVelocity

    HighVelocity Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    IDPA junkie in DFW, TX
  8. Velocity229

    Velocity229 Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2005
    Messages:
    47
    I vote the 90 GR. Federal Hydra-Shock. The Hydra-Shocks expand and penetrate well, especially in smaller calibers like the 380.

    In the mag, I would use the combination of:

    Hydra-Shock, FMJ, Hydra-Shock, FMJ and so on... :)
     
  9. mete

    mete Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    3,579
    Location:
    NY
    Corbon has a JHP, the Powerball , and is going to have their DPX all copper HP.All good performers.
     
  10. PCRCCW

    PCRCCW Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    2,860
    Location:
    The Ice Cream Capitol of the World!
    You guys are smoking that stuff again........arent you? :D

    Why not carry hollow points? If they dont expand and do their job, which is better than ball anyway, they are essentially FMJ's in theory.

    Just my take on things.......hey, I use dye and glue all day....so what do you want????????

    Shoot well.
     
  11. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Messages:
    3,574
    Location:
    Arizona
    I carry the Santa Barbra 95 grain soft point ammo. It is ammo made under contract for the Spanish police and frequently available from the sportsmans guide, SOG and other internet discounters like that.
    It is the hottest 380 ammo I have found and don't recommend constant use as a practice ammo, but I think it is just fine for carry. I have put about 300 rounds of it through one of my P-3ATs and have had zero problems with it.

    As far as the 380 being ineffective.
    I think it was about a week ago that there was a shootout here in the Phoenix area and one of the shooters had a 380. His first shot shattered the other guys leg bone and that pretty much ended the fight, but he continued shooting and put three more in the guy's gut.
    The point is, if a 380 will shatter a leg bone, no one can tell me it is an ineffective round.

    I know, I know, I have heard about the 380s that bounced off of skulls! Well, so will 45acp rounds if they are not fired at steep angles to the head.
     
  12. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Messages:
    6,011
    Location:
    outback Kentucky
    I like the CorBon 90gr HP or the Remington 102gr GS HP .
     
  13. pocketgun

    pocketgun Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Messages:
    246
  14. LightningJoe

    LightningJoe Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    796
    Location:
    The good part of Dallas (i.e. not Dallas)
    The short answer is that nobody knows. All the empirical data is flawed or limited in one way or another. The theory is, well, purely theoretical.
     
  15. enfield

    enfield Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2003
    Messages:
    1,041
    Location:
    Tennessee
    The problem is that most authorities recommend at least 12 inches of penetration (in gelatin) for a defensive round. .380 HP's, if they expand, tend to not penetrate to 12 inches. If they don't expand the penetration is OK.

    Since penetration is more important than expansion, why take a chance? Carry FMJ.
     
  16. jc2

    jc2 member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,235
    FMJ is the only way to go in the .380. I lean toward the Focchi version, but it doesn't make a lot of difference.

    The problem with JHPs in the .380 is they might expand--if they expand, you cannot count on enough penetration to reach the vitals. When it comes to the .380, you have two choices: sufficient penetration or expansion. Sufficient penetration trumps expansion every time.
     
  17. Bobo

    Bobo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Messages:
    906
    Location:
    Central, VA
    What about frangibles such as RCBD, Magsafe, or Glaser?
    They are supposed to penetrate and "expand".
    Do any of them really work?
     
  18. jc2

    jc2 member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,235
    It a word, "no"--overpriced, overrated and underperformers (particularly in terms of penetration).
     
  19. enfield

    enfield Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2003
    Messages:
    1,041
    Location:
    Tennessee
    So far, the only data I've seen shows that FMJ's penetrate adequately and reliably and everything else doesn't.

    If you ever find any test data showing that somebody's JHP or frangible round penetrates at least 12" in calibrated ballistic gelatin, and compares their round to FMJ and other HP's under the same test conditions, then please post the link here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2005
  20. CZ-100

    CZ-100 Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    Sourh FL/East TN
    I carry ONLY FMJ in my P3AT.
     
  21. Elmer

    Elmer Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Messages:
    998

    Exactly right, but those who want their .380 to be a .45 don't want to hear it. Funny thing is, your advice will save them money......
     
  22. tbeb

    tbeb Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    852
    Location:
    Northwest Indiana
    When my friend was in law enforcement, he carried a 13-shot Browning loaded with Federal Hi-Shok 90 gr. JHP. I believe this combo was for used when he was undercover and when off duty. These penetrate pretty good. 95 gr. FMJ isn't a bad choice either because it penetrates pretty good too.
     
  23. cocojo

    cocojo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Messages:
    337
    Location:
    NH
    I believe that the only hollow point round to even get close to the 12 inch mark is the Hornaday 380 HP's. The rest come up way short. If I were to carry a 380, I would mix my rounds. I would use Hornadays and ball ammo. Just in case I need that extra penetration, at least I know something is going in deep.
     
  24. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Messages:
    3,574
    Location:
    Arizona
    From some of the gelatin ammo tests I've seen from the P-3AT, I doubt very much that the Hornady round would expand when shot from a P-3AT, just like the hydra Shock and CorBon don't. I don't include the powerball in that statement because I have not seen powerball gelatin test from the P3AT.

    Notice that the Gold Dot was the one JHP that expanded well in these tests and still was a little shallow on penetration!

    http://forums.stoppingpower.net/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4225&SearchTerms=p-3at
    The following are results from gelatin tests done at Evan Marshall's "stoppingpower.net" group.

    Pistol used is Keltec P3AT

    Corbon .380 90 gr. +P
    Pen 16.50+" Exp N/A (left the block, not recovered)

    Speer .380 90 gr. Gold Dot
    Pen 10.50" Exp .476

    Federal .380 90gr. Hydra Shok
    Pen 16.50" Exp .356


    IMO you must have 1000 fps for most JHP bullets to expand and that just does not happen with 95+grain bullets from the 2.75" barrel of the P-3AT!

    Save your money and go with a good FMJ until someone comes out with a 95 grain magic bullet that will expand at less than 1000 FPS and penetrate 12+ inches. That would be magic!

    Maybe the CorBon DPX in 380 will be that round.
     
  25. CA2005

    CA2005 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Messages:
    130
    Location:
    TX
    Question here....not to thread hijack but would FMJ still be the best option for a slightly larger 380, say a Beretta 84fs?

    Thanks
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page