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best .380 defense ammo

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by jae011, Mar 20, 2011.

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  1. jae011

    jae011 Member

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    any opinions on the best .380 self defense rounds? maybe winchester ranger?
     
  2. Frozen North

    Frozen North Member

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    I use the Winchester Ranger T rounds in my .380. They open reliably for me in water jugs and cycle well in my gun.

    I think the Corbon DPX is a little hotter and harder hitting, but they are cost prohibitive to practice with.
     
  3. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Corbon or FMJ.
     
  4. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    Corbon DPX. He asked for the best rounds, not the best inexpensive rounds.
     
  5. Chrontius

    Chrontius Member

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    Practice what you carry. I'd rather have something I had tested, and was comfortable with, that was a little less than perfect than something that was awesome sauce, but might not cycle and I'd never fired a whole mag of 'em since they made my hand first hurt, then go completely numb after two rounds.

    Exaggerated for comedic effect and clarity.
     
  6. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    Corbon DPX Looks like double tap is using the Barnes copper bullet (DPX) in their 380 now and showing same FPS as Corbon. Price for box of 50 better than 2, 20 round boxes from Corbon.
     
  7. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    Don't own a .380 but if I did the Remington 102 grain Golden Saber would be pretty high on my list, so would anything using the DPX bullet, followed by any JHP with good penetration that didn't act totally like ball. I'm ok with just a little expansion and more shallow penetration out of a .380 than I would be out of a 9mm or .40.

    I think it's important to realize that when using a pocket pistol round, you have some trade-offs you need to consider, and they will impact how you apply deadly force should you have to apply deadly force. You should expect to need to be a little more judicious in which shots you take with a Kel-tec or P380 compared to a PCR or Glock 19. Expecting the round to work just as well as a service caliber out of a service pistol or subcompact just isn't realistic.
     
  8. SoulLessGinger

    SoulLessGinger Member

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    Buffalo Bore 100gr hardcast or their or DT's FMJs.
     
  9. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    My KEL-TEC P3AT .380 eats everything; but prefers Hornady Critical Defense~!
     
  10. Ben86

    Ben86 Member

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    Winchester PDX1 or Speer Gold Dot

    I'm not fan of Remington Golden Saber because the recoil from it in my LCP is unnecessary and it is not a bonded bullet.

    What are you planning to shoot it out of? Make sure what you choose works in your gun.
     
  11. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    Winchester 95gr FMJ flat point #Q4206:

    [​IMG]

    Expanding .380 bullets may not penetrate deeply enough to reach and poke holes in vitals.

    .380 JHPs are inconsistent and unreliable performers. They may or may not expand, depending on circumstances.

    FMJ provides consistent terminal performance. Winchester flat nose FMJ crushes a larger diameter permanent cavity than round nose FMJ bullets. It also achieves adequate penetration to reliable reach and damage vitals.
     
  12. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    My carry loads for my LCP are Cor-Bon DPXs. Will have to try the double-tap loads. Thanx, Michael T.

    I wouldn't hesitate to carry Ranger-Ts or Gold Dots if that was all I could find, and my LCP is reliable with them. No reason it shouldn't be -- it is with everything else I've fed it! :cool:

    I also like the concept of the Hornady Critical Defense rounds, but have heard that there have been issues with defective primers in some lots.

    For practice, I shoot WWB, PMC Bronze, or Prvi Partisan FMJs. I also got a couple of hundred rounds of Prvi Partisan JHPs, which were only a dollar or so a box more than their FMJs, so have range loads that would serve in a pinch for carry. (Doubt they would expand anywhere near as well as the premium JHPs, though.)
     
  13. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    But...if they don't expand, then they'll act just like a FMJ, right? Seems like those recommending FMJs or hardcasts should be pleased when HPs fail to expand...

    I'll have to keep an eye on those Critical Defense rounds--been mentioned a couple of times here.
     
  14. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    The trade off is when they DO expand they MAY NOT penetrate deeply enough to reach and damage vitals.
     
  15. Ben86

    Ben86 Member

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    Fair enough, but I think this concern is a little overblown with calibers .380 and above. Although slow, light calibers don't make for great penetration I'm not so sure underpenetration is such a concern for the average joe, who just wants something for up close personal defense and not a tactical shootout, so as to carry fmj only. 2 inches less than the fbi minimum is not enough to make me carry fmj.

    Underpenetration can even happen with .44 magnums.
     
  16. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    Trouble finds us. We don't get to choose time, place, circumstance, or mental state of our attacker. What we "want" is usually not what happens.

    The human body is the same regardless of circumstance. An arm that just happens to get in the way at the wrong moment - even when the fight is up close and personal - may make a huge difference in the outcome.
     
  17. NMGonzo

    NMGonzo Member

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    I carry Fiocchi hollow points.

    May not expand, will not shrink, and many Archduke has been put down with .380
     
  18. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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  19. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    Oh, so the problem with .380 HPs isn't that they're "inconsistent and unreliable performers. They may or may not expand"--as stated previously.

    The problem with .380 HPs is that they're HPs.
     
  20. heeler

    heeler Member

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    Currently I carry a Golden Saber in the chamber and the next six are the Winchester 95 gr. flat nose loads Shawn is talking about.
    They work great in my Diamondback.
     
  21. withdrawn34

    withdrawn34 Member.

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    If your weapon can fire that Buffalo Bore hardcast 100gr stuff, that would be a contender (also, if you can swallow the very high price of BB ammo). Corbon is similar with regards to price.

    Otherwise, I'd advise FMJ. Expansion is not too useful if the bullet doesn't penetrate enough to begin with. I carry Remington UMC 95 gr FMJ in my DB380.

    According to the Box O' Truth, Gold Dots have extremely disappointing performance in a .380 loading. They don't expand at all! In that case, there seems to be little point to wasting money on Gold Dots when you could just buy FMJs for cheaper.

    Regardless, what is important is that you find ammo that works in your .380. Lots of .380s can be picky when it comes to ammo. The most whiz-bang bullet and loading is going to be worth squat if it doesn't go bang or jams up your pistol really badly.
     
  22. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    Paul I'd hope anyone on here would be responsible enough to load something different if their pistol couldn't help but gag on it like so many non-THR ways I could end this sentence.

    Personally I just think you should expect erratic terminal performance at best out of a pocket pistol, and the .380s I think you need to definitely be aware of their tendency to underpenetrate with a JHP load, it's just a part of using a somewhat underpowered caliber. The JHPs might deform slightly even if they don't expand truly, which gives them a better wounding profile than a round ball or even one of those flat point FMJs. Maybe you'll get a blood vessel clipped instead of pushed around the slug, and maybe that will help drive the point home to the opponent that they should try to break off the engagement.

    I dunno. When I had a .22 pocket pistol I usually carried the Aguila 60 grain bullets in it to get the most penetration and impact weight I could out of it, but it was always a second gun at best.
     
  23. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    Actually, it did shrink! Archduke Francis Ferdinand was killed with a .32 ACP! :evil::evil::evil:

    Agree 100% with your assessment of the Winchester FMJs, but not necessarily that they're better than Cor-Bon DPXs. The DPXs obviously don't penetrate as deeply, but still plenty deeply enough to reach vitals in most instances. They do expand reliably, causing more tissue damage. Six of one or half-dozen of the other whether deep penetration without expansion or less penetration with larger wound channel will cause incapacitation faster. :scrutiny:

    At least nobody's repeating the idiocy that two holes (entrance & exit) will cause quicker blood loss! (Ever hear of internal bleeding?) :rolleyes: :banghead::banghead::banghead:
     
  24. skoro

    skoro Member

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    In no particular order:

    Hornady Critical Defense
    Buffalo Bore 100gr hardcast
    Remington Golden Saber
     
  25. jbrown50

    jbrown50 Member

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    I have to second Shawn Dodson's recommendation.

    If I carried a 380 it would be loaded with full metal jacket Flat points (truncated cone). They perform the best in all the tests I've seen.

    The Buffalo Bore 100 gr. hard cast flat point is also a good one.

    The 380, with JHPs, just doesn't have enough momentum to reliably penetrate through arms, hands, clothing, sternum, bones, skin and muscle and then hit vitals.

    If you insist on carrying a JHP though, the Federal Hydrashok is the only one that even comes close.
     
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