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do you own and shoot a .380?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by thunderbyrd, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Member

    Feb 5, 2021
    at some point, i plan to buy a browning 1911-380. i love the way that pistol looks and i think it would be ok for concealed carry. but i have no experience with that caliber. i've watched a bunch of videos of that gun, on some there's no problems and some others it don't feed so good.

    so i wonder about anybody's experiences with .380 and what is the good ammo and what to avoid. i've got this notion in my head that autoloaders work better with ball ammo than with hollowpoints. i know the .380 isn't a real powerhouse round, but, hey, i'm a "shot placement" believer

    any thoughts about .380 you'd care to share?

    it's the 2d rung on my "Stairway to 1911".
  2. Jimster

    Jimster Member

    Sep 2, 2015
    I carry one everyday. I even reload the little boogers. Hardball is what I use exclusively. Still love my 1911s but this little LCP2 is so comfortable in my pocket.
    ThomasT, Meeks36, murf and 5 others like this.
  3. Pistolay

    Pistolay Member

    Oct 19, 2016
    New Hampshire
    I own a Glock 42, LCP II, and a pair of LCP Max's. The Max's rotate as my EDCs. I'm a big fan of the caliber, because discretion is extremely important to me, and IMO, .380 offers the best balance of capability, shootability, and very small size. I used to carry with SIG Elite 100gr FMJ, because flat points supposedly will tumble and create a bigger wound channel, from what I've read, although I've never seen proof.

    A while back, ShootingTheBull410 did a bunch of .380 ballistics testing videos, and his results showed good performance from Hornady's XTP bullet (especially Precision One), so these days, I carry Hornady American Gunner 90gr XTP.
  4. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

    Jan 29, 2021
    Shamokin/Coal twp Pa.
    I have 6 of them. Including a RIA baby rock 1911.
  5. Bolson

    Bolson Member

    Apr 19, 2018
    I have 3...original lcp, lcp 2, and springfield 911. The 911 had to go back to the factory to get it to run. It wouldn't feed for crap. SA had it for about 2 weeks, came back good to go.

    Just worked up a load with the 90gr xtp that passed the ballistic gel test. So far all 3 function perfectly with those...little more testing and I will carry any one of the 3 with those.

    Factory defense loads with that bullet seem to do well. Try different brands and see what works.
  6. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

    Jun 6, 2016
    SE Idaho
    Are you asking about the 380 ACP cartridge itself, or a Browning 1911-380? It might make a difference.
    My wife carries a Smith Shield 380 EZ (because a Smith Shield 9mm EZ bothers her arthritic thumb joint) and she's ran hundreds of rounds through it without a single failure of any kind. On the other hand, I used to have a Browning 1911-9mm, and I can't remember it ever having a failure to do anything either.
    On the other, other hand, our daughter carries a Smith Shield 9mm EZ that she likes real well, and I don't think she's had any problems with it. It's the gun that she loaned to her mom (my wife) to try, and that's what convinced my wife she wanted one like it, only chambered in 380 ACP so that it wouldn't make her arthritic thumb joint hurt. My wife would rather carry a 9mm, but like most of us have to do when it comes to carry guns, she compromised.:thumbup:
    Saddleman51 likes this.
  7. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

    Jan 21, 2021
    West TN
    I have three of them, LCP, Diamondback, and Taurus Spectrum. No feed problems with any of them. For targets, I shoot mainly Everglades 95 fmj rn, 100gr hb fmj rn, and 95hr hp. For SD its usually 90gr xtp.
  8. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

    Oct 14, 2016
    I have a full size Black Label 1911-380. It's a nice enough gun, but I would not carry a SAO pistol. Also, finding suitable holsters is a pain in the butt, even considering that 1911-22 holsters fit. One other thing, try not to slam magazines in. Do it hard enough and the top round will rotate.
  9. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

    May 19, 2016
    U S A
    I have tow .380's...an LCP and a FireStorm. The LCP is very compact and is my go-to for a small gun.
    TBL004 likes this.
  10. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007

    I currently have three of them: a Colt Mustang, a SIG P238, and a KelTec P3AT. All of them are very reliable with FMJ ammo but can get a bit troublesome at times with JHPs. I also value penetration with the .380, more so rather than counting all that much on expansion. The Colt and SIG are fun guns to shoot and are capable of some very decent accuracy. The Mustang has the slightly better trigger, maybe because it's the oldest and has had more usage than the other two. But the P238 has the better sights so chalk up some points on that comparison. The P3AT is primarily my carry gun when I use to do yard work in the back 40 and just wanted something extremely lightweight to have on me at those times. Not so much fun to shoot as the other two but still within the acceptable level of felt recoil.
  11. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

    May 5, 2011
    Tampa Bay
    I like 380, but I like it because it allows a reasonably powerful round in a very compact package. The Browning 1911-380, while compact, doesn't fully take advantage of the round's form factor potential. And its been said, SAO may not be the best option for concealed carry, its not my 1st choice. That being said, if you can carry it well, and shoot it proficiently, then go for it. The round is capable, as long as you understand it's limitations
    ontarget and Hugger-4641 like this.
  12. eddiememphis

    eddiememphis Member

    May 31, 2021
    My first gun purchase was a Sig P232 Two Tone. Added a Hogue grip. One of the most comfortable guns I have ever held, and that opinion is backed up by everyone that has held it.


    Ammo to avoid? Don't have to worry about it now, but Wolf is the nastiest garbage I have ever shot. The smoke is toxic and it took me an hour to clean the gun. I swore I would never put that junk through my gun again. I still have two boxes of it I should throw in the trash but can't bring myself to do it.

    Modern .380 ammo by good manufacturers take advantage of recent bullet technology. I would not hesitate to have one as a carry gun, considering both reliability and stopping power.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
  13. tactikel

    tactikel Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Northeastern Illinois
    I have owned .380 pistols for many years. A Firearms International model-D (think 1/2 size 1911) ran 2k rounds thru her great gun. My LCP gen ll is my warm weather CC. Puts 6 rounds in a playing card at 5 yards. Advances in ammo makes the .380 A legit SD round. I carry Ruger ARX , Lehigh, or Critical Defense.
    ARX, Lehigh, or Critical defense, and FMJ, can penetrate 12” at 7 yards. Test all for reliability in your gun.
    Hugger-4641 likes this.
  14. v8stang289

    v8stang289 Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    Eastern NC
    I've owned a KelTec P3AT since 2009, and a Kimber Micro since 2017
    Both have been flawless with several brands of fmj and hollowpoint ammo (Rem Golden Sabers, Hornady FTX and Speer Gold Dot)
    I now carry Golden Sabers, since they were more easily available and cheaper to buy larger quantities to test and practice with.
    They're 102gn and average ~815fps
    The Kimber has a better trigger and sights, but the KelTec is lighter and slightly slimmer.
    I carried the Kimber for a couple years, but the KelTec went back to daily duty a couple years ago. The combo of size/weight/shootability is hard to beat.
    Seymour380 and bannockburn like this.
  15. huntsman

    huntsman Member

    Apr 11, 2003
    ohio's northcoast
    I have two, Browning BDA, LCP. Carried both with the LCP being my EDC for 8 years.

    Plan is to replace the 2010 vintage Elsie with a MAX as a house gun with occasional public carry.

    Ammo is complicated as I have a wide range from BB +p to old corbon jhp, around the house I use WWB fmj and I’ve used PDX-1 when it was my EDC
  16. Atrox88

    Atrox88 Member

    Sep 19, 2020
    I carry the LCPII in the pocket loaded with Federal AE 380 95gr ball ammo. If I can't get it done with that then shame on me.
    Jimster likes this.
  17. joneb

    joneb Member

    Aug 18, 2005
    I've shot a Bersa 83a, great gun but a little heavy with a bulky grip for a 7rnd mag. I had a E.G. PM Makarov great gun but a little heavy. I've settled for a Sig 938 Legion a more compact and lighter carry pistol. I guess for me the compact 9x19 works for me but a even smaller lighter .380 acp is not out of my sights.
  18. ontarget

    ontarget Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    Michigan (Gods country)
    I rarely carry my LCP but not because it's a bad option, but because it's left at our summer get away. I carry it there because I'm usually wearing shorts and it carries well in the pocket. Can't carry my normal EDC because I don't usually wear a belt with my shorts. I also have a Bersa Thunder but never carry it because for the size and weight I can carry a double stack compact 9mm.
    I use a flat nose FMJ in both and have never had a problem.
    murf and beagler like this.
  19. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    South Eastern Illinois
    I'm a long-term LCP fan. I have mine in my waistband right now.
    I carry 99gr Federal HST in an extended 7rd magazine.
    I carry my .380 with confidence as my personal defense pistol.
    JT-AR-MG42, murf, Riomouse911 and 5 others like this.
  20. beagler

    beagler Member

    Aug 29, 2006
    Another LCP fan here. I carry it more than my Shield or SW637. As long as you practice with it and trust your abilities with a 380, it should be a fine defensive caliber. Today’s 380 ammo has come a long way from years ago. I have no issue carrying mine.
    TBL004 likes this.
  21. Tallball

    Tallball Member

    Oct 2, 2014
    I have owned a dozen or so 38acp pistols.

    I always use FMJ in my 380's... possibly because I'm lazy.

    I normally carry a snub revolver, but occasionally a smaller pistol would be more accessible, and in that case I carry my Ruger LCPII.

    The 1911-380 is an unusual choice for concealed carry. It's fairly large and heavy for its caliber. Not everyone is comfortable carrying a single-action pistol.

    Here's my PPK clone, proof that I gave in and bought an unnecessarily large and heavy antiquated 380acp pistol of my own. :)

    One or more Gunbroker venders have some surplus CZ83's for sale. The ones with worn finish are going for $300. That would be my first choice for a largish 380 pistol, of the ones I've owned. The Beretta Model 84 is pretty good, too. They're both double-action service pistols designed to be carried on a belt, and hold about a dozen rounds apiece.

    Seymour380 likes this.
  22. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

    Dec 7, 2010
    I carry a Remington RM380 loaded with Precision One .380 ACP 90 grain XTPs as a backup to my Rohrbaugh R9

    And here is the video:

    Thanks to ShootingTheBull410, what a great guy...
  23. toivo

    toivo Member

    May 27, 2005
    New York State
    I have a bunch of them:
    • Glock 42
    • a couple of SIG P238s
    • SIG P232
    • Beretta 85
    • Beretta Pico
    • CZ 83
    The Pico and the 42 get carried the most -- Pico in my front pocket whenever I go out, 42 in a fanny pack when I'm riding my mountain bike. The P238s get carried occasionally, but the others are strictly for the range.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
  24. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Member

    Feb 5, 2021
    the browning 1911-380 is sized 85% of a full size 1911. it's still not a pocket pistol, though. it probably isn't the best choice for CC. i intend to have one anyway.

    it sounds to me like the .380 cartridge does a good job and feeds good.
  25. BoBo522

    BoBo522 Member

    Nov 6, 2019
    LCP, for those rare occasions when the P365 just isn’t small or light enough. Loaded with Golden Saber 102gr BJHP.
    murf likes this.
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