Do You Think This .380 Round Is Sufficient For Self-Defense?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by LookAtYou, May 6, 2021.

  1. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    380 with FMJ - Nope. No reason to select underperforming FMJ when better options are available
    380 with one of the top performing HP bullets (at least 12'' penetration and consistent expansion) is "better than nothing".
    12'' penetration and consistent expansion are minimum performance for ASAP incapacitation potential in my mind.
    If I had to carry a 380 - it was the best I could do - I'd want a better performing bullet like Hornady Critical Defense or Sig V Crown:
    https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/
    Thankfully, I'm not limited to using "better than nothing" or minimum performance as criteria for my carry gun.
    Whether walking the dogs in my "excellent area" or going to an area of greater "perceived threat" - 9mm with better HP minimum.
     
  2. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    When I think of one-shot-stop, I’m talking about stopping further advancement/threat. Succumbing to injuries 30 seconds after someone is hit, allows 30 seconds of stabbing/shooting to continue putting yourself in harm. That’s what I mean when I say that one-shot-stops are the exception, not the rule with any handgun caliber.
     
  3. film495

    film495 Member

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    sometimes depending on clothing I carry a .32 ACP, and sometimes an NAA mini-revolver .22 Mag, so - IMHO .380 is good, but - my goal is to just not be defenseless, and also think if someone can shoot a .22 LR pistol quickly and accurately, and not so much with 9mm, they are better off with the .22 LR. having a firearm is the first issue that solves most conflicts, actually shooting it and hitting a target quickly and accruately is the second issue, what you hit them with is such a small remainder of the discussion, it matters, but not as much as it is discussed in my opinion.
     
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  4. Ed4032

    Ed4032 Member

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    Hopefully you will never know for sure.
     
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  5. Meeks36

    Meeks36 Member

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    I carry one with underwood defenders in mine. Also bought some Buffalo bore I have yet to check out. It’s small easily concealed. And I trust it with my life. Ruger lcp II.
     
  6. defjon

    defjon Member

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    I'd load sig v crown or hornady critical defense as mentioned. I bought some buffalo bore but I haven't seen many good tests (Luckygunner etc).

    380 in the right loads can get a least a foot of penetration with expansion. No reason to go with flat points unless you're carrying for animal defense.

    Then I would load some buffalo bore hard Cast (and they do have flat point profile).
     
  7. WYO

    WYO Member

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    That may be true for duty rounds in duty-sized handguns, but that does not apply across the board to all calibers. The .380 is challenging in that it is difficult to get both expansion and adequate penetration. Add a barrier that duty ammo is tested against and the problem gets worse in .380. I have carried Speer Gold Dots in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP for decades, but I won't carry them in my Glock 42 because they give shallow penetration, especially if they hit a barrier (such as bone) before reaching the gel.

    It is barely adequate and requires marksmanship, ability to deliver fast follow-up shots, and good ammo selection. Collateral damage comes from misses a lot more than pass-throughs.

    I carry Xtreme Penetrators in .380 and, occasionally, 9mm, and they definitely outpenetrate hollow points in those calibers. What I have noticed is that they do not overpenetrate in .380 because of the cartridge's limitations. They certainly will overpenetrate in 9mm and should only be used for defense against dangerous critters.

    I really don't know if Lehigh's claims about fluid displacement are correct, but the Xtreme Penetrators sure worked against meat and bone wrapped in blue jean material and placed in front of a gel block when I tested them in my Glock 42. In addition, they did not overpenetrate when they missed the meat and bone but penetrated only the blue jean material and gel. There are a bunch of YouTube videos including Ammo Quest, Paul Harrell and my own Bubba tests. I know they are better than Gold Dots and I suspect that they are better than most standard pressure hollowpoints when going up against anything more stout than blue jean material and gel.

    As for the original post, the flat points should work in a jam but I think there are better rounds. I would go out and shoot stuff with different ammo before deciding.
     
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  8. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Yes, absolutely correct, and primarily why I choose a low-powered round. I'd choose .32 ACP if I could get a pistol in that caliber that reliably shot those in a hollow-point. My Walther PP and CZ-70 do not reliably feed hollow points. Remember that .32 ACP / 7.5 Browning was the "go-to" caliber for European civilian, law-enforcement and military small sidearms for the first half of last century. There must have been some good reasons for its popularity because it also coincided with a period during which 9 mm was available in both ammo and firearms.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  9. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    I do know for a fact that a 95gr Federal FMJ penetrated about 12" of possum, right through it's forehead, exit below chin, re-entry near sternum. The bullet exited again very near it's tail, from about 15' away. About 5 minutes later it attacked the shovel I was using to bury it, requiring BFT to dispatch it.
    I lost faith in .380 for anything but a last resort.
     
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  10. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Exercise of lawful lethal self-defense is a last resort. Extension of that exercise to any target other than the imminent threat is at the very least unlawful involuntary manslaughter.
     
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  11. Paul7

    Paul7 Member

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    Yes I do, take a look at this chart, there ain't a whole lot of difference in real world SD situations between .380 and other calibers: https://www.buckeyefirearms.org/alternate-look-handgun-stopping-power

    A .380 has about the same power as a .38 special, which cops carried for decades. IMHO one reason the .380 gets no respect is the small size of the cartridge, designed by John Moses Browning for smokeless powder, as opposed to the larger .38 special cartridge designed for black powder.
     
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  12. Paul7

    Paul7 Member

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    If I'm a bad guy who just heard a pistol fire at me with the bullet hitting a bone, I'm breaking off the attack and picking on someone else. Perps may be criminals but they aren't stupid, and probably aren't going to stick around analyzing what caliber they've just been shot with.

    The average shooter will make more hits with a .380 than a more powerful caliber, being a pretty easy to shoot pistol, at least in my Glock 42. I remember an article where even experienced gun guys had trouble connecting with the micro 9's.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
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  13. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

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    I carry Underwood +P XTP's in my Beretta 84F, and feel pretty well armed with the combination.
    But frankly, I'd feel ok with the FMJ's too. 20170811_234731.jpg
     
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  14. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    No, it's about 3 steps before of "last resort".
    Defending myself with the .380 technically isn't last resort either, as I rank it higher than poking someone in the eye with my keys which is only slightly above an empty water bottle.
     
  15. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    That's all the same "caliber"--9mm/.357--just over a wide range of velocities

    For my 2¢ the ammo you are most accurate, and most comfortable with matter more than almost anything else. Comfort has a huge component in group size & placement.

    As to which bullet, well, if you read the reports of urban ER surgeons, who see this sort of thing after the fact, generally can't tell the difference until the diameter gets above .44 or below .25 and thereabouts. And they can for sure tell rifle rounds from pistol rounds. The ER stats are that about 5/6 of gunshot victims brought alive to the ER survive.

    Fancy bullets are much like colorful fish lures--more about sales than end effect.

    Comfort, confidence, shot placement are far more important than which .373superdeathkillmagnum round you are buying for £6 /2 3d each.
     
  16. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    In a range / training / target-shooting situation I agree with that advice 100%. In a self-defense situation, well, I dunno if "comfortable" is an applicable criterion. Insofar as it applies to "muscle memory" perhaps. But never having been in that situation, and hopefully never will, I'm not "comfortable" agreeing 100% to that wrt a self-defense incident. Some additional training in simulated stress scenarios would be in order. That kind of training is few and far between in my local area.
     
  17. murf

    murf Member

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    yes

    murf
     
  18. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    That was my intent. The "comfort" being in operating the tool, not in a "worst-case use" scenario.
    If a person carries, say, a .44 snubbie but knows it's going to hurt to shoot, even without flinching, has added another layer of complexity to a high-intensity situation.
     
  19. Monac

    Monac Member

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    "Adequate penetration". FMJ round-nose or flat-nose bullets gave us all the penetration we could get from a given pistol caliber. Yet there was a demand for bullets that were more effective. So there are hollow point pistol bullets in all common self-defense calibers from 32 ACP on up. I can see adequate penetration being an issue in really low-powered rounds that lack the energy for expansion on impact with the human body anyway, like 25 ACP, 32 S&W, and even 32 S&W Long. With more powerful loads, the whole case for expanding bullets was that penetration alone was not enough. I would be worried about lack of expansion rather than lack of penetration.

    And now we need to concern ourselves with self-defense situations where the person we are defending ourselves against is behind a barrier? OK, that could happen. But is it likely enough to be worth taking into account when choosing ammunition? I am already willing to concede that 380 ACP HP's may be low on expansion. If you want me to give up some or all of that expansion, you need a better argument than "it might happen"; you need to show that there is a significant chance of it happening. I admit that I don't know a lot about these matters, so I am willing to be shown,
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  20. Paul7

    Paul7 Member

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    Would love to hear any stories of a .380 used for SD not being enough.

    It was in this case:
     
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  21. Paul7

    Paul7 Member

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    This is what is lost in the gel block discussions, which round are you more likely to make vital hits with?
     
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  22. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    Probably any gun caliber would do in that case. It's not like the BG stopped to shoot it out until he dropped dead or lost consciousness.
     
  23. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Paul Harrell does a lot of testing different bullets.
    Here is one for .380 acp.
    The Hornady Critical Defense was by far the best bullet.

     
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  24. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    Didelphis virginiana is a strange animal. It's harder to kill one of those than it is to kill a human.
     
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  25. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    Of the ones tested in that video. Has has run other 380 ammo as well.
     
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