Home Defense in Mexico: you pick... .38 spl. or .380?

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I worked with a Gringo who lives in Mexico, he told me as for shot guns only 410 gauges were allowed there ?
Home Defense in Mexico: you pick... .38 spl. or .380?
Howabout 9x18 ?
I appreciate all of your posts and thanks for the Mexico Armada link... excellent resource for one considering spending much time in Mexico!

I'm starting to get the sense that there could be some wiggle room re: the restrictions... sounds like Mexico to me... and yes, when you get away from the major cities, it's an amazingly charming country. And I get the sense that the Yucatan is much nicer and safer than the Mexico City side/area. Merida is an amazingly charming and attractive place. I recently spent about four days there and can't wait to get back there for a second visit.

.38 Super in a 1911 would be great, if allowed. And for .380, the Glock would no doubt be a top choice. I wonder if they consider .38 super or .357 SIG to be a military caliber. They do count .357 mag as a military caliber, so what's the deal with .357 sig? Guess I need to try to get this info from Mexico Armada.
A few apparently prefer 10mm. There's a thread where a fella is asking if and how to fit a .22 caliber conversion unit to his Colt Delta Elite.

The extent and degree of crime in Mexico is exaggerated some. Worse than it is in the U.S. of course and drug wars are occurring in various areas and should not be minimized, but the media in the U.S. tends to play on fears. I haven't had any problems on visits in the Yucatan and Quintana Roo over the last 5 years. Kinda like living in Oakland.


If you are going to be living there for any length of time getting a side arm is a good idea. Just a visit, you may want to think on it some. A good knife or two may help and can be carried anywhere.

If you have time go over to Valladolid not all that far from Merida. The world's best honey is produced thereabouts and is worth the trip just for a taste. A good open air market there and a couple of fellas make huaraches and holsters on the spot. If you get over to the coast go to Playa Del Carmen, off 5th Ave is a small restaurant La Quinta Passion. Excellent!

Well, first of all, if I was stuck in Mexico for any length of time, it would probably be because I was in jail. ;) But if I was somewhere I could have a gun, I'd have a very well hidden .45 of some sort. I don't care whether it's legal or not.

Merida is the most beautiful city in Mexico with the best food and the nicest people. Not nice as in I want to sell you something nice but as in good hearted and helpful people. I've been to that city three times in the past 10 years. You can walk alone at night with absolutely no worries. It is a city with a 1 million population and about 10 homicides per year. Very safe not because of an over the top police presence but because the people are flat out nice, peaceful and in manys ways still very innocent.

The first time I arrived there I was outside the bus station reading a map. A police motorcyclist approached me. My internal thoughts and instinct immediately told me reach for your wallet. To may pleasant surprise the officer asked me if I was lost and then gave me instructions on how to get to my hotel.

My earlier post mostly applies to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and the border towns.

I really envy the opportunity you have to work as an Expat in that city. I would not think twice about living there.
But if I was somewhere I could have a gun, I'd have a very well hidden .45 of some sort. I don't care whether it's legal or not.

That would be your ticket to prison. Road blocks by the military often search your car and person. A warrant is not needed to search your car or your person even without probable cause.
The 38 super is expressly prohibited by Mexican law for non-military people. I've posted the language below (in spanish).

In the new 2004 revised Mexican law, foreigners who are caught with a revolver in 38 special or smaller or an auto in 380 acp or smaller will not go to jail but pay about an 800 dollar fine, for the first offense. For the second offense, it's off to jail. Those caught with military calibers should expect to see a long time in jail and/or thousands of dollars in bribes and fines.

The URL for the mexican law is the following:

I am in Mexico a lot. It's a tough situation, not being able to protect yourself. As mentioned, a great deal of constant awareness is the best approach.

Artículo 9o.- Pueden poseerse o portarse, en los términos y con las limitaciones establecidas por esta Ley, armas de las características siguientes:

I.- Pistolas de funcionamiento semi-automático de calibre no superior al .380 (9mm.), quedando exceptuadas las pistolas calibres .38 Super y .38 Comando, y también en calibres 9 mm. las Mausser, Luger, Parabellum y Comando, así como los modelos similares del mismo calibre de las exceptuadas, de otras marcas.

II.- Revólveres en calibres no superiores al .38 Especial, quedando exceptuado el calibre .357 Magnum.
Can they have any sort of rifle or shotgun? Since its going to be in the home only...
I thought the .38 special was legal in Mexico but I must have outdated information. Between the two I would go for a high capacity .380acp +p. If I have to use a smaller caliber than I want I would compensate with capacity and quick reload capability.
Wow - a foreigner caught with a .38 only has to pay an $800 fine? You could almost just budget that into your trip. If you were sure that there was no jail time involved.

I do know that at one time Governor Napolitano of Arizona had petitioned Mexico for looser laws on Americans caught with guns. In Arizona, with so many gun owners, it is pretty easy for tourist to have a loose shell casing rolling aorund the truck bed unbeknownst. It was my understanding Mexico did relax the laws to encourage tourists to come down without fear of going to jail for an mistake.

I always thought that a .38 Ruger SP101 with some special +++P loads might be the trick. Make sure the headstamp reads .38, that's for sure. Or you could buff the writing off a stainless .357 revolver and put super-hot loaded .38s in there. I bet you could find custom reloaders who would make some high-performance loads that have the appearance of standard .38s but equal .357 performance.
I know that a lot of mexican cops carry 38 super's , I had a conversation with a cop in Acapulco, many years ago, he was so proud of his weapon that to my friends and my suprise he handed me his weapon to admire, he had some solid gold grips that I had admired. They really like the super down there, so you may want to go with that one, and as someone else mentioned, it's very corrupt, A lady friend of mine's father had 5 condo's "for the family" in Acapulco, and they would routinlly have to pay the cops off, or thay would "shake them down", whenever thy felt like it, and plant pot is thier sons car, I kenw the kid, and he didn't smoke pot, but the old man would give them fifty bucks to go away. And you are guilty until proven innocent there.That's just the way it is.
It is a city with a 1 million population and about 10 homicides per year.
Wow. Wow. New Orleans had over 200 last year, with a population of less than 250,000. Atlanta averages 180 per year (city limits population is about 450,000). With a crime rate like that, I doubt I'd carry. Maybe a less lethal alternative? But handgun with a crime rate like that? The cost benefit analysis is alot different with those kind of numbers.
Some people (residents of Mexico, for example) are restricted to pistols of .38 cal and smaller (NOT including .357, nor 9mm!!!) and are allowed in-home onl

SO no Mexican carry? what is this world coming to when you can't even Mexican carry in Mexico. Hell, they invented the damn thing!!!;)

I'd pick a Ruger Service Six in .38spl. Load it with hot and heavy loads and let's face it, you can have something in a .38spl case that is pretty much on the low end of .357 mag performance. Hell Buffalo Bore's .38+p's are MORE powerful than Speer's short barrel .357 mag!!! And if any .38spl chambered gun can take the abuse of near magnum level pressures, it's the service six.
Unless you wanna go with an SP101. that'd also do. I think the GP100 also has a variant that was made at one point in .38spl. no?
Two additional notes about Mexico: 1) In my experience, the further south and further outside of big cities you get, the more civilized and charming Mexico becomes, and 2) Mexico's constitution guarantees the right to keep arms, like ours. Just like in the US, that guarantee is worthless without a citizenry that is willing to fight to maintain their natural rights.

I was about to post this but you beat me to it - I have family across Mexico, and growing up spent my summers, in both Mexico City and the tiny towns south in the massive jungle, and east in the massive desert. Mexico City can be a very violent place, corruption is rampant, organized crime is in league with the police - kidnappings were frequent. My understanding is its gotten better, but I haven't been since I was in high school 7 years ago. However, once out in the smaller rural towns, I can honestly say I've never met more kind and generous people. Everyones homes are open to you, and you can consider everyone in town as part of your extended family.

My rural family packed shotguns for hunting boar and such, though I don't recall them ever bringing them out or going on a hunt - they farmed corn, not much livestock to protect.
People just seem to think that all of Mexico is Juarez and Tijuana, when in fact it is not. Mexicans are some of the nicest, hardest working people on the planet, but as with everything, only the worst aspects of the place are shown.

In terms of your question, I would say .38 would be good enough, although it is my understanding that the .38 super does have a large and loyal following in Mexico.
That would be your ticket to prison. Road blocks by the military often search your car and person. A warrant is not needed to search your car or your person even without probable cause.

Note the question asked was about home defense.
.38 Special, in an S&W K38/Model 15 Combat Masterpiece.

If I had to have an auto in .308, I'd probably go with a CZ83 and it's 13 rounds. I've been very impressed with my CZ82's accuracy and handling.

A 1911 in 10mm or .38super would be my first choice though, although that seems to be out of the question.
Awesome contributions everyone... thank you!

Yes, Merida is an amazing city. We felt totally safe there - as much as in any big city... safer than most, actually. The Mexican people (esp. the Mayans) are remarkably warm, caring, happy. Can't wait to get back to Merida.
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