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Question on .380 Automatic

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Mr. Mosin, May 13, 2020.

  1. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    9mm Browning is not the same as 9mm Luger.
     
  2. FFGColorado

    FFGColorado Member

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    HA..corrected and live and learn.
     
  3. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    I believe you missed my point.
     
  4. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    I've seen a fair amount of 380 shootings. From what I've seen the hollowpoints tend to expand and have low penetration. It still works much of the time but would definitely be a poor performer if it needed to go through an arm first.

    Currently, if I were to carry a 380 Id try and find a flat nosed 380 to ensure good penetration and the profile would provide a better wound track.
     
  5. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I don't have any .380's. I only shoot revolvers. So I don't have a horse in this game and this isn't a personal issue with me. My own opinions about what "adequate" penetration are really irrelevant compared to the overwhelming popularity of 12" to 18" in 10% ordinance gelatin that was promoted by Dr. Fackler, accepted by the FBI, and that has become the single greatest influencing factor in handgun ammunition development for all major handgun ammunition manufacturers in the US market. There are plenty of sound arguments against gel. I am not advocating gel. But it would be ignorant to think that gel has not influenced ammo and bullet design heavily since the Miami shootout and that performance in gel doesn't remain today the single most important criteria for handgun ammo makers and major buyers like government and law enforcement. There simply isn't another factor that is given even close to as much attention.

    I don't have lots of gel test results for .380. What I do have are the ones provided by Lucky Gunner. LG used clear synthetic gel instead of 10% real gelatin. The results can be questioned to some degree, but they still illustrate my point:
    expansion.jpg
    data from Luckygunner.com

    I have sorted the table by bullet expansion. Notice that top half of the defensive ammo sampled expands by more than just a couple hundreths of an inch. They also mostly fail to meet the 12" minimum penetration standard. There are a couple exceptions with the Hornady Critical Defense and the Remington Ultimate Defense. The Remington expands inconsistently and appears to penetrate sufficiently for the standard when it doesn't expand. The Hornady shows good expansion, but barely meets the penetration standard. It is probably one of the most carefully designed-for-gel bullets available. If you believe that bullet design has made wonderful advancements since Miami, this is the one (and maybe only?) .380 cartridge there is for evidence. The table shows that for most .380 ammo, no there hasn't been much advancement. The 115gr. 9x19mm Winchester Silvertips used in Miami would perform about the same as the rest of these low-penetration .380 hollowpoints. 9x19 Silvertips penetrate about 9". The bottom half of the table shows bullets that oftentimes penetrated very well, but did not expand. While these bullets appear to have failed any intention to expand, they would at least reach sufficient depth to cause wounding to vitals. If the gel standard is given credence, that much seems hard to expect from something like the Winchester Train & Defend.


    penetration.jpg

    Here is the same data sorted by penetration. The top half of the of the sampled ammo did not penetrate to the 12" standard. Looking at the expansion column for the bottom half the chart, we can see that most of the bullets that did penetrate sufficiently to meet the standard did not expand more than a couple hundreths of an inch. We can see in the pictures what that expansion looked like.

    The takeway seems to be that with .380, you can have expansion or penetration, but there aren't many choices of ammunition that will give both. The Hornady FTX Critical Defense did well by this test's criteria. If a person puts faith in this kind of test, they might be a good choice. On the other hand, a person could choose a FMJ bullet and have reasonable confidence they will get the kind of penetration seen by these hollowpoints that didn't expand.

    Choosing penetration over expansion at the cost of marginal penetration has been the advice of some wound ballistics experts like Dr. Fackler. This is why hollowpoints were forsaken in .38 Special in favor of wadcutters. What's the right choice? Well, Paul Harrel would say, "you be the judge."
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  6. Monac

    Monac Member

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    Labnoti,
    A) You could have just quoted Dr. Fackler in the first place instead of putting up that picture of Michael Platt and saved all this trouble.

    B) As I said, back before hollowpoints, round nose bullets gave us all the penetration we could get. This was not considered effective for purposes of law enforcement officers. Therefore, hollowpoint pistol bullets were developed. What you are saying is that in some cases, hollowpoints are less effective than the traditional RN bullets. There may be some anecdotes to support this (Michael Platt), but I find it difficult to believe this is the general rule.

    C) In particular, you seem to be saying that hollowpoints are less effective than round nose bullets in 380 ACP. How do you propose to support this? You have a lot of figures about penetration and expansion in ballistic gelatin. How do you connect those up to actual effect? By saying they do not give the penetration Dr. Fackler recommends? It appears to me that you are arguing that 380 HPs have been around for at least 40 years, perform worse than the FMJ rounds they supplanted, and no one has really noticed?

    D) You say "This is why hollowpoints were forsaken in .38 Special in favor of wadcutters. What's the right choice? Well, Paul Harrel would say, 'you be the judge.'" I am glad Paul Harrell (?) will let me be the judge, because I find it very difficult to wrap my head around the idea that 38 wadcutters (mid-range or what, BTW?) are more effective the the 38 Special +P 158 grain LSWCHP (lead semi-wadcutter hollow point). You know - the FBI Load.

    As I may have already said in this thread, discussions about stopping power in pistols generate far more heat than light. There are people who have high regard for Dr., Fackler, for instance, and people who do not. Personally, I think some things can be regarded as established simply by what law enforcement has done in the past 45 years - namely, the adoption of hollow points and the advantages of at least some expansion at the expense of the penetration we used to get from traditional bullets.

    I will probably regret continuing this discussion, and I thank you for your continued civility, labnoti. But this debate is out of my wheelhouse. I am a gun collector, not an "operator".
     
  7. Viper1357

    Viper1357 Member

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    +1
    Plus lots of practice to achieve it if necessary. My pic below is slow fire, but you have to start somewhere and speed up from there.


    lcp_1st_shots.jpg
     
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  8. Sgt. Stiglitz

    Sgt. Stiglitz Member

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    I have like 9 .380's. Colt 1908, Walther PPK, Sig 238, Browning BDA, I have had 3 of the Browning BDA's one of my favorite pistols of all times, CZ-83 and another CZ-82 in 9x18, Swedish Pistol m/1907 in 9 Browning Long and .380. Smith & Wesson EZ .380. A P-64 in 9X18 and a Walther PP Super in 9 x18 Ultra. I carry the little Sig 238 as my EDC just because it is so small, stainless, light and it is a locked breech pistol, single action with a NICE trigger and Huge sights! Not an expert but have been shooting and reloading .380's since like 1982! I carry the 102gr Golden Sabres and Winchester .380 95gr Ranger T-Series. I live in Az. Nobody here wears heavy leather or Denim jackets. I know the Golden Sabres 102gr and Winchester .380 95gr Ranger will expand some. You can catch the Golden Sabres on sale at Midwayusa from time to time for reloading. XQ2uwwt.jpg
    I know my Sig is plenty accurate! 7 yrds.
    4xx5FRq.jpg
    Remington 102gr Golden Sabre's Shot into a gallon jug of water.
    7KIhYzm.jpg
    4 grs Unique HP's Browning BDA. Remington Golden Sabres.
    6boMan1.jpg
    4 Gr of WW 231 Hornady 95 STX HP's Browning BDA.

    G3ebm9A.jpg
    Sig 238 12 yds. .380 2Phyl9o.jpg
    Walther PP Super 9x18 Ultra..........95 Gr PPU HP's 4 grs WW 231


    gouCwN5.jpg
     
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  9. Ernie Bass

    Ernie Bass Member

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    PrecisionOne XTP Plus P.

    3) Pico's
    2) Kahr's CW and Pm
    1) LCP (do not shoot +P)
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  10. Armybrat

    Armybrat Member

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    My Kahr CT380 is a very nice shooter with Hornady Critical Defense.

    5404C227-6EEC-49AF-A34B-4B8FBC5F56E6.jpeg
     
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  11. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    In the Lucky Gunner tests the .380 round that had the best and most consistent penetration was the 88 Grain - Remington HTP. Average penetration was 16.9" The most shallow penetrating bullet penetrated 15.9" and the deepest penetrating bullet was 17.4"

    All 5 bullets had the exact same level of expansion. :)

    https://www.luckygunner.com/380-auto-88-gr-jhp-remington-htp-500-rounds#geltest

    I'm just sayin...
     
  12. Ernie Bass

    Ernie Bass Member

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    Shot placement, Shot Placement! Cannot say it enough. It is not about 9mm, the 380 will perform.very well for the right shooter to 15 yds. Some take it even further. Find the Defense ammo you like, and then just start training with range ammo. You want to shoot the 9mm well, then shoot it well. But if you carry a 380 You can do much more than the internet leads you to believe. Focus on the 380. and let the 9mm bashers of 380;s in this world worry about their own capabilities with what they carry. And nothing say's you cannot shoot the 9mm with confidence either. Shoot the 380 small barrel and the 9mm will be no problem. But not alway's vice versa.
     
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  13. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Member

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    It's a bit of a mixed bag with the 380, it's on the cusp of being just adequate or not quite adequate enough, it could go either way depending on ammo, so what I say isn't anything new but just my own experiences. I do regularly pocket carry a Glock 42, best shooting 380 I've ever had, and most of the time I do carry JHP ammo, either Federal HST, Speer Gold Dot or Sig V-Crown because they seem to generally penetrate okay and expand, and I want expansion if I'm going to carry a JHP, not much point to otherwise.

    I think the longer barrel of the G42 helps over an LCP sized gun. There are a few 380 loads that do seem to expand and penetrate pretty well, and sites like LuckyGunner shows gel tests of many JHP options. The 380 FMJ is going to penetrate deeper (well, unless the JHP doesn't open up) and that is important, but if you carefully choose a JHP, there shouldn't be much concern. On another note, don't put a ton of faith in gel testing, it's a good medium to compare other cartridges with, but it's not flesh and muscle and bone.

    Plenty of grown men have taken dirt naps from the 380, it's not that powerful, but all it takes is a bullet in the right spot and it's game over.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  14. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Sgt. Stiglitz likes this.
  15. Edcnh
    • Contributing Member

    Edcnh Contributing Member

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    I use the Hornady 90 grain XTP when I carry a 380 in the summer. As others have stated the XTP got good reviews from the Ammoquest tests.
     
  16. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    The ARX are not designed to expand. They are designed to be barrier blind and achieve deeper penetration via a higher velocity due to their lower grain weight. Their cavity expansion is compliments of the hydraulic cavitation caused by the flutes and the bullets rotation. The ARX round is ideally suited to short barreled guns. I've read, it was originally developed for the .380 ACP round.

    I just purchased a Kimber Micro .380 for my wife and will equip it with ARX ammo. I've been carrying it for years in my Ruger LCR and will be carrying it exclusively in my new SIG P365XL when I include it in my EDC rotation.
     
  17. Monac

    Monac Member

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    Wow. That is all so much Greek to me. I officially do not know anything about pistol bullet stopping power and will let those who do discuss the matter without my input. Thanks for opening my eyes, WheelGunMan. :)
     
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