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Results of the .380 Up close and personal...

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by mcdonl, Jun 30, 2010.

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After seeing this, would you continue to carry a .380 or opt for something bigger?

Poll closed Jul 14, 2010.
  1. Yes

    136 vote(s)
    70.8%
  2. No

    6 vote(s)
    3.1%
  3. Would not carry .380 to begin with.

    50 vote(s)
    26.0%
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  1. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Hi folks, I wanted to share an EMS call I responded to this morning and ask if you think this would have the same outcome with ANY caliber other than the .380ACP? I could envision maybe the .25 but that's it... I carry a .380 for SD at times...

    Here is the story...

    Called to an attempted suicide, Mechanism of Injury was a GSW to the chin with a .380 pistol (vision holding gun to chin....)

    Patient shot himself approximately 6 hours before calling 911. Bullet entered chin, went through lower jaw, tongue, broke a bunch of teeth and some damage to soft pallet but no penetration into skull from mouth. The bullet was either swallowed or spit out as there was only minor damage to upper jaw/mouth.

    Vitals were stable, some blood was aspirated but breathing was spontaneous, pt was transported without incident to trauma center.

    He was either very lucky... or very un-lucky depending on how you look at it.
     
  2. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    That's a lot of hard tissue (bone, teeth) the bullet encountered, which presented substantial penetration resistance.

    We normally don't target maxilliofacial skull structures. A hit in this location is usually either by chance or its the only available target.
     
  3. ADKWOODSMAN

    ADKWOODSMAN Member

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    Was the boolet a HP or FMJ?
     
  4. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Good point.

    Not sure about that.
     
  5. HGUNHNTR

    HGUNHNTR Member

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    I think that would be enough to discourage most bad guys.
     
  6. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Thats a great point, also it is unclear if the patient lost consciousness either. It was several hours from the time the trigger was pulled to the time 911 was called. But, either way... that is enough to slow about anyone down. I just figured point blank like that would have been a sure kill... shows what I know.
     
  7. wrs840

    wrs840 Member

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    Of course a .380 a poor primary defense gun, but have we not all agreed enough times that while far from ideal, a LCP or P3AT pocket-holstered in light Summer slacks or shorts, when a heavier CCW is a no-go, is way better than the alternative of nothing?

    Les
     
  8. nitetrane98

    nitetrane98 Member

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    I answered yes but I really don't know what I answered yes to. Yes I'd continue to carry a .380 or yes I'd opt for something larger?

    Sounds to me like the bullet went where it was aimed. You can try this at home. Tilt your head way back and stick your finger right under your jawbone. If you're parallel to your throat you might do well to blow your nose off. Put a little tilt on it and you'll have a ricochet off the lower jaw. Since the bullet went through the tongue it's pretty obvious that the gun was angled enough to hit the upper teeth. A more powerful round might have simply exited out a cheek. More velocity and a bigger bullet with the accompanying trauma notwithstanding, I can see the same result possibly happening. Doesn't sound like the brain pan was ever in serious danger.

    Yet again the old maxim is proven, Location, location, location.
     
  9. il_10

    il_10 Member

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    I'm not sure how .380 specific that is. We had an almost identical case at my school two semesters ago. Guy claimed to have been cleaning it, and it went off (...o_O) straight up through the jaw, destroying a cheek bone, blowing out some teeth, destroying a sinus cavity, only to bounce off of his skull apparently at the forehead. He was air-evaced to a hospital, and then somewhere else for reconstructive surgery. badda bing, four months later he's back on campus like nothing ever happened.
    This was with a 1911 .45 acp.
     
  10. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    Somewhat the same thing locally last year. Local store manager's father in law was shot in the face with a 9mm at close range and lived.

    Strange things happen.
     
  11. MattTheHat

    MattTheHat Member

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    I guess for me, the question is not what a single shot to the chin will do. Depending which of my 380s I'm carrying at the time, the results would be 6 to 13 times greater. I've said it before, if 6 shots of 380ACP doesn't dissuade an attacker, I guess I feel pretty confident in my ability to either escape/retreat from the threat or continue resisting by hand.


    -Matt
     
  12. FTSESQ

    FTSESQ Member

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    Crazy stuff happens. There was a case on America's most wanted where a home invader shot a home owner point blank in the back of the head with a Glock 9mm (they didn't say what model). The home owner called 911 to report the robbery saying that the thief punched him in the head. He didn't even know that he was shot. When the cops got to his house he (the home owner) was walking around like nothing happened. He had a 9mm JHP lodged in his skull. Is this to say that 9mm are not lethal? No. ***** happens. People get lucky... or unlucky. This has nothing to do with caliber.

    The gun that you have on you when the S hits the fan is a million times better than the gun in your safe that you don't carry all the time because its too big, too heavy, or whatever.

    Edit: The head has A LOT of bone in it. The chin (lower mandible) is actually the densest and hardest bone in the whole of the entire body. Bone is a very good stopper of bullets. I have seen 30-06 bullets lodged in the bones of deer, which are pretty similar to humans, so its not very surprising that if any bone stopped a bullet that it would be the lower jaw. A well placed 380 round will end someone faster than a poorly placed 44 mag.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  13. eatont9999

    eatont9999 Member

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    Sadly, a member at the club I belonged to in MA decided to take his life with a .45ACP at the range. I can't imagine he suffered much and he did not get a second chance. I will leave it at that to avoid making the fine people on this forum vomit his or her dinner into his or her keyboard.
    I know the odds are better for defense if you use a larger caliber but if the circumstances call for it, I would pack a .380. I usually pack a .38SPL so I am not too far off as of now. It is better than the gun you left at home by far.
     
  14. Weevil

    Weevil Member

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    Well if I was gonna commit suicide it sure wouldn't be with a pistol and for damn sure it wouldn't be a .380.


    I've heard of too many "attempts" that didn't work with about every caliber there is.

    Yeah sometimes it works, a friend's son ended his life with a single shot from a 9mm, but if it doesn't it's gonna hurt real bad, and if you survive you could be badly maimed or horribly brain damaged.
     
  15. c919

    c919 Member

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    Yeah, I'm still cool with .380.

    If you don't aim for the brain, the brain doesn't get hit. You do know that half of the head is not considered a vital?

    That would've been the result no matter what the caliber. If you shoot the jaw, not matter what caliber, you still miss the brain.

    In all honesty, a smaller caliber would be more likely to bounce off of bones in the lower face and deflect towards the brain (as opposed to smashing through in a straight manner).

    I used to work in Radiology (taking lots of head x-rays), and in that time it became very apparent to me that one could take a headshot without being put down. Take a close look at this head x-ray...

    [​IMG]

    ...There's plenty of non-CNS area there.
     
  16. FTSESQ

    FTSESQ Member

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    ... Talk to Hitler and his cronies... The 380 did them well
     
  17. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Member

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    Thats not exactly true...

    IF that bullet had penetrated, it would have severed the brain stem...there is no quicker way to kill than that. (some of you may have heard of "the fatal T"...a hit in the bottom of "the fatal T" is a round through the lower lip, severing the brain stem, and INSTANT death...not even a flinch of nerve reaction after that)

    The 380 round is largely ineffective...and that is proof. That is not to say that it won't kill, just that it often does not.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  18. hemiram

    hemiram Member

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    My dad's cousin was always talking about killing himself, since he came back from Europe after WWII ended. He was a cook, never in combat, but his lifelong depression went up a notch during his time in the military. He never even took pills or anything, he just talked about it. It was like, "Good morning Al!" Al:"Good morning, I'm thinking about killing myself!"

    He even did it at holiday gatherings in front of his nieces and nephews. After 2 DECADES of this, one day he's at work, at my dad's Army/Navy/hardware store, and he's showing a young couple a gun, a .32 S&W revolver. He loaded one round in it, said, "And that's how you load it!", put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger! The bullet went completely through his head, and he was killed instantly. Years later, I was working there, and decided to clean up the display area on the other side of the main room, about 40 feet from where he shot himself. This area hadn't been touched for years. Almost as soon as I started, I began finding dried up bits of skin and hair, and several bits of skull. My dad was walking by and I said, "What the hell did AL shoot himself with?", and he said, "Why?" and then I showed him what I had found. Needless to say, I was kind of shocked when he showed me the same model gun he had used. I expected it to be a .357 or something, but a .32? Not a magnum, just a .32.

    So I would expect a .380 to do a fair job of killing someone too.
     
  19. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Shooting yourself anywhere other than the temple isn't likely to end with the results you want. I used to work with a guy that put a .38 under his chin "to end it all", he only managed to turn himself into a vegetable. And my wife worked with a lady once whose husband decided to off himself too, with fire. He survived too, after burning off most of his features and extremities.

    My wife also had a neighbor during her first marriage that did it right, with a .357 to the temple. He succeeded, but he also did this with his wife and kids sitting right in front of him at the breakfast table. My wife got to clean up the mess, and his wife and kids were scarred for life. Needless to say, my wife isn't too interested in guns.
     
  20. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    My Uncle killed himself with a .22 lr High Standard pistol. Shot himself though the left eye, suicide or accident, some of the family was convinced it was one way the rest the other. It isn't the gun or the caliber, its where you get shot.
     
  21. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Thanks guys, I was not looking as much to justify my beloved .380 as I was to see if this was feasible with other larger calibers, which it clearly is. This call bothered me some. What bothered me was that after doing something like this, you probably don't plan on having any thoughts especially "I think I broke some teeth..." poor guy, I am sure this didn't make whatever his issues were better. :(

    I like my .380 because of the physical size alone.
     
  22. easyg

    easyg Member

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    This is the best answer that I've seen so far.

    Yes, the .380 is a lousy caliber for self-defense.
    But it beats having no gun at all.


    Personally, I would never trust my life to the .380 round.
     
  23. TexasBill

    TexasBill Member

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    Among the handguns in my carry rotation are two .380s, a Walther PK380 and a Beretta 84FS Cheetah. I feel adequately armed with either. Just become someone screws up their own suicide because they can't aim or don't know enough about human anatomy to aim properly doesn't make the .380 an ineffective round. And since even cops armed with .40 S&W pistols are trained to fire multiple times, I see no reason to be concerned because I plan to fire multiple times. And with either nine or fourteen rounds on tap in highly controllable pistols, I likely have more available ammunition than I would need in the vast majority of SD situations.
     
  24. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    I personally witnessed a white tail shot in the skull with a 62 grain FMJ .223 at about 75 yards. The shot missed the brain pan and exited the rear of the skull. The buck was right pissed off. Had to be put down with a cervical spine dislocation. Does this mean that the .223 is an inadequate round? Hardly.

    As the saying goes, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
     
  25. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    TexasBill
    you need to visit Thomasville, and bring your guns to share with a forum friend !
    I will show you mine, if you show me yours :D

    we don't shoot Jaws with our 380s down here either, we leave that to the offshore fishermen
     
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