Simple Question: Ball or JHP In Your Pocket .380?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Phydeaux642, Apr 19, 2010.

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What's In Your Pocket .380?

  1. I Carry FMJ In My Pocket .380

    49 vote(s)
    34.5%
  2. I Carry JHP In My Pocket .380

    81 vote(s)
    57.0%
  3. Other

    12 vote(s)
    8.5%
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  1. 481

    481 Member

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    Never said that you had to. Hence the "IMO" part of my initial post.

    Personally, I find the .380 to be an unacceptable cartridge selection for any SD role and no one here is constrained or beholden to my preference(s). If I am going to go to the trouble of carrying/concealing a pistol for "serious social use", it'll be at least a nine, it'll be in a holster and I'll dress around it as need be.

    Pocket carry (even with a purpose designed holster) is a mode fraught with issues and more trouble than it's worth, IMO.

    Are you constrained solely to pocket carry for any reason in particular?
     
  2. searcher451

    searcher451 Member

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    I use Speer Gold Dots in my Walthers and have had excellent luck with them; they have fed and fired reliably in all instances, and I've put hundreds of rounds through them over the years. (Looking back, that's a lot of money.) I'm satisfied that the round will perform if called upon, which all you can ask of any cartridge you use. Lawyers might want to weigh in, but I'm also of the opinion that a JHP round is more readily defensible in court should something untoward take place in a self-defense situation.
     
  3. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Wow, I voted JHPs as I carry Remington 102gr GS in my LCP. I thought I would be in the MINORITY on this board. I'm surprised really.

    Personally I think you have to just understand the 380 for what power level it is. I prefer JHPs and I understand that it may take multiple shots to stop a threat. I just don't have the faith in FMJs that some guys do. I think the take the general idea of the FBI report a little too far. I feel well protected by the Remingtons or Federal HSs in my LCP. I feel even BETTER about the HSTs in my M&P or my P220 but there are times when the LCP is all I can have.
     
  4. Phydeaux642

    Phydeaux642 Member

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    In a way, yes. How I dress at work doesn't lend itself well to multiple layers (vest, sport coat, etc.). Having an untucked shirt really isn't an option either. Something like a Crossbreed or Kholster holster might possibly work, but as much reaching up on high shelfs as I do, my shirt is always coming untucked which would probably cause a stir with most of the customers in the store if they were to see a gun.

    Like you, I would prefer to carry at least a good 9mm or even a .45, but I just can't seem to come to terms with paying the extra high prices for the compact pocketable guns. So, my $429 no-lock 642 fills the roll 99% of the time. And, speaking of that, why can't someone build a true pocket 9mm in the $450 range? Maybe that should be a different thread.
     
  5. 481

    481 Member

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    Good question. I suspect that the structural requirements for a pistol that operates at 9mm pressures (35kpsi) might preclude anything much smaller (esp. in terms of girth) than a Glock 26 unless one is willing to endure the expense of engineering in guns like the Rohrbaugh.

    Of course, the size of one's pockets (dependent upon the type of clothing your are compelled to wear) has a lot to do with what passes as a pocket gun.

    Sounds as if that 642 is the best option for carrying something that chambers a full size "service" cartridge while keeping costs under "astronomical".
     
  6. Phydeaux642

    Phydeaux642 Member

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    After a couple of years of looking at other options I believe that to be correct. And, I'm not at all upset with that either. I just thought that maybe a little variety might be nice. I have heard the rumor that Diamondback may be working on a small 9mm. If so, I hope it is a tad smaller than a PF9. That would make me very happy.
     
  7. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    If you already have the 642 it seems like you already have your bases covered. I would spend your money on more ammo for both or a new holster that makes carrying them more comfortable.
     
  8. Manco

    Manco Member

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    I'm not a bit surprised--people seem to love and trust modern JHPs, even when they're limited with regard to penetration, as in the case of .380 ACP, generally. To be fair, this caliber kind of straddles the line between whether JHP is advantageous over FMJ overall, so it could go either way. All I can be reasonably sure of is that penetration is adequate with FMJ, so that's what I would opt for, myself; with JHP, it's a compromise, the true overall benefit of which is uncertain.

    That's true for any caliber, especially with handguns, and especially if your bullets can't necessarily reach every vital structure in the human body.

    Is there a good reason to doubt that a FMJ round will fully penetrate a human target? I think it will do so reliably. I don't have such faith in JHPs in this caliber.

    The FBI simply said that 12" of penetration is the minimum amount acceptable for law enforcement use--and self-defense in general by implication, I suppose--and that anything up to 18" is preferable. .380 ACP JHPs rarely penetrate more than 10.5", less than the bare minimum that is suggested and significantly less than the preferred amount, while FMJ rounds may penetrate as much as 20" or more. Here are the FBI's exact words:

    Nobody around here is taking their general idea too far, although you could argue that they are taking their own idea too far. I don't think so, though. I think that they have a good point (for once), while many people overestimate the importance of expansion; it helps, but comes in third behind shot placement and penetration in importance, in my opinion. A larger bullet diameter adds a small margin to shot placement, in addition to speeding the flow of blood for an eventual stop, but penetration is the true enabler--the only question is how much is truly enough.
     
  9. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    Why would you when they are easily found for hundreds less?:confused:

    This past weekend NIB PM9's were $535 at the Big Town Gun Show in Dallas.

    Or you could get this one shipped to your FFL for $606 from Bud's:
    http://v2.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=165857353
     
  10. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    I use Buffalo Bore 90 gr +P 380 in my Kel Tec P3-AT & Sig P-238 ( wife's)
     
  11. Joel Lehman

    Joel Lehman Member

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    I carry a mixture of HP and FMJ.
     
  12. gmh1013

    gmh1013 Member

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    95 grain ball ammo in my wifes Bersa 380....I have a bunch of it from Cabelas
     
  13. CZ223

    CZ223 Member

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    Fiocchi with XTP bullet. I also have 4 boxes of Hornady XTP(200 rds).:evil:
     
  14. Bill_G

    Bill_G Member

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    I alternate FMJ and Rem GS in my Bersa.

    2nd mag is all FMJ
     
  15. doublebarrel

    doublebarrel Member

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    FMJ all the way for my LCP, penetration all the way from chest hair to back skin. I like the flat nose better than round nose. I think flat nose crushes tissue better instead of pushing it to the sides and makes the hole smaller. 380 makes a pretty small hole already, so at least make it a deep, small hole...
     
  16. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Notice the report says "single most critical factor" not only factor, and "for law enforcement use." not for everyone. In my opinion, JHPs in .380 are what I want to carry. Yes, if they expand (which they may not at that velocity) they will have less penetration but they will also make a more damaging wound than a FMJ. Your goal may be to "fully penetrate a human target" mine is not. If you don't have faith in the .380 as a caliber than don't carry one. I normally carry a 9mm or a 45 but there are times when I need a smaller weapon and the 380 is all I can carry. The caliber has limitations, this is why I said that, so you have to recognize that shot placement and multiple shots are much more important with the smaller caliber.

    BTW. I find it interesting that so many people read the FBI reports and conclude they should carry FMJs when the FBI didn't come to that same conclusion. I will give up a little penetration for a round that will likely produce a much more effective "wound" or crush path than a FMJ that has a notoriously poor crush path. I agree with the report whole heartedly that I wouldn't choose it as a round for LE use. I hope we can leave it at that as the OP didn't try to start an FBI Ballistics discussion.
     
  17. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  18. Jonah71

    Jonah71 Member

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    Mag Tech Gold +P HP's. in the Bersa Thunder .380 Del.
     
  19. Manco

    Manco Member

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    True, and some will opt to maximize the most significant factor, while others are more comfortable with a compromise between different factors. It's hard to say with any certainty which is truly better, so while we can all try to make our case here, ultimately we should go with whatever we're most comfortable with as individuals.

    What's the difference, though? Isn't stopping the threat the common goal? If you're thinking of the requirement to penetrate hard intervening barriers, then that is a separate issue--the standards set by the FBI report are for the depth of penetration into simulated flesh (e.g. calibrated ballistics gelatin), taking into account only intervening body parts such as limbs as well as the various angles at which a bullet can enter a human body. Separate tests are done through various barriers for evaluation when ammo is to be selected, but the acceptable range of penetration depth they give, 12"-18", is for what happens afterward in simulated flesh, and to my knowledge does not include the thicknesses of the barriers. In other words, they don't give a preferred depth and say that this will be enough to take into account various barriers--they actually shoot bullets through real barriers and into gel, and then measure penetration. And after all of that has been said, ironically with JHPs you generally get more penetration into flesh after going through a barrier, usually because the bullets don't expand quite as much, if at all.

    I would feel adequately, though perhaps minimally, armed with a .380 ACP pistol. And of course your goal with regard to terminal ballistics doesn't have to be the same as mine. Many people even prefer JHP bullets specifically because they're not likely to penetrate all the way through a human target. I think this makes them less effective overall, but if that's what people want (for a safety factor), then that's what they should use (as long as they're aware of the tradeoffs they are making).

    The FBI report emphasized the importance of adequate penetration, and with JHPs .380 ACP does not quite make even their lowest standard. Not that there are any hard thresholds by any means, but that only implies that even a full 12" of penetration is marginal rather than preferable. The report also says "regardless of whether it expands or not," which I interpret as meaning that they'd rather be able to poke a hole in a vital structure at all than have a bullet stop short due to a lack of penetration (which is exactly what happened in the notorious 1986 Miami shootout). For calibers such as .380 ACP and human-sized targets, it means that FMJ is considered, at least by the FBI's standards, to be more effective. Nobody has to agree with them, but that's what they're saying.

    With more powerful calibers, obviously JHP is the way to go, but I'd still look carefully at the terminal ballistics to find the best loads. The primary .40 S&W JHP load that the FBI currently uses, for what it's worth, gets 19" of penetration in ballistic gelatin through heavy clothing, slightly more than the 18" they consider ideal. If they used .380 ACP (which they don't, except perhaps as backup guns by individual agents), then I bet they would opt for FMJ for general duty (unless they could team with a manufacturer to get the performance they want from JHPs, anyway--all I get to do is pick from what's on the market). Not that they're necessarily THE authority on handgun ammunition, however--feel free to disagree with them.

    I agree that JHP rounds (and even flat-nosed rounds, for that matter) wound more effectively, but it does little good in a gunfight unless they wound something vital, and they may have to penetrate and wound a lot of non-vital flesh to get there--if they can get there at all--expending their limited energy and momentum along the way.

    I don't wish to derail the thread either, but if some folks give what the FBI report says credibility--with regard to the topic of this thread--and there is disagreement over its interpretation, then it is a relevant subtopic. In addition, I'm still curious about the difference between LE and self-defense use. Is it what I covered earlier (barrier penetration) or something else?
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  20. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    I have two 380 pistols. The one that is remotely "pocketable" is loaded with 95-grain JFN ammo. The other is bigger and therefore able to give the 380 bullet a little more push. It's loaded with 88-grain JHP rounds. Both feed well.
     
  21. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    The OPs original post.

    There are plenty of threads for you to read if you want more info about ballistics or LE vs. civilian.
     
  22. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

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    It's past tense since I don't own the Ruger LCP anymore, but when I did it was JHP. Hornady, IIRC.

    jm
     
  23. ndh87

    ndh87 Member

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    45 auto in my 5 inch 1911. I dont carry little girl guns.
     
  24. Manco

    Manco Member

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    I was merely responding to comments you had made that were not any more relevant to the OP's question. If you do not wish to discuss this subtopic any further, then simply do not.
     
  25. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    which brand?
     
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