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Tom on Guntalk said 380 was now comparable to 9

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Droid noob, Jan 22, 2013.

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  1. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    Has anyone ever posted a thread trying to achieve 380 velocities shooting a 9mm?

    From a handloader's point of reference, pulled out my well used Sierra #5 manual. For an expanding bullet, their recommendation is a 90gr JHP for the 380, max MV ~900fps, 3.25" barrel.

    9mm, same 90gr JHP, 4" barrel; lowest powder load MV ~1100fps, max MV ~1400fps.

    I have no idea who this person is who states 380 penetration is within inches of 9mm penetration; main point being that inches is plural and not singular.

    In my mind, 500fps is a significant difference when comparing two calibers. From a velocity standpoint, the 9mm 147gr JHP is faster than the 380/90gr JHP and will penetrate "inches" more than the 380. :)

    This expanded, handloaded 147gr Gold Dot chronographed 1150fps thru a G17, penetrated a redwood 4"x4" piece of wood, a steel washing machine lid, a cow rib and completely ruptured two 2 liter bottles filled with water.

    Furniture147GD-4x4-lid-rib005.jpg

    Furniture147GD-4x4-lid-rib008.jpg

    Furniture147GD-4x4-lid-rib016.jpg

    Furniture147GD-4x4-lid-rib017.jpg

    The 380 doesn't have the momentum to run with the 9mm.
     
  2. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    People say a lot of things and have a lot of opinions.

    If the .380 ACP was so similar to the 9mm in overall performance and ballistic effect capability, we'd see service pistols being used by major US LE agencies and the US military chambered in .380 ACP.

    A while ago I bought my first .380 (LCP) in more than 25 years. I didn't get it for its ballistic similarity to any of my compact/subcompact 9mm's (or my 5-shot snubs).

    I got it strictly for its diminutive size and reputation for functioning among LE users ... and because I can carry it as a retirement weapon in some circumstances where I can't as easily conceal one of my 5-shot .38 snubs. I don't consider it to be ballistically equivalent to my .38 J-frames, but it serves a role.

    Since I didn't want to rely on FMJ loads for my LCP, I tested it with Rem's 102gr BJHP (Golden Sabre), Speer's 90gr GDHP and Win's 95gr T-Series, all of which fed and fired just fine in the gun. I accept some compromise in the way of penetration for potential expansion in the little cartridge for its limited role regarding my intended usage.
     
  3. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    You should not base a decision on just one test. I've seen several tests of 9mm 124gr +P that showed 13-14 inch penetration and several tests of .380 90gr that showed 10-11 inches. The 9mm +P was consistently better in both penetration and expansion.
     
  4. Godsgunman

    Godsgunman Member

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    Ahhh another .380 vs 9mm luger thread. The ballistics just aren't there for me. You may get a buffalo bore .380 filled to max capacity to penetrate gel as far as a lower powered 9 but thats only one aspect. You're using quite a bit heavier bullet with the 9 at higher velocities creating more energy hitting the target. Plus of course the biggest factor for me is price. Why pay more money for .380 when I get better everything in the 9 which is cheaper. No brainer for me.
     
  5. ScottieG59

    ScottieG59 Member

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    My Kahr PM9 made this whole issue moot for me. I also have a P380 that handles the nonstandardized 380 +P.

    Rather than depend on lab experiments, I prefer to go with data collected in actual shootings. This essentially limits the choices to something issued to law enforcement.

    Law enforcement data puts the 9mm in the running and the 380 ACP out; there is just not the same real world data.

    So there may be alternatives that may work, such as recent developments in the 380 ACP, but I will not be contributing to the data set. We already know what works in real gunfights: the 9mm.
     
  6. Hurryin' Hoosier

    Hurryin' Hoosier Member

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    Absolutely. The .380ACP (9X17MM) was originally (unless I'm mistaken) called the 9MM Browning. It's also called the 9MM Short, 9MM Corto, 9MM Kurz, and 9MM Scurt, depending on the country.
     
  7. Hurryin' Hoosier

    Hurryin' Hoosier Member

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    My personal 9MM preference is the 9X18MM Makarov (as carried in my Pistolet Makarova). ;)
     
  8. Droid noob

    Droid noob Member

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    Lol. The second time this has been posted. I just watched 380 hp penetrate as far as +p 9mm on tnoutdoors channel. The 9mm was quality ammo.

    I don't even own a 380. Just was curious about ballistics. As far as actual gunfight data... Idk
     
  9. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Member

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    As always, shot placement is key. It really doesn't matter what handgun bullet you are using for defense if you miss the vitals.

    I like Tom's show and think he is a good guy but he is not an expert on everything, and at times like this it is apparent.
     
  10. anchorman

    anchorman Member

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    penetration isn't everything. wound channel diameter makes a difference. it's simple math. for a given amount of muzzle energy you can have penetration or expansion. if you have enough energy in the projectile you get both.
     
  11. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

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    You just watched one .380 JHP equal one 9mm JHP on someones youtube channel, hardly proof that .380 is the overall equal to 9mm.

    12-18 inches is the commonly accepted minimum penetration depth needed from a JHP. If a .380 fails to make at least 12 inches when a 9mm does, then being "within inches" ain't good enough! Depending on the JHP in question, .380 is much less likely to make that minimum depth.
     
  12. Acera

    Acera Member

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    Guys remember that round has been around for a long time, and has a solid reputation, even before modern loads and bullets were produced.

    This little .380, used by Gavrilo Princip, took care of business, two shots, two dead, millions more soon followed.............

    Ferdinand-Pistol_998344c.jpg
     
  13. Droid noob

    Droid noob Member

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    I know what your saying. With seeing so much 380 on the shelves lately, I've been contemplating one. Couple that with seeing some 380 ballistics to 9mm and it's even more enticing. To be clear though, the +p 9mm didn't even make it 12 inches.
     
  14. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    This may be a true statement, but it's still not very helpful. Yes, you can compare .380 ACP to 9mm, but the .380 ACP comes up short. Ballistics gel tests are usually within inches of each other on penetration, but on a ballistics gel test, the 2-4" that a .380 ACP falls short compared to a 9mm is pretty significant.

    Of course, a lot of that depends on how much stock you put on the FBI gel test standards. Most quality 9mm defensive ammunition will pass the test with at least 12" of penetration and expand to at least .45", as will some .38 Special +P. Virtually all .40 S&W and .45 ACP ammo will pass easily. But .380 ACP just doesn't have the oomph to do it and still expand. Most I've seen run from 8" to 10" of gel penetration, and good luck getting to the 14" of penetration that a good 147-gr. 9mm bullet will do.
     
  15. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Read carefully. I have no doubt that this is an accurate statement, but penetration is only 1 way to determine effectiveness. No mention of expansion or energy numbers. Also "within inches" is pretty subjective.

    That said, I think we all tend to split an awful lot of hairs in our discussions of different rounds. Myself included sometimes. I'd bet a good 380 round placed in the right spot will work almost as well as anything else.
     
  16. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    There are tests in which the 357mag 125gr SJHPs don't make 12". Do you believe the 380 runs with the 357mag?
     
  17. we are not amused

    we are not amused Member

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    What Tom was referring to was effectiveness, and the modern self-defense bullets in the .380 round are much better than they used to be.

    They probably are about as effective as a 9mm in stopping most attacks.

    Another important consideration is what are you more likely to carry more often.

    The full size 9mm, or .45 acp or 10mm isn't going to do you much good, if you aren't carrying it because of it's weight or size.

    Any handgun cartridge is far less effective than any rifle cartridge, but is much easier to carry and conceal, so we already accept a limitation on practical grounds. The question is, is a .380 capable of doing the job you need it to? An awful amount of people say yes.
     
  18. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    In all fairness, you're comparing a small .380 to a full-size 9. There are a lot of 9s that are similar in size to most .380s...the Sig P238 and P938 is a good example. Yes, some .380s are smaller than that, I'm just saying the choice isn't just between a Glock 17L and a LCP.

    My issue with the .380 is it's around the threshold where the JHP vs. FMJ debate gets interesting. 9mm or above, JHP is pretty much the way to go for SD. .32 ACP or below, FMJ definitely wins out. .38 spl and .380 acp...well, it's a toss-up (I prefer FMJ).
     
  19. AFDavis11

    AFDavis11 Member

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    They are very comparable. I've never been impressed with either one! Comparison over; they both come out equal. Now, that wasn't so hard. ;)
     
  20. rgwalt

    rgwalt Member

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    A .380 that you carry regularly is much better protection than the .40 or .45 that you decide to leave at home because it is too big, or to heavy, or otherwise a hassle to carry. I really love my P238 because it is small and fairly light while also being solidly built. I know myself and know my habits and if I can't stick the gun in my pocket on my way out the door to grab some groceries or run to the ATM, then I'm not going to carry it.

    A buddy of mine had a subcompact .40 glock that is a great gun to carry but is painful (literally) to shoot. Maybe I'm just a <deleted>, but I will be far more likely to practice with a gun that is easy and enjoyable to shoot. I am very accurate with my P238, which makes me hope I could place 2 out of 6 shots in a life or death situation. If I thought I had to carry a 40 to do the job, but I rarely practiced with it because I was afraid to pull the trigger, that gun does me little good.

    So .380 may be a weak round, but it is still my round of choice for carrying.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2013
  21. iblong

    iblong Member

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    While I do think a good 380 rnd is creeping up on 38spl std. loads from similar lenght barrels,I do not believe it is in anyway a true competiter to the 9mm.
    Jmho.
     
  22. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    So a new 380 is like 9mm from the 1960s? 9mm has improved as well with time as have many calibers.

    Better than it used to be doesn't mean it is comparable to something better that has also improved.
     
  23. Droid noob

    Droid noob Member

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    To expound on my OP. I carry 9 or 40 all the time. The main reason I started the thread was because I'm seeing 380 on the shelves most everywhere. It got me thinking about a 380 pistol. I'm not sure I would carry it, but found it interesting that Tom and company were making it sound like a comparable cartridge to 9mm. In toms defense it was a fleeting comment. The conversation wasn't centered on him saying 380 was as good as 9mm. Nevertheless, I started looking at ballistic tests, they didn't look to be significantly different. I see it's a good conversation piece though lol.
     
  24. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    Nicely said. ;)

    A fair comment to inject to help ground the thread topic.
     
  25. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I guess they are comparable in the sense that you can compare them. They're both cartridges designed to do essentially the same thing, so it is possible to analyze them side-by-side. (By way of contrast, a comparison of an elephant versus an aircraft lease agreement would be meaningless.)

    That said, the comparisson will reveal material differences. They may be comparable, but they are by no means equivalent, nor necessarily even substitutable.
     
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