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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. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    One thing to make sure you are accounting for with such tests is whether it is an apples to apples comparison. Factors that can make it apples to oranges include: barrel lengths, bullet construction, bullet weights and velocities of the loads vis-a-vis the full potential in the cartridge. Its also important to make sure the gel is calibrated. If not a comparison doesn't mean much at all.

    An extreme example of all of this would be an 80 grain 9x19 glasser safety slug with a light charge fired from a Rohrbaugh R9 compared to a 100 grain hard cast buffalo bore +P .380 round fired from a Glock 25.

    I don't think what they are comparing is as extreme as the above, in fact I have long argued that guns like the R9 with very short barrels have little if any real advantage over some of the 380 options when comparing terminal ballistics and the accompanying trade offs to get such a small 9x19. That said, I want to see the test in question before I believe the are too meaningful.
     
  2. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    Girodin, it could also be similar bullets with different factors. I saw in another thread here (don't remember which, but it was one of the .380 threads) four different .380 vs. 9 tests. In 3 of the tests, they expanded about the same, but the 9 penetrated twice as deep. In the 4th test, the .380 failed to expand (but the 9 expanded), so it penetrated just about as deep. So yes, the penetration is the same (and it was a good side-by-side, both were the same brand and product line), but that doesn't mean it's as effective.

    Honestly, I'm starting to consider a .32 to replace my .380, if I'm going to use FMJs anyway.
     
  3. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Exactly, Skribs. I should have perhaps said bullet construction/performance, as similar bullet construction can perform differently under different conditions, i.e. not expand if clogged with clothing, not expand at lower velocities, etc. You point than an unexpanded .380 is less effective than a fully expanded 9x19 even if they penetrate the same is something some might miss. How much of a difference that expansion will or wont make in a particular case is another question.
     
  4. Deer_Freak

    Deer_Freak Member.

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    I don't know how Tom is doing his math. Even +P 380 rounds only make around 225 FT LBs of energy. Any 9mm target load makes over 300 ft lb of energy. If you make an apples to apples comparison no 380 load can match a 9mm load in any fashion. 9mm WWB ammo will blow right through a 24" block of ballistic gelatin. There might be hollow point 380 rounds that will penetrate as deeply as a 9mm in ballistic gelatin but they don't have the same energy dump. Ballistic gelatin doesn't wear leather coats that will knock the steam off a 380 round before it even hits the attacker.

    I would have to say Tom is misinformed.
     
  5. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    The important thing to take away from that, Girodin, is that if you want sufficient penetration, you are comparing a .36" hole to a 0.6" (give or take) hole. Most shots it won't make or break anything, but it can lead to faster incapacitation (especially when .380 would have near-missed).
     
  6. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    Wow. A lot of you guys seem to have an inflated opinion of 9mm. I thought we were all in agreement that ammo technology has come a long way, that 9s could be just as good as the .45 and other larger intermediate calibers. So why, then, does it seem so impossible that a .380 could match 9mm? It doesn't mean match +p+ 9mm, because that's an unfair comparison.
     
  7. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    ^
    I think it's because the street/empirical data shows that to be true. "Inflated"?, har
     
  8. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    If 9 can rise up several levels, there's no reason why a .380 could not. Data can be manipulated to show different things. Given the right circumstances, a .380 could pull it off. If we started comparing "results" to barrel lengths in common pistol calibers, I think we'd start seeing the deficiencies of 9mm to the larger calibers, just as you claim .380 is a lesser round.
     
  9. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    Clark can Clark? anyways. What are you talking about?
     
  10. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    Most of the "street" data is from pocket 380s. Comparing that to your Glock 17 with +p 9mm isn't a straight comparison. A fair comparison would be standard 9mm and modern 380 in similar length barrels. I think you could say it's "pretty much the same" just like we would for 9 vs. .40/.45/357 SIG.
     
  11. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

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    I'm looking at the ballistics by the inch website right now, seems that even with identical length barrels a 9mm can toss a heavier bullet as fast or faster than .380, without needing to go +P.

    .380 will always lag behind 9mm, there's really no way around it. It's only advantage as far as I'm concerned is that it is better suited for smaller platforms.
     
  12. carbine85

    carbine85 Member

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    Exactly. That extra power of the +P and expansion = more damage and stopping power.
    The FBI also did some testing. The Remington Golden Saber 125 gr+P and 145 gr are extremly damaging.
     
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    GunTalk Tom has been known to be wrong before.
     
  14. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    The useful comparison to make is to compare guns and loads one is actually choosing between carrying. It is perfectly sensible for me to talk about how a .380 out of an LCP compares to a +p+ 9x19 out of a G19 or 17 if that is what is being carried. What matters to me is what I'm actually going to have. If the choice is between a P238 and a PM9 then I ought to compare loads suited for those guns and fired from those guns. At that point comparing what 9x19 does out of a 5" barrel is silly, because that is not what 9x19 will do out of one's PM9. This is why when one gets to the very smallest 9x19s I think there is much less difference than many of those boasting of having a 9x19 seem to think. With the new LC380 it would make sense to compare it to the LC9.

    With the small guns I think it is only half the story to compare terminal ballistics. An R9 for example is a pretty small gun. It has a ballistic edge on say a Sig P238 or a Mustang. However, IMHO, the Sig/Mustang is about 10x the shooter that the R9 is. The R9 has an absurdly high bore axis, a very small grip, and garbage sights (if it is a model that is even equipped with sights). The mustang and to a lesser degree the sig have much better triggers. They are much easier to shoot well and tend to allow for faster follow ups. I would put my money one the sig/Colt in a Balance Speed Accuracy (BSA) drill. Those guns also have handy features like mag release one can hit with their thumb as opposed to a heal release, they have a LRBHO, the have slide lock/release lever (which is handi in conjunction with the LRBHO for speed reloads but is also a good feature for clearing double feeds). The Sig/Colt are guns that are much more conducive to putting in more time training. So while the R9 fires a round that offers more energy there are two important considerations beyond the energy numbers, at least IMHO. First, what practical difference is that energy likely to make in terms of affect on target, in essence looking at terminal ballistics not just the energy numbers. Second, look at the guns and ones ability to shoot them well, make quick follow ups, and run the guns well. A sig P238 is a better choice than a Pm40 (they are real close in size) if I can shoot and run the sig better.
     
  15. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    I look at the empirical evidence. There are a lot of variables in street shootings, ballistics gel gives us more stable results.

    9mm vs. .45, similar construction (i.e. 147 gr vs. 230 gr, both Speer Gold Dot) you'll find the 9mm will penetrate maybe 13" and the .45 14" (both are above the recommended 12"), and the 9mm will expand to maybe 0.65" and the .45 to 0.77" (not quite the same ratio as .45 to .36). Therefore, the .45 is better, but only by a little bit, and thus it is worth considering the other factors (capacity, recoil, cost) associate with the round.

    .380 vs. 9mm, you'll probably looking at 8" vs. 13", both expanded to 0.65", or 13" vs. 13", with the .380 unexpanded. So with rounds that penetrate "enough", you have from the .45 to the .380 holes that are 0.77" wide, 0.65" wide, and 0.36" wide. The .380 doesn't have many advantages over the 9 in a similar platform.

    The .380 is only worthwhile if the platform is made significantly smaller than the 9. IMO, it is not worth it in something similar to a 9.

    ETA: Girodin, you like the P238, but not the R9. What about the P938? It's basically the same gun, just slightly bigger.
     
  16. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I've popped a pile of animals with the 9mm. I've reloaded for well over three decades for that caliber.. heavy and light, bullet weight and psi (before super-vel fast or FBI with the 147 thingajig). It'll do some work. The .380 is, at best, a rabbit or coyote gun if you can hit it.
     
  17. Deer_Freak

    Deer_Freak Member.

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    Double tap does a great job of giving honest ballistics. Here is their data.

    380 ACP 95gr. FMJ
    Muzzle Energy: 201 ft. lbs. Kel-Tec
    248 ft. lbs. 3.5" bbl Bersa Thunder

    9mm+P 147gr FMJ Flat Point
    Ballistics : 147gr @ 1135fps / 421ft. lbs. from a G17.
    Glock 19 velocity - 1120fps.

    I would like to know how the 380 is equal to the 9mm. Tom needs to sell that stuff he has been smoking. I used a FMJ for the comparison because most people shoot FMJ ammo in a 380. They don't believe a hollow point will expand in a 380. plus a lot of mouse guns won't function with hollow point ammo.
     
  18. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    FMJ and JHP at the same weight and velocity will have the same energy.

    The problem isn't that JHP won't expand in .380...the problem is it will expand, and the penetration suffers.
     
  19. Deer_Freak

    Deer_Freak Member.

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    Whatever dude! I don't put much weight on the information that comes out of a forum. I tend to put more weight on what experienced shooters tell me. Right or wrong you get the popular answer from a forum. I don't know if a forum user has even fired a 380. They are just repeating what the lead dog said in his answer.
     
  20. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    Would you care to comment on my points instead of hinting that because I'm typing on a forum I'm a liar with no experience? You are typing on a forum, too, so why should we trust you?

    My knowledge on terminal ballistics comes from professional ballistics gel tests using similar rounds, and my knowledge on what is needed for terminal ballistics comes from the FBI reports following the Miami shootout. I did not contradict your data, I merely pointed out that FMJ vs. JHP is still a valid comparison if looking only at muzzle energy.

    I'd also like to point out that if the JHP failed to expand, it would function like a FMJ, so if the belief is that .380 JHP fails to expand, therefore FMJ is better, it would actually be equal to FMJ. The only thing that separates JHP from FMJ, in terms of performance (well, and cost) is the expansion. If FMJ is preferred, it's because it penetrates deeper.
     
  21. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    .380 has stopped plenty of folks in their tracks; I have seen crimes scenes where it as happened, but I think 9mm is usually going to smash through a lot more intervening cover than .380, which may be irrelevant in a face-to-face 'jacking, but very relevant if among vehicles, walls, fences, doors, and such. I am not opposed to the .380, but if that is what I have in my hands at a given moment in time, I must be aware if its limitations.

    I am no ballistics expert, but do work police patrol in a big, mean city. I have observed many bullet paths through various materials, and in this age of autoloader popularity, the cartridge case makes for a nice calling card, for the bullet that made the hole. 9mm, .40, and .45 can smash through substantial cover that will stop a .380 bullet.

    If I am walking in my neighborhod, and a car full of, uh, Utes, yes, Utes, stops nearby, and one steps out with a weapon to rob me, in a common gang-initiation robbery scenario, I may be able to inflict great harm upon the dismounted 'jacker, but the ones within the car will have substantial cover. This will not be so bad if the whole team is sharing one pistol, but if the whole team is armed, life could get really interesting, as they might as well be inside a tank if all I have is a .380 pistol.

    Please do not misunderstand; I happen to like the .380, and am actually considering certain larger .380 pistols for a purchase in the near future. I am not a fan of tiny plastic .380 pistols, but there are hand-filling metal pistols such as Walthers and Berettas I do like.
     
  22. k_dawg

    k_dawg Member

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    E60 S85 Any Questions? lol

    I once ran the Dragon with a ton of 'baby on board' stickers on it. Too funny.

    I suppose one may argue that a modern .380acp is comparable in effectiveness to FMJ for self defense purposes. And yes, one could compare the ballistics of a .380acp in the same barrel as a 9mm. But why? The only major reason to chose a .380 is if the 9mm is simply too large.
     
  23. CZguy

    CZguy Member

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    You do know that you typed that don't you? You didn't just think it. :scrutiny:

    As an aside, for those who don't live in the country and have their own range, with cars to shoot up. The 9mm penetrates really well, and while the .380 in FMJ doesn't penetrate as well, but it will penetrate a car door just fine.
     
  24. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Wow, this is completely unprecedented! A caliber war thread got heated and people started to toss insults? Holy cow, I'd never have guessed!

    :scrutiny:

    Do better in the future, folks.
     
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