Which is more effective?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Hunter2011, Mar 22, 2016.

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  1. Hunter2011

    Hunter2011 Member

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    7-shot 380 Auto with FMJ ammo, or a 5 shot .38 snubby with full wadcutters?
    I do believe the wadcutters will do much more damage? But is the extra 2 rounds in the 380 making up for it?
     
  2. AZAndy

    AZAndy Member

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    I always go with the heaviest projectile. It would be the .38 for me. Are you not permitted hollowpoints in your land?
     
  3. Hunter2011

    Hunter2011 Member

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    No we are. But hollowpoints are never recomended by the experts for mouse guns, ie 380auto and smaller.
    And tests have shown that HP .38 special rounds do not expand that much. You do get those that do though, but my question remains.
     
  4. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    Not sure there would be much difference in the damage caused by two non-expanding .355 diameter handgun bullets, 38 wadcuttter vs 380 FMJ.

    Of the two, I'd go with 380 FMJ and two more rounds.
    However, I would prefer the 380 Hydra-Shok over FMJ; in denim & gel - 10 inches penetration and expansion.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQ6PgHhNYg0
     
  5. AZAndy

    AZAndy Member

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  6. HexHead

    HexHead Member

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    I carry wadcutters. They make the same perfect holes inside a body they do on paper. Flat nose bullet not easily deflected by cartilage or bone.
     
  7. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    I think the 38 with wadcutters is more effective. I carry wadcutters in J frame size revolvers. A HBWC gets good penetration from the fact the weight of the bullet is concentrated in the front. The bullet is already in an efficient shape. A hollowpoint needs to expand a bit to get in the same shape as a wadcutter. The moderate recoil also makes follow up shots quicker if needed.

    BTW, I also carry a 7 shot 380 with fmj ammo at times. Most JHP 380 expands fast and has shallow penetration. A 380 with fmj penetrates much better.
     
  8. Hunter2011

    Hunter2011 Member

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    Thanks, so with which one do you feel the most armed:D
     
  9. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Personally I'd take a 38, and make sure to get one that can handle 38+P. Actually I'd skip the 38 and go for a 357.

    FMJ round nose bullets deform and deflect rather easily in a living target from what I've read. The flatter meplate of the wadcutter will create more cavitation and a the tissue crushing effect that meplate creates will be largely permanent compared to a FMJ. Also, a heavier projectile will penetrate a lot better than a lighter 380 bullet.

    Give me the wadcutter any day of the week.
     
  10. 481

    481 Member

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    Depends on how efficient you are at effectively placing bullets in the time that you have.

    Both the wadcutter and the FMJ will damage soft tissue through direct contact, so the edge goes to the wadcutter with its ability to cut full diameter holes through tissue whereas the smooth profile of the FMJ tends to slip through tissue with less damage.

    The "extra" two rounds of .380 matter only if you have the time to use them effectively.
     
  11. theleo

    theleo Member

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    I'd go with a 38 special with HBWC's loaded backwards.
     
  12. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Hit what you shoot at and you won't have to worry about the 2 extra rounds in the semi-auto.

    Front sight, trigger control, practice...
     
  13. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I usually carry a 5 or 6 shot snubby loaded with full wadcutter/.38 Special's.

    First, I prefer the revolver's reliability, and second the wadcutter is more effective on "soft targets" at close range, although it is not so great if it has to penetrate light barrier material. I'm not worried about 1 or 2 additional rounds, as 5 or 6 should suffice to allow me the disengage and get gone. My principal weapon is situation awareness and avoiding places and times where violence is predictable.

    South Africa may present an entirely different danger environment.
     
  14. Silver Streak

    Silver Streak Member

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    I prefer .38 over .380 as a defensive round and I much prefer the reliability of a revolver given those 2 choices.

    In my experience, even the best brands of micro .380s can be finicky about ammo and shooters.
     
  15. BobWright

    BobWright Member

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    From my observations and those of other hunters, the first shot, assuming a good hit, delivers all the shock an animal will experience. I assume this to be true of people animals. Follow up shots don't have that much more impact unless a major bone or artery is struck.

    As to a .380 vs. .38 Special, go with the lead SWC or WC bullet.

    Bob Wright
     
  16. strambo

    strambo Member

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    I would take a .380 that I could shoot fast and accurate...something like the G42. Then pair it with the best of the .380 HPs on the market that do make it 12" into gel and expand (like the 90g FTX Critical Defense).

    BobWright, good point about the shock effect. I don't know the medical support for it, but an instructor once told me the 1st and 2nd rds will send a person into shock (if they are going to go into shock) but anything after that won't matter, the body and mind is already dealing with as much trauma as it can. Don't know if true but it makes sense to me. Don't really care either as I can't control any of that.

    My reasons for wanting more capacity and shooting more rounds is to destroy more vital structures leading to faster incapacitation (due to blood loss, not shock).
     
  17. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    My choice that I carry every day is 5 shot .38 Special snubby with 158 LSWCHP +P (FBI Load). This tends to penetrate very deeply and the semi-wadcutter has proven itself time and again to be effective beyond what the modest ballistics may seem to indicate.

    The HBWC would not be my first choice for a couple reasons. If they're factory loaded, they're pretty wimpy and the +P 158 relatively stout for the cartridge. If you load them yourself, which is better, you must seat them so deeply that I believe it compromises the chamber volume so badly that abnormal pressure spikes happen far too often.

    There have been more than a few guns blown up with wadcutters loaded to seemingly low velocities. Of course, everyone argues that they've been double loaded, but I've seen tests where double loads of Bullseye were fired and the guns did not blow up. Something weird is happening there and I just like the looks of that FBI loading.:)
     
  18. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Hunter2011, the short answer to your question is I feel the 38 with wadcutters is more effective.

    More important, is what do you shoot better? If you can't shoot a DA revolver well, you shouldn't carry one. Shot placement determines effect on your target more than caliber.
     
  19. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    Are you able to try them?

    I think the question you need to ask yourself is "Which gun am I more effective with?".


    If I asked myself that question I'd guess the 380 mainly because I have the most experience semiautomatic over revolvers.


    But if I could try both, I know that after just a few minutes which gun I would be more effective with.
     
  20. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Assuming they are equally reliable, the one you shoot most quickly and accurately with. I would choose the 380 for concealability and extra rounds, with the knowledge that with either I would fully expect to need at least 2 or more rounds to work out my problems. Also, based on the "2 shot theory", engaging 1 opponent would leave you with 3 rounds in the 38, or 5 in the 380 (assuming you hit 2/2)- which is the starting point for the 38-with the future uncertain. IMO, people worry too much about what specific rounds may POTENTIALLY do in the target, and not enough about getting the round to the target in the first place.
     
  21. Hunter2011

    Hunter2011 Member

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    Sorry, I should have mentioned I did not ask for myself. I carry a single stack 9mm (7+1)
    This question was asked by me as you always get asked at work or so what is the best option for a woman. Most people recommend a .380 auto. I would say that a .38 with wadcutters is a better option. But I wanted to hear your opinions on the matter.

    I totally agree with what was said about shot placement. If you make your shots count then 5 shots will be enough for most situations you are likely to encounter.

    I have never shot with or handle a micro 380, but do believe they have sharp recoil and difficult to rack slides? That is why I am now even more confident to recommend a .38 special shooting wadcutters, to woman and older people who does not have as much strength as they used to have.

    Thanks for all the replies.
     
  22. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    Wadcutters work well in a .38, but don't expect great results if you have to stuff more of them in the cylinder quickly.
     
  23. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Sort45, wadcutters in the gun, semi wads for a reload.
     
  24. Hunter2011

    Hunter2011 Member

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    Did not think of that. Then you can carry +P rounds in a speed loader, just for when 5 wadcutters did not cut it, punn intended:D
     
  25. Plan2Live

    Plan2Live Member

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    I teach our state's Concealed Weapons Training class which includes 50 rounds of live fire qualifying. I have not had even one female student successfully qualify using a lightweight .38 snubby. Many have bruised hands after as few as 15 or 20 rounds. Those that get past the pain can't seem to master the long stiff trigger pull or the flinching they develop due to the recoil and accuracy suffers as a result. Based on that personal experience I never recommend a lightweight snubby for any inexperienced shooters.
     
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