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Why .380 instead of small 9mm?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by brashboy, Jul 26, 2007.

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  1. brashboy

    brashboy Member

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    This thread is directed to those who carry the .380:
    With the introduction of small, lightweight, high quality 9mms like the Kahr, why carry a .380? I'd love to hear the reasons out there.

    I am struggling to answer this question for myself. I recently started a thread about the .380, a caliber for which I have a long-standing love. They're compact, lovely shooters. Shot placement matters more than anything, and if .380 shots fired are not stopping the BG, I doubt a 9 would make much difference. Still, the .380 is undeniably somewhat underpowered compared to a 9mm, though the ammo is more expensive. And I think to myself, for the same gun weight and bulk, shouldn't I be packing the more potent caliber, even if I'm not crazy about the Kahr or whatever it is? I don't know if I'm just looking for justification to move completely to 9mm or asking for .380 love songs, but your input would be valued.

    I'm not really thinking about alternatives in 40SW of .45, just comparing the .380 to the 9.
     
  2. Dirty Bob

    Dirty Bob Member

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    Recoil may be one reason.

    Some people could the intimidated by the recoil of a small 9mm, while a similar-size .380 will generally be easier to shoot.

    There are also some great .380 pistols out there. I've met shooters who just love the Walther PPK series. I believe the Colt Pocket Model was also offered in .380, and where would movie gangsters of the 1940s be without that gun? I admit to affection for the Makarov. It's simple, accurate and extremely pleasant to shoot in .380, although if I carry a Mak it's a 9x18mm Makarov.

    I think in most cases it's the pistol -- not the caliber -- that's being chosen.

    Regards,
    Dirty Bob
     
  3. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Member

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    Size mostly. The KT PF9 is getting close, but still not as small as my P3AT. With clip I can front pocket carry while wearing shorts and tank and still stay concealed.
     
  4. scurtis_34471

    scurtis_34471 Member

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    Size, weight, cost and reliability. Its hard to find a 9mm as accurate and reliable as my Bersa Thunder .380 CC that is not larger, less reliable or more costly. The Kahr PM9 is the same size and weight, but costs twice as much.
     
  5. fletcher

    fletcher Member

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    I can think of a few reasons: cost, recoil, availability, and size.

    For cost, a .380 can be had in the $200 range. A comparably small 9mm will probably run at least $300-400. A 9mm that compares to a P3AT will set you back $800 or more.

    .380s are able to be made smaller for some reason - my guess would be they are relatively weak enough to use direct blowback and smaller parts.

    I carry a Makarov, which shoots a caliber comparable to .380. For me, the price was right, it's dead reliable, completely metal frame, and just feels right. Also, it's cheap to shoot.
     
  6. 3fgburner

    3fgburner Member

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    My all-the-time deep-cover gun is a P3AT. Normal holster carry is a FEG PA63 in 9x18 Mak. It's got one less round than an actual Makarov, and the recoil is somewhere between the Mak and the P3AT. However, both those things are tradeoffs for a gun that's a bit lighter than a Makarov.

    I may, however, one of these days Dremel off the damn thumbrest.
     
  7. tydephan

    tydephan Member

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    I was really struggling how to say this. For some reason, I just couldn't complete the thought.

    But Dirty Bob is exactly right. I carry my Glock 26 (9mm) because it is a very comfortable gun for me to carry and to shoot. I'm accurate with it. I can conceal it easily.

    Would I care if it was .380? Absolutely not.
     
  8. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    Size - no question.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Chrome

    Chrome Member

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  10. Bobo

    Bobo Member

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    The only reason I can see for .380 over 9 mm is size and weight.

    I carry a Kel-Tec P-3AT with ArmaLaser for this very reason. There is no other gun that has the combination of caliber, weight, size, and available laser. If someone made a 9 mm with close to the same combination that was reliable I would jump on it! The only one is Rohrbaugh and it has no laser available (plus a $1000 price tag).

    One you get to a slightly bigger and heavier gun such as the Bersa, Kahr, etc. you may as well also go to 9 mm - with no additional size and very little additional weight. As far as handling goes, any of these guns in 9 mm handles better than my P-3AT .380. So just because it’s a .380 doesn’t mean it will handle better than a 9 mm.

    First, one must decide what the primary purpose of the guns is, and then find the best compromise for that purpose.

    For me the primary purpose was to get the most powerful self-defense weapon that I could carry completely concealed and comfortably 24/7, and apply quickly, reliably and accurately. For these criteria the P-3AT with ArmaLaser is the best compromise for me.

    If I could get a larger caliber and still maintain the other criteria would I do it? You bet, in an instant!
     
  11. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    Chrome,

    The PPS gets my vote for butt-ugly.
    [​IMG]

    BTW, the Kahr is about PPK size too. The MK is smaller.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Breakdaddy

    Breakdaddy Member

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    Well, I have a Thunder 380cc and a Kahr PM9. The honest answer to your question from my perspective is that there is little reason to carry a 380 from a size standpoint at this time. The Rohrbaugh R9 is about as big as a Seecamp 380 and my Kahr PM9 is still noticeably smaller than my small 380cc. From a recoil standpoint, the 380cc has slightly less recoil than the PM9, but it's not significant. Price can be a factor, as relatively good quality 380s can be had on the cheap (Bersa, Kel-Tec) while a comparably sized 9mm will generally run you quite a bit more (Kahr, Rohrbaugh). In my estimation however, the cost of practicing with said rounds will overcome the price disparity of the 380 vs 9mm pistols as the 9mm ammo is significantly less expensive than 380 ammo.
     
  13. camper

    camper Member

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    I have a PM9 and think it is great, but right now I have my Colt Mustang Pocketlite in my pocket. I am also a believer in shot placement and not spray and pray.
     
  14. fletcher

    fletcher Member

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    No thread hijack intended, but what is currently the smallest SA/DA 9mm?
     
  15. Bobo

    Bobo Member

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  16. brashboy

    brashboy Member

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    Yeah, it's a Walther, but looks only a Terminator could love.

    That's where I'm evolving to. I like the .380, and straight blowback is a very reliable design, but those darn 9s are so small.

    Agreed, I think that nails it. Everyone seems to really like the piece, or are drawn by the extreme concealability - e.g., the KT.
     
  17. rdaines

    rdaines Member

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    Because James Bond used .380
     
  18. brashboy

    brashboy Member

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    Camper, is that Colt a straight blowback model? How reliable is the feeding and ejection?
     
  19. jim314

    jim314 Member

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    What is the gun Gun Tech is showing in post #8??
     
  20. Tom Servo

    Tom Servo Member

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    Because the Beretta Cheetah and Sig P230 aren't chambered in 9mm ;)
     
  21. enfield

    enfield Member

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    Why carry a small nine, like the Kahr, when the Kahr .40 is the same size and only an ounce heavier?

    I'll be honest -- I haven't yet found a use for 9mm. I own small, easily concealed .40's and very small, very easily concealed .380's.
     
  22. DirksterG30

    DirksterG30 Member

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    I carry my Keltec P3AT when I can't carry anything bigger. I own a Kahr MK9, and even though on paper it does not seem that much larger, there is enough difference that I cannot carry it with my work attire. The Keltec fits the bill for work carry. It is my "carry anywhere" gun.
     
  23. DirksterG30

    DirksterG30 Member

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  24. camper

    camper Member

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    Brashboy,

    The Mustang functions exactly like its big brother, the 1911, minus the grip safety. My pocketlite eats any brass or nickel plated FMJ or HP. Doesn't like the Russian steel cased stuff. 100% reliable to date.
     
  25. brashboy

    brashboy Member

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    I've never considered a 40 SW. I already have 357/9/45 guns, plus the little .380 Mauser. I want fewer different calibers, if anything, not more. The .45 provides plenty of stopping power, though I don't have a really concealable one. The 9 has plenty of firepower in double-stack guns and is cheap to shoot. I'm willing to carry a .380, so the 9 is plenty caliber enough.

    I've shot a MillPro in 40 and it was a bear, very unpleasant. In a SD situation, I doubt if the difference would be noticed, but on the range the recoil is a drag and I like to shoot my guns. Even the little 9s are not a recoil problem, and the 45 is not bad in most guns.

    I think the Kahr CW9 is a better hide gun than the other Kahrs, at least it seems smaller, though construction is said to be not so durable. Better than the Keltec, though. The little KT .380 is lost in my hand, though the concealability is good. Seems people carry .380 either b/c they love the gun or for extreme concealability, like in a pocket.
     
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