The Myth that .380acp is ineffective for personal defense. - Page 4

The Myth that .380acp is ineffective for personal defense.

This is a discussion on The Myth that .380acp is ineffective for personal defense. within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I see both sides of the argument and it boils down to personal preferance. I carry a .380 daily, is it my first choice, no ...

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Thread: The Myth that .380acp is ineffective for personal defense.

  1. #46
    Senior Member Array CowboyColby's Avatar
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    I see both sides of the argument and it boils down to personal preferance. I carry a .380 daily, is it my first choice, no but its the only firearm I feel 100% about concealing with 90% of my daily clothing attire. In all honesty our objective is to stop the threat that doens't mean we have to shoot or even draw to stop the threat it may be done by talking, walking, running, oc spray, etc.
    If someone is shooting at me with an airsoft gun I promise I'm going to duck/take cover, stop my advance because those little things sting giving who ever is holding the airsoft gun time to beat feet or find better cover. Right or wrong I carry FMJ's in mine for the fact taht I want it to penetrate as far as possible, the fmj is cheaper, and I shoot other things with it like snakes, ratcoons, and what not and don't wish to waste expensive Buffalo Bore ammo on a rattler.


  2. #47
    New Member Array Skenzin's Avatar
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    I have to chime in here as a long time lurker and being somewhat new to concealed carry. The .380 seems to get alot of bad press and in my experience its usually from 6ft tall 250 pound pocket carry 1911 types. Being smaller I recently bought a SW Bodyguard and I carry it everywhere 24/7. Sometimes being a smaller person limits you in caliber and comfortability. Ive read the ballistics and research. I would love to carry my m&p 40 compact 24/7. But its not feasible. Im very comfortable knowing I can reach in my pocket, flick off a safety, and be ready to send 7 projectiles in a short amount of time to protect my family.

    I would never bring a 380 to gun fight or the worst neighborhood or attempt to engage at a distance. But the SW Bodyguard has become my second cell phone every morning. It gives me a huge tactical advantage for defense, in that I can look like im reaching for my keys or money for a mugger. i can have my hand on it and look completely natural when I feel uncomfortable. In my practice I can have the drop and quickly stun the attacker with speed and quantity. Not to mention the thing sounds like a cannon.

    yes i am giving up something for this level of concealment. But I trust my mishmash of Gold Dots and PDX1s and realize I may have to run or go to fists while my family flees. But Id much rather fight an attacker with 7 holes than none if it comes to it. I know guys that carry 3" 1911's part time. If there is one thing Ive read about engagements they always seem to choose you at the worst time. Just my current philosphy on the matter.

  3. #48
    Senior Member Array Ring's Avatar
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    i used to shoot 380s in my basement.... into a box of old encyclopaedia's.... the cover stopped them, the back of the bullet was hanging out of the book...

    also, a local man was shot 6 times by a 380 from his wife...

    he got in his car.... chased her down..... drover her off the road...... beat the crap out of her.... then drove him self to the hospital....

    380.... no thanks...

  4. #49
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    It is amazing how some of you guys bash anything that you may not agree with yourself whether there is validity or not. It is no wonder that we Americans are looked at by the rest of the world a a bunch of stuck up snobs!! Now on to the issue. I love my 1911 and my 357 and think that either one is the best option for "stopping power". I also love my XD 40 and several other guns that I own. However, with my job and the insane rules here in NC where there are more places that you cannot carry versus where you can, I have chosen the Ruger LCP as my daily carry weapon. I can pocket carry and have easy access as well as I do not have to partially undress every time that I have to remove the weapon to put into the car console (much less conspicuous). With the mind set that defensive fire will be from 7 yards or less, I carry a proven round (Hornady Critical Defense) that will penetrate through most clothing and effectively expand. Corbon would also be a good round as the hollow point cavity is filled with a polymer as well. This helps the round be much more effective and the energy is acceptable. If the 380 was so bad, they would not be selling like hot cakes. The key is balance. Carry what your lifestyle will allow and have the larger guns at home or for car carry (which I do). I do not go out looking for a chance to draw and in fact due to my training do just the opposite, I look for the least likely environment for trouble. If trouble does come my way I will have my 380 rather than nothing to defend myself. If for whatever reason it is not good enough and I meet my demise I guess it just wasn't meant to be. I am just thankful that you guys have seen the need, responsibility, and Constitutional reason to carry!!!! Hopefully none of will ever have to use the tools that we carry but if we do lets make sure that we are as proficient with whatever we carry so that the bad guys get their due and the innocents don't get hurt.

  5. #50
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ring View Post
    i used to shoot 380s in my basement.... into a box of old encyclopaedia's.... the cover stopped them, the back of the bullet was hanging out of the book...

    also, a local man was shot 6 times by a 380 from his wife...

    he got in his car.... chased her down..... drover her off the road...... beat the crap out of her.... then drove him self to the hospital....

    380.... no thanks...
    She apparently wasn't very proficient with her gun. If all the shots were in his foot, or non critical areas it wouldn't matter what he was shot with.

    You ever hear any stories of folks shot multiple times with 45's, 40's or 9's and not go down. I have, but I don't rule out those calibers as viable carry options.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  6. #51
    Senior Member Array wjh2657's Avatar
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    I carried a .380 ACP for years but recently switched to a S&W 642 in .38 spcl. I chose the revolver because of factors other than caliber. The .38 Spcl is not really that much more of a "death ray" than the .380 but both have one thing in common. You need to practice with both and make sure you can put your "five" or "seven" into the right place on the BG's body. I practice a lot because I don't have the option of "double tap and check." You need to make the commitment to empty your gun into a fairly small target area. I am prepared to practice and make that commitment. A .380 would suffice under the same plan. The problem is that .380s are usually purchased by people who aren't "gun people" and they don't practice. Little guns need to used by better shots and this is not usually the case.
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  7. #52
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    A BB, literally, can and has killed people too...As have .177 gr. pellets.

    Full grown adults I am speaking of in specific, not just single digit age fragile children.
    This is well reported and has been here at this forum.

    Would I depend on either to defend my soul, heck no!

    Atleast not unless I'd had no other, and this is the kicker, _more viable and by that EFFICIENT means of stopping power factor clambering_ available to me.
    I wouldn't at all choose .380 ACP when I can choose .38 Special for an as calculated _18%_ (That is a lot!) increase in power factor and the ammo is more plentiful and less costly to train with while being in a pistol form factor that functionally isn't all that much larger nor more difficult to conceal.

    Why handicap ones self when there is no good and strong nor pressing need to do so?

    If the question were shooting birds, squirrels and rabbits or some other thin & soft bodied relatively fragile internal systems type biological as a 'threat', then I'd be all yeah .380 ACP works fine...As will. 22LR, .177 pellets and maybe BBs too.
    But seeing as threats most commonly come in sizes, shapes, degrees of soft armored muscle & fat density as well as mass figures in ranges as high as 325+ lbs...No way would I bet my _soul_ on 1) Shot Placement as to 2) Being able to put 18% less than a .38 Special into some family rapers eye socket, mouth hole or to slip one just between his ribs so as to pierce his fatty heart.

    Call me paranoid, but I'd go with the upgrade insurance package and select at minimum .38 Special if not 9MM or better.
    Especially the inconvenience of considering carry same is far more convenient than standing there trying to hit the magic button weak spot on some jackrabbit threat that isn't stopping, and won't.

    At the end of the day though; To each their own.
    Some folk choose to wear seatbelts and motorcycle helmets. Other people choose to not do so.
    People die of either and survive both, too. As a nurse you would also know that odds for one are much greater as a percentage than the other.

    - Janq
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  8. #53
    Senior Member Array bunker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alachner View Post
    The BB .380 load is equal to a .38 standard load so carrying a .380 pistol such as the Ruger LCP, Kel-Tec P-3AT, Walther PPK or Sig Sauer P238 with this ammo, one is in good hands for self-defense. I chose the S&W 442 .38+P over a .380 pistol as my backup gun because of its better stopping power and reliability. I even find myself carrying it IWB as my main gun with 2 HKS speed loaders and I feel very secure. The main reason I feel very secure is that I have practiced a lot with my j-frame and I can shoot solid groups up to 30 yards.

    Therefore, in choosing a caliber there are more factors other than stopping power to take into consideration such as shot placement, reliability, ergonomics, recoil, grip size, concealability, accuracy and personal preferences. If someone is comfortable and accurate with a .380, then they are going to be fine in a self-defense situation.
    Wow, great groups at 30 yards with a j-frame??!! You must practice alot my friend, a lot. Congrats, i dont think i have even practiced out to 30 yards with my j frame... maybe i out to take a few shots just to see how i do, eh? Bunker

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    A BB, literally, can and has killed people too...As have .177 gr. pellets.

    Full grown adults I am speaking of in specific, not just single digit age fragile children.
    This is well reported and has been here at this forum.

    Would I depend on either to defend my soul, heck no!

    Atleast not unless I'd had no other, and this is the kicker, _more viable and by that EFFICIENT means of stopping power factor clambering_ available to me.
    I wouldn't at all choose .380 ACP when I can choose .38 Special for an as calculated _18%_ (That is a lot!) increase in power factor and the ammo is more plentiful and less costly to train with while being in a pistol form factor that functionally isn't all that much larger nor more difficult to conceal.

    Why handicap ones self when there is no good and strong nor pressing need to do so?

    If the question were shooting birds, squirrels and rabbits or some other thin & soft bodied relatively fragile internal systems type biological as a 'threat', then I'd be all yeah .380 ACP works fine...As will. 22LR, .177 pellets and maybe BBs too.
    But seeing as threats most commonly come in sizes, shapes, degrees of soft armored muscle & fat density as well as mass figures in ranges as high as 325+ lbs...No way would I bet my _soul_ on 1) Shot Placement as to 2) Being able to put 18% less than a .38 Special into some family rapers eye socket, mouth hole or to slip one just between his ribs so as to pierce his fatty heart.

    Call me paranoid, but I'd go with the upgrade insurance package and select at minimum .38 Special if not 9MM or better.
    Especially the inconvenience of considering carry same is far more convenient than standing there trying to hit the magic button weak spot on some jackrabbit threat that isn't stopping, and won't.

    At the end of the day though; To each their own.
    Some folk choose to wear seatbelts and motorcycle helmets. Other people choose to not do so.
    People die of either and survive both, too. As a nurse you would also know that odds for one are much greater as a percentage than the other.

    - Janq
    +1 Jang, well said. What we would not want to be shot with has absolutely nothing to do with the effectiveness of a round stopping a formidable threat. I don't want to get shot with a paint ball, but so what?

    It's rather amazing that when we pick what to carry for SD, we pick what is most comfortable and convenient. Those two characteristics won't help us in an attack at all. It's also amazing that we often pick our life and death gun/caliber based on some average gunfight, or that the BG will run when the gun is produced, or stop when shot, etc. We are choosing the minimal gun/caliber and the best case scenario(s) for the most precious thing we own - our life or the life of a loved one.
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  10. #55
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    It does seem as though this gets rehashed pretty often. One thing I've noticed in these discussions about caliber is that the issue of shot placement frequently comes up. I find that interesting, yet irrelevant. First, I think that we shoot how we shoot - our level of skill (based on inate ability and practice) is what it is. When we discuss caliber I don't feel "shot placement" should be considered. Assume your going to hit the bad guy in exactly the same places with your .22lr or your .45acp if your truly going to debate caliber. Closing your eyes and tapping your ruby slippers together three times isn't going to suddenly make you a better shot with a smaller caliber.

    I really feel there are no wrong answers when it comes to carrying a concealed firearm. If you'll consistently carry the thing, it's all good. But if we're going to debate the specific issue of caliber - Physics don't lie. The .380 is not an ineffective round, just a less effective round.
    Last edited by satori59; December 7th, 2010 at 10:09 AM. Reason: sp
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  11. #56
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    I have to question those who don't consider shot placement as being critical in self defense scenarios.

    When you go to the range do you simply load up the guns point them down range, fire off a bunch of rounds without regard as to where they impact, then go home? I have seen this done, mostly by kids 12 and younger when they first get to fire a semi auto whether it be rifle or handgun. They simply like to burn through ammo. If that is what self defense, and carrying a concealed weapon means to you then I truely suggest you reconsider your strategy.

    This thread isn't about what caliber is better. Go back and read the post by the OP, it is about the nonsense that the guy at the gunshow was spewing. That a .380 is no better than a BB gun or pepper spray, and that they are ineffective for defense. All nonsense.

    Back to shot placement. If it isn't a factor, then I guess being able to manipulate your gun, tactics, mindset, situational awareness, or any number of things should not be factors either. The only thing that should be considered is how powerful your handgun is. S&W needs to gear up their production of the 500 I guess because we all need to carry one of those. It doesn't matter if we can shoot it, because the concussion alone will be enough to stop any attacker in their tracks regardless of whether we hit them or not. Time to go to the gun shop and see what is in stock. The rest of you need to stop spending so much time at the range because it doesn't matter if you can hit your target or not, shot placement means nothing.

    To all the manufacturers of .380's out there, you need to shut down your production lines. I think this covers darn near all of them.

    I would have to reread the thread, but I don't think that anyone suggested the .380 is the best defensive round, or that it is even as good as some. There is a big distinction between that and saying that it is not effective at all. Both would be wrong.

    As far as power or energy, the .380 ranges from mid 150 ft lbs up to 300 ft lbs if you want to shoot Buffalo Bore. The .38 sp can have nearly the same range, possibly up to 350 ft lbs of energy, so yea the .380 can be anywhere from 15% to 50% less powerful than a .38, but then again there are loadings that put it right in the same range.

    I didn't really think this thread would be a caliber debate, as much as it has turned into. Rather an honest debate about what are viable options for SD calibers or platforms. I will continue to believe that shot placement is one of the most important factors in a SD scenario.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  12. #57
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    The point I was trying to make was that if we were going to have a caliber discussion, then have a caliber discussion. I was not trying to imply that shot placement wasnt important in terms of having a successful outcome in an encounter, just that it was independent of the 'caliber war'.

    Discussing shot placement during a caliber argument is similar to comparing MPG performance of vehicles - then saying the loser could be made equal by driving slower...
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  13. #58
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    +1 Jang, well said. What we would not want to be shot with has absolutely nothing to do with the effectiveness of a round stopping a formidable threat. I don't want to get shot with a paint ball, but so what?

    It's rather amazing that when we pick what to carry for SD, we pick what is most comfortable and convenient. Those two characteristics won't help us in an attack at all. It's also amazing that we often pick our life and death gun/caliber based on some average gunfight, or that the BG will run when the gun is produced, or stop when shot, etc. We are choosing the minimal gun/caliber and the best case scenario(s) for the most precious thing we own - our life or the life of a loved one.
    Agreed...This sort of sentiment never fails to amaze and stupify me.

    Would/does one knowingly choose a parachute that is 18% less efficient than what is and has been the widely regarded _minimum standard_ simply because well other people have 'made it' or 'been okay' and so I'm willing to gamble it because this one is small enough to fit in my pocket and thus is easier/more comfortable to carry than say the widely accepted _minimum standard_.
    Or same for a personal flotation device upon going on a boat ride...And VERY many people do just this. Thinking ehh I can 'swim' or I'll hold onto a floating seat pad (Class IV - http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/pfdbasics.htm) and will be fine.
    Yeah, okay. Famous last words until you actually might need as much. Might work...Or you might DIE.

    To the folk who might think that just having any gun (to show!) is enough, that too is a _gamble_.
    Good luck with that...Especially considering very many cases featured here at our own site have shown criminals having no fear facing down a gun even as tactically they seem in the moment to be at a disadvantage...Only to wind up overcoming odds and winning against the gun holding civilian and even COPS too.

    As well to those who say shot placement is all you need.
    Agreed. Shot placement with a pellet gun, BB gun or even a .22LR is a killer...Never mind with a round that nobody 'wants to be shot with' (such a tired saying). But...Shot placement capability for _fine_accuracy is much easier to do on a range targeting static paper that is not shooting/slashing/swinging/stabbing back at you.
    On the street or in your driveway or at the foot of your bed in the middle of the night or inside of a parking garage elevator...Shot placement is and will be significantly more _difficult_ employ masterfully to a fine degree. Thus the saying toward 'combat accuracy' and the concept of increased, rather than decreased, projectile mass AND chambering velocity (FPS) as to result in increased theoretical energy...Toward stopping power.

    All of this is a gamble folks.
    Nobody knows if, when how and by how many hyena they might be run up on as while in this jungle we call Life.
    Living in and of itself is a gamble. As such we all regularly gamble greater and lesser on specific items, per our own view and assessment.

    Can a human being be stopped by a .380, of course.
    Can a human being be killed by a .380, most definitely yes.
    But...At what odds and percentage, as in relation to other options that are just as viable if not even more so.
    Gambling at it's finest.

    Personally I would not choose to double down on a hand of .380.
    Many of course do and bet against the House with that hand.
    It's ones own life that they are gambling with and betting toward, or against.

    - Janq

    "It does seem as though this gets rehashed pretty often...Physics don't lie. The .380 is not an ineffective round, just a less effective round. " - Satori59

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  14. #59
    Member Array Pioneer's Avatar
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    It's not about killing, it's about stopping your attacker. Sure, a .380 will kill, but how long will that take, and how much damage will your attacker inflict while he is waiting to bleed out? Would I want to be shot with one? Heck no! It may look good to you on paper and using math, but when used against a 200+ pound doped up attacker, I'd rather throw something, several somethings actually, at him with a bit more weight and umph.

    Has a .380 ever stopped someone in their tracks? Has .380 ammo improved over the past couple of years? Sure, but in the greater scheme of things bigger & faster is better.

    In my opinion, the .380 is in the "better than nothing" category.

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    I feel cozy when carrying 7 rds of .22 Mag in my S & W 351 pd. Thats because I shoot it often, I know the penetration is adequate, and I know that after 3 COM, I can go for the coup de grace in the noggin if I need to. As most sd situations occur at very close range, I dont think this is unreasonable.
    BUT THEN THERE IS ALWAYS THE REALITY OF WHAT TRANSPIRES IN A REAL LIFE OR DEATH SCENARIO!!!! Never been in one, and hope I never am, but.... Practice alot, and trust what you got!!!!
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