The Myth that .380acp is ineffective for personal defense. - Page 7

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; Originally Posted by archer51 In all actuality there is no best defensive caliber handgun. There are too many variables that can change the dynamics of ...

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  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    In all actuality there is no best defensive caliber handgun. There are too many variables that can change the dynamics of a situation. While a .380 or .38 may work well with certain loads in the summer months, it may be totally ineffective in the winter when heavier clothing is being worn. Someone hopped up on meth may continue coming at you, even after taking multiple COM hits from a .40 or .45. The best defensive round is the one that is never fired. Avoidance is always a better option, than hoping your choice of caliber is enough to stop the person.
    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    Effectiveness is defined by its ability to end the threat. A vast majority of SD situations in which a gun is utilized a shot isn't fired. I doubt that a BG is going to check caliber before he decides to advance or not. BGs are typically opportunistic and choose what they believe to be easy targets. When armed resistance is presented, they are less likely to continue viewing the target as easy. There are plenty of examples where actual SD shootings with a .380 have been successful in stopping a threat (up to and including lethal). There are also plenty of examples where larger caliber shootings have not resulted in immediate stops. Plenty of BGs end up found in ERs hours later with multiple shots of 9mm just to walk out a little bit later (hopefully escorted by guys in uniforms and wearing stainless steel jewelry).

    A .380 that a person can load, rack, and shoot comfortably and can become proficient with is a much better choice in my opinion than a .40 caliber that the person can't handle. TRUE Effectiveness is more determined by the shooter than it is the weapon.
    very well put
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwhite75 View Post
    Well givent he fact that there are as many 9mm offerings that are the same size as their .380 counterparts, i will carry a 9mm first.
    Not quite true. A PM9 is larger and significantly heavier than the micro .380s like the LCP and P3at. Having had both PM9s and still having LCPs, I'll say that the LCP is better for pocket carry duty, IMHO.

    The R9 is the same size, but heavier and three + times the price (~$300 vs ~$1000).
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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  3. #93
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    Interesting tid bit of information...

    What the different states use...

    From an issue of American Handgunner – the most popular handgun calibers used by that state police in 49 states are (HI has no state police agency, hence only 49 states):

    .40 S&W
    AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, IL, IO, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NV, ND, OH, OR, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY (26)

    .357 Sig
    DE, MT, NM, NC, OK, RI, SD, TN, TX, VA (10)

    .45 ACP
    AR, ID, KS, ME, NH, WV (6)

    .45 GAP
    FL, GA, NY, PA, SC (5)

    9mm
    IN, NJ (2)

    The .380 is no longer used by LEO's and for a reason.

    As well, a .380 will have trouble penetrating heavy winter clothing even when using hollow-point ammunition... multiple layers of clothing, leather jackets, sweatshirts and the like, will stop and/or reduce the effects of a .380 bullet... even if well placed in the "chest cavity" area of a bad guy!!!

    Carrying a .380 is better than nothing (I think)... but in this day and age of legal liability... dead "bad guys" don't talk and I am hoping that I would have to shoot less times to stop the threat by using a larger caliber gun/cartridge... than shoot "multiple times" and maybe have them live... or have a defense lawyer say I shot to many times... and why?

    If someone was choosing a .380 for size and shootability, I would look at the many quality 9mm sub compacts available as a minimum caliber to carry. Just refer to the chart above and tell me that state police LEO's accross the country don't know a thing or two about stopping threats at minimal risk to others or liability concerns?
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  4. #94
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    Beachbumcook,

    LEO's are out looking for bad guys, there is a huge difference. They also carry handcuffs, slap jacks, pepper spray, tasers, and wear bullet proof vests and drive cars with lights on them.

    How many police or military forces have used the .380 in the past or currently still use them? None of this is really relavant to the fact that a .380 is most definately better than a BB gun.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by nedrgr21 View Post
    Dead at hospital doesn't equal stopping the attack before lethal damage is done to the victim.
    Exactly.

    Several responses have basically said the 380 is "good enough" or better than nothing.

    I've carried the lowly 380 all by it's self over the last couple days, due to whatever.
    It was better than nothing and since nothing happened it was definitely "good enough"

    Although I did not "need" a gun at all, since nothing happened, I would have still felt better protected if I'd had a more powerful weapon.

    As long as nothing happens an underpowered caliber is more than sufficient.

    It's kind of like driving a motorcycle (I did in the past (22 years ago) but don't anymore) or a "SMART" car, as long as you are not in a wreck they are safe.

    My gas guzzling Dodge Ram Quad Cab 4 x 4 makes me feel better protected in the event some unpredictable, unavoidable incident should take place. Sometimes I ride with the wife in the (her) mini-van which doesn't make me feel as safe, but due to circumstances "whatever" that's what I do. The mini-van is perfectly safe as long as we are not hit head on by a Dodge Ram truck (or equivalent or larger). (Comparison to pistols is hopefully obvious). She doesn't want to drive a "big" truck everyday, much like some people don't want to carry a ______ everyday.
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  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    Beachbumcook,

    LEO's are out looking for bad guys, there is a huge difference. They also carry handcuffs, slap jacks, pepper spray, tasers, and wear bullet proof vests and drive cars with lights on them.

    How many police or military forces have used the .380 in the past or currently still use them? None of this is really relavant to the fact that a .380 is most definately better than a BB gun.
    My point is/was:

    When an immenant threat to my life or others is happening, I want the max firepower I can safely control, shoot on target and "stop a threat" with. For some, this is a .45, .40, .357 and 9mm... and to a lessor extent, .380.

    All I need to hear, read and research is how a .380 will not penetrate heavy clothing (epsecially in the winter) or will not always make for a kill shot... I have concerns!!!

    State Police agencies use what is effective, cost effective and what the majority of their officers can handle and manage when looking at what kind of round and firearm to use. My point was... if the .380 was a good "perp stopping round"... they would still be using it... it is not for various reasons, which is good enough for me not to use it!!! To your point about them "looking for bad guys"... well, what happens when the bad guys find me... then I and the LEO are now one and the same in terms of firepower versus the bad guy... is a person with a .380??? I say not!!!

    On a personal note... and I think for most CCW permit holders... I am not looking for trouble, but if trouble finds me unexpectedly, I want to stop it with as few shots as I can and as quickly as I can... and a .380 is not the round to choose... with so many calibers available to choose from.

    Bringing a .380 to a larger caliber agrument is not in one's best interest (by the way, I will be the guy wearing the heavy leather winter coat and carrying my .40cal).... that was my point.
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  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachbumcook View Post
    State Police agencies use what is effective, cost effective and what the majority of their officers can handle and manage when looking at what kind of round and firearm to use.
    - Police don't need to conceal a firearm, so there is absolutely no reason for them to carry a .380ACP. There are a lot of people who absolutely cannot be found with a firearm, which is why the .380ACP is so popular and easy to carry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beachbumcook View Post
    All I need to hear, read and research is how a .380 will not penetrate heavy clothing (epsecially in the winter) or will not always make for a kill shot... I have concerns!!!
    - One of the primary reasons for a .380ACP is the ease of pocket carry, usually with a tucked shirt. Winter allows a much greater variety of cover garments to be worn... along with a larger firearm.

  8. #98
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    calibers and effectiveness will always be an argument.... it's all about shot placement ... no matter what you are shooting. A rock is lethal if it's thrown right and hits someone in the right place. .... they can travel up to 65 mph.

    That's why I think it's a useless argument. People will argue the points important to them, and believe what they want to believe, and I doubt they will change their minds ... no matter what.

    In the "old West" many an outlaw carried .32 caliber guns. I've seen many cases of people killed with a .22 and .25 caliber gun.

    I don't believe Salesmen should push their biases, just pass on the facts and let people make up their own mind.
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  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eagleks View Post
    I don't believe Salesmen should push their biases, just pass on the facts and let people make up their own mind.
    Having a degree in Marketing and working in sales and marketing management... I market and sell for a living and sell "features".... which hopefully translate into user "benefits".

    From my point of view (my personal bias now comparing feature to feature)... the only user feature/benefit of using a .380 is size and compactness of the firearm that shoots this cartridge... other than this one aspect, there is no benefit when compared to a 9mm, .40 and .45.
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  10. #100
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    Beachbumcook,

    The comparision in this thread is not about a .380 vs, 9, 40, 45 or anything of that nature. It is a comparison of a .380 vs a BB gun or pepper spray. Please read the original post.

    With your marketing experience, please tell us why a guy would have .380's on his table at a gun show and then say one would be safer with a BB gun or pepper spray. They never taught anything like that in the marketing class that I took.
    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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  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    Beachbumcook,

    The comparision in this thread is not about a .380 vs, 9, 40, 45 or anything of that nature. It is a comparison of a .380 vs a BB gun or pepper spray. Please read the original post.

    With your marketing experience, please tell us why a guy would have .380's on his table at a gun show and then say one would be safer with a BB gun or pepper spray. They never taught anything like that in the marketing class that I took.
    Because that phrase was suppposed to be answered with, "OK then, what else can you recommend?"
    Maybe ;^)

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    ...please tell us why a guy would have .380's on his table at a gun show and then say one would be safer with a BB gun or pepper spray.
    There is no god reason to address that, or to even take such a statement with any degree of seriousness. Really.

    People say/imply a lot of things.
    s adults we normally are able to discern what makes sense from what is plainly stupid. To that end the plainly stupid is generally obvious and by that very often, if not most often, just not worth spending any thought on muchless conversation to counter.

    Although the OP started out this thread with that statement basis, he too also noted that it was a laughable assertion...Which in fact it plainly is.
    So continuing to address that specific item is equally laughable.

    The remainder, and majority, of the OP goes on to detail and compare energy levels of various common combat rounds followed in the end by relative comparison of .380 to all, including again the laughable subject of BBs from a pellet rifle whihc once more by a reasonable person can be wholly ignored.

    Never mind that the given title of his thread and posting subject in bold is; "The Myth that .380acp is ineffective for personal defense."
    This is the true focus of the OPs post and is how the thread overall to the majority had involvd toward discussion, beginning with the first thread reply...

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyeLCPL
    I generally consider the .380 the bare minimum that is acceptable for SD use. I don't want to get shot by it, or a .22, or a BB gun for that matter. Shot placement is king in SD, but you still need a powerful round to ensure the bullet gets where it needs to go....
    Forget about the .380 vs. BB statement.
    It is and was to start a non-item.

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  13. #103
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    Is the .380 a defensive round = yes

    Are there better defensive rounds out there (subjective of course) = yes

    The 9mm is close to the .380 with a greater ability to offer deeper penetration.... and in some cases, the velosity of the 9mm is so great that it goes through without causing enough "expansion" and damage to to soft tissue and bone.

    If one google's "FBI Ballistic testing" there are countless articles and reports about the testing parameters that all calibers are tested against and the trade off of each. Yes, a .380 will do harm, but it will not penetrate to the point (12" or more is the testing standard) when going through clothing.... and unless your shooting a skinny, shirtless "bad guy" on the beach who is not hyped up on drugs/speed... this is why LEO's no longer use .380's and use larger caliber cartridges... and only 2 state police agencies even use the 9mm any more!!!

    It's about penetration and soft-tissue/bone damage... with the fewest shots possible.

    Even a well trained LEO will statisticlly (nationwide) will only get 2 shots to the torso of a bad guy of all shots fired according to the statistics I read last night when in a high-stress environment... so imagine what would happen to a private citizen... if you hit the bad guy... you better hope he goes down and is not just wounded or worse yet... still keeps coming at you and your missing!!!
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  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachbumcook View Post
    Is the .380 a defensive round = yes

    Are there better defensive rounds out there (subjective of course) = yes

    The 9mm is close to the .380 with a greater ability to offer deeper penetration.... and in some cases, the velosity of the 9mm is so great that it goes through without causing enough "expansion" and damage to to soft tissue and bone.

    If one google's "FBI Ballistic testing" there are countless articles and reports about the testing parameters that all calibers are tested against and the trade off of each. Yes, a .380 will do harm, but it will not penetrate to the point (12" or more is the testing standard) when going through clothing.... and unless your shooting a skinny, shirtless "bad guy" on the beach who is not hyped up on drugs/speed... this is why LEO's no longer use .380's and use larger caliber cartridges... and only 2 state police agencies even use the 9mm any more!!!

    It's about penetration and soft-tissue/bone damage... with the fewest shots possible.

    Even a well trained LEO will statisticlly (nationwide) will only get 2 shots to the torso of a bad guy of all shots fired according to the statistics I read last night when in a high-stress environment... so imagine what would happen to a private citizen... if you hit the bad guy... you better hope he goes down and is not just wounded or worse yet... still keeps coming at you and your missing!!!

    I wouldn't disagree with anything in your post, but I'd like to add that, IMO a lot of CC folks probably train more than some of the LEO's you speak of... I know that I can chunk a ton of lead down range in a year, and most all of it is to point of aim.... Just sayin..
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  15. #105
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    9mm is not close to .380.
    The two are different as could be; Same as .38 Special is very different from .380 too.

    Some brief and basic background...

    .380 ACP
    http://www.handloads.com/misc/stoppi...=10&Weight=All

    .38 Special +P variant (Most common as a combat/defensive/duty loading)
    http://www.handloads.com/misc/stoppi...r=8&Weight=All

    9MM +P (Most common as a combat/defensive/duty loading)
    http://www.handloads.com/misc/stoppi...=16&Weight=All

    Note: If you don't happen to like this specific site, okay fine simply check any number of OTHER sites or even that of commercial ammunition mfrs. for same figures and relative comparison.

    * .380 runs much lower pressure with lower volume of powder out of barrels that are generally less than 2.5" long in form factor.
    There are significant differences in reduced energy (Both velocity AND projectile weight!).

    * As well greatly reduced inherent accuracy due to the guns form factor most often having an abrupt sight radius; Which is funny considering very often defenders of this round claim that "shot placement" as in accuracy is what is most important (!).

    * Because the cartridge is designed to fit small framed autoloaders the guns themselves very much tend to be tiny and by that moderately difficult to take hold of so as to get a good shooters grip...Which in turn directly affects both accuracy for the first shot AND felt recoil as toward any follow on shot(s) that may be needed.

    * Further it is widely reported among industry that guns of this specific chambering do not function reliably as to extract or even load under fire.
    This in itself is _key_ to any combat intent handgun regardless of chambering. Also it is key toward the oft noted idea of "shot placement" as one can't place a shot accurately if their gun is jammed up and converted into metal rock.

    For more on this see this very recent industry report toward .380 gun function and reliability. It is not confidence inspiring...
    Concealed Carry: 21st Century Style
    Review of nine compact .380 semi-automatic handguns.
    By Wiley Clapp
    http://www.americanrifleman.org/Arti...id=2074&cid=19

    Shooting the Guns
    Each pistol tested got an equal shot in the evaluation process. I fired the American Rifleman protocol of five consecutive, five-shot groups, plus a half-dozen or so magazines of informal shooting. That’s roughly 100 rounds per gun. These guns are intended for sudden crisis encounters at very close range. For that reason, I would not be too concerned about the performance of the guns at 25 yards. When I report that the average group size is more than 6 inches, that means the gun doesn’t compare very well to, say, a S&W Performance Center M1911. It is apples and oranges. I can tell you they will all cluster seven rounds into a group the size of your hand at 5 yards.

    [Note: This is NOT normally deemed to be 'accuracy' as in the fine sense of shot placement...Rather it is at best combat accuracy as in the gross sense of getting hits somewhere on the target among center mass.
    My own hand covers in width and length nearly 80% of my own chest. That to my mind is not at all confidence inspiring as related to so called "shot placement".]

    I am concerned about the number of cycling malfunctions, most commonly failures to feed and chamber. With one exception, every gun experienced these problems. Even here, we have to put matters in context. Kahr Arms, for example, includes the same manual with each of its pistols, regardless of size or chambering. That manual tells the buyer that he or she needs to run at least 200 rounds through the pistol before pressing it into service. That is coldly realistic advice that all of the other manufacturers would be well-advised to emulate.

    With most of the guns, the greater number of glitches came when they were new out of the box. As the shooting wore on, the frequency of malfunctions declined. I would also suggest that when breaking in your chosen .380, you should make sure the gun is well-lubricated, perhaps even over-lubricated. Shoot until malfunctions stop.

    [Note: The reviewer had mechanical failure (!) issues with 8 out of the 9 guns, that is an 88% failure rate!, while attempting to use the as new guns under normal firing combat application, against a total firing count of one hundred. These were brand new guns.
    Now think of how many times we've had threads here at DC.com alone where people have commented they ran a box or three of rounds through their gun (of any type, chambering and size) and called it 'reliable'. How many times there have been threads here with people asking how many rounds they run through a gun before they deem it to be combat/duty/carry/HD (call it what you will) reliable; And how often the range of 50 to 200 comes up.

    Now here is a gun with ammo that generally is expensive, had been until very recently difficult to find in stock anywhere, is as I noted to start generally difficult to hold and shoot at all much less for extended range sessions AND as noted both by me and Wiley Clapp (among many others) is not well known/regarded for it's ability to shoot with anything beyond at best mediocre degree combat accuracy...And that is when being fired slow fire with intent toward fine degree accuracy (!).

    People seriously need to think about and consider these facts of the matter as related to the guns, the cartridge AND their own individual practices toward break in, maintenance and becoming intimate with their own gun which in their mind they imagine making use of as a means of last resort to _SAVE THEIR OWN LIFE_, or that of another they might love/like. This is much more than internet debate folks. It is in fact serious business; Life or threat stoppage or gun failure stoppage.]
    Then secondarily there was also this...

    Enough Gun or Any Gun?
    For many Americans who have made the personal decision to be responsible for their own personal protection, the .380 ACP is the cartridge of choice.
    By Mark Keefe, American Rifleman Editor in Chief
    http://www.americanrifleman.org/Arti...id=2033&cid=19

    ...Once the dominant cartridge in European law enforcement and for hide-out guns such as the Colt Model 1908 and the Walther PPK/s, the .380 ACP fell out of favor as primary defensive cartridge in the United States. Many knowledgeable about armed self-defense regard the .380 ACP as below the minimal threshold of energy. Field Editor Wiley Clapp falls into that camp. With some 9 mm Luger handgun designs only slightly larger than today’s .380 designs, Wiley would gladly encumber himself with an extra few ounces of weight in exchange for 20 more grains of bullet weight and 100 ft.-lbs. or so more energy.

    In terms of accuracy, the results Wiley reported are about what I anticipated....Wiley worked these guns over pretty hard. He likely fired them more than some purchasers will in their lifetimes. The stark reality with such small, lightweight carry guns is that it is difficult to see their sights and they are not a lot of fun to shoot for extended periods. Slimness and light weight are paid for at the bench. But they must be shot, and range work needs to be done with the loads to be carried and ensure absolute reliability. The decision on what to carry as a personal protection gun and what load to stoke it with is perhaps one of the most important decisions an armed citizen may ever make, and you must make sure your gun and ammunition work flawlessly. Look at what’s on the line.
    People comparing .380 as a chambering and associated guns to that of .38 Special never mind 9MM, are not making much if any logical sense.
    They are not comparable and for a number of reasons multiple rather than singular.

    As well people who invest and bet their lives on .380 guns are not fools because as is well known and goes without saying, having something (as in anything) is far better than nothing at all.
    But...
    They also would be wisest and well advised to run their .380 gun of choice through intense function testing as well as individual shot accuracy evaluation to gauge specific gun (not just model) function and by that shooter degree of _inaccuracy_ ("shot placement"!) prior to thinking they might could depend on this choice for anything be it a primary (!) or secondary degree defense tool.

    Last item of note this past summer I personally had opportunity by invitation from a major manufacturer who shall remain nameless to evaluate a newly market introduced .380 variant.
    It shot terribly for accuracy and felt recoil was overly so as expected thanks to being tiny and extremely lightweight (several ounces) so as to negatively affect function. And the sights were horrible extremely difficult to acquire due to again being tiny in size to even pickup a target with "shot placement" accuracy at just 15 ft. (!) away. All I could hope for was to hit the body of the torso shaped target somewhere...And that is what occurred.

    Later this past fall I'd had occasion to be member of a hunting party with the gentleman who was the acting rangemaster (lead safety officer) for this event and during lunch break we got to talking about the trend toward tiny pocket guns such as .380.
    He mentioned that at the same industry event I'd attended that the .380 product this company had out had in fact suffered a significant functional failure with three out of the three guns they had brought. These guns were brand new taken out of normal production stock for use as demonstrators. They wound up having to shut down the booth with that gun due to not having a fourth gun of same as a 'backup'. This from the manufacturer of said gun!

    Very seriously it is interesting to me how many people support .380 ACP as a chambering and literally bet their lives on these type autoloaders.
    I seriously have to wonder if folk have done any research at all toward their life saving device, and it's power source, of choice...Aside from being focused on whether it'll fit in their pocket and that it might weigh as much or less than their cellphone to dial 911 or wallet to be taken off their wounded and dying/dead body.

    - Janq
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