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; Dang Janq! Despite all the hard work and thought you obviously put into your post I still gotta say regardless. Does a .380 FMJ have ...

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

  1. #106
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Dang Janq! Despite all the hard work and thought you obviously put into your post I still gotta say regardless. Does a .380 FMJ have enough horse power to get to the vitals and do it's job of stopping a BG. Answer is a simple one... Yes. It has proven itself over and over in ballistic gel. The only real reason why law enforcement doesn't use the rounds is more than likely due to the better options for it officers who are not concerned with concealed carry. If I was a LEO, I too would be carrying the largest caliber and firearm that I could. To compare what Law enforcement carries vs civilian carry options is a stretch IMO. LEO's search out the BGs were as, we as civilians defend against them, not the same thing IMO. I will agree with the statement "carry the largest caliber you can shoot effectively" but in the same breath I'll add, if you can put a .22 into the noggin of some low life I'm sure he'll drop into a heap due to bullet placement, not so much the caliber that was used. Sure bigger is better, but when you get to a certain level the rest is just gravy.

    IMO, .380 or possibly .32 should be the lowest caliber one should carry for defensive purposes, but like it's been said over and over; something is better than nothing. For the record. I have been carrying my 650 .357 and my LCR .38+p for the last couple of months but not for fear that my PPK wasn't enough gun. I still carry it from time to time, but I wanted a more reliable firearm, not caliber. My PPK loaded with BuffaloBore 100gr HC flat nose stuff and the round has 295FPE and travels at 1150FPS, the only thing it lacks comparatively to the .38 is bullet weight. The .38's have been putting BG's in the ground for a long time, and IMO, the .380 FMJ especially the truncated FMJs are a very effective defensive round if placed in the BG properly. All the talk about " A BG with a knife can close the distance in this and that" is great, but what it doesn't say is, Not every BG can do that and not every situation is played out 100% to match that.

    IN closing I just want to add that I am in no way disagreeing with you and the data that you have posted. What I am saying is this.... I have seen a guy shot by a .380 sitting right next to me in a truck and I can tell you for a fact, the guy was out for the count. He shot himself in the foot by accident and if it wasn't such a serious situation I would have laughed my butt off, but fact is he was down and couldn't function by a wound to the foot with the .380. It was a round nose FMJ and believe me, it had the horse power to go through 4" of his heal, and a pair of military boots and darn near the metal floor of the truck after passing through the carpeting. Oh and the post that said due to the round nose, the wound will close up around the entry; WRONG! I could clearly see a 1/4" size hole in his foot at the hospital while I waited for the Police to arrive. Sure the entry wound wasn't as bad as a HP would've been, but it sure didn't close up either. My point is; IMO, anyone who says it's lacking either has never really seen it in flesh and is going strictly on what has been posted somewhere, or by reading other test posted on the internet. I submit that, any round that will penetrate 16 + inches in ballistic gelatin will get to the vitals and therefore can be an effective round for self defense. The largest factors are gonna be speed and placement not so much caliber. And, those two factors apply to the larger calibers as well.

    GBK
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

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  3. #107
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    GBK,

    Please re-read my post.
    Your own posting reads as though you did not actually read my own, or rather you my have at thee first two sentences and the latter paragraph.

    Of course, and I have already stated this prior (!), a person can be and have been stopped and even killed by a .380 projectile.
    There is no argument against that as being a fact.
    Again please re-read my post.

    BTW it took/takes me no time at all to draft this item.
    Hardest part was remembering to insert [quote] tabs at the correct place.
    Time invested was maybe :10m total...part of which I did while on hold by phone.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  4. #108
    Member Array Beachbumcook's Avatar
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    The origin of the FBI ballistic test protocol goes back to the 1986 FBI Miami shootout.

    The FBI Miami shootout was a gun battle that occurred on April 11, 1986 in Miami between multiple FBI agents and two heavily armed and well-trained bank robbers. The firefight claimed the lives of two FBI special agents as well as the two bank robbers. Five other agents were severely injured during the gunfight.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout)

    The incident is infamous because, the suspects were not incapacitated by repeated traumatic hits from the agents' standard-issue handguns, and finally, the suspects continued to fight after being shot!

    This incident is important because it ask serious questions about the needed performance for personal defense ammunition. One bank robber was still fighting even when he was hit by a 9mm Silvertip bullet. The bullet struck at first the upper arm then penetrated in the chest cavity and stopped less then one inch from his heart. With a bullet less then one inch form his heart the bank robber killed two FBI agents and wounded sever others.

    As a result of the failure of the 9x19 mm Silvertip bullet the FBI convened the first Wound Ballistic Seminar. Based on the bank robbers chest wound it was concluded that a minimum of 12 penetration would be an unbreakable rule.

    This rule is not yet being learned in Europe! A lot of police ammo and specially the small caliber PDW (personal defense weapon) ammunition penetrates barley deeper the 10 (250 mm). The FBI Firearms Training Unit set about developing the first standardized test procedure for handgun ammunition. Based on conditions observed in a large number of actual shooting incidents a test protocol of eight events was developed.
    ---------------------------

    Briefly, the performance standards are simple. A handgun bullet must consistently penetrate a minimum of 12 inches (304 mm) of tissue in order to reliably penetrate vital organs within the human target regardless of the angle of impact or intervening obstacles such as arms, clothing, glass, etc. Penetration of 18 inches (457 mm) is even better. Given minimum penetration, the only means of increasing wound effectiveness is to make the hole bigger. This increases the amount of vital tissue damage, increases the chance of damaging vital tissue with a marginally placed shot, and increases the potential for quicker blood loss. This is important because, with the single expectation of damaging the central nervous system, the only way to force incapacitation upon an unwilling adversary is to cause enough blood loss to starve the brain of oxygen and/or drop the blood pressure to zero.


    test event 1 : Bare gelatin
    The gelatin block is bare and shot at a range of ten feet measured from the muzzle to the front of the block. This test event correlates FBI results with those being obtained by other researchers, few of whom shoot into anything other than bare gelatin. It is common to obtain the greatest expansion in this test. Round which do not meet the standards against bare gelatin tend to be unreliable in the more practical test events that follow.

    test event 2 : Heavy Clothing.
    The gelatin block is covered with four layers of clothing: one layer of cotton T-shirt material ( 48 threads per inch) ; one layer of cotton shirt material (80 threads per inch); a 10 ounce down comforter in a cambric shell cover (232 threads per inch); and one layer of 13 ounces cotton denim (50 threads per inch). This simulates typical cold weather wear. The block is shot at then feet, measured from the muzzle to the front of the block.

    test event 3 : Steel obstacle.
    Two pieces of 20 gauge, hot rolled steel with a galvanized finish are set three inches apart. The steel is six inch squares. The gelatin block is covered with Light Clothing and placed 18 inches behind the rear most piece of steel. The shot is made at a distance of 10 feet measured from the muzzle to the front of the first piece of steel. Light Clothing is one layer of the above described T-shirt material and one layer of the above described cotton shirt material, and is used as indicated in all subsequent test events.

    The steel used as obstacle is the heaviest gauge steel commonly found in automobile doors. This test simulates the weakest part of a car door. In all car doors, there is an area, or areas , where the heaviest obstacle is nothing more than two pieces of 20 gauge steel.

    test event 4 : Wallboard obstacle.
    Two pieces of half-inch standard gypsum board are set 3.5 inches apart. The pieces are six inches square. The gelatin block is covered with Light Clothing and placed 18 inches behind the rear most piece of gypsum. the shot is made at a distance of ten feet, measured from the muzzle to the front of the first piece of gypsum. This test event simulates a typical interior building wall.

    test event 5 : Plywood obstacle.
    One pieces of three-quarter inch AA fir plywood is used. The piece is six inches square. The gelatin block is covered with Light Clothing and placed 18 inches behind the rear surface of the plywood. The shot is made at a distance of ten feet, measured from the muzzle to the front of the plywood. This test event simulates the resistance of typical wooden doors or construction timbers.

    test event 6 : Automobile glass
    One pieces of A.S.I one-quarter inch laminated automobile safety glass measuring 15x18 inches is set at an angle of 45 to the horizontal. The line of the bore of the weapon is offset 15 to the side, resulting in a compound angle of impact for the bullet upon the glass. The gelatin block is covered with Light Clothing and placed 18 inches behind the glass. The shot is made at a distance of ten feet, measured from the muzzle to the center of the glass pane. This test event with its two angles simulates a shot taken at the driver of a car from the left front quarter of the vehicle and not direct in front of it.

    test event 7: Heavy Clothing at 20 yards
    Repeat of test #2 above but now at 20 yards.

    test event 8: Automobile Glass at 20 yards
    Repeat of test #6 above but at 20 yards distance.
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  5. #109
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Janq;1823812]GBK,

    Please re-read my post.
    Your own posting reads as though you did not actually read my own, or rather you my have at thee first two sentences and the latter paragraph.

    Of course, and I have already stated this prior (!), a person can be and have been stopped and even killed by a .380 projectile.
    There is no argument against that as being a fact.
    Again please re-read my post.

    BTW it took/takes me no time at all to draft this item.
    Hardest part was remembering to insert
    tabs at the correct place.
    Time invested was maybe :10m total...part of which I did while on hold by phone.

    - Janq
    LOL! Was not meant disrespectfully...... And I did read the post. My post was brought on by reading several others as well. My apologies if it sounded like I singled you out sir, was not my intent. Your post was considerably more detailed than some of the others so I mentioned your handle in mine..... OOPs!


    GBK
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

  6. #110
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Beachbumcook,

    Most of us that have been on this forum for any length of time know full well the FBI test standards and of the case in Florida. Please look through those tests and tell us which ones of those 8 are scenarios that would be valid for self defense shootings for CHL holders.

    1, 2 certainly,
    3,4,5,6,7,8, maybe not so much, or you have quite a bit of explaining to do in many areas of this country.
    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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  7. #111
    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
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    It's a simple trade off.
    I don't want to carry Dirty Harry's .44 magnum..................."The most powerful handgun in the world. Punk."
    So most likely it would be sitting at home when I needed it.
    However, my Sig P238 slips right into my pocket. So does my Seecamp. There's no reason NOT to have them with you.
    Only you can decide to pull your 380 or tell the robber about your deadly .44 at home.

  8. #112
    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    My ruger LCR has 125 gr .357 rounds and I can leave the .380 at home.

  9. #113
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    3,4,5,6,7,8, maybe not so much, or you have quite a bit of explaining to do in many areas of this country.
    Tell that to the stepfather of that woman that was held captive and raped for 18 yrs starting at age 11 - all he could do in response to watching his daughter being driven away was to try to follow on a 20" bicycle or the couple recently in KCMO whose car, with infant in a car seat, was stolen in a parking lot with them just a few yards away.

  10. #114
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Not a worry GBK, honest.

    I totally agree with you though that a .380 can stop and even kill a human being.
    My majority issue and focus though with that round, and it's delivery device (pistols), are toward the how in relation to getting that bullet into a human beings body to start with.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  11. #115
    Member Array Beachbumcook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    Beachbumcook,

    Most of us that have been on this forum for any length of time know full well the FBI test standards and of the case in Florida. Please look through those tests and tell us which ones of those 8 are scenarios that would be valid for self defense shootings for CHL holders.

    1, 2 certainly,
    3,4,5,6,7,8, maybe not so much, or you have quite a bit of explaining to do in many areas of this country.
    The point is that the test show how the various calibers perform and allow for 12" of penetration on a consistent basis.

    Why carry something that is maybe OK, when "definately OK" is available... or one that increases one's odds?

    Why shoot a "bad guy" when heavy clothing may very well protect him from your bullet... and of course we are aiming for the torso when under stress not for "kill shots to the head" like when we are relaxed at the gun club or range... so the .380 may or may not penetrate enough to stop him!!

    If a caliber is good enough for the FBI testing... I think that says a lot for having a lot of information available... whether a LEO or a citizen, when "shots are fired" it is about stopping the threat against oneself as quickly as possible... nothing more and nothing less.

    As mentioned in a post above, here in Kansas City, a car jacker drove off with a baby in car seat... personally, I would probably have drawn my gun and fired into the drivers door if I was close enough and could do so safely... and my .40cal would do it... or should do it.... but a .380 may or may not... or has a lot less of a chance according the FBI tests.

    If I am attached in my home... one of the FBI tests is shooting through wall board... don't know about you, most or all american homes are made with sheet rock... and I would like to know that my .40cal stands a chance of shooting through the sheet rock and hitting the bad guy if needed... the .380, not so much... or less fo a chance.

    The point is... the FBI tests offer some valuable insight...

    Now if you want to bring a .380 to a .357, .40 or a .45 fight... that is your choice and that is great... it's America... go ahead and do it.... but dollar for dollar and size for size, there are many better cartridges to choose from that will statistically get the job done better, faster... and more reliability in the long run.... and if I draw my firearm in a self defense situation... I want the odds in my favor... that is my point to the forum.
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  12. #116
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    I have to say that I find the little LCP to be very accurate. Keeping mag after mag in one ragged hole at 7 yards, rapid fire, is no issue at all for me. I find I can also put over 200 rounds through the little pistol in a session without too much discomfort. Painting the front sight helps, and the CT laser helps a lot too.

    Reliability is a different story. My wife has one, and I have two. Hers and my newest LCP have both been back to Ruger twice for repairs. My older LCP has been flawless so far.

    The way I look at it, a snubbie would be more reliable, but is the same size as a G26 which has twice the capacity. I see the small .380s in a class by themselves, as ultra-small, flat guns that can be with you always. In that niche, nothing can compare to them.
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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  13. #117
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    I consider tiny LCP's, Raven Arms, and Seecamp's to be the gun you carry when one isn't armed.

    Without too much effort one could move up to a more potent caliber, but it does take some effort. Personally, never having shot anyone but having held people at gunpoint before, and being just a hair's breath away from discharging my weapon in an armed encounter leads me to wanting the largest handgun I can effectively conceal and control that is reliable in it's functioning. For me the smallest I would consider, outside of a J-Frame or baby Glock would be something along the lines of a Kahr PM9, but even that platform has it's issues with me and my mode of carry of such a small weapon.

    There is no disputing that the .380 can and has drawn blood. The question then becomes, for me at least, am I good enough to put the rounds where they will do the most good, and will the weapon be reliable? Larger calibers and bigger platforms give one a "margin for error", no matter how tiny of a margin, and better reliability in my opinion. I do not carry a weapon to ward off evil. I carry a weapon because I have seen true evil and may need to stop said evil before it can harm me or mine. I find the smaller calibers and platforms wanting in their stopping effectiveness.

    The advances in bullet technology that have improved the smaller calibers has also been used to improve the larger and more effective calibers. I prefer to take advantage of that by using the newer bullets in larger calibers rather than trying to make the smaller caliber "almost as good as".

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  14. #118
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    There are lots of good points in this thread. Some I agree with and some not so much but hey, we are entitled to our opinion.

    As many have stated here...shot placement is key regardless of caliber. I'm also of the mind set that if all you have is a .380 on your person then it's better than nothing. I just picked up a Kahr P380 and to be honest...I got it because I am more likely to place this little gem in my back pocket every time I leave the house. I also carry a Kahr PM9 but there are times when the P380 will give me the option to be armed during certain functions/dress than the PM9 currently does.

    Always remember....the most important weapon anyone has sits on their shoulders. I don't intend on going into the bad part of town packing my PM9, LCR, 686, or my HK USP 40. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings....by doing that there is a high probability you will never have to employ your weapon of choice in a SD situation. YES...I know that doesn't mean you can't encounter a bad guy in the nicer parts of your city. Just something to think about.

  15. #119
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    Well, I see that John Dillinger pocket carried a Colt .380.........worked for him.

  16. #120
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    Personally, my caliber rating system is as follows.
    .22,.25,.32 auto fall into the "Hope for a lightning or meteor strike to the bad guy's head as I try to distract him with stinging shots" category
    .380,.38 special from a snubnose fall into the adequate, but barely category, I'm not ill armed but I'd prefer bigger if possible.
    .38 special from a 4 inch barrel, .357 snub, and small 9MM with standard ammo fall into the decent but not great category.
    9MM +p, 4 inch .357, I stick in the good choice category
    .40, .45, I'll put in the preferred category.
    That being said, the categories shift a bit in relation to Skill, weapon quality, ammo choice, circumstances of use " Concealed is it desired, preferred, or absolutely required in this situation" physical ability to use the weapon, and personal preference, etc as determined by the individual.
    Am I poorly armed with a .380? No, IF it's a good quality reliable weapon and I make allowance for it's weaknesses. Am I better armed with a .45 Yes, If I'm physically capable of wielding it in a competent manner, it's a good quality weapon etc.
    It's a gamble, So's life itself. Everything has pluses and minuses that you have to weigh in relation to the particular situation. I've owned junk .357's that quite frankly I'd have been better armed with a BB gun, or a good .380, at least they'd fire when I pulled the trigger.
    You make your choices, and adjust your training to compensate.
    A 1911 is Not an obsession, it's simply a recognition that it's THE Gun. :-) All others are runner ups. And hey, if all else fails, aim for the nose and fling it to knock out your foe. Let's see y'all do that with a kel-Tec. ;-)

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