First, my condolences on having to put down your dog. That's an awful thing to have to go through. :frown:
I did want to address a couple of points in the last few posts:
First, a shot to the heart will not necessarily stop someone - at least, not before they can harm you. An off duty NYPD officer managed to shoot both of his attackers and wound them, despite an ultimately fatal hit to his own heart. Both suspects were arrested at the hospital. You have enough oxygen in your system to continue voluntary action for up to 20 seconds (possibly more) after a hit to the heart. The only way to instantly stop voluntary action is to disrupt the central nervous system (brain and/or spine), and that is hard to do under stress.
Second - most folks on this forum practice MUCH more than the average LEO, especially in this era of budget cuts. I would not make too much of LEO (in)accuracy stats. :redface:
Third - there are many, many failures to stop with all handgun calibers...even the vaunted .45 and .357 Mag. Just re-read the Officer Soulis shooting - perp absorbed 22 hits of .40, with 17 of them COM, before he was stopped. :eek: So, are we going to say the .40 is ineffective? How about the perp who took a whole cylinder of .357 Mag and killed an officer with a .22 that went through the arm hole of the officer's body armor? The drunk thug who took a whole mag of .45 and walked home (the defender survived because the drunk couldn't clear his jammed shotgun)? On and on it goes.
The bottom line is that it is very difficult to stop a determined/drugged up/insane/drunk attacker with a handgun, of any caliber. Think about it - a handgun is just that...a firearm designed to be used with ONE hand. How powerful can it be? Not very. You want to stop someone - use a long gun. Not easy to carry around, though. :rolleyes:
I agree that .380 auto is enough for self defense. Wild Bill used the .36 cap and ball with great success. I am a believer in marksmanship and target placement before power and magic bullets. See the muzzle energy of the 1851 Navy that was used in the civil war, It's well below the modern .380 auto muzzle energy. Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver
There has been a pretty high profile case in RI, involving the killing of a man with a .380. To make it short, the guys were neighbors, and probably not very good neighbors. The kids of one of them hit the neighbors (a former cop) car. He went over to their place and yelled/swore at the kids, and then went back to his place. Then the kids father come over to the cops house and enters the house (it doesn't appear that the door was locked or closed) and punches the cop before he turns around to leave. The cop then draws a .380 he is carrying and shoots him in the back and kills him. The person shot was 6' tall and 230#, so not exactly a small guy. And yes, you did read it correctly that he was a Providence cop shot someone in the back! He got 20 years in prison, and the appeal was un-successful. You cannot claim self defense when you shoot someone in the back.
High court hears murderer’s appeal | Cranston | projo.com | The Providence JournalQuote:
Pagano went to Gianquitti’s house and told him not to swear at his children; Gianquitti responded by cursing. Pagano punched him. Gianquitti drew the .380-caliber pistol he carried in a holster and shot Pagano in the back as he turned to run.
Anthony Pagano, Pagano’s father, testified that Gianquitti then stood over his son with his gun drawn and said something that sounded like “I’ve gotcha now, Jim.” Gianquitti, a former Providence police officer turned stay-at-home dad, testified that the 6-foot-tall, 230-pound Pagano, barreled toward him, causing him to fear for his life.
IMHO Bigger is better and ammo selection does make a difference. Shot placement is also important. It would be Awsome if there was a way to re-enact some of the scenarios metioned above with different caliber weapons, I don't think we have any volunteers. I will take a larger caliber weapon over a smaller one in just about any scenairo, however better a smaller caliber weapon than none at all. I carry a Ruger LCP as a back up/pocket gun, but I don't feel safe with it. I always carry a G30sf IWB and always feel secure no matter where I strut.
Some is better than none .380 .38 9mm .45acp I always lean on my big toys
One of the other considerations not often thought of for selecting .380 as a defense round is the much easier handling for one hand/offhand and off balance shooting. While range mavens and LEO tout the use of Weaver and Isosceles stance shooting for SD, and now Israeli, for civilians in a real life SD situation one may not have the time or ability to get a proper two hand grip on a weapon. This could be due to many factors like shooting while running away, shooting from cover or simply using one hand to protect a loved one or push away an attacker. In such situations the more manageable recoil of a .380 vs. say a .40 or .45 allows faster follow-up shots and certainly off hand control if forced to shoot off handed whether around a corner or due to injury. Now there is no doubt that with proper training this issue could be eliminated or seriously mitigated - BUT for the average Joe, they are less likely be that devoted to learning to shoot offhand or to learn to double tap with one hand with a less manageable caliber. Just an additional thought where the .380 or lower end SD calibers may be of benefit as most civilians are NOT former LEO's or special forces operatives nor typically purposefully injecting themselves in harms way where multiple weapons are carried with a duty sized main, BUG, tactical knife, tactical pen,pepper spray, taser and drone based 2.75" rocket pods on call with a cell phone app ...
I carry an LCP as a BUG. I have it in my left front pocket. I would not want to be shot even by a BB Gun. I realize .380ACP is considered an inferior load. ( ok I hear it won't penetrate auto glass!)
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I choose a 9mm as my personal self defense minimum but this would have been different not too many years ago before the advent of numerous subcompact single stack 9s. Then I would have - and did - carry a 380 when the need arose. I've never cared for pocket pistols as I simply don't shoot them very well. I carried a Colt Mustang occasionally back in the day when there was no commonly available 9mm with a similar footprint.
One handed shooting skills - strong side & off side - deserve far more attention in armed citizen discussions than cartridge selection.
Wow. Now, that's what I call a zombie thread.
this is very unscientific but is worth mentioning.. I was at the range a few weeks ago shooting our CC guns, which are a mixture of 9mm -Shield and Sig P938- and . 380- LCPII and Sig P238-.. At one point I hung up a heavy, stoutly built aluminum frying pan,, It was thick and well built with a heavy stainless steel handle.. The .380 and 9mm damage looked identical... same holes, same amount of metal displaced etc.. Another time I was in my yard shooting at a weird makeshift target made of a couple of old steel signposts, like the ones you see on a stop sign, with holes running the length of them,some 2x4's and a 10 inch thick arrow target stuffed solid with heavy wadding.. The 380 rounds would go through the wood and though the 10 inch thick wadding together without any trouble,, A few times I went off target and they went through those steel signposts clean as a big metal punch. I was VERY impressed. I have a LOT of respect for modern .380 ammo. Some may think it has inferior "stopping power", but boy I NEVER want to find out personally.. I simply cannot imagine any BG that would want to keep on coming with a couple well placed .380 rounds in him... just my opinion... bob
My .380 Kahr pocket gun has a more robust recoil than my Glock 21 main carry. It is less accurate at distance, requires more recovery time between rounds and has smaller, more difficult to manipulate controls. Most small pocket pistols in the .380 caliber that I have experience with are similarly encumbered.
I'm sure it was said somewhere in the 15 pages of this thread, but lethal isn't really what's important in a self defense shooting. I have no doubt a .380 can kill, but your attacker may die 20 minutes after he beat you to death. That still goes in the ol' "L" column, in my book.
Having said that, I carry a .380 as my BUG.
Feelings are a curious thing.
Personally I carry FMJ in my TCP, and figure it will work about as well as 9mm FMJ, which ain't great but also isn't a spitwad. An LCP or similar is probably about as good as the Colt 1851 revolvers used by so many gun fighters back in the day, except it can be reloaded much, much faster. The thing to avoid is hollowpoints that open too much, because the cartridge just doesn't have the oomph to penetrate if it goes above about .50 expanded diameter.