What do you feel is best for a .380 defensive handgun?

This is a discussion on What do you feel is best for a .380 defensive handgun? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm looking to get an idea what most people here feel is the best for a .380 in terms of stopping a bad guy. I ...

View Poll Results: Please choose one, if you can, and explain why.

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  • FMJ

    28 22.40%
  • JHP

    81 64.80%
  • FMJ - Winter Only

    7 5.60%
  • Other

    9 7.20%
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Thread: What do you feel is best for a .380 defensive handgun?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Thunder71's Avatar
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    What do you feel is best for a .380 defensive handgun?

    I'm looking to get an idea what most people here feel is the best for a .380 in terms of stopping a bad guy.

    I had an LCP at one point and sold it to get a PM9, there have been a few times where a smaller/lighter gun would have been nice so I'm thinking about picking up a Bodyguard (on sale at Gander Mountain right now).

    My thoughts are to find a good SD round in FMJ, but want to see what the majority believe is best for these little pocket rockets.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    I don't have a .380, but I do have a P64 in 9x18...a little warmer than .380, but not much.

    I carry FMJ only in it, year round. It's the only round that consistently punches past 12".
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    I'd rather have a JHP. Everybody I know with a .380, including LEOs, use 102gr Gold Saber. All of my .380s (and I admit I only have 3 or 4) are loaded the same way.
    Try not to screw up so bad they name the screw up after you. (Station 15 saying)

    NRA Certifed Instructor

  5. #4
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    What he said.
    It's not a problem til they make it one!

  6. #5
    Member Array pfries's Avatar
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    The manufacturers have developed JHP ammo for defensive purposes.
    Mors est libertas


    MALAD JUSTED

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array VBVAGUY's Avatar
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    I rather have ENOUGH penetration with placement of my .380acp round. God Bless

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array rammerjammer's Avatar
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    I carry 95 gr Winchester PDX1 during warmer months.

    During the winter I change my ammo to a flat nose full metal jacket.
    W9HDG likes this.
    "Was there no end to the conspiracy of irrational prejudice against Red Ryder and his peacemaker?"

    Revolvers, “more elegant weapons for a more civilized age.”

  9. #8
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    Good stout FMJ loads, every time, all the time. I carry with a flat-nose full metal jacket load.

    I'm not a huge fan of .380 ACP but have one on hand for when nothing else will conceal. I want to insure penetration above all. FMJ is the best way to accomplish penetration. No fiddling about with hollow-point bullets which won't effectively turn the .380 into some power house when it just isn't.
    Copperjacket likes this.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

  10. #9
    Member Array mook012's Avatar
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    I use JHP all the time. However, been thinking I may start using fmj's for winter.

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Thunder71's Avatar
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    I just read that Hornady Critical Defense is supposed to be a really good JHP .380 round (through denim and even leather).

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array peckman28's Avatar
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    I keep the Federal HST in mine, and it's supposed to usually penetrate to about 10-11". I think that's pretty good, and I keep in mind that the cartridge got its "mouse gun" label with the FMJ rounds that were out when it was first created. I would rather have them open up and hopefully cause more damage. If you hit a vital area, which is needed regardless of caliber, I think it will do the job. If not, keep pulling the trigger until they stop. Since I have a Beretta Cheetah that holds 14 total, I doubt someone would continue an attack through all 14 shots. As with anything, make sure whatever you pick will reliably cycle.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array tokerblue's Avatar
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    I like the Buffalo Bore .380ACP rounds. They have a few +P rounds (there is no SAAMI spec) that are really hot rounds.

  14. #13
    Ex Member Array Yankeejib's Avatar
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    You left out "none of the above" in your poll.
    zonker1986, oneshot and AZJD1968 like this.

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peckman28 View Post
    I keep the Federal HST in mine, and it's supposed to usually penetrate to about 10-11". I think that's pretty good, and I keep in mind that the cartridge got its "mouse gun" label with the FMJ rounds that were out when it was first created. I would rather have them open up and hopefully cause more damage. If you hit a vital area, which is needed regardless of caliber, I think it will do the job. If not, keep pulling the trigger until they stop. Since I have a Beretta Cheetah that holds 14 total, I doubt someone would continue an attack through all 14 shots. As with anything, make sure whatever you pick will reliably cycle.
    I think you mean HydraShok.

    Last time I checked, Federal does not make HST in .380.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array TerriLi's Avatar
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    Honestly I want flat nosed FMJ, but can't seem to get a hold of them. I use JHP in my bersa, frankly though it depends on the gun, on super short barrels I prefer FMJ, but in 3"+ barrels JHP are my preference.
    I know not what this "overkill" means.

    Honing the knives, Cleaning the longguns, Stocking up ammo.

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