38spl +P out of a snub nose vs. 380acp out of the LCP - Page 2

38spl +P out of a snub nose vs. 380acp out of the LCP

This is a discussion on 38spl +P out of a snub nose vs. 380acp out of the LCP within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have both calibers and I carry one or the other all the time. I will say that I do have more confidence in the ...

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Thread: 38spl +P out of a snub nose vs. 380acp out of the LCP

  1. #16
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    I have both calibers and I carry one or the other all the time. I will say that I do have more confidence in the .38 special caliber over the .380 but mainly due to bullet weight. IMO, the perfect .380 round would be something in the 110, 115gr backed by the power from something along the lines of the BuffaloBore +p stuff. For now I'll continue to carry my 638 w/crimson trace backed up by my Sig P238, or maybe my S&W Bodyguard .380 stoked with the Buffalbore stuff in the heaviest grain configuration they offer so far.

    I do believe that the .380 will easily do the job if used correctly and shot placement is good. My main concern with the tiny .380 autos is that the idiot that forces the draw might be so dumb as to think that the pistol doesn't really pose a deadly threat, so the first line of defense as a deterrent gets lost whereas when the revolver comes up, the rounds are visible for all to see.


    Don't ragg on me for saying the deterrent thing. I'll always try to use/add every variable possible in most everything especially in important matters such as self defense.
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  2. #17
    Senior Member Array mastercapt's Avatar
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    I have a ColtMustang stainless loaded with hydrashoks (or whatever they are called now). I also have a smith 642 airweight, loaded with Winchester SWCJHP +P ammo.
    I tested the ammo on 1 gallon plastic jugs, filled with water. The 38 clearly did more damage to them. The exit holes were larger, and the jug itself was deformed more. However, after seeing what was left of the jugs, I can't see someone getting back up after an upper body hit, with either gun. Now if you live where the populace has 6 layers of clothing becasue of the weather, go with 38 caliber 158 grain wadcutters.
    The 38 with +P has a bit more recoil, but still second shot controllable. The mustand, being flatter, and myself being a smaller guy is more easily concealable, in both IWB or pocket carry.

    Forget about "range" accuracy with either gun. They are meant for bad breath distances,or as we used to say when hunting, use it when you are about to be eaten......
    I don't feel like either is a mouse gun and will continue to carry either. Remember:
    "two in the chest, one in the head;
    even the jolly green giant will fall down dead."
    Whatever you decide-- practice, practice, practice...

  3. #18
    Member Array forestranger's Avatar
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    Having wetpack tested a number of 380 and 38sp+p loads out of p3at and j frames, conclusion = if about to be attacked by wetpack, I'd choose the j frame.

  4. #19
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Pick something, get good with it, and carry it all the time.
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  5. #20
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    Detail Page for Part # 23606
    Gold Dot Personal Protection - 380 Auto

    Part Number Cartridge
    Bullet Wt. Bullet Type Box Count Bullet Coefficient
    23606 380 Auto 90 GDHP 20 0.101

    Velocity(in feet per second) Energy (in foot pounds)
    Muzzle 50 yards 100 yards Muzzle 50 yards 100 yards
    1040 943 871 216 178 152

    Trajectory if sighted at 25 yards test Barrel Length in inches Usage
    25 yards
    50 yards
    75 yards
    100 yards
    0.0 -1.3 -5.1 -11.5 3.75 1


    Detail Page for Part # 23720
    Gold Dot Personal Protection - 38 Special +P

    Part Number Cartridge
    Bullet Wt. Bullet Type Box Count Bullet Coefficient
    23720 38 Special +P 125 GDHP 20 0.14

    Velocity(in feet per second) Energy (in foot pounds)
    Muzzle 50 yards 100 yards Muzzle 50 yards 100 yards
    945 891 845 248 220 198

    Trajectory if sighted at 25 yards test Barrel Length in inches Usage
    25 yards
    50 yards
    75 yards
    100 yards
    0.0 -1.7 -6.1 -13.4 4-V 1

    If you look at the info, the .380 has a velocity of 1040 @ the muzzle, with 216 ft. lb. of energy.

    The .38 has 945fps velocity @ the muzzle with 248 ft. lb. of energy

    Speer Ammo - Ballistics Tables

    This information, coupled with a reliablity factor, would lead me to want 5 shots of .38+p over six .380 most days
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  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTPower View Post
    thanks for all the help and replies guys. i do like to get the LCR but i'm afraid that it just might end up gathering dust in the safe. i want to justify to myself that it would be worth carrying the LCR over the LCP. the LCP is lighter, smaller, carries 6+1 rounds and faster to reload. the LCR is bulkier, a bit heavier, has only 5 rounds and slower to reload. the only advantage i see is it's more powerful round. what would you do if you guys are in my position?
    I'll take a 5 shot .38
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  7. #22
    Member Array kmagnuss's Avatar
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    I have both and carry either depending on what I'm wearing/doing.

  8. #23
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    The formula is Velocity X Velocity X (bullet weight/100)= X. the X/4500= FPE ( foot pounds of energy). An example is a 115 grain 9mm moving at 1150 feet per second.

    1150 X 1150 X 1.15= 1520875. 1520875/45500=337.972.

  9. #24
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Check out the .380 tests at Goldenloki. http://www.goldenloki.com/ammo/gel/380acp/gel380acp.htm

    After first going through a few layers of denim, the .380 FMJ tested out of a P3at still got 16-17 inches of penetration.

    Cor Bon 90 gr JHP got 13 inches and reliable expansion - not too bad, but I prefer FMJ-FP in my LCPs. If I got a snubbie, I would probably use LSWC (not HP), so the issue of expansion is moot for me.

    I'm actually considering a LCR myself, but as a supplement/possible replacement for my PM9...not for my LCPs. The LCP is a whole order of magnitude smaller, lighter, and flatter than a snubbie. And as mentioned, you get 7 shots instead of only 5, a faster reload, and easier ability to carry/conceal the reload.
    Last edited by 10thmtn; June 4th, 2012 at 10:25 AM. Reason: added link
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  10. #25
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    Carry both
    Just joshing, as everybody needs to figure out their own comfort level, threat level, likely requirements, etc. I typically carry two J frames, primarily because there's always a chance of malfunction with any firearm.
    If you ever need one, you'll probably be well-served if you shoot fast & hit solidly--it's pretty chancy, regardless of our attempts to make it foolproof. So, go with the one you prefer, because that's probably the one you'll practice with the most. And practice leads to speedy, quality hits, plus improved ability to deal with malfunctions.

  11. #26
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    Good recent test posted here Remington 38 Special +P 158 Grain LSWCHP Test

  12. #27
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    I have both and LCP and an LCR (in 38spl) and if felt recoil is any indication, then the LCR must be much more powerful!

    Seriously though, I have and like both. In my heart I am a revolver guy... I just love 'em! BUT... the size/weight/concealability of the LCP is very tough to be beat... and it is a very shootable gun for its size (much more so than the LCR which is significantly snappier to the point of being unpleasant to shot after 20-30 rounds... not so with the LCP which is actually a pleasure to shoot). I have had the LCR longer and resisted the LCP until just recently... but I have to say, now that I finally broke down and bought the LCP (the AZ Centennial Edition, I am from AZ) I am very glad I did and I do indeed find it much easier to carry. I literally forget I have it on me. The LCR is easy to carry too, don't get me wrong... but I am always aware it is there. The LCP literally disappears into a pocket of cargo pants/shorts and is forgotten. That is a real plus in the LCP's camp. All that said... I won't be selling my LCR anytime soon.

    If you are considering getting an LCR and already own and LCP I say go for it. I doubt you will regret it and it will give you another carry option.
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  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    Pick something, get good with it, and carry it all the time.
    Correct, use what you will carry and can hit with. I have both, and what people don't understand is that they are pretty much equal when fired out of a pocket size pistol. Don't listen to all the +P hype. On a snub nose, the +P 38 does abosolutly nothing over a standard 38 Special, except make a louder boom. You have to have more than a 3" barrel to realize any benefit from a +P 38. By the time the lead reaches the end of a snub, the powder has not finished burning, and you get a powder flash burning in open air. Now if you have a long barrel, the 38 +P will win every time, but from a pocket pistol, the 380 has a lighter piece of lead going faster vs. the 38, which is heavier and slower. They turn out to be a toss up on ft/lbs of energy. I carry the 380 because it fits in my pocket better. Go to ballistics by the inch website. Both the 38 and the 380 produce an average of 150 ft/lbs of energy when fired from a 2" barrel.

  14. #29
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    No .38 Specials around here, with barrels short or long, see any loads that only gen up 150 ft/lbs. of energy.
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  15. #30
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    I have both also. Both will kill a man at 21 feet with no problem. Both are small and light easy to carry one is 5 rounds the other 7+1.
    If I need more than 5 maybe I am in the wrong place. The LCP is a good weapon. For some reason I am attached to the S&W 38.
    Figure out what works for you. As for debating the rounds ,just away to pass time not much more.

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