Plain old WWB 95 gr FMJ-FP in my LCPs. Check out the tests at GoldenLoki, done with a P3at through 2 layers of denim into gel...17 inches of penetration. I see no need to spend the money on the BB stuff - .380 ammo is expensive enough as it is. I can fire enough of the WWB ammo to establish reliability without breaking the bank.
For those that chose the higher penetrating loads; do you fear over penetration?
For those who fear over penetration how many think they'll never miss under stress?
When I'm out jogging and carry my LCP it has Golden Sabers in it, one of the heavier .380 bullets you can find. Oddly I feel just as confident with my LCP as I do my G26 or G19, not sure why, just do.
+1 for Buffalo Bore. I carry a mag of their JHP and another of their Hardcast FN when I carry my BG380.
Consider that an attacker will likely have his arms outstretched towards you, holding a weapon or fists. Your bullet likely needs to go through hands/arms before even getting to the torso.
My understanding is that the skin on the far side is fairly tough and elastic, equivalent to several inches of gel.
Especially in a .380, I am not too concerned about overpenetration. Indeed, you might even consider the .380 FMJ an ideal (gasp!) civilian defensive round, because it has enough penetration, but little risk of too much. You are not dependent upon expansion (which does not always happen) to lessen the overpenetration risk, like you are with other calibers.
I know - blasphemy - to call the .380 ideal. Whatever...
Common handguns do not have enough "energy" to cause permanent wounding via the temporary stretch cavity. A handgun bullet needs to touch tissue in order to disrupt it. The whole "energy transfer" or "hydrostatic shock" thing has been fairly discredited.
Now, with high velocity rifle bullets - that is a different story.
Take a look at the sticky thread on this sub-forum on "Handgun stopping power." All handguns suck, compared to a long gun.
The FBI minimum for penetration is 12 inches, with 15 desired. IIRC, 18 inches is the maximum. I have yet to see the .380 JHP that gets 15 - most don't get 12. .380 FMJ, on the other hand, does OK...16-17 inches.
In the end, it does not matter much. There is so little difference in the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of handguns that the best you can do is hit the vitals, hit often, and hope for the best. Pick what you can carry all the time, and train so that you can make hits.
LCP w/ hornady critical defense.
We all need to get over this notion that somehow the use of expanding bullets will save us from over-penetration concerns. Bullets have a way of "going their own way" to rip off the Fleetwood Mac "Rumors" CD that's playing in the background just now. A bullet unleashed can't be depended on to behave in any particular way. They shouldn't be expected to all be perfect mushrooms under the hide on the off side of an assailant. They might actually not open up as dependably as we see when we gaze approvingly at the blue-jean covered jello tests. They might deflect while traversing an assailant due to striking bone, an item in a pocket, or "just because." There's a lot of possible damage contained within a bullet between the time it begins it's launch down a gun barrel and the time it comes to rest, spent.
Some comments on forums about using "expanding" bullets in order to obviate over-penetration concerns are concerning in themselves. It makes one wonder if some folks are so unthinking that they would fire at an assailant in a crowded park, shopping mall, city sidewalk, etc., secure in the mistaken notion that their bullets will all be hits and their bullets will all behave themselves and stay put in the assailant. We're not going to get a pass, nor should we, when our bullet, intended to lay an assailant low in a righteous shooting, either passes through or goes astray and mains or kills an innocent.
Personal responsibility is attached to every cartridge loaded into a handgun before carrying it out into the great, wide world. It bears much more thought than is put into it.
There has to be some function hollow points are good for.
.380 Full Metal Jacket in Ballistic Gel - YouTube Excessive penetration? YES! Even for your almighty FBI protocol Mr. Agent sir.
A .380 does not need assistance in creating the smallest wound possible. Use an expanding bullet! 10" of penetration with a hot Gold Dot load is much closer to the goal of 12" penetration than FMJs get with well over 19". FMJs are for shooting paper. Banking on shooting through an assailant's arm to avoid excessive penetration is ridiculous.
True physical incapacitation comes from severing the CNS or causing enough damage to vital organs bringing blood loss, causing your assailant to collapse. In my opinion, a larger expanded bullet diameter and permanent wound cavity of a quality JHP is more likely to cause either of those than something leaving a nice, clean .355"ish hole through the body.