.380 vs 9mm for sd

This is a discussion on .380 vs 9mm for sd within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by pgrass101 Does it really matter wether the hole poked through your CNS was made by an expanding bullet or a plain ole ...

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Thread: .380 vs 9mm for sd

  1. #31
    VIP Member Array pittypat21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgrass101 View Post
    Does it really matter wether the hole poked through your CNS was made by an expanding bullet or a plain ole FMJ.
    Good point - it really doesn't matter. A bullet is a bullet is a bullet - and enough bullets of any caliber through a target will put them down. Training > caliber. However, make sure you're not using FMJ for self defense! Since FMJ does not expand, it will more than likely over-penetrate the target and could potentially cause harm to innocents that are nearby. Expanding bullets, however, will penetrate, and then expand within a few inches from impact - causing the most damage and preventing over-penetration.
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  3. #32
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    This is a common question which invariably leads to little online skirmishes it the on-going caliber holy wars.
    The bottom line does not depend solely on caliber... a 22LR can be lethal with a well placed shot, just as a poorly placed .45ACP shot can be ineffective.
    Your wife and you should consider a number of things before choosing a carry weapon and caliber.
    First you need to determine the limits on size and weight.. How large / heavy a weapon will she be able to carry every day?
    In that size/weight range, how large of a caliber can she shoot comfortably? This would include relative accuracy and quantity for training.
    If the gun is small, light and comfortable to carry, but the recoil is significant enough to prevent LOTS OF PRACTICE, then that overall solution is not ideal.
    Practice and training are paramount to being effective with any kind of weapon. Developing the muscle memory that will serve you (and possibly save lives) in a stressful situation means repetition... such as drawing from concealment and acquiring a target hundreds or even thousands of times in varying conditions... and that means putting a lot of rounds downrange.

    An LCP in .380 can be very punishing, especially to a new shooter, where a Sig P238 in .380 can be pleasant to shoot hundreds of rounds in a single session.

    Regardless of caliber, it's just like getting to Broadway... Practice Practice Practice
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  4. #33
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    The problem with .380 and smaller calibers is that a HP probably won't penetrate far enough to reach the vitals of a target. That is why I recommend carrying FMJ in .380, .32 and .25 acp.

    I feel that it is better to risk over penetration than under penetration. It doesn't matter how much the bullet expands if it doesn't hit something that will stop the attacker.
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  5. #34
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    thanks minimalbrat i will keep all that in mind- i was thinkin that she should try out the sr9c when we go to the range, im pretty sure they have one of those for rent. im fine if she wants to have multiple carry guns i just hope she decides to help pay lol. thanks everyone
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  6. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger91 View Post
    thanks minimalbrat i will keep all that in mind- i was thinkin that she should try out the sr9c when we go to the range, im pretty sure they have one of those for rent. im fine if she wants to have multiple carry guns i just hope she decides to help pay lol. thanks everyone
    Now lets not get crazy lol. I said I have multiple guns I did not say I paid for any of them
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  7. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgrass101 View Post
    The problem with .380 and smaller calibers is that a HP probably won't penetrate far enough to reach the vitals of a target. That is why I recommend carrying FMJ in .380, .32 and .25 acp.
    I feel that it is better to risk over penetration than under penetration. It doesn't matter how much the bullet expands if it doesn't hit something that will stop the attacker.
    This is something I take into consideration "seasonally". Here in Maine, when the cold weather sets in folks start adding layers of clothing... making penetration more of an issue than when it's flip-flops and T-shirts. I still carry a P238 as EDC, but the winter "7+1" load-out is three 90gr Speer Gold-Dot LE, followed by 5 Speer 95gr TMJ - If the first three rounds don't get through the winter jacket, carhart overalls, thermal underwear, etc, the next five will :)
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  8. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by whoppo View Post
    This is something I take into consideration "seasonally". Here in Maine, when the cold weather sets in folks start adding layers of clothing... making penetration more of an issue than when it's flip-flops and T-shirts. I still carry a P238 as EDC, but the winter "7+1" load-out is three 90gr Speer Gold-Dot LE, followed by 5 Speer 95gr TMJ - If the first three rounds don't get through the winter jacket, carhart overalls, thermal underwear, etc, the next five will :)
    When you're worried about extra clothing and your bullets not penetrating, you need Hornady Critical Defense. Specifically designed to solve that problem.

    I feel that it is better to risk over penetration than under penetration. It doesn't matter how much the bullet expands if it doesn't hit something that will stop the attacker.
    I would never risk potentially harming an innocent person from over-penetration. The benefit does NOT outweigh the cost.
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  9. #38
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    The market has picked up in it's production of micro or small framed 9mm some equal to the same specs in size as the .380acp. If it was me I personally recommend the 9mm over the 380. One reason is the ammo is actually cheaper for target practice. The other can be debated about the effectiveness of which caliber is more effective on stopping a human. With today's personal defense ammo I'd say either caliber would fit your's or her needs. Most women I have had experiences with in shooting totally dislike any form of recoil so the .380 acp may be the way to go. And since realistically most women will not carry anything they can't tote in their purses you should look at either a Body Guard s&w or a Ruger LCP. Personally, I'd get her a five shot airweight
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  10. #39
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    take your wife to a local gun shop with ONLY one criteria set for her ... find a gun that is comfortable to hold...fits her hand well. then you step away from the counter and let her hold as many as she likes.

    four guns later I learned my lesson ... slow learner.

    she now owns a Sig P238 & P938 ...

    sent from ...
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    I'm guessing you already got the gist of things for opinions. I'm with the 9mm fans....ounce for ounce...........if it's controllable and trigger friendly....you take toe one with more raw wheel horsepower IMO.

  12. #41
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    Flawless PM9 Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    I've shot all of these, and carried several.

    Check the Kahr PM9 as well.

    As for recoil, by FAR, the Kahr PM9 felt amazingly more tame than any of the others. The backstrap area feels wider, which helps to better distribute the recoil "slap" over the surface of the hand. And I'm sure it has something to do with the barrel axis and where the force is directed through the gun back into the hand. Whatever it is, exactly, that results in less pain on the hand, the PM9's got all of those beat. Plus, it's a 9mm.

    Of course, I've had several PM9's and couldn't get any of them to run flawlessly. Though, many people do ... and swear by them.
    Guess you could say I'm one of those Swear-by-the-PM9ers! I've had my PM9 almost 2 years with hundreds of rounds of different flavors shot through it, and not ONE time has it given me any problems. More often, the problem lies in the shooter's negligence to properly break in a new PM9, failure to clean and lube it regularly, and a limp wrist. Thought no gun is PERFECT, my PM9 has yet to show any weaknesses. Really need to try the PM9....
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  13. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierrajb View Post
    Guess you could say I'm one of those Swear-by-the-PM9ers! I've had my PM9 almost 2 years with hundreds of rounds of different flavors shot through it, and not ONE time has it given me any problems. More often, the problem lies in the shooter's negligence to properly break in a new PM9, failure to clean and lube it regularly, and a limp wrist. Thought no gun is PERFECT, my PM9 has yet to show any weaknesses. Really need to try the PM9....
    IMO, the Kahr PM9 is the perfect blend of concealability, shootability and ergonomics for a mousegun-sized 9mm.

    It's easy on the hands when shooting, comparatively speaking. It's big enough to allow fairly accurate firing out to ~15yds or so, if the shooter does his/her job. It points easily. It can be comfortably carried day-in and day-out.

    If a person can find an error-free example, finds the right ammo it loves to eat, and has a complementary technique that doesn't send the PM9 for tailspins, IMO it's the best out there.
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  14. #43
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    I see this has been covered very well by others, but I'll throw in my .02 worth. I would have her try as many .380s and 9s as she can. And then make a decision based on her experiences with them. If she can handle the slightly more recoil of the 9, and she finds one she likes, this would get my vote.

  15. #44
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    Originally Posted by Gary T
    ruger91,
    Your wife is fortunate to have a husband taking an interest in helping w/ these decisions. OTOH, I'd suggest you make every effort to make it clear to her that what she ends up w/ is based on HER decision, not YOURS.
    It sounds like you may know a few things about the ladies.
    It sounds like you may know a few things about the ladies.
    Let's just say I've done extensive post graduate study in the "School of Hard Knocks"!!

  16. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJK View Post
    I don't have to be shot to prove my point. Ballistic gelatin tests accomplish the proof with much less pain. And they are not my standard....they're the FBI's.
    Don't rely to heavily on the ballistic gel tests. They are only a representation of bullet performance.
    Bullets do some amazing things in the human body and not all of it is good.

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