.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; Hey everyone, i am calling on your expertise once again. my wife is going to be getting her cch permit and she wants a small ...

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Thread: .380 vs 9mm for sd

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    Member Array ruger91's Avatar
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    .380 vs 9mm for sd

    Hey everyone, i am calling on your expertise once again. my wife is going to be getting her cch permit and she wants a small carry gun. been lookin at keltec p3at and pf9 and ruger lcp and lc9. my question is how is the .380 auto compared to the 9mm in stopping power and recoil. i would prefer her to hav atleast a 9mm but i am not sure if the recoil would be to much for her in a such a small gun as she is very small herself. 5'4-5'5 and probly around 100lbs or so. any insight on power and recoil between the 2. thanks for any help
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    JD
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    I would rather have an LC9 than an LCP or a PF9 than a P3AT.

    The .380 in that small a package is still pretty stiff, might as well have the 9mm in a slightly larger package.

    Despite the .380 and 9mm being the same in diameter, the 9mm makes up for it in projectile weight and velocity.

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    If at all possible let her shoot one first, the small lite pocket pistols are not real fun to shoot. I would suggest a heavier metal pistol if she doesn't like recoil from one of the pocket rockets.

    9mm is sevearl steps above the .380 in power. IMO the .380 acceptable for defensive carry, but don't feel shy about going down to the .32 or .25 acp if that is what your wife feels comfortable with. The most effective caliber gun your wife can have is one that she feels comfortable with and feels at ease shooting it. Take a look at the Berretta Tomcat in .32 ACP if she doesn't like any of the above choices.

    You can alos go a little larger and look at Bersa's .380's
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    thanks JD and pgrass101 that is the information i was looking for. i will definatly take her to shoot before we buy so i know she is comfortable with what she will have. then she will have no excuse not to come and practice with me lol. thanks again
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    I support JD's position here that the 9mm is the way to go. I have seen shootings with both, while the 380 will get the job done it is certainly a minimum. The small 9's should shoot better and ammo is cheaper/easier to find.

    As far as comfort goes, sometime ya just gotta suck it up. Sure those mouse guns are cute, but do not get her something as a talisman.

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    +1 on a small 9mm. Better stopping power. Ammo is cheaper/easier to find. In my opinion, recoil from a 9mm is lighter than that of the .380. The .380 seems a bit more snappy to shoot. Just like to me .40 is more snappy than .45. This is because I think the .40 and the .380 are a higher pressure round. I might be wrong on that, but they do seem to be more snappy than their counterparts.

    We have a Ruger LCP, used to have a Bersa Thunder .380 (which is actually bigger and heavier than the LCP). The LCP feels a little less on recoil. The Bersa stung the web of my hand when firing it. On the other hand, I have no complaints about the recoil of a 9mm even shooting the Glock 26, Kahr CW9 and Kahr PM9.

    If you can, shoot and compare a small 9mm like the Kahr CM9/PM9, Ruger LC9, S&W Shield, etc to a small .380 like the LCP, Bersa Thunder, etc. Just about every .380 I've ever shot seemed to be more snappy than a 9mm and sting the web of my hand more.
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    keltec p3at and pf9 and ruger lcp and lc9.
    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.
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    I have an LCP, it's unreliable.

    But I fixed it with a S&W 442

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger91 View Post
    Hey everyone, i am calling on your expertise once again. my wife is going to be getting her cch permit and she wants a small carry gun. been lookin at keltec p3at and pf9 and ruger lcp and lc9. my question is how is the .380 auto compared to the 9mm in stopping power and recoil. i would prefer her to hav atleast a 9mm but i am not sure if the recoil would be to much for her in a such a small gun as she is very small herself. 5'4-5'5 and probly around 100lbs or so. any insight on power and recoil between the 2. thanks for any help
    Before worrying about "stopping power" (it's a meaningless term since there is no concensus as to how to measure it), if I were arming a loved one -especially a recoil-sensitive loved one- I'd look at their ability to control the gun first.

    After that, I'd have them become proficient with the most powerful caliber that they can handle and load it with a heavy-for-caliber premium JHP.
    My favorite "gun" book-

    QUANTITATIVE AMMUNITION SELECTION

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    I'm only 5'6" and I decided to start with .380. I could not hit anything with a 9mm so decided on some models of firearms that use .380. I can hit anything with them little suckers.
    It's been a few years and now I can use 9mm fairly well and have upgraded my firearms. So maybe start her with a .380 and then in a year or two upgrade to 9mm.

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    If we are comparing 9mm to .380, I would go 9mm any day of the week. As far as recoil goes, a lot of that has to do with the gun. Look for a heavier gun that she can get a hand around. Kahr makes some sweet all steel (heavy) 9mm's. The MK9 is tiny, but the recoil is quite soft. The K9 is a little bigger (more solid grip) and is even softer. In my opinion I would stay away from the lighter polymer 9's. The Kahr PM9 and its competitors do have a little bite to them for a novice shooter. Just my two cents.

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    I am for the LC9, small light, 9mm shoots ok. conceals well. I like the safetys (that is another debate). I sometimes carry a PPK ( .380) I can shoot it better but I think it is heavy compared to the LC9. So I find myself with the LC9 more often. Now with fall and cooler days I will change over to my Glock 19 or 26.

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    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.

    If at all possible let her shoot one first, the small lite pocket pistols are not real fun to shoot. I would suggest a heavier metal pistol if she doesn't like recoil from one of the pocket rockets.
    I agree entirely.

    If we are comparing 9mm to .380, I would go 9mm any day of the week. As far as recoil goes, a lot of that has to do with the gun.
    Also true.

    Be sure the gun is reliable. I have a Kel-Tec P3-AT, but carry it only in certain situations when I can't carry a 9mm or 45 ACP. Depending on how she's going to carry the gun, she may not have to have such a small gun. As mentioned earlier, all things being equal, a bigger/heavier gun will recoil less than a smaller/lighter gun. You might also look at the Kahr CW9. What about a non-lightweight snub nose revolver in 38 Special?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
    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.

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