.380 vs. .38 +P - Page 2

.380 vs. .38 +P

This is a discussion on .380 vs. .38 +P within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Rem 158+p lhp averaged 884fps w/274fpe out of 2" snub. Tried a number of 90gr 380 jhp out for p3at and they averaged around 850-860. ...

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Thread: .380 vs. .38 +P

  1. #16
    Member Array forestranger's Avatar
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    Rem 158+p lhp averaged 884fps w/274fpe out of 2" snub. Tried a number of 90gr 380 jhp out for p3at and they averaged around 850-860. Rem 102 gr 380 averaged under 800fps. Best 380 load I could find was DPX for 1020fps and 184fpe. Wet pack tested all of them and DPX was the only 380 load that came close to Rem +p 38 in destruction and penetration in wet pack. Made a believer out of me that 380 might carry easier but 38 packs more punch.


  2. #17
    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    Very few 38 small frame pistols out there that are rated for +P. Even the ones that are, will give you a generous amount of recoil. Thus eliminating a rapid second shot, that I consider to be far more important then the ballistics of the round.

    As others have said. Ballistic wise they are both similar, and I would advise buying the one you feel most comfortable carrying, and shooting. For me the “J” frame Smith was harder to carry concealed than the Walther PPKs. And a whole lot harder to conceal than the Kel-Tec P3AT 380.

  3. #18
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    tns0038 - that is the opposite of my experience....which just goes to show, YMMV.

    Austin

  4. #19
    Member Array RJ Stewart's Avatar
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    The lightweight snubbies (which I'll never use) will rip your hand off when fired. I carry .38 special +P's in a 2 inch Ruger SP101 and it handles their recoil pretty well.
    Robert John Stewart, The Lost King of Scotland

  5. #20
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    I just did 200 rounds of Remington 130 gr MC and 50 rounds of Remington 125 gr semi-jacketed hp +P's this week in a S&W 642 centennial Airweight. No problems at all. My girlfriend shot both loads and was fine also.
    Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse.

  6. #21
    Member Array RJ Stewart's Avatar
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    I envy you and your girlfriend. I can barely keep a 642 in my hand when shooting normal 38 special rounds, and it hurts.
    Robert John Stewart, The Lost King of Scotland

  7. #22
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    Maybe you're just not holding it right RJ. I don't know what to tell you....where does it hurt?

    I got more pain shooting a PPK than I ever have with my J-frame. The hammer bites, the slide bites, the trigger slaps....

    Austin

  8. #23
    Member Array RJ Stewart's Avatar
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    I just hurts my hand in general because I cannot grip a gun that light tightly enough to keep the frame from moving against my hand. Maybe I was trying to hold it steady and should have just rolled with the recoil. I don't know. It wasn't my 642. I only own an sp101.
    Robert John Stewart, The Lost King of Scotland

  9. #24
    Member Array homepcmd's Avatar
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    And this is why we should ask the original poster more questions before saying that one is better than the other.

    A .22 LR - under your FULL control - where YOU can shoot 10-11 rounds into somebody's eyeballs...

    Is way better than a .45 ACP 5" "government" model that YOU can't control to save your life.

    Getting good and repeated HITS beats getting NO hits any day.

    If this person is serious to arm himself - it behooves us to help him see the forest over the trees.

    DPX or double tap ammo out of a KT 3AT or Ruger LCP may be better than a .38 special - due to his circumstances.

    Or maybe a .38 is better with a Crimson laser and then pick up a cheap lever action 357 rifle to have a "long arm" that uses the same ammo in a pinch.

    I still think we have too many questions before giving a valid answer. Like what if he's NEVER shot either... or maybe he's only shot rifles or shotguns.

    Maybe he's use to a 45... or is looking for a pocket backup to his primary handgun.

    Just my opinion.
    “We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm” - George Orwell

  10. #25
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    I view them as just about equal if the proper ammo is used for each weapon.

    .380 is faster on reloads and carries a little more ammo.

    .38 Special is likely more reliable and throws a heavier bullet.

    It balances out.

    Use DPX or Gold Dot for either and you have an effective defensive weapon.

  11. #26
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    "...it behooves us to help him see the forest over the trees..."



    Of course there's room for endless discussion and also for "information overload" about the question posed, but the short answer is that the .38 Special is more potent and more flexible than is the .380. The title of this forum is descriptive and the Forum does a good job of imparting knowledge of the finer points of the defensive use of firearms to the reader who posted this direct question.

    I can deal with the S&W Model 642 with most any load but the one that "get's my goat" for recoil and controlability is the Browning Baby .25 ACP. There just isn't enough gun there for me to hang on to. I know, I'm a wimp.

  12. #27
    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aus71383 View Post
    tns0038 - that is the opposite of my experience....which just goes to show, YMMV.

    Austin

    38 J-Frames are a great shooting little gun. But in my experience when you load them with +P they become a beast.

    But, each to his/her own.

    I for one like the weight of the Walther 380 when firing, by comparison the little Kel-Tec P3AT has a good bite, but it’s fine for up close rapid firing. And I would not want to be tested using it at 25 yards.


    Pick the one that fits your hand best, and conceals the way you want it too.

  13. #28
    Member Array homepcmd's Avatar
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    "...it behooves us to help him see the forest over the trees..."



    Of course there's room for endless discussion and also for "information overload" about the question posed, but the short answer is that the .38 Special is more potent and more flexible than is the .380. The title of this forum is descriptive and the Forum does a good job of imparting knowledge of the finer points of the defensive use of firearms to the reader who posted this direct question.

    I can deal with the S&W Model 642 with most any load but the one that "get's my goat" for recoil and controlability is the Browning Baby .25 ACP. There just isn't enough gun there for me to hang on to. I know, I'm a wimp.
    Reasonably agree.

    My point was that he posted calibers without saying what type of firearm and with what intent. One cannot define "best" unless you have the right answers to your own question.

    While the 38 is the default... again we should be asking questions and not so much answer his. Not enough info in my opinion.

    That's all and I wanted to point it out.

    You pretty much proved one of my points with your statement that a 25 is too hard for you to control since its platform is so small.

    “We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm” - George Orwell

  14. #29
    Senior Member Array wht06rado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJ Stewart View Post
    The lightweight snubbies (which I'll never use) will rip your hand off when fired.
    Rip your hand off??

    I carry a 642 loaded with 158 LSWCHP +P's and while the recoil is not as pleasant as my 5" 1911, it will not 'rip your hand off'.
    “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security” Benjamin Franklin
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  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by GUDWyo View Post
    Does anyone know which has the grater amount of stopping power?
    I see no where in the question, the platform which it will be shot from, the reloading speed, the capacity for the first set of shots or any of the other points that were brought up in this thread so far. Nor was anything mentioned in the question about which was easier to shoot or which one would flip out of your hand it shot incorrectly. If you don't know what your doing or can't shoot, no gun is worth its bullet weight.

    The simple answer to the simple question is the 38+P has more stopping power than a .380acp. This is regardless of the barrel length or any other factors you want to throw in there. From a handgun a .380 will never have even close to the ballistics that a 38 or 38+p will have.

    GUDwyo, welcome to the forum. This is a great place to find lots of good information. Glad the first link posted was helpful.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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