380 ACP vs 38 Special?

380 ACP vs 38 Special?

This is a discussion on 380 ACP vs 38 Special? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have been searching the internet for information about 380 defensive ammo and came across the below statement, just curious what others think: "The three ...

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Thread: 380 ACP vs 38 Special?

  1. #1
    New Member Array Seapro210's Avatar
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    380 ACP vs 38 Special?

    I have been searching the internet for information about 380 defensive ammo and came across the below statement, just curious what others think:
    "The three or four best .380 JHP rounds have better stopping power than ANY bullet fired out of 2" barrel .38 Special snub-nose. (Federal 90 gr. Hydra-shok, Cor-Bon 90 gr. JHP, Remington 102 gr. Golden Saber BJHP and CCI-Speer 90 gr. Gold Dot JHP).


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    Member Array 93civicsedan's Avatar
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    Where did you find this statement? link?

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    New Member Array Seapro210's Avatar
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    I'd find another source of information.
    CCW permit holder for Idaho, Utah, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire. I can carry in your country but not my own.

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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    round for round there is no .380 auto round that matches the energy in a .38. If you want to compare 3 or 4 rounds of .380 to a single .38 round then we can talk. Not sure if that's what the author is getting at above...I still carry a .380 at times, and it can do it's job if I do mine, but the one time I had to draw a weapon and was half a heartbeat away from firing...well, I don't have words that accurately describe how relieved I was to have my XD in my hand.
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    Member Array Chroode's Avatar
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    I am a believer in that most of the time .380 is a better choice over .38 especially if you are comparing the 2inch .38 Special.

    The .380 is coming from a slighly longer barrel at a faster speed giving you better penetration.

    You can look at geleatin test results below and make up your own mind.

    For .380
    .380ACP

    For .38 Special
    .38 Special

  7. #7
    Member Array Chroode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cupcake View Post
    round for round there is no .380 auto round that matches the energy in a .38. If you want to compare 3 or 4 rounds of .380 to a single .38 round then we can talk. Not sure if that's what the author is getting at above...I still carry a .380 at times, and it can do it's job if I do mine, but the one time I had to draw a weapon and was half a heartbeat away from firing...well, I don't have words that accurately describe how relieved I was to have my XD in my hand.
    The .380 is a tried an true round. It was carried by German officers during World War II, utilized by the German police, and still used by police forces around the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chroode View Post
    The .380 is a tried an true round. It was carried by German officers during World War II
    And they lost.

    BTW, I occasionally carry a .380 so don't flame me. My EDC is a snubby .357 loaded with 135gr GoldDot ammo for short barrels. I'd stack those up against any.380.
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    Member Array hk boy's Avatar
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    that article was written by "Anonymous"
    with no data to back up that statement
    mathamaticlly--weight of bullet x speed of bullet = power
    I don't see a 90gr .380 bullet having more power than a 158 gr +p 38 sp bullet
    if someone have some data showing something different, please post

  10. #10
    Member Array Chroode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GunnyBunny View Post
    And they lost.

    BTW, I occasionally carry a .380 so don't flame me. My EDC is a snubby .357 loaded with 135gr GoldDot ammo for short barrels. I'd stack those up against any.380.
    Actually if you look at this web site you will see that your snubby magnum is not doing much better in velocity than a standard size .380

    Ballistics by the inch - .357 magnum


    Ballistics by the inch - .380 ACP

  11. #11
    Member Array Chroode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hk boy View Post
    that article was written by "Anonymous"
    with no data to back up that statement
    mathamaticlly--weight of bullet x speed of bullet = power
    I don't see a 90gr .380 bullet having more power than a 158 gr +p 38 sp bullet
    if someone have some data showing something different, please post

    When comparing the two in a 4 inch barrel that would be correct. But the original post descibed a .38 special snubnose.

    Anytime you reduce the barrel length on a Magnum or +P you lose a lot of velocity. So a 2 inch .38 special (+P or not) will be matched or out performed by a .380 3 1/2 inch barrel.

    The Corbon 90gr. .380 ACP reachs speeds around 1020fps.

  12. #12
    Member Array hk boy's Avatar
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    Handgun Cartridge Power Chart - Condensed Version

    hand gun power chart from "Handgun Stopping Power" Marshall & Sanow
    one shot stop % from 2 inch S&W 38 sp is 67%
    average % of tested .380 ammo is 60%

  13. #13
    Member Array dbraves8's Avatar
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    like it says if you compared 3 or 4 rounds from a 380 to a single 38 special bullet

  14. #14
    Member Array hk boy's Avatar
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    "The three or four best .380 JHP rounds have better stopping power than ANY bullet fi

    more "one shot stop" data
    http://www.abaris.net/info/ballistic...ping-power.htm

    this shows .380 and 38 sp (even from 2 inch snub nose) is about the same in stopping power if the correct ammo is seleted.


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    Member Array Chroode's Avatar
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    Just remember that "one shot stop" data has way too many variables to be completely accurate, but it can you an idea of performance.

    With that said, we can probably all agree that either the .380 or the .38 special will perform equally as well. So it comes down to auto vs. revolver and your personal choice of ammo.

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