The only .380 ammunition that will reliably reach the vital organs is FMJ.
The only .380 ammunition that will reliably reach the vital organs is FMJ.
Check out the Buffalo Bore hardcast +p .380 round. It appears to be a well-planned load and I've seen positive reviews of it other places. This is what I carry in my Kahr P380.
380 Auto +P Pistol & Handgun Ammunition
My P380 is very finnicky - It has about 400 rounds through it - so it can not be considered "fully broken in" but here is what works and does not work for me
Black Hills 100g FMJ - Had to knock a bit off the slide stop for the fat bullet
Mag Tech 85g HP +P
Good for paractice
Rem UMC 95 G FMJ - Gotta hold the gun right
Fed red box 95FMJ - 5 rounds works best and hold gun right
Doesn't work for me:
Buffalo Bore +P
Blazer Brass FMJ
Speer Gold Dot HP
Winchester White Box
From what I've seen each one of these little guns is very different - some shoot everything and some only a few brands.
Apologies in advance for the long post. I took delivery of a California variant P380 (mag trigger disconnect & LCI) in March 2011.
First 216 rounds for break-in were: Rem FMJ round nose, 95 gr, 100 rds; Win FMJ flat nose, 95 gr, 100 rds; Rem JHP, 95 gr, 16 rds. Various malfunctions (stovepipe, light strike misfire, stuck on ramp, lock open w/rds in mag) but the numbers were unrecorded. I contacted Kahr, who said it was due to recoil spring. They sent an upgraded recoil spring, which I installed.
Subsequently I experienced the following:
Rem JHP, 95 gr, 82 rds
stovepipe, 9 occurrences
stuck on ramp, 3 occurrences
lock open w/rds in mag, 4 occurrences
Lellier & Bellot FMJ round nose, 92 gr, 50 rds
stovepipe, 1 occurrence
UMC-branded FMJ round nose, 95 gr, 50 rds
stovepipe, 3 occurrences
light strike misfire, 8 occurrences
lock open w/rds in mag, 1 occurrence
Win FMJ flat nose, 95 gr, 148 rds
stovepipe, 12 occurrences
light strike misfire, 2 occurrences
stuck on ramp, 2 occurrences
Rem FMJ round nose, 95 gr, 98 rds
stovepipe, 12 occurrences
light strike misfire, 4 occurrences
I really want this weapon to work. I bought it for it's small size and light weight but reliability is more important than either of those considerations. At the range, it's shown to be very accurate, even in my large hands.
Finally, in fairness, Kahr has been very responsive and paid to have the weapon shipped back to the factory, where is it at this writing. I'll re-post results after the weapon has been returned and has been re-tested at the range.
I use winchester white box for the range and gold dot jhp for self defense.
I broke my kahr p380 in with 300 rounds of winchester and then ran some gold dot through it works great.
When I broke it in I cleaned it twice before I shot it, then I cleaned it after 50 until I reached 300 then I used the gold dot.
I use mil-tec oil and a lot during the break in.
Hope this helps Good Luck.
Winchester White box---300 rounds for break in. Buffalo Bore 100gr +P 50 rounds--then carry. Mine had a couple of FTFs in the first 50 rounds,been perfect since then.
I only carry it when the .45ACP would be really hard to hide.
IMHO, the extra cost of .380 HP ammunition is more than merely wasted, it is counterproductive.
You pay more, and get less penetration, which is often marginal in this caliber.
I settled on Speer Lawman TMJ, and had problems with Federal American Eagle FMJ. There were other brands that may have proven satisfactory, but after one defective gun and 1000+ rounds (various brands) fired in total, I did not wish to devote the the money or time to test all possibilities to my satisfaction. I do not fault American Eagle, though, as it has proven reliable in other guns of various calibers, including .380.
I have 2 p380's. Both are good at a variety of ammo but they can be finicky for thefirst 1000 rounds or so. I did a lot of dremel polishing on mine which helped. (Brownell's Green Glow)
Carry: Corbon 90 HP - Why? because its a hollow point with a lot of power and they will work every time - because this is a 10 ouce gun and easy to limp wrist.
Black Hills (all of it) also works good. Gold dot (speer) ejects funny - I'm a lefty - and hits me in the forehead almost every time! but the ammo functions great.
Range: Rem UMC 95 fmj. because it works good and is cheap. Also just about everything else; Fiocchi, S&B and Fed red box are also good. Prvi Partisan is a little too soft recoiling and will sometimes stovepipe.
and BTW, the weapon to which I am referring in my last post is a Kahr P380. The original frame and other parts were replaced by Kahr.
My Sig p238 loves whatever I run through it and I mean WHATEVER!!!! I use hornady critical defense by personal choice.
Just got my p380. Initially shot it right out of box (couldn't wait, should have waited).
Remington UMC 50 rounds
PMC bronze 25 rounds
Fiochi - couldn't chamber a single round
Initially, I had countless issues with FTF and difficulty chambering a round (slingshot and with open slide lock release method). At least half of my shots had some issue with FTF or failure of slide to return to battery. I took it home and cleaned it out. Over half the magazines locked up in some way. Remington's were better than PMC, but both had issues. I'm new to pistols (have had a ruger lcr for a bit) and firearms in general, but with YouTube I think I did a decent enough job with cleaning and oiling. One thing I noticed is that there were bits of polymer on the base (on the part that connects with the slide) that seemed kind of chewed up. Like the mold was incompletely stamped, or that the slide was "grooving" the polymer base. I dunno. I also worked the slide all night while watching tv.
American Eagle 95 grain 50 rounds
PMC bronze 75 rounds
Corbon 90 gr JHP
Hornady hollow points (box of 25, forget which)
Overall better today. With the PMC I was able to chamber mostly without incident. Maybe 2-3 times the round jammed in some way that required releasing the magazine and working the slide to maneuver the bullet out. The big problem is with failure to return to battery. Roughly half the time I had to manually push the slide the last half inch. There would be some kind of click or other obstacle that I would have to push through. The next round would then be ready to go. Fairly consistent but I suppose it got a little better near the end. I know that grip and limp wresting can play a role, but thinking of this, I had a pretty solid grip, which might have helped a slight amount, or maybe not at all.
Mixed in with the PMC, my 50 rounds with American Eagle worked much much better. I still had some return to battery issues, but it was usually only slight and far less often (1 per magazine or less). Very encouraged with the AE.
Near the end I shot about 10 cor bons and 10 hornady. All had issues with ftf and return to battery (50%). Less encouraging.
So, overall big improvement today, but still a ways to go before I would consider it reliable.
My father-in-law has the Kahr P380 and prefers buffalo bore. Buffalo Bore Ammunition | Strictly Big Bore - Strictly Business
Myself, I carry Hornady Critical Defense in a S&W Bodyguard .380. You're right, Kahrs are so tightly machined that they have zero-tolerance for the slightest ammo variations. That along with the higher price tag kept me from even considering purchasing one.
Pay a little more and get quality (sig p238 WHEN IT COUNTS)
For example, I'd take a P228 any day of the week, but I'll pass on the P229...
Check this out: U.S. GAO - B-402339.3, Sig Sauer, Inc., July 23, 2010
"At issue here is the live-fire testing by a cross-section of ATF agents, which was identified in the RFP as the most important among the four parts of the phase II testing, described above. RFP at 63. Under this test, 20 ATF agents with diverse skill levels, physical size, and right- or left-handedness were to evaluate each of the handguns that were submitted. Each agent evaluated the sample handguns first by firing 100 rounds of familiarity shooting, then twice firing 50 rounds for the pistol qualification course (PQC) test, and finally field stripping, cleaning and reassembling each type of handgun. For each handgun, the agent completed a questionnaire assigning adjectival ratings (excellent, very good, good, fair, or unsatisfactory) and providing narrative under the following categories: safety, reliability, accuracy, ergonomics and adaptability, suitability of size or weight, ease of cleaning and assembly, and overall assessment as a pistol for general issue to ATF agents.
In addition to the agents' rating sheets, a record was kept of any stoppages or malfunctions that occurred during the live fire testing. These records show that ATF's agents recorded 58 stoppages with Sig Sauer's full-size and compact pistols, 13 of which were considered to be gun-induced and 45 shooter-induced. Id., Tab 2, Competitive Range Determination, at 3. In contrast, the agents recorded a total of 16 shooter‑induced stoppages for Smith & Wesson's guns and 7 shooter-induced stoppages for Glock's guns. There were no gun-induced stoppages recorded for the Smith & Wesson or Glock guns. Id., Tab 8, Contracting Officer's Smith & Wesson Evaluation Summary, and Tab 9, Contracting Officer's Glock Evaluation Summary.
The shooters' phase II evaluations of the offerors' handgun systems were provided to the agency's source selection board (SSB). See Declaration of SSB Chair, Feb. 2, 2010, at 2. According to the SSB chair, "[i]t was determined that any weapon that displayed numerous gun-induced or shooter-induced malfunctions was not suitable for agents to depend on to protect their lives." Id. at 3. Based on the results of the shooting tests, the SSB recommended to the contracting officer that Sig Sauer's handgun be excluded from further consideration as unacceptable with respect to reliability. The contracting officer reviewed the SSB's consensus reports and agreed with the recommendation that Sig Sauer's proposal should be excluded from phase III, based upon the number of stoppages recorded for Sig Sauer's handguns. AR, B-402339.3, Tab 2, Competitive Range Determination, at 1."
Well my 238 has 1250 rounds without any issues whatsoever so I believe is reliable at least to me with 7 different types of ammo but everyone is entitled to their opinions.