This is a discussion on 380 or 38 Special for pocket carry. Pick one. within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Razor, you know for a fact? I'm impressed....
7 rounds of 380
5 rounds of 38 Special
If I pocket carry, it'd be the .380. I'd rather carry the .38, but would use other carry methods (K.L. Null SMZ shoulder holster or a high ride OWB holster) instead, although I carried one in an ankle holster for yrs as a BUG.
My experience on this is having & carrying a S&W 442 & a Kel-Tec P-32.
Because of improvements in bullets, I do believe the .38 has the advantage in power & I do think they make better BUGs due to their simple system. However, a small .380 (& .32 for that matter) is smaller (Flatter, shorter, lighter usually, & more capacity) plus easier/quicker reloads, so the decision isn't as easy as it may seem.
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Integrated Close Combat
Glock 19 & 26, Kahr CM9 & P45, Para P12, Kel-Tec P-32, S&W 442, & Dan Wesson 14-2.
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M&Pc .357sig, 2340Sigpro .357sig
If it was for my primary carry gun I would go for the J Frame.But if it is for my BUG I would go for the P3AT.
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I'd prefer the .38, with a couple of exceptions.
1. No porting for me thanks. Porting may help with recoil, but it also makes the BANG considerably louder. It can also interfere with your vision in low-light situations as part of the muzzle flash is directed upwards into your line of sight.
2. I'd go with a lighter gun. Charter Arms makes several variations that weigh in at 12 oz, 3 oz lighter than the S&W. It's not a major consideration, I admit, but as a bonus, you can put the savings towards a case of ammo.
Truth, I want both!! I went with the .380 for the extra 2-3 rounds in the gun and quicker reload. That and I shoot bottom feeders better. If someone gave me a .38 special I would not turn it down, (anyone who would like to send me one please feel free to PM me!!). That's just me!! You also said pocket carry. I would be more likely to carry a 38 IWB or OWB than in my pocket again just me.
Last edited by PM; April 10th, 2010 at 09:14 PM. Reason: Added WB carry remark
It's easy to pocket carry a .380, along with a few spare mags.
I usually carry 2 spare mags for my LCP, for a total of 19 rounds. Hard to do that with a revolver.
As far as arguments about "power" and "caliber" go...put the bullets where they count, and use bullets that penetrate 12-15 inches.
All else is just interesting conversation.
The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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I'm a retired Chicago Police Detective, I have been carrying concealed weapons my entire adult life.
I used to carry off duty a nickel plated S&W Chief airweight, it fit fairly well in my rear pants pocket. Problem is it only carries 5 shots, and is not real handy to reload.
When the Ruger LCP came out I jumped on one and have been carrying it ever since. It is light weight, virtually undectible with a pocket holster and with a 6 round magazine with one in the pipe, gives you 2 more rounds then the revolver, and is infinitely easier to reload with a spare magazine.
I live in Arizona and with the warm weather here I wear shorts almost the entire year, I carry the LCP in my front right hand pocket in a DeSantis "Nemisis" pocket holster and it doesn't even fell like I'm carrying at all.
I have put over 500 rounds through this gun with multiple brands of ammo, hardball and hollow points, and never had one misfire or jam. The gun is absolutely as reliable as a revolver, and more accurate then my Chief!
I would take a .38 over .380s any day for the week.
Sig Sauer: P938 9mm Smith and Wesson: Sigma SW9VE 9mm
I also have a choice LCP, LCR, 442 Airweight wins all the time, front pocket done.
I could make a case for either one but I currently have a 642 j-frame. It fits my hand a little better.
+1 on J-frame revolvers. S&W 340 M&P - front pocket carry in a Milt Sparks PCH-RI holster works just fine for me!!
That problem persists today, though now its more a function of a lack of understanding of when to deploy long guns, not their lack of availability. As an example:
I went to a home invasion last night (drug related as the huge majority of them are) where it was unclear whether or not the suspect(s) were still on the scene. It was clear that they were armed with firearms when the robbery occurred. Technically it was the county's call, having happened about a half mile outside the city limits, but since that is still in our jurisdiction, we went too. All in all six units responded, three of us from the city PD, and three deputies. Now, this is the kind of call where the long guns should come out. We know weapons are involved and we know its possible the perps are still there.
My department issues a Ruger Mini-14 and a Benelli Nova 12 gauge to every officer. The county doesn't issue rifles, but all their deputies have shotguns. Well, of the three of us from the PD, two of us had Mini-14s out and the other had the 12 gauge. Of the three deputies, not one had a long gun out.
When one knows one is going in to trouble, one brings a long gun, not a handgun. When one reads about instances of LEOs being outgunned by criminals the lesson is nearly always the same, don't bring a handgun to a gunfight, bring a rifle or shotgun. Then bring some friends with rifles or shotguns. There were a lot of tactical errors in the infamous "Miami Shootout" of 1986, but the most glaring IMO was going after known armed, violent criminals, with only two shotguns and no rifles or submachineguns between 7 agents, not the agents mostly carrying revolvers.
The same is basically true of the 1997 Bank of America shootout. What handguns the police had during that altercation was not the issue, the lack of available rifles was the issue. Had all the officers on scene been armed with revolvers instead of 9mm Berettas the results would likely have been pretty much the same. They needed rifles, not lots of rounds in pistol magazines.
I've tried a number of small autos over the years and never found one that was as reliable as an Airweight revolver (though if anyone can make a reliable mini .380 it is Ruger). Quality revolvers are so reliable they are boring. Small autos, not so much in my experience. One rarely sees a "my J-frame is unreliable" post on the forums. Its a daily occurrence for someone to be posting about an unreliable mini-auto. Then one has to factor the .38 Special's ability to throw a bullet twice as heavy as a .380 bullet and the much broader selection of ammunition choices. For me the decision is easy between the two, the .38 Special snub. Of course I carry "nearly dead" revolvers are primary weapons on my own time, so what do I know?
"The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix