Can't Decide If I Should Get a .380

This is a discussion on Can't Decide If I Should Get a .380 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 380 sounds great for pocket comfort but is it really powerful enough? I've read varying opinions here. Thinking about getting one for light trips around ...

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Thread: Can't Decide If I Should Get a .380

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    Member Array Rugerguy's Avatar
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    Can't Decide If I Should Get a .380

    380 sounds great for pocket comfort but is it really powerful enough? I've read varying opinions here. Thinking about getting one for light trips around my quiet neighborhood. If it is sufficient which one is smallest? thanks

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    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    Not trying to start a caliber war here...

    I will not carry anything smaller than 38+p or 9+p. If it will not penetrate to 12" through ballistics gel consistently I will not trust my life with it.
    The FBIs ballistics testing tends to be pretty decent & they tend to look toward a little larger calibers than 380. I trust their testing.

    Typically I pocket carry a 357 magnum j-frame VERY easily.
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
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    I carry a Sig P238 as a pocket gun or high on my belt in a Kydex holster. When I carry it I almost always have a G19 or G30 carried IWB at 4-5 O'clock.

    I'm still on the fence with my feelings about the .380's stoping power. I do like the way the P238 shoots and feels in my hand but, I like the capacity a stoping power of my Big Boys.

    I am going to pick up a Remora holster and see how My 38 Snub carries in my pocket, I think I would like it a little better than the Sig. We'll see.
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    Senior Member Array czman2006's Avatar
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    Boy have you started something! Just kidding!!! No one wants to get shot with any caliber but I agree with 357and40, I would go with a J-frame .38 or a 9mm before a .380. That being said, we all know shot placement and what caliber you shoot best are huge factors in your decision. Just remember if your "quite neighborhood" gets not so quite, what caliber would you rather have to defend yourself with?
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    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    czman you bring up a great point about shot placement... Just remember, under combat stress your shot placement will suck compared to range time. If you are a master gunner count on performing like a good shot... A Good shot like a fair shot, a fair shot like a poor shot, a poor shot like poop...
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
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    I own an LCP and carry it only on the occasions when I have to have my shirt tail tucked in with no cover garmet......I feel tremendously handicapped with only the little 380 but it's certainly better than nothing.....my EDC is P239 in 357 sig, with p229(357sig), g26, & g30 also see carry time!
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    I'm in the "carry something you shoot really well" camp. I can't even conceal a Taurus pt709 in the summer so i have to carry my 738 - absolutely love that gun - shoot it a ton at the range because it shoots so good and accurate. I'd feel almost as confident with shot placement with it out to 12 yards as i would my cz75. But i'd rather have a full size 9 or .40. Not a choice for some of us. Get one for fun then decide.

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    Senior Member Array VBVAGUY's Avatar
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    Most of the time you have 6+1 rounds in the little 380's, use it all if you need to, to stop a threat. Carry an extra magazine and you have 13 rounds. Also from what I read somewhere many people tend to forget that the FBI specs of penetrating 12 inches minimum was made for LEO. Where sometimes LEO's have to shoot through barriers such as car doors, windshields, etc. Most civillians do not have to do that and if they do, they may have some explaining to do. Also load your 380 with FMJ's and it will penetrate more than the 12 inches. God Bless
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    Member Array sliponby's Avatar
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    About 3 years ago I started to carry everyday with an LCP. About a year later I got a PM9 and a G26. I rarely carry the LCP anymore.

    I have yet to see crime video of an armed thug pulling out a little 380 pistol. 9mm or 38+p (just got a 442) is my minimum. YMMV
    "We Dare Defend Our Rights", Alabama State Motto...

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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    Given the price of 380 compared to 9 and the factthat you can buy almost anything you want in 380 also in 9mm now, I would but a pocket 9 of any kind before a 380.
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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    I believe that a .380 has it's place. It's not my first choice but it fills a niche for me and that's "running gun". I carry my Ruger LCP while I am running in a custom arm band holster my mom made for me out of a ipod arm band and her skills with a sewing machine. In that role it excels as it is both light and flat. It excel ins the role of pocket carry gun for the same reason. That being said, if the 2 most important attributes to you are not would light and flat then I think there are other (better) choices out there. For pocket carry I would look to a S&W J frame or Ruger LCR. If your looking for a light gun for IWB carry I would look to the same guns or perhaps the new Kahr CM9. However If the lightest, most flat gun possible is what your looking for it's hard to beat a pocket .380.
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    RKM
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    .380's are convenient to carry, comfortable and better than nothing. I use my .380 as my "better than nothing" and "can't carry a gun" gun. As far as being powerful enough.... ehh, it depends on who you're defending yourself from. It's certainly going to ruins the BG's day. It's the immediate results in which I doubt. Carry the biggest and most powerful gun (realistically) than you can. At times, that may be a .380 and other times it may be something much larger.

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    Pocket 9's still aren't in the same size and weight class as an LCP. I have both, and they both have their places and uses.

    Although the LCP is usually a bug for me. It is primary in only the rarest of occasions. I'd also replace it in a heartbeat if it were to break.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKM View Post
    .380's are convenient to carry, comfortable and better than nothing. I use my .380 as my "better than nothing" and "can't carry a gun" gun. As far as being powerful enough.... ehh, it depends on who you're defending yourself from. It's certainly going to ruins the BG's day. It's the immediate results in which I doubt. Carry the biggest and most powerful gun (realistically) than you can. At times, that may be a .380 and other times it may be something much larger.
    Well said!
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    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VBVAGUY View Post
    Most of the time you have 6+1 rounds in the little 380's, use it all if you need to, to stop a threat. Carry an extra magazine and you have 13 rounds. Also from what I read somewhere many people tend to forget that the FBI specs of penetrating 12 inches minimum was made for LEO. Where sometimes LEO's have to shoot through barriers such as car doors, windshields, etc. Most civillians do not have to do that and if they do, they may have some explaining to do. Also load your 380 with FMJ's and it will penetrate more than the 12 inches. God Bless
    Just to be clear...
    If a BG is shooting at you from behind a car door & you fire your 357 magnum at him through the door you will have explaining to do?

    The FBI specs were designed to test bullet capability over all, not just for LEO application.

    As for loading with FMJ, does that not minimize the permanent wound channel?

    I know there is not a magic bullet, I just want to ensure that I have every advantage.

    Furthermore, the 357 mag & sig are the rounds that tend to be able to penetrate doors/windshields and still deliver considerable force. It is part of what the 357 sig was designed for....
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
    - Roy Batty

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