Which is better?

This is a discussion on Which is better? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Tangle and other senior members...you raise some very good points in favor of the snubby that I hadn't considered. The recommendations of shooting schools and ...

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Thread: Which is better?

  1. #46
    Member Array Falsemap's Avatar
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    Tangle and other senior members...you raise some very good points in favor of the snubby that I hadn't considered. The recommendations of shooting schools and police departments do say a lot. I want to carry the largest caliber, that I can shoot well. That being said I carry a Glock 26 or 19 when not working with no problem. It's at work that I've been considering the .380 vs snubby where concealment is a real concern. However I can conceal a snubby as easily as a PPK so I will just retire the .380 for use as a range/fun gun.

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  3. #47
    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    Since I've not weighed in on this thread, I'll just toss my .02 into the arena: In my situation hot muggy South Florida heat is the norm. In a PPK, the little .380 is a pain to carry just too heavy for it's size. If I have to wear a cover garment, I'd rather opt for more capacity and a heavier caliber. Pocket carry is cooler. The risk is a potential hammer snag on the draw and in any besides jeans, a problem with print and uneven weight. Ruins the drape of the pant. My very next CCW purchase is a S&W airweight 38sp snubnose. 5 shot, enclosed hammer and probably the CT Lasergrips as an accessory. I don't want or need the 357 magnum in this configuration...IMHO the short barrel totally negates the benefits of the load. Tons of muzzle flash and report, but no real advantage in the "stopping power" issue. .38+P will do just fine. No problems with jams due to foreign material in the pants pocket (lint, crud, etc). Enclosed hammer also insures a smooth draw. Kick with the .38 in an ultralight weapon will be "stout" but not unmanageable. The cylinder can still be emptied of all 5 rds in about 2.5 seconds. Perfect for low threat social situations where I'm out with the family. On trips and traveling thru local "Indian Country" I'll use it for a BUG to something heavier.
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  4. #48
    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    5 shots of 38/357.
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  5. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    .357 notwithstanding, for obvious reasons, with .380 vs .38 spl what would that "good reason" be, if relative speed, energy numbers are so similar?
    They aren't so similar - take a look at some premium SD .38 spcl ammo and .380 energy levels. Velocities may be close, but the .38 spcl has a much heavier bullet and hence proportionally more energy.

    "That good reason" that LE doesn't issue .380s, is they have proven not to work well. Almost any authority I have ever seen or heard of sets a .38 spcl. as the minimum caliber.

    Massod Ayoob addressed this very issue in the last issue of Combat Handguns - he opined the .38 spcl. is by far the better choice.

  6. #50
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    They [.38spl & .380] aren't so similar ...
    From the Federal web site, comparing the HydraShok JHP in .38spl vs .380 shows, as measured at the muzzle:
    • .38 110gr HydraShok JHP -- 980 fps and 235 ft-lbs.
    • .380 90gr HydraShok JHP -- 1000 fps at and 200 ft-lbs.

    The resulting energy comes from the speed+grains. In this load (the Fed.HS JHP), there is a ~17% (energy) improvement from the .38 over the .380.

    Remington Golden Saber shows a bit greater difference:
    • .38 125gr GS -- 975 fps and 264 ft-lbs.
    • .380 102gr GS -- 940 fps and 200 ft-lbs.

    Which is a ~30% (energy) improvement over the .380.

    There are hotter .380's as well. Either one pokes a fair sized hole several inches deep a "farm" animal. Studies I've seen show ~5-7" penetration with the .380's and a bit more with typical .38's. Well short of the FBI's requirement for 12"+ penetration.

    The point isn't so much which is greater. There's always a bigger "fish." The point being made is: what's sufficient to get the job done. And the ultimate reality is: you can't shoot what you're not carrying. All else being equal, I'd prefer the larger caliber, the higher speed, the greater penetration. Can't always have that, dependent upon carry situations. In a nutshell, caliber is only one factor of many.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; November 5th, 2006 at 01:51 PM.
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  7. #51
    Member Array profshadow's Avatar
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    I'll stick with the 642 for primary SD. Revolver. Enclosed hammer. Nice little red laser ;) and handles +P rounds just fine. If I gotta shoot to save that close, I want it to count. Yeah, I'd love a 357 mag, but the 642 fits just nice in my pocket.

    On my ankle is Keltec P32. But I practice with the critter a lot to make sure I hit where I aim.

    Of course, a brick beats a pillow any day.

    I am looking at that little Kahr .45 though.......
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  8. #52
    Member Array Doug's Avatar
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    It would depend on reliability. Personally, I've not been able to find a 380 that was 100% reliable. In contrast, all of my snub 38's have been 100%. Therefore, I'd take a perfectly reliable 5 shot 38 over a less than perfect 7 shot 380. I though, I could have found a reliable 380, I would have probably gone with it over the snub. Moot point now, as I've found the "perfect" CCW. It's called a Glock 26.
    Last edited by Doug; November 5th, 2006 at 11:22 PM.
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  9. #53
    Distinguished Member Array snowdoctor's Avatar
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    hands down....five shots of .357
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  10. #54
    VIP Member Array JimmyC4's Avatar
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    Would you feel more comfortable with 7 shots of .380 (PPK) or 5 shots of .38/.357 (snubby)?
    Neither.

    There are plenty of other choices such that I'd not make either of these my first choice.
    "It's a big gun when I carry it, it is also a big gun when I take it out” – Clint Smith

  11. #55
    New Member Array GW45NUT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyC View Post
    Neither.

    There are plenty of other choices such that I'd not make either of these my first choice.
    Personally, I prefer the 45 ACP. Currently my carry weapons are: H&K USP 45 Compact and Springfield XD45 Tactical. Both hide easily under my shirt. Of course I don't carry both at the same time.

  12. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    From the Federal web site, comparing the HydraShok JHP in .38spl vs .380 shows, as measured at the muzzle:
    • .38 110gr HydraShok JHP -- 980 fps and 235 ft-lbs.
    • .380 90gr HydraShok JHP -- 1000 fps at and 200 ft-lbs.

    The resulting energy comes from the speed+grains. In this load (the Fed.HS JHP), there is a ~17% (energy) improvement from the .38 over the .380.

    Remington Golden Saber shows a bit greater difference:
    • .38 125gr GS -- 975 fps and 264 ft-lbs.
    • .380 102gr GS -- 940 fps and 200 ft-lbs.

    Which is a ~30% (energy) improvement over the .380.

    There are hotter .380's as well. Either one pokes a fair sized hole several inches deep a "farm" animal. Studies I've seen show ~5-7" penetration with the .380's and a bit more with typical .38's. Well short of the FBI's requirement for 12"+ penetration.

    The point isn't so much which is greater. There's always a bigger "fish." The point being made is: what's sufficient to get the job done. And the ultimate reality is: you can't shoot what you're not carrying. All else being equal, I'd prefer the larger caliber, the higher speed, the greater penetration. Can't always have that, dependent upon carry situations. In a nutshell, caliber is only one factor of many.
    The .380 simply does not have a good street record. Some 38s don't. I understand the point that you can't shoot what you're not carrying. But why does one choose to carry a .380 when a .38 spcl can be carried just as easily and has a much better street record for stopping fights?

    I'm just saying that we need to get away from the mind set that we carry the gun/caliber that is convenient or comfortable rather than one that has a better street record. After all do we carry to be comfortable or to protect ourselves?

  13. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    After all do we carry to be comfortable or to protect ourselves?
    I feel comfortable only when I'm carrying
    Last edited by pgrass101; November 6th, 2006 at 06:03 PM.

  14. #58
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    After all do we carry to be comfortable or to protect ourselves?
    As is obvious, both must be considered as a factor.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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  15. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    As is obvious, both must be considered as a factor.
    That's certainly true. But, .380s aren't necessarily more comfortable to carry than a compact 9mm, which is a significantly better fight stopper than either a .380 or a .38 spcl.

    The difference of 32% in energy between the .38 and .380 is NOT insignificant. A person that is 32% overweight is really overweight (no offense intended to our full figured friends)! a person that weighs 180 lbs and gains 32% is going to weigh a whopping 238 lbs.

    The problem is, the .38 spcl. is one of the weaker SD loads to compare to, e.g. comparing a 38 spcl. +P to a 115 gn Federal C9BP, the 9mm has 35% more energy than the GS .38 spcl. you listed. So we've now decreased from the 9mm level by 35% to .38 spcl. and then another 32% down to the .380 level.

  16. #60
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    I choose 5 x .38. I won't carry anything smaller than 38 loaded with +p ammo. Either FBI load or GDSB 135 gr. In fact, that is what I carry 99.9% of the time during the 9 months of summer here.

    In winter, when wearing a coat or overshirt that can cover an OWB, I can comfortably carry a .40 auto, but its heavier and bulkier.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

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