.380 vs .38+P capacity and reload time vs power

.380 vs .38+P capacity and reload time vs power

This is a discussion on .380 vs .38+P capacity and reload time vs power within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I find myself considering purchasing a .380. My EDC is a S&W 442. I am caught up weighing the trade offs of capacity (5 vs ...

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Thread: .380 vs .38+P capacity and reload time vs power

  1. #1
    Member Array FireNerd's Avatar
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    .380 vs .38+P capacity and reload time vs power

    I find myself considering purchasing a .380. My EDC is a S&W 442. I am caught up weighing the trade offs of capacity (5 vs 6+1) and reloadability (J Frame=relatively slow, .380 fast) vs effectiveness (.38+P proven, .380 marginal). I find myself disarming regularly through the day and have to do it discreetely due to various duties that I must perform. Therefore, whatever the EDC is is what I have in the fight.

    HELP!

    Thanks
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    Member Array xmanhockey7's Avatar
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    I used a Sig 238 (6 or 7 + 1) for a few years and recently switched to a j-frame 442 as my pocket gun. Personally I'd rather have 5 rounds of a more powerful and proven cartridge in a gun that is likely more reliable. While I have yet to experience a malfunction in my 238, I recogive the fact in small guns like that having reliability issues can be a problem. I also recognize the fact that revolvers can malfunction too, but in my opinion less likely in that size of gun.
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    How do you carry ... If not pocket they are some pretty high mag cap 380s out there 13 and 15 rounders but bigger guns ...

    In your sit I would say the p3at or a lcp or tcp would be the best in a pokct holster weight nothing hides easy and still can do a decent bit of bang ... Plus is the p3at has factory made 10 rounders and 8 rounder mags for it that dont stick out too much and you can still pokcet carry it ...

    The p3at is very easy to slip in and out of the pocket and ready to go .... Not ext heavy artility but better then a sharp stick ... Dont foreget WW1 was started from a single shot from a 380 ....


    I mean I carry 32acp at times and feel ok with that ... Though I often have a 40 in the car handy




    Have you looked at the sig 938 or pf9 or others pocket size 9mm if your worried about firepower ?

    Heck look at the xds45 easy to pocket carry and 6 round of 45acp should put a nice hole in something
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    Senior Member Array Rigrat's Avatar
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    Yep know what you are talking about just in a different set of circumstances. That is the reason I bought a Sig P238 so I could carry it in the pocket. While it is a tad hvy for pocket carry it can fit the role just fine. I typically carry in my back pocket of my pants.

    Most factory 38 ammo isn't going to give you much over 250 fpe and you can get Buffalo Bore 380acp ammo that will match that. I've not really made up my mind though as to which would be better Hardball or JHP in a 380acp. Leaning towards the hardball with the reduced power , deeper penetration may be better than the meager expansion you'll get from a 380acp.

    But the 380 has never been intended in my case to become a primary but rather a bug that I don't have to take off, or a primary for when nothing else will work.

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    Member Array JohnHancock's Avatar
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    I switched from a .380 mouse gun to my 442 at the beginning of the year and haven't looked back! The 442 is only slightly larger with considerably more power. Dance with the one that brung ya!
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    VIP Member Array tdave's Avatar
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    My thoughts, How many shots are you likely to fire vs how likely are they to stop with a good hit? If you need a reload, How critical is the reload time between the two? If the .380 doesn't stop will the reload make any difference? Finally, Do I want a new toy? It's up to you.
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    Member Array CAS_Shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireNerd View Post
    I find myself considering purchasing a .380. My EDC is a S&W 442. I am caught up weighing the trade offs of capacity (5 vs 6+1) and reloadability (J Frame=relatively slow, .380 fast) vs effectiveness (.38+P proven, .380 marginal).
    Are you saying marginal becasue that is what some folks say, or because you have seen data that confirms what they say.

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    You compare. This is not YouTube gallon bucket testing. Real data with real shootings with real people, real scenarios and real outcomes. It is not the only study and it is worth researching for others. It is, however, a valid source beyond the bias mostly found in forums.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I like a classic 380 like the Walther PPK, although it may be to heavy for pocket carry.

    The little keltec guns are neat, but too diminutive for my likes, and I just don't trust them to be. 100% reliable.

    My opinion on the 380 vs 38, well there ain't much competition. With bullet weights available for the 38s that are almost double in weight that which is feasible with the 380 at about the same velocity, well, the power factor here is a no brainer.

    Capacity? Well I think to much is made out of capacity for a personal defense handgun.

    Ease of reload? Well once again, it's only an issue if you miss a lot. People who dither and fret over such things are more than likely worried more about their ability than the weapons ability.

    Add it up, and IMO the 38spl revolver handily wins here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireNerd View Post
    I find myself considering purchasing a .380. My EDC is a S&W 442. I am caught up weighing the trade offs of capacity (5 vs 6+1) and reloadability (J Frame=relatively slow, .380 fast) vs effectiveness (.38+P proven, .380 marginal). I find myself disarming regularly through the day and have to do it discreetely due to various duties that I must perform. Therefore, whatever the EDC is is what I have in the fight.

    HELP!

    Thanks
    My EDC is usually a S&W 442 as well, and I just purchased a S&W M&P Bodyguard 380 (without laser). I needed/wanted something thinner for summer carry since I rarely wear a coat for work when it's hot out. There's no doubt that .38+P has better ballistics, but I am confident that well-placed .380 Gold Dots will get the job done.

    You mentioned having to disarm regularly during the day; I go to the Post Office several times a week, and disarming discreetly is very easy with my .380 carried in a pocket holster.

    Faster reloads are easier with any semiauto vs. a revolver for most people, but practice with speed strips and you'll be surprised how quickly you can reload a snubbie.

    I have zero regrets buying my .380, nor do I feel "under armed" when I carry it.

    Bottom line: if you're asking DC members if you should get another gun, you probably know the answer.
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    Senior Member Array Haywood's Avatar
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    I'm not a Semi-Auto Guy or 380 but, I say if you want to try it go for it. No hand gun is a instant stopper but, at least we have a chance to protect our selves.

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    Whichever gun is most convenient. If you're worried about the .380's ballistics, carry a spare mag.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sontag View Post
    My EDC is usually a S&W 442 as well, and I just purchased a S&W M&P Bodyguard 380 (without laser). I needed/wanted something thinner for summer carry since I rarely wear a coat for work when it's hot out. There's no doubt that .38+P has better ballistics, but I am confident that well-placed .380 Gold Dots will get the job done.

    You mentioned having to disarm regularly during the day; I go to the Post Office several times a week, and disarming discreetly is very easy with my .380 carried in a pocket holster.

    Faster reloads are easier with any semiauto vs. a revolver for most people, but practice with speed strips and you'll be surprised how quickly you can reload a snubbie.

    I have zero regrets buying my .380, nor do I feel "under armed" when I carry it.

    Bottom line: if you're asking DC members if you should get another gun, you probably know the answer.
    +1 and many times over.

    I too recently picked up the M&P Bodyguard, great little pocket pistol IMO. I was going to do a little + and - in this thread on the OP's query, but came across your post and IMO, you covered my talking points pretty well. All I'd add is simply this; the .380 ACP isn't THOR's Hammer, nor is it a sledge hammer, more like a Estwing 21 oz framing hammer. But in the right hands, all three can dish out a world of hurt, and all three have their good and bad points related to um. My advice, Just keep it perspective and choose the right tool for the right occasion. Example, low crime area where gangs are not known to frequent, mouse gun and even no gun, but maybe a less then lethal option, but SA code "orange". High crime, or the Hood, load for bear, and role is code "bright yellow".

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  13. #13
    Member Array craze's Avatar
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    I think between one of the micro .380s and a .38 snub it's pretty close to a draw. The .380 has a little more capacity and easier reload, the .38 from has a marginally better round and a reliability edge. When it comes down to it I'm most comfortable with the .38 snub. While still not quite the thunderbolt of zeus, it clearly offers superior penetration. Even though my lcp has proven reliable, I'm always leery of that first inconvenient stoppage. I find it interesting that if you look at actual chronograph results some standard pressure .38 loads outperform some +P loads in the same weight out of a 2'' barrel.
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    How do you carry? Around the waist? Pocket?

    How do you dress? Tucked in shirt, professional attire? Untucked and more casual?

    Nothing beats a pocketed .380 for discreet carry, especially if you use a pocket holster with an anti print panel. The lighter weight will also prevent sagging, especially with lighter weight dress pants.

    If you don't need to be quite as discreet, then I would go with the revolver.

    Depending on discretion, my options include dual LCPs, or dual revolvers.
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    Senior Member Array Bigsteve113's Avatar
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    .38 beats .380 any day in my book. Keep your 442!
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