.38 or .380 for BUG

This is a discussion on .38 or .380 for BUG within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am looking at the Taurus 85 UL .38 or the Bersa Thunder .380 for a BUG. Which would you choose? My primary is a ...

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Thread: .38 or .380 for BUG

  1. #1
    New Member Array FLA2760's Avatar
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    .38 or .380 for BUG

    I am looking at the Taurus 85 UL .38 or the Bersa Thunder .380 for a BUG. Which would you choose? My primary is a Glock27.

  2. #2
    JD is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLA2760 View Post
    I am looking at the Taurus 85 UL .38 or the Bersa Thunder .380 for a BUG. Which would you choose? My primary is a Glock27.
    This thread: http://www.combatcarry.com/vbulletin...highlight=.380

    Has a lot of info regarding the two calibers. You can run a search for info on the Bersa.

    Personally as far as autos are concearned, the Bersa is a little big for a .380

    As you can see in this photo the Bersa is almost the same size as a 3" 1911

    The point of a .380 is to be small and I think that as a BUG, is a little too large.

    Here's a pic of a Colt Mustang +2 that my wife carries compared to the Bersa, personally I find the Mustang more enjoyable to shoot. and both have the same ammo capacity.

  3. #3
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    There isn't a lot between the two IMO. I have the Taurus 85 Ti UL and a Sig P232 which is similar to the Bersa, and use both as BUGs.
    The Taurus is 5 rounds, I carry one speedstrip to double that.
    The Sig is 7 + 1, I sometimes carry a spare mag.

    I guess the only differences of real consequence is how each fits your hand, and how you rate the SD ammo.
    I use CorBon Pow'R Balls in the Sig and Hornady HPs in the Taurus.
    Both work just fine.
    I don't feel it's a problem whichever I take out, and even take both of them out as my main carry option.

    Sorry I didn't choose one over the other, either are great.

  4. #4
    Member Array reloadn's Avatar
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    I'm kind of partial to th 85. But both are good guns. Get which one feels more comfortabe to you or just buy both.

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    A snubby 38 like the S&W 642 with Cor-Bon DPX is a good choice for a backup, especially for the less experienced. The Kel-Tec P3AT 380 with DPX is the smallest and lightest of anything in this power range. One student reports greater penetration with the 380 in an American Arms Guardian 380 than the 642 of his friend, but the difference must be marginal at best. A P3-AT backs up my Commander or Kimber Ultra.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Array cockedlocked01's Avatar
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    Ballistically, the two are similar because the .38's coming out of a sub 2" barrel. However, as good as autos are, keep in mind you're looking for a BUG. It should be something that'll be as close to 100% reliable as can be. The revolver is. If a round's bad, you pull the trigger again. If you have to fire it while in a pocket, it can be done & you can fire again.

    When I carry my 442, I carry 2 speed-strips in my strong side rear pocket. So, I have 15 rounds of +P .38.

    Try both & see what you like, but I'd recommend the revolver.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by cockedlocked01; March 20th, 2007 at 01:16 PM.
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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Both will work

    With commonly available ammunition, the .38 special from a 2 inch barrel is similar in stopping power to the .380 from a 3 inch barrel. Typical .380 ballistics involve a 90 grain bullet with muzzle velocity of 1000 fps for 200 ft-lbs of energy.

    Federal .38 JHP +P ammo from a 2 inch barrel involves a 125 grain bullet with muzzle velocity of 820 fps for 190 ft-lbs of energy. So the .38 is a heavier bullet at slower speed with similar energy to the .380.

    I think the revolver is maybe a little more reliable than a .380 semiauto, but the .380 usually gives you 7 rounds in the gun to 5 rounds for the revolver. The semiauto is flatter with no cylinder bulge, if that makes it easier for you to conceal.

    Personally, I have a .380 Walther PPK and a .38 S&W 642 revolver that I have used for a deep cover or backup gun. I go back and forth on which is better. Each has advantages and disadvantages and I can't say that I have a clear preference. Here is my PPK, which is very flat and easy to conceal:

  8. #8
    Member Array estimber's Avatar
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    I used to carry a Kel-Tec P3AT for a BUG to my Glock 19, I recently switched to a Smith and Wesson 638 instead. IMHO, the 38 is vastly superior to the .380 for ballistics. Say what you want about bullet weight vs. velocity but the 38 special has a much longer and more proven track record than the .380 ever will. Not to mention that the j-frame is much more reliable than a semi-auto ever will be. I have large hands and find that most .380's will bite my hand when fired, this is not the case with the j-frame. Also for close in work, contact shots or shooting from a pocket the .380 can't really do any of these. The other thing that turned me off to the current crop of .380 (other than the Kel-Tec) is their size. For the size of the Bersa, Sig and perhaps even the Walther you could carry a 9mm in about the same size pistol. I added the Crimson Trace LG-405 grips to my 638 and this adds another
    SD option to this package that is not available to the .380's.

    Just my .10 worth, my .02 is free.
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  9. #9
    Member Array Schwebel's Avatar
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    I would rather carry a wheelgun as a BUG. The main reason being that if my primary auto malfunctions, at least I won't have the same problem twice.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array mech1369dlw's Avatar
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    I have both of the guns you mentioned. I have carried both as a BUG during the winter months here in OZ. The 85 is pretty light and conceales very good, the Bersa is just about the same dimentions as my Taurus PT-111, so it is a little bit harder to hide, but I can do it pretty good. One holds 5 38's and the other 8 .380's. To me it is six of one and half dozen of another. Both have been shot over 1k rounds since I bought them. Either one works for me. I have great trust in both of MINE.
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    While I hold the opinion that the ballistics of the .38 Special are superior to those of the .380 Auto, I am not convinced that the difference between the two is great enough to choose a .38 with which you are not completely comfortable over a .380 with which you are. If you are completely comfortable with both, I would give the edge to the .38. Good luck!

  12. #12
    Member Array pap1105's Avatar
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    for pocket carry s&w 642 or keltec p32

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array rachilders's Avatar
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    Matter of personal choice. The .38 has a little more stopping power, but you have fewer shots available and a revolver is a bit more difficult to conceal for most people. With the Bersa and similar sized 380's, you carry more rounds in the gun, reloads are easier to carry and load and the Bersa is less expensive than the Taurus.

    Personally, you may want to consider the K-T P-3AT if you want a REAL pocket gun that's easy to conceal in almost every situation.
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  14. #14
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    With the quality 9mm's out there today I wouldn't carry a .380 unless I HAD to.

    With that said, my BUG is a 38 SPL revolver. I like the fact that I have 5 rounds for sure and I know that it will work for me.

    To each their own I say. Good luck and stay safe.


  15. #15
    New Member Array JTODD's Avatar
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    Not being a LEO, I find that the Kel-Tec .380 is extremely handy, very concealable, and certainly better than no weapon at all, although it wouldn't be my choice for a long session at the range.
    Placement, placement, placement: Shot placement usually trumps caliber......
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