.380 - Acceptable as a CCW primary?

.380 - Acceptable as a CCW primary?

This is a discussion on .380 - Acceptable as a CCW primary? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I just got my CHL (yesterday - w00t!) and while I'm not new to guns carrying is new to me. I had a Glock 26 ...

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Thread: .380 - Acceptable as a CCW primary?

  1. #1
    Member Array progrmr's Avatar
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    .380 - Acceptable as a CCW primary?

    I just got my CHL (yesterday - w00t!) and while I'm not new to guns carrying is new to me.

    I had a Glock 26 but after trying various IWB and OWB holsters the gun didn't really fit well at all (I'm kind of a pear-shaped guy). The double stack 26 was just too wide to fit me comfortably.

    So I sold the 26 and bought a Bersa Thunder .380. Got an IWB holster from UBG and it seems to be the PERFECT carry rig. I can wear a light shirt over it and it doesn't print at all.

    The gun has so far been totally reliable after about 300 rounds and never failed once. But I am concerned that I may have under purchased when it comes to caliber.

    Obviously the bigger the better (as long as the shot placement is good) but I can't seem to find any single stack autos that are thin with any significant fire power.

    I had a KelTec P-11 but the slide actually cracked in under 200 rounds! I won't trust another KT. I did see a KAHR (I think) in .40 that was a single stack and looked like it might fit the bill for a REALLY good price, but I don't know enough about it to make the purchase.

    I am also considering a CC revolver in .357. I've got a Taurus model 65 (full frame) for around the house. But I'm talking about a snub nosed revolver meant for CC.

    What do you all think? I know which guns to purchase is a very personal choice but I'm sure that I'm not the first person to be in this quandry. What are you experiences and how did they work out?


  2. #2
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    .380 is enough as long as you feel confidant. Whenever I carry a .32 or a .380 or a .38 I feel fine, but if you are worried then move up to a bigger caliber.

    I'm sure this will be repeated but don't forget that the murders at Virginia Tech were in part the result of a .22. That will probably serve to be a reminder that all ammo can kill if placed efficiently.

  3. #3
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    I carry a Taurus 605 almost everyday. I found that I can shoot 38+P's out of it better than full power .357's. In my full size Rossi .357's are no problem. That extra 2" of barrel makes a big difference to me.

    When I am not carrying my 605 I am carrying a .380 Makarov. I don't think the .380 is to lite for a CCW round.

    With a good holster you might be able to carry your M-65. If I carry OWB I will usually carry my Taurus 92FS. (I don't OWB much)
    A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.

  4. #4
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    I would want a larger caliber myself. You need to carry to be effective though, so if the Bersa works use it. Perhaps a 1911 or browning HP might work well for you as well?
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    Quantify it

    If you look at ammo manufacturer websites, there is generally some fairly complete information on the bullet weights, muzzle velocities and muzzle energies of their various products. I think most shooters would agree that if all else is equal (accuracy, speed of fire, etc.), the larger, faster bullet will have more effect on the target than a smaller, lighter, or slower bullet. So the conventional wisdom is to go with the most powerful and energetic ammo/gun combination you can handle well.

    Most .380 ammo uses a bullet of about 90 grains leaving the muzzle at 1000 feet per second, giving muzzle energy of about 200 foot-pounds. Available 9mm ammo covers quite a range, but in general it involves a bullet weighing from 115 to 147 grains and muzzle velocities in the 1000 to 1300 fps range, with muzzle energies in the 350 to 450 foot-pound range. So 9mm packs about twice the energy of .380.

    But as you pointed out, the available 9mm guns tend to be a little bigger than the available .380 guns. So you might have to compromise concealability somewhat to go with 9mm. But there are plenty of fairly compact 9mm guns, and most people can learn to shoot them quite well. Only you can decide which way to go.

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    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
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    Most of the time I carry a colt mustang in a K&D back-pocket holster, and I feel very safe. The 90 grain JHP is a great round. Obviously if you carry it in the winter, and if you had to use it on someone for protection, you best do a double or triple shot to the head. Thick coats and such might absorb the penetration instead.
    NAA makes a .380 small enough and so does Kel-Tec. Kahrs' PM9 is just a little bigger...
    " Refuse to be a victim, make sure there is a round chambered ! "

    Just call me a pessimistic optimist !

    U.S. Navy vet 1981-1992

  7. #7
    Member Array progrmr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky View Post
    I would want a larger caliber myself. You need to carry to be effective though, so if the Bersa works use it. Perhaps a 1911 or browning HP might work well for you as well?
    I have thought about that - I love 1911, although the idea of shooting a .45 in a compact frame sounds ominous!!

    I had a Kimber custom II years ago and if you can believe it I got a lemon! I hate to spend that kind of $$$ ($730) for a gun that is jacked up. And their support told ME to tweak the extractor instead of sending it back!

    I'd have to find a good price on one to buy it. Although I think a full size .45 IWB would be a bit large it might work. It's an option though.

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    New Member Array Glock4good's Avatar
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    One of my former undercover co workers carried a .380 Walther PPKs. He had to use it in two drug buys that went bad. In each case he killed his attacker.

  9. #9
    Member Array progrmr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glock4good View Post
    One of my former undercover co workers carried a .380 Walther PPKs. He had to use it in two drug buys that went bad. In each case he killed his attacker.
    !!!!

    WOW! Good shot placement I'd guess!

  10. #10
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    I default to larger calibers, but my tiny body and female clothes sometimes makes it hard to conceal larger calibers. The larger the caliber I go the heavier the weight to compensate for the recoil meaning the bigger the gun and the harder the gun is to conceal... Darn but I have had one HECK of a time finding the right carry gun.

    In all actuality I have two carry guns. One is a Mustang Plus II in .380 and the second is a Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry 1911 in .40.

    If at all possible, I carry the .40 (right now it's not possible because the .40 is at the gunsmith) and so I am primarily carrying the .380. I'm comfortable with the .380. I understand that a low caliber is better than no caliber at all, but I, personally, would not carry anything less than the .380.

    It is EXTREMELY concealable, light, and comfortable. I don't see any reason why I would need to go smaller.

    Because I default to a larger caliber and because my .40 is being worked on, I tried carrying my husbands full size Springfield 1911 in .45 and not only was it HEAVY but drawing it was almost impossible because of how long it was on my tiny little frame. I felt like the Joker in the first Batman movie when he pulls that MONSTROUSLY long revolver out of his pants. I've decided it's best to stick with the more compact firearms.

  11. #11
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    .380 is just fine, provided you know what you are doing with it.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Member Array Kompact9's Avatar
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    Progrmr,

    Welcome to the site...you mentioned the Kahrs. I carry a K9 (it's a single stack) and use a Brommeland IWB or a Smart Carry depending on dress and situation. It's quite concealable with either rig and a little planning...
    noli nothis permittere te terere...

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    The 380 in your pocket is WAY more powerful that the 45 you left at home.
    fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array incredipete's Avatar
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    I never hesitate to carry my .380 during the warmer months. Trust me, a .380 would hurt really bad. During the winter, though, I switch to my Glock 27. It's a tad bulkier, but much more accurate.
    Gun Control means never having to say "I missed you."

    - Glock 27 (.40)
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    - Smith & Wesson 5906 (9mm)

  15. #15
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    The .380's enough if you're comfortable with it. If you want more power, but still want small, look at the Kahrs.

    Their PM9 & 40 about the size of the Kel Tec you had. They also came out with it in .45 now. When I carry my PM9 nowadays, it's usually in a pocket holster.

    You can't go wrong with a snubbie either; although, they're thicker than a Glock.

    Good luck.
    "Use human means as though divine ones didn't exist, and divine means as though there were no human ones." Baltasar Gracian
    Integrated Close Combat
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    Glock 19 & 26, Kahr CM9 & P45, Para P12, Kel-Tec P-32, S&W 442, & Dan Wesson 14-2.

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