.380 and 9mm

.380 and 9mm

This is a discussion on .380 and 9mm within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 9mm and .380 - Adaqete for self-defense? Not to start a debate here I just want to share some info I discovered as a person ...

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Thread: .380 and 9mm

  1. #1
    Member Array jwalker497's Avatar
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    .380 and 9mm

    9mm and .380 - Adaqete for self-defense?
    Not to start a debate here I just want to share some info I discovered as a person who has researched the caliber topic a lot and is new to the carry world and might be helpful to other newbies doing the same research I did.

    After speaking with ALL of the local gun shop owners here and a few people who do carry, they all agree that .380, 9mm are absolutely adequate, (9mm more than enough) if you do your part in placement!! This seems to differ from the opinions I read online (not necessarily here, just in general) where the majority consider 9mm to be the baseline and .40 and up to be the preferred stopping options.

    These owners also elaborated the point by saying god forbid you do find yourself in a compromised state, you WILL be in a close encounter situation (anything further and you're going to jail regardless), therefore .380, 9mm will most certainly pack the punch needed if it's placed where it needs to be, given the close quarters. Therefore, if you don't place it where it needs to be, a bigger hole in the arm isn't really going to matter. Furthermore, if you are going to pull the trigger on someone, you probably should pull it a few times and in the "smaller" calibers may be the better option due to the fact that you can get shots off faster and with better accuracy (obviously depends on the person, but in general).

    Not that these comments have not been expressed here, it's just that for me, I was VERY surprised to hear their feedback and point of view as I expected most of them to be supporter's of the higher calibers. In fact no owner I spoke to carried anything more than a 9 and there were wuite a few .380s. I mean These are people who live and work with guns on a daily basis and I as I said before, it really made a lot of sense and definatley changed my point of view as I was beginning to search for a .40 or .45.

    Obviously it's and endless debate because there are diff stroker for diff folks but its Just food for thought.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    It probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference. I like .45 ACP because it's a big heavy bullet, and I think it's more likely to penetrate and reach the vitals than a fast and light bullet. Bullets don't always expand in bad guys like they do in gelatin, so it's comforting to me to start out with a big hole.

    230 grains is a heavy chunk of lead, and you might get up to 1" expansion with some of the new gee-whiz hollowpoints like Federal HST. I also feel that a heavy bullet with good momentum is less likely to glance off of a bone like a lighter, faster bullet might. I like the fact that it's a lower pressure round and has more of a push than a snap for recoil.

    Most police departments carry .40 S&W pistols, feeling that it splits the difference between high capacity and big bullets. The .40 S&W has proven to be very effective in actual shootings. It's hard to find a bad self defense load in .40. The .40 is a snappy round in most pistols, though. It operates at high pressure, much higher than the .45 acp.

    A few police departments still carry the 9mm, notably NYPD. With modern ammo, you hear less and less of the "failure to stop" horror stories than you used to. Good 9mm defensive ammo works very well. I'd stick with 124 - 147 grain loads, for more sectional density and momentum than the light 115 grain loads. 9mm is way cheaper to practice with.

    To me, .380 is a last ditch backup gun. Period. With only 180-200 ft. lbs. of energy and iffy expansion out of most hollowpoints, I'd use ball ammo to get the penetration needed to reach the vitals. Although both .380 and 9mm are a .355 caliber bullet, they are nowhere near the same in stopping power. You usually get 300-400 ft. lbs of energy out of the 9mm, which usually ensures penetration and reliable expansion. There are a few .380 hollowpoints that look OK in gelatin, but again, bad guys aren't gelatin.

    That's my 2 cents. Self-defense shootings are dynamic, and no 2 are alike. Sometimes the 9mm drops someone like a sack of potatoes and the .45 fails to immediately stop someone with multiple center of mass hits. Pick a pistol you like, pick a good, proven load that you like, and practice, practice, practice!
    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

  3. #3
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    I prefer the .45...Kimbers or Glocks...

    The importance of shot placement is important...just ask 'Goliath' about the caliber size used by a young boy named David...

    Stay armed...stay safe!
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    Member Array Southtexas's Avatar
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    I carry .380, 9, and 45

    Dont care much for the caliber war comments anymore, but I still do like to hear what people shoot in each caliber, the truth is that I aint gonna laugh at anyone who points a .22lr at me. Each of my carry guns performs certain duties the other can not, 90% of the time I carry my .45, but I would be lying to you if I told you that I thought any less of anyone who carried a .380 or 9.
    my wifes old .380 is now semiofficially mine because she upgraded to an xd9sc, I am much happier she now carries that, but again any gun is better than no gun. if you wont carry it, it does no good to you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array itschuck's Avatar
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    Buffalo Bore has +p ammo for the 380 thats hitting as hard as 280 ft pounds which puts it on par with regular 38's. Also if one is concerned with penetration with smaller calibers then dont shoot hollow points.
    Current collection: Too many according to the wife...

  6. #6
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    VIP Member Array kpw's Avatar
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    I have no problem going smaller (9mm) as long as I can pick my ammo. I'm not as picky when the bore size increases. Anything smaller than 9mm is for backup or deeper concealment for me.

  7. #7
    Member Array nuparadigm's Avatar
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    Gun store commandos can give answers to your question. Ultimately, however, the opinions of those who have (a) been shot with a .380 or 9mm or (b) shot someone with a .380 or 9mm would give you more reliable responses.

    I fall into neither category so I can't help you. Sorry.
    The Edge ... there's no honest way to describe it. The only ones who know where it is have gone over.

  8. #8
    Member Array edw8ri's Avatar
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    I think that either round is adequate. And if the first shot does not stop a BG, then fire again.
    Dieu et les Dames

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    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    It was said at one time, that more people are killed each year with 22ís than any other caliber. Today, I donít think that is true anymore, because BGís are now buying larger caliber weapons.

    A human is relatively easy to kill, but if and when you have to defend yourself, the idea is to stop him/her from inflicting harm to you and your loved ones before he falls.

    Selecting the Duty Weapon--Is Caliber the Key?
    is a link to Evan Marshall annalist of police shootings. In this 3000 word review he pretty much agrees with you, and finds that a quality bullet, and shot placement is far more important than the caliber.

    I also find it interesting, that when I worked for the Fedís back in the mid 90ís they said that if I feel like carrying a gun, I should get CCL and carry a 9mm or larger. The agent I reported to carried a 9mm, so I figured that was good enough and purchased a Glock 19.


    Today I work part-time as an advisor for a state agency, and in a letter they advised that if I feel I need to be armed, I should get a CCL and carry a 380 or larger.

    So, long story short, the Fedís and State agency agree that a 9mm is very adequate in self defense.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    Had a friend killed by a .380 several years ago. A head shot from up close.

    Yeah, it will do the job, as will most any other caliber if placement is right. If it isnt, the BG might just put one in you that will.

  11. #11
    Member Array Maxx's Avatar
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    I agree accuracy and shot placement are the most critical factors.
    On the other hand, with the small 9mm's on the market now, why bother with the smaller calibers?

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Either would be OK. I have various calibers, but I am of the school that believes in having a gun when needed, and shot placement. Now if I were to go to an area where I thought I might need one, I would carry one of my compact 1911 .45s.

    But I often carry a KT P3AT without any concern of being undergunned, except at longer ranges.

    If I needed the smallest gun I would go with the .380 and the KT .380 or the Ruger of similar size.
    If the smallest size is not an issue the 9mm wins hands down.

    While I have some ingrained attitude that the .45 is superior by a small amount, the data seems to support that the 9mm with the best ammunition is so close to the .40 or .45 that a BG would not know the difference.

    Best,
    Jerry

  13. #13
    Member Array bluesteel's Avatar
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    a 380 in the head will make em dead, but a 9 in the spine will do just fine
    Why do I carry a Gun? Because I can't carry a Cop

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Favor a small 9mm to a small .380

    I have one .380 (Walther PPK) and several 9mm guns, and have read what I could find about this question.

    I do agree with those who say the most important thing is to have a gun you trust in your hand when needed, regardless of caliber. But if you have your choice about the caliber you carry, the question is more relevant.

    The typical .380 defensive round involves a 90 grain bullet with muzzle velocity of 1000 fps, for energy of about 200 foot pounds. Most 9mm defensive ammo is in the 115 to 147 grain bullet range, with velocity of 1000 to 1300 fps and energy of 350 to 400 foot pounds. Comparative gelatin testing shows the 9mm hollowpoint penetrates deeper and expands to larger diameter than the .380.

    Given that I can shoot both with about the same skill and accuracy, I favor the 9mm because I think it will stop the threat quicker. Of my two guns below, which are about the same size and weight, I pick the Kahr MK9 over the Walther PPK.

    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array FlyboyLDB's Avatar
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    Always a personal preference. I carry .380, 9mm, .40, .45 & 38spl. All will do the job. Most gun battles will occur at close range - if they are not, then why are you still around. Avoid the battle is the first choice. I am very concerned with over penetration. I think in a house with anyone else in the house/apt - a 9mm is the max. A shotgun with nothing bigger than #4 shot might be better. Outside of the home over penetration still really concerns me. I don't want to protect my life and take another innocent. I mainly carry the .380 & 9mm for this reason. I was really shocked at the number of over penetration incidents when someone suggested I research it.

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