What "is" .380?

What "is" .380?

This is a discussion on What "is" .380? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; What does .380 stand for? It has a period in front, so I'm assuming it's the measurement, but it's obviously not a .38, so what's ...

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Thread: What "is" .380?

  1. #1
    Member Array Zach and Holly's Avatar
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    What "is" .380?

    What does .380 stand for? It has a period in front, so I'm assuming it's the measurement, but it's obviously not a .38, so what's the deal? I tried a few searches on here for an answer but came up empty-handed. I also know the obvious, 9x17, and it's the same diameter as a .38 cartridge? Is that right?
    It is utterly illogical to believe that passing laws to reduce gun violence will be successful when those who are commiting the gun violence do not obey the law.


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    Generally, a number like .380, 9mm, .45, .22 refers to the diameter of the bullet in the cartridge. So, yes, a .380 and a .38 are the same diameter, but are obviously different cartridges. The 9mm and .357 bullets are the same diameter as the .380 and .38. The numbers are occasionally changed (as in .357) to differentiate between cartridges better.

    In a number like 9x17, the second number refers to the length of the cartridge, as in 7.62x39.

    Rifle cartridges are a little more complicated and the numbers more frequently mean different things. 30.06 is a 30 caliber bullet and the cartridge was designed in '06. 30-30 is a 30 cal that orginally was loaded with 30 grains of black powder.

    As a general rule, though, the numbers refers to the diameter of the bullet.
    eschew obfuscation

    The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD

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    Member Array Zach and Holly's Avatar
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    I understand all that, but why ".380"? The same with .357...I wonder exactly what the numbers mean. I guess the "0" in .380 just means that it's a shorter cartridge? Is there really no significant meaning to it? Because drop the "0", and it's a .38. So, you've got a regular .38 which is 38/100 of an inch in diameter, then the .380 which is the same diameter, but the "0" means....
    It is utterly illogical to believe that passing laws to reduce gun violence will be successful when those who are commiting the gun violence do not obey the law.

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    Numerically, obviously, there is no significance to the "0". IIRC, it is one of those differences that was added just to differentiate it from the .38. Others like .45ACP and .45LC change the name instead of the number.
    eschew obfuscation

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    Ex Member Array FN1910's Avatar
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    The .380 has the 0 vs. the .38 to differentiate between the pistol cartridge and the revolver cartridge. It is actually .380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) which was developed for the semi-automatic. The bullet is .357 but the shell casing itself is .380. All of it is just a naming convention developed by a marketing manager.

    When you go to the store and ask for 9mm you normally mean a 9x19 cartridge rather than a 9x18 or 9x17. Don't get your panties in a wad over what they mean, just be sure your bullets and gun match.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FN1910 View Post
    It is actually .380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) which was developed for the semi-automatic.
    That's right. I forgot about that. You've got your .380 ACP, .38 special, .38 super, .357 mag, .357 maximum, 9mm Luger, 9mm Kurtz, and a zillion other 9mms.
    eschew obfuscation

    The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD

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    Member Array Zach and Holly's Avatar
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    So, it is made up -- thanks for the replies -- As I was out today, I was thinking about it the whole time...where on earth does the 0 fit in!
    It is utterly illogical to believe that passing laws to reduce gun violence will be successful when those who are commiting the gun violence do not obey the law.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach and Holly View Post
    So, it is made up
    Y'know... I think you hit the nail on the head with that one. Whoever invents the round, gets to name it, so there ya go.
    eschew obfuscation

    The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    You can find a detailed description of the .380 here:
    .380 ACP - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    and the .38 here:
    .38 Super - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

  10. #10
    JD
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    Actually, IIRC the 9mm and .38/.357 are not the same diameter, the 9mm and .380 are actually somewhat smaller.

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    Right JD. Generally the 9mm and .380 are represented as shooting .355 diameter bullets.

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    Ex Member Array FN1910's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    Actually, IIRC the 9mm and .38/.357 are not the same diameter, the 9mm and .380 are actually somewhat smaller.
    I think one is a .356 and the other a .357 but I don't remember which and am not sure that either is correct. They may both be .350.

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    The 9mm and 380 ACP both use .355 jacketed bullets (usually .356 for lead) while the 38 special / 357 mag use .357 jacketed bullets (.358 for lead). I've seen the 38 Super and 357 Sig listed with both .355 & .356 jacketed bullets.

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    Could a .380 be fired from a .38 special revolver?
    Kel Tec P-32 .32
    Grendel P-10 .380

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    Quote Originally Posted by OzarksMagic View Post
    Could a .380 be fired from a .38 special revolver?
    No the cases are completely different and it is not safe to shoot a calibre in a gun not designed for it.the .38 spc case is .379 wide and the .380 case is only.374 among other things
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