.380 Popularity vs. Perceived Lack of Power

.380 Popularity vs. Perceived Lack of Power

This is a discussion on .380 Popularity vs. Perceived Lack of Power within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Seems that the gun makers that produce .380's can't make them fast enough at the moment. 380 ammo remains in short supply. However, you read ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array GoldenSaber's Avatar
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    .380 Popularity vs. Perceived Lack of Power

    Seems that the gun makers that produce .380's can't make them fast enough at the moment. 380 ammo remains in short supply. However, you read all the time that most "experts" consider it a bad choice for concealed carry. Seems to me that the best CW gun is the gun that you'll actually carry, and that you can actually shoot. James Bond didn't have a problem popping people with his...

    Many of the models coming out are very light, very flat, and easy to handle. Seems like a good combination for non-LEO people to learn to carry all the time. Better to have a 380 in your pocket than leave behind your .40 or .45 because your compact still isn't small enough for todays attire or events. Where's the love?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array ASSA9's Avatar
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    The loves right here friend
    By the way most "experts" are American IMO
    The rest of the wold likes the .380 and 9mm
    Zoe: "Preacher, don't the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killing?

    Book: "Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array crue2009's Avatar
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    i've always felt the 2 extra rds in a .380 kinda even things up a bit when comparing the stopping power of the .380 vs .38cal..you are right though,better to have a .380 in the pocket then a .45 left at home.

  4. #4
    BAC
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    Here is a writeup I did about my experience carrying a .380 auto.

    It's a compromise, like all handgun calibers are. There are trade-offs made with ammunition cost, overall capacity, recoil, size and weight of the gun, and terminal performance. While the .380s tend to be smaller, lighter, accurate, and more concealable, their durability and reliability run the gamut from robust to worthless and in FBI testing they have a difficult time consistently meeting minimum standards for penetration (this matters quite a bit for handguns since they can't go fast enough to expand or fragment to enhance their wound cavities like rifle calibers can/do). Based on my experience with my primary handgun, and on research about other calibers, I will continue to stick with 9mm and .45 ACP handguns over .380s.

    But if the option is a .380 or nothing...


    -B
    RIP, Jeff Dorr: 1964 - July 17, 2009. You will be missed.


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  5. #5
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    A lot of the bad rap against the .380 goes back to the days before quality defensive rounds were available for it. Same holds true from the .38 special. With today's quality defensive loads it will do the job, provided you do your job. Is it my caliber of choice for EDC? No it isn't. Will I carry it when circumstances dictate and feel safe with it. Yes I will and do.

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    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post

    ......their durability and reliability run the gamut from robust to worthless......
    Caliber has no bearing whatsoever on quality. There are outstanding .380's and there are .45's that I wouldn't use to weight a fishing line.

    As you so rightly say.......everything is a compromise. IMHO, the important thing is to understand your weapon's capabilities and limitations. Being able to hit what you aim at doesn't hurt either.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

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    Member Array GoldenSaber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
    Caliber has no bearing whatsoever on quality. There are outstanding .380's and there are .45's that I wouldn't use to weight a fishing line.


    As Larry the cable guy would say... "I don't care what you think... that's funny." Weight a fishing ling... whew...

  8. #8
    EW3
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    I've never bought into the whole notion that the .380 is some kind of wimp round. It's still a 9mm and therefore makes 9mm sized holes in bad guys! I have a Bersa .380 and an LCP and have confidence in both.
    "Naked and Starving as They are We Cannot Enough Admire the Incomparable Patience and Fidelity of the Soldiery" George Washington, Valley Forge, 1777.

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    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EW3 View Post
    I've never bought into the whole notion that the .380 is some kind of wimp round. It's still a 9mm and therefore makes 9mm sized holes in bad guys! I have a Bersa .380 and an LCP and have confidence in both.
    The problem is not bullet diameter, but projectile energy. From what I have read the 380 is just on the edge of powerful enough to expand a hollowpoint round properly.

    380 is a lot better than 0.

    Personally, though, I don't find it difficult at all to carry my G26. I don't see any personal need to go to a less powerful caliber. The size/weight difference isn't THAT significant.
    "Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
    ---Carry options: G26/MTAC, PF9/MiniTuck, PPK/Pocket, USP40/OWB---
    ---NOTE: I am not an expert. If I ever start acting like a know-it-all, please call me on it immediately. ---

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array puncho's Avatar
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    It's time we dumb this down.

    Nissan Murano=.22
    Honda Pilot=.25
    Chevy Colorado= .32
    Ford Ranger 6 Cyl.= .380
    Ford F150=.38 Special
    Ford F150 4X4= .38 Plus P
    Ford F250= .40 Cal
    Ford F250&350 4X4= .45 Cal


  11. #11
    Senior Member Array JohnK87's Avatar
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    I've carried an LCP .380, and it conceals really nice.

    But, my Kel-Tec PF-9 is not that much bigger and conceals easily as well, even with the laser and the holster. It has a LOT more power, though.
    ‎An enemy of liberty is no friend of mine. I do not owe respect to anyone who would enslave me by government force, nor is it wise for such a person to expect it. -- Isaiah Amberay

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    Senior Member Array rachilders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK87 View Post
    I've carried an LCP .380, and it conceals really nice.

    But, my Kel-Tec PF-9 is not that much bigger and conceals easily as well, even with the laser and the holster. It has a LOT more power, though.
    +1

    I've owned 380's for more than 30 years and found them more than capable of stopping a BG if necessary. OTOH, while I had a P-3AT vs. the Ruger, as the previous poster stated my PF-9 is not that much bigger and has a LOT more power than the P-3AT. If I can get a 9mm or larger caliber in a 380 sized package, I'm going to settle on the biggest bang for my dollar.
    "... Americans... we want a safe home, to keep the money we make and shoot bad guys." -- Denny Crane

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    BAC
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    Quote Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
    Caliber has no bearing whatsoever on quality. There are outstanding .380's and there are .45's that I wouldn't use to weight a fishing line.
    The difference being .380s aren't marketed toward 'duty' use, nor are they made to compare with handguns that are. Those companies that market their product toward a harder shooting crowd tend to be much better about producing more durable/reliable pistols more often. To some, this matters, to others it doesn't, but it's still a worthwhile point.


    -B
    RIP, Jeff Dorr: 1964 - July 17, 2009. You will be missed.


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  14. #14
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    .380s require a slide/frame size that so closely compares to the small 9mm options (Kahr PM, Keltec PF9, Robar, etc.)...why bother? If the recoil of a 9mm is too much for a shooter to handle, okay. But otherwise, I don't see the point.
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenSaber View Post
    James Bond didn't have a problem popping people with his...
    Actually his PPK was chambered for 7.65mm (aka .32ACP), not .380.
    CCW permit holder for Idaho, Utah, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire. I can carry in your country but not my own.

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