5 Rounds of .38 vs 8 Rounds of .380??
This is a discussion on 5 Rounds of .38 vs 8 Rounds of .380?? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; On my regular dress days, when I can wear a proper belt, I IWB my P365 . More than enough power and capacity, unless I ...
July 23rd, 2019 01:03 AM
5 Rounds of .38 vs 8 Rounds of .380??
On my regular dress days, when I can wear a proper belt, I IWB my P365 . More than enough power and capacity, unless I really lose life's lottery as far as "average" self-defense encounters.
But, being retired, I spend a good deal of my days in more informal wear: track pants if I'm going for a workout, say, or shorts with no belt in the hotter months. On those occasions, my P365 is just heavy enough to make IWB carry nearly impossible, and I usually opt for one of my smaller .380 pistols (Glock 42, Remington RM380, or Kahr P380).
But lately I've fallen in love all over again with revolvers (the guns I cut my teeth on over 30 years ago at my Special Agent academy class). I have a couple of j-frames, one of which I used as a back-up/light duty gun for over ten years, and I love how easy they are to carry and to shoot. And their reliability, of course, is legendary.
But I have been spoiled by the carry capacity of the micro pistols, and I'm not certain the greater ballistic performance of the .38 overcomes that difference. And, of course, the hotter the load in the j-frame, the harder follow-up shots become. It should be noted that I frequently shoot +P, but after trying .357 in my M&P 340 I quickly realized why so many shooters put .38 in their .357 j frames.
So...what are the thoughts out there? Which would you rather have...5 Rounds of .38 or 8 rounds of .380?
p.s. Please note that I purposely avoided the additional factor of reloads...although the edge there would tilt things towards the .380, since you have (for most shooters) an even faster reload that yields an even greater difference in capacity.
July 23rd, 2019 01:12 AM
I love how easy they are to carry and to shoot
These statements seem to be contradictory.
the hotter the load in the j-frame, the harder follow-up shots become
So, are they easy to shoot...or not?
I have shot a snub revolver more than a little...they are not easy to shoot. It requires vigilance to maintain mastery of them, I don't care who is doing the shooting.
“The everyday man who holsters a handgun for come-what-may eventualities cannot improve on a .44 Special revolver.” Skeeter Skelton
July 23rd, 2019 01:13 AM
With my k6s, I'll take 6.
July 23rd, 2019 01:28 AM
Without question, I’ll take 8x .380.
July 23rd, 2019 01:43 AM
I've put away my lightweight Js in favor of the Glock 42 and the Ruger LCP. With good modern loads, the 380 has risen in my view as a defense tool. I prefer an XTP or an Extreme Penetrator load in my 380s. The extra rounds available over the J frame is appreciated in my mind. And I can indeed shoot them and reload them faster and more consistently than the small wheel guns.
I've been shooting the LCP with the extended 7 round mag for the past few weeks and really like it. The extra grip length cause me little conceal trouble and adds very little weight to the pistol. I've only a couple of britches with pockets that dictate the shorter 6 rd magazine, the rest take the extended just fine.
I still prefer the Glock 42 but its longer muzzle-to-heel length makes it less attractive for pocket carry in many of my pants. The short barreled Ruger works out just dandy. I have it loaded with Precision One XTP ammo.
I love the snubbies nut mine are recreational fun guns now. And since I'm not shooting them regularly any longer I don't shoot them as well as I used to. Snubs want regular practice for optimal efficiency. The Glock 42 is the gun that retired them. Small, accurate, good sights and easy to shoot well in a defensive manner. Even with Underwood's hotter EP load, the 42 shoots like a dream.
I'm in my mid-60s and I believe the little 380s are a better solution for my lightweight carry needs now than the Js. A very personal decision it is though. Good luck to ya.
July 23rd, 2019 01:47 AM
Proof is in the pudding. I carry my LCP with 7 rounds far more than my 442.
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
- Thomas Jefferson 1787
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
NRA Life Member - Member GA Carry Organization
July 23rd, 2019 01:47 AM
I crossed that particular bridge a decade back.
Originally Posted by bosco1
My EDC is a S&W 642. Sold my pocket 380 to my sister in law. We're both happy.
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."
July 23rd, 2019 01:59 AM
I see it as when you carry, shot placement is more than caliber. Easy to get wrapped up in thus and that, end of day a square center mass shot or a pelvis buster is going to send a law abiding citizen home and a thug on a dirt nap. That said I do love a good wheel gun, they go bang. .38 plus will do well.
Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more. George S. Patton
July 23rd, 2019 06:42 AM
I own and carry both. My thoughts are:
- The .380 conceals better. The only reason I carry mine is if I need deep concealment.
- Small autos can be reasonably reliable, but that is not their usual characteristic. Mouse guns tend to be finicky. And if the gun doesn't go bang, it is useless. Snubbies are more reliable in my experience.
- When you are talking .380 or .38, you are at the lower end of defensive cartridge effectiveness and you need all you can get. .38 +P is a superior cartridge.
- I shoot snubbies more accurately than mouse guns.
- If you really think you need more cartridge capacity, you shouldn't be carrying either one. You should have a double stack 9mm at least.
Attack Squadron 65 "Tigers", USS Eisenhower '80 - '83, peackeeping w/Iran, Libya, Lebanon and E. Europe
July 23rd, 2019 07:00 AM
Closest I come is five 38+p or seventeen 9mm. I don't own any 380's.
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July 23rd, 2019 07:51 AM
I generally prefer a S&W J Frame (442 PC) if I'm wearing shorts or pants with good size pockets. If what I'm wearing has smaller pockets, I carry a Kahr P380 or RM380. I shoot them all about the same but I like the J frame's grip better. It's easier to grab.
July 23rd, 2019 07:57 AM
Oh boy... another revolver vs semi debate. Readying my folk and knife....
Defensive capability in low end power hand guns =
"Go bang" +
Shot placement +
"Exact shot placement" (roll of the dice)
Notice I don't have "size of round" & "muzzle energy of round". The caliper wars vacillate back and forth and for sure a 44 mag is a much more angry bullet than a 38/380... but when we are talking kinda sorta the same area of speed and kinetic energy... they will wash. No winner between 38 and 380 in this particular category.
Next... "shot placement" ... your ability to hit something. Think being able to get the round somewhere on the sheet at the range, but in an emergency situation. Clearly, that's a lot more on the shooter for a million reasons than on the exact gun. Your ability to get it *somewhere* on target is primarily yours and the specific defensive situation circumstance. So, no winner between 38 and 380 in this particular category.
Next... "Exact shot placement".... meaning what it says. Whereas "shot placement" gets it on the target, "exact shot placement" means groupings so tight in your intended target - e.g, heart. At defensive ranges in defensive situations... no winner between 38 and 380 in this particular category. Determined by the shooter - his/her talent and practice effort and luck of the draw.
Next... "Go bang", Part 1. Here things get more complex. Pick your outcome. If you believe the internet that reports the large majority of defensive situations where a defensive trigger is pulled use 1, 2 or 3 shots, then a few extra rounds become meaningless. (Obviously this will depend on the scenario. You have to pick a scenario to model or else these kind of discussions devolve into chasing our tails. Is my scenario the right one? Yes, for me.)
Finally, "Go Bang" part 2. Here's where people who sleep with their semis will get their feathers ruffled and people who sleep with revolvers will go to sleep with a smile. Revolvers (especially double action) are less mechanically complex, require less maintenance, simpler to use, and *will* go bang when the trigger is pressed. And if they don't, just press the trigger again. No need to ask the bad guy "time out... I have to clear my weapon... just take a few seconds"...
(Can you see the feathers ruffling now?).
Obviously I wrote this with some intended humor. However in the CARRY defensive scenario that *I* model the revolver is my weapon of choice. It MAY NOT be the best for you if you are modeling a different scenario. But for me, the sudden surprise shooting where I am thrust into a life threatening situation, where tunnel vision is immediate and fight or flight is on overdrive, I choose the less complex point and shoot solution.
In my home, where a 2 am break with multiple thugs might mean lots of shots, I want a high capacity strong caliper semi-auto pistol with my trusty revolver along side as a backup. I have a 40 Cal full size ruger as my point weapon for home defense. (Plus Mr. Semi-Auto shotgun).
Just my 2 cents.
Gun Toting Fire Breathing Liberal
July 23rd, 2019 08:31 AM
Why 380? In most circumstances a small 9mm is equally concealable. That is my go to. a Kahr PM9 for pocket carry (rarely) or a Walther PPS for IWB (most often)
July 23rd, 2019 08:48 AM
I will also say that I don't wear shorts in public, except for swimming.
Originally Posted by patkelly4370
I do wear shorts around the house (inside & out) and I'm just as likely to have a rifle or shotgun at hand.
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July 23rd, 2019 09:00 AM
I own and carry both depending on circumstance. I love my 642 for an all around floating gun that can be carried in various places sans holster if need be. Best coat pocket gun made since I can fire it without drawing. I also carry a Beretta Pico when absolute flatness is a requirement like a tucked in dressed up affair or the pants I am wearing that day don't hide the revolver as well. I carry hardcast 150 grain standard pressure full wadcutters in the 642 and 100 grain flat nosed hardcast in the 380 and I doubt there is much difference in penetration between the two. 5 rounds vs 7 rounds doesn't concern me as much as the special duty each can preform.
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