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Moving away from 380 for daily carry. They are not always reliable. Sure, they work fine for a while...until they don’t. Anyway, targets below comparing a Ruger LCP II with a Sig P238. Ruger on the left, Sig on the right. LCP shoots low and left. Both targets were at 5 yards.

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As someone who has wanted a Walther PPK, even with its ridiculous price, the reliability is what has kept me away from it and other .380 firearms. I know there are people who will say those reports of unreliability are exaggerated and that their .380 firearms work fine, to which I say if it works for you and you like it carry what makes you happy. Obviously jams can happen with all sorts of calibers. But when I read about how Princess Anne's security had their .380 jam during the kidnapping attempt (which caused the Royal Family security to remove their .380's), and when I read that someone trying to stop a vicious dog attack had their Walther PPK jam, it just doesn't sell me on reliability. And while they may be smaller in size to carry, if you're willing to go up just a little in size you can get something that is still easy to carry, more reliable, and more powerful.
 

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My wife has an EZ .380 Smith and Wesson. She occasionally has issues with the grip safety and also with limp wristing. This is a shooter issue, not a gun issue - it seems reliable for me. Never the less, it may be that or nothing for her due to hand and arm issues. She is going to try my 9mm LCR as a last resort; it may prove to be better for her even with the tougher recoil. I think it will at least go bang for her every time.
 

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Obviously jams can happen with all sorts of calibers. But when I read about how Princess Anne's security had their .380 jam during the kidnapping attempt (which caused the Royal Family security to remove their .380's) ...
I didn't know this story. I just read about it here (The Bloody Attempt to Kidnap a British Princess). If I understand correctly, there was only a single .380 pistol, and the SO14 Officer who attempted to use it had just been shot in the shoulder. In this correct? If so, I wonder if his shoulder injury somehow compromised his ability to grip his pistol correctly, which caused the "jam". I've not been able to find anything that suggests the .380-ness of his pistol had anything to do with the jam.

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The ONLY time I had a misfire with my AP9 is when I tried to go to a lighter hammer spring. Did not work. Went back to the original heavy spring and have never had a light tap or jamb of any kind.
 

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My wife has an EZ .380 Smith and Wesson. She occasionally has issues with the grip safety and also with limp wristing. This is a shooter issue, not a gun issue - it seems reliable for me. Never the less, it may be that or nothing for her due to hand and arm issues. She is going to try my 9mm LCR as a last resort; it may prove to be better for her even with the tougher recoil. I think it will at least go bang for her every time.
You bring up a good point and something on my mind. Reliability encompasses the shooter, the firearm, and the ammo. I’ve got over 15 years and a multitude of thousands of rounds on the ground discharged from a wide variety of .380 pistols. Sooner or later the platform breaks down.
 

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You bring up a good point and something on my mind. Reliability encompasses the shooter, the firearm, and the ammo. I’ve got over 15 years and a multitude of thousands of rounds on the ground discharged from a wide variety of .380 pistols. Sooner or later the platform breaks down.
I’m confused...it sounds like you’re saying that the380acp caliber somehow, inherently causes a weakness in the pistols chambered for that caliber, causing them to always break sooner or later as a result of them being 380...either that, or you are saying that the pistols chambered in 380acp are often built smaller and lighter and therefore are less durable and reliable than a full size gun...which really has little to do with caliber and everything to do with design which would affect other small carry guns in other calibers??


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I didn't know this story. I just read about it here (The Bloody Attempt to Kidnap a British Princess). If I understand correctly, there was only a single .380 pistol, and the SO14 Officer who attempted to use it had just been shot in the shoulder. In this correct? If so, I wonder if his shoulder injury somehow compromised his ability to grip his pistol correctly, which caused the "jam". I've not been able to find anything that suggests the .380-ness of his pistol had anything to do with the jam.

rx7sig
I originally read about it here , but having reread it as well as the article you posted, I may have to walk back what I said with regards to the .380 in that particular incident, because now I'm not even sure if it was a .380. It was a Walther PPK for sure, but even though I thought they said .380 before, it doesn't, and it actually could have been chambered in .32 ACP back then. Whether .32 ACP or .380 though, you do bring up a good point about how his injury could have been at fault and not the gun or caliber, so I retract :)
 

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I’m confused...it sounds like you’re saying that the380acp caliber somehow, inherently causes a weakness in the pistols chambered for that caliber, causing them to always break sooner or later as a result of them being 380...either that, or you are saying that the pistols chambered in 380acp are often built smaller and lighter and therefore are less durable and reliable than a full size gun...which really has little to do with caliber and everything to do with design which would affect other small carry guns in other calibers??


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Reread the post. Reliability encompasses the shooter, the firearm, and the ammo. The combination of these things makes the platform less reliable than I’m willing to accept. The issue could be the shooter, or it could be the caliber.
 

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Reread the post. Reliability encompasses the shooter, the firearm, and the ammo. The combination of these things makes the platform less reliable than I’m willing to accept. The issue could be the shooter, or it could be the caliber.
You raise a good point and I think it has a corollary: I have always believed safety encompasses the shooter and the firearm. Any competently designed and manufactured firearm in good working order can be handled safely. But I have always found there is a greater safety margin in some designs and I want that. An ND can be as disastrous as a malfunction.
 

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Could it be that a lot of .380's are "blow back" design that after extensive use they do start to fail ? Just a thought.
 

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You bring up a good point and something on my mind. Reliability encompasses the shooter, the firearm, and the ammo. I’ve got over 15 years and a multitude of thousands of rounds on the ground discharged from a wide variety of .380 pistols. Sooner or later the platform breaks down.
Yep, I have owned 2 pocket autos (both 380 but, the caliber is not relevant) and I swore by them on reliability until I started training harder and actually trying to improve my abilities with them. Both eventually started giving me issues and no I never changed ammo or anything.
642 became a constant companion and has been run much harder than either auto and is still going strong.
I just don't think those very small autos can take it for very long. There is a point of diminishing returns on shrinking guns.
 

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Reread the post. Reliability encompasses the shooter, the firearm, and the ammo. The combination of these things makes the platform less reliable than I’m willing to accept. The issue could be the shooter, or it could be the caliber.
I knew that was going to be your response, but you also said the issue could be the firearm or it could be the caliber. How so?


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I knew that was going to be your response, but you also said the issue could be the firearm or it could be the caliber. How so?


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Small autos are less tolerant of changes. Slight pressure on the magazine baseplat, a grip shift, any little thing can cause an issue. The caliber itself does not have a lot of extra power for cycling the action. A few grains low on the powder charge, I have an off day, the moon is full.
 
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I carry 380s' on a regular basis (Glock 42 at the moment) and I hear about 380 pistols jamming a lot. However, when looking into it, it seems that most cases are with pistols whose design is nearing 100 years old.

Here it comes, from a 380 fanboy, the PPK is not that great! It is an old blowback design. It is extremely finicky and far heavier than make sense. That weight would be great if it made the pistol more shootable, but it doesn't. If you just have to shoot an old blowback design, get an old Beretta (and it will have to be an old one, even they gave up on it). A Makarov, or better yet, a Bersa.

But really, don't do any of those things. Get a 380 that was designed in this century (with a small nod to the Colt 380 Government Model derivatives (Mustang, 911, Micro . . .. whatever)).

If you really want to dress up in a Tux and do the James Bond Cosplay stuff, Great, get a PPK and have fun at the range. But try not to judge the 380 calibre based in a single pistol of antiquated design.
 

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The smaller the handgun and the smaller the caliber, the more issues I have with them. I tried several pocket .380 handguns and had issues with all of them until I got a Sig P238. I have large hands and can not get a good grip on them, so they exhibit "limp wrist" type issues. I carried a Sig P238 .380 until the Sig P938 9mm came out. I have pocket carried the Sig P938 for several years now.
 

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Looks like you shot the Sig well. (y)

I carried a pocket 380 when it was the "best I could do" limited by work attire.
After I retired and could dress as I choose, I had no need for the 380's.
9mm minimum (Glock 19) for me, but most of the time bigger (Glock 22/35/41). No reliability issues.
 
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Small autos are less tolerant of changes. Slight pressure on the magazine baseplat, a grip shift, any little thing can cause an issue. The caliber itself does not have a lot of extra power for cycling the action. A few grains low on the powder charge, I have an off day, the moon is full.
That all makes sense to me. Thanks for clarifying.


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I shoot a .380 LCPII a lot. It never had a problem at the range until I started really training. Sometimes now if I draw/shoot quickly one handed from awkward angles, etc. -- it will jam. Yes, I'm limp-wristing it in those situations, probably, but that is practicing reality scenarios. Disconcerting and has me looking at a j-frame as a replacement.
My larger guns don't have the problem. As @ctr said, the .380 caliber doesn't have a lot of extra power for cycling.
 
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