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I would have no problem with 380 ACP as my only self defense round, if that was all the government would allow us to use. After all, " it's all about shot placement", and a well placed 380 is just as effective as a well placed 9mm imo.

I have a Kahr cw 380 that I really like, that is scary accurate and has a butter smooth trigger.

I use Hornady American Gunner and get plenty of penetration and expansion, based on my own unscientific wet pack ballistic testing.
 

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I am another that is satisfied with 380. I sort of cycle through several 380 pistols, however, I am back to the PK380. Yes, the PK380 could be better. However, it suits me well.
 

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Few 380 loads consistently expand and penetrate at least 12'' after heavy clothing.
Would I prefer a 380 in hand if somebody(s) trying to kill me instead of a 9mm/40/45? No.
The reason I'm carrying is to hopefully stop somebody(s) ASAP if they trying to kill me, 380 is not my preferred choice.
I got rid of my 380 pocket guns awhile ago, 9mm minimum for me.


In before, "Better than nothing" / "Wouldn't want to get shot with it" thats not indicative of quickly incapacitating, nor criteria for ammo selection.
 

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I've carried a 380 in the past and I think with top shelf hollow points, it's an effective caliber.

But for years I've gone with 38spl+P mainly because it pushes much heavier bullets.

I like that. :yup:
 

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We seem to have an "Is .380 adequate?" thread come up every few months, and I usually repost this, from an original post 3 or 4 (?) years ago:

The .380 is obviously not the 'top of the heap' for a defensive handgun, but all the talk about it being "inadequate" or "insufficient" for SD are downright laughable.

The .380 is ballistically equal or superior to the sidearms carried by the vast majority of police and military in most of the world for the better part of a century. It's as powerful as the .36 Colt Navy favored by Bill Hickok, Doc Holliday, Robert E. Lee, and the Texas Rangers, to name a few, and with today's ammo, the .380 is inarguably superior. It's basically identical to the 9mm Makarov carried by untold hundreds of thousands of Comm-block troops and police. It compares favorably to the .38 S&W and its variants that were standard issue by the British Empire for half a century. European police & military relied almost exclusively upon the .380 and it's 7.65mm little brother for decades. There have been literally tens of millions of them made.

Modern .380 ammo can meet the FBI standard for penetration & expansion, as if that matters for SD.

Is it the 'optimal' SD round? Of course not, unless circumstances dictate the need for a tiny, very concealable pistol. The new breed of subcompact 9mm's have definitely changed the landscape for CC, so the .380 has lost a lot of its advantage in that respect. I wouldn't choose a .380 as a service sidearm, either, if I had the luxury (or necessity) of OC. That would be a 9mm, or more likely a .40 or a .45.

The .380 definitely has its place, though, and to suggest that it will just piss someone off shows that some people don't really understand or appreciate just how much damage the round can do. If I were forced to defend myself with 13+1 .380's from my M84, I would not likely be "undergunned". The most likely SD scenario for most of us involves something like a mugger in the Walmart parking lot, and 5 or 6 rounds of .380 will resolve that situation just about as well as any other caliber will.

Besides, there have been a lot of really cool guns made in .380!
It hasn't gotten any less true over time.

My preferred SD round is .45 ACP, but the 9mm has taken over as my CCW of choice, due to the size, weight, concealability, shootability, and capacity now available. But, I still respect the .380, and for "deep concealment" I've yet to find any handgun that beats the CW380.
 

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What are your opinions on the .380 as your only round for self defense?
Meaning all by itself....Not as a back up to a larger caliber.

Rather than typing this all out i have found a article that is close to my feelings on it.
Not spot on but generally close....What says you?

https://www.activeresponsetraining.net/is-the-380-acp-an-adequate-caliber-for-defensive-use
The article seems pretty close to my opinion too.

Most 380 ACP HP loads seem inconsistent in performance. When they expand they penetrate on the shallow end, quite possibly not deep enough for odd angle shots. FMJ loads penetrate sufficiently but round nose don’t crush tissue well, and flat points which do may not function well.

Thus I’ve gone to the Xtreme Defender bullets in Underwood loads to get what I think is the best blend of penetration and tissue crushing available in the round presently.

Reliability of penetration and tissue damage for quick incapacitation seem better for 9mm and up, but there are times a small 380 is the only viable carry option. For those times I take my BG380. Otherwise I generally carry 9mm or bigger.

@CDW4ME -- Hey! I have an idea! Why don't you show us some pics of you carrying all your big guns all concealed and everything? :smile:
C’mon, sir, no need to get snarky.
 

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I carry a Pico when I have to not because I want to. My particular NPE is not a place to get "made". I carry heavy hardcast flatnosed just like I do in my 642 and my GP100 which is my woods gun. Obviously I have little faith in expansion in the lower calibers and the ones that make that FBI test just barely do so which doesn't give me the warm fuzzies. The 357 is for maximum Grizzly bear penetration. I don't worry about overpenetration as much as under penetration from the 380 and the snub 38.
When the barrel gets to 4" I use a semi wadcutter hollow core instead in 38 special. The other reason for flatnosed lead is it stays on the straightest track after it hits something vs JHP so less deflection from bone and other barriers.
 

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I have a laser on my .380; hopefully that does enough to stop the situation. Would hate to get my butt kicked after I p–sed them off by shooting them with it.
SARCASM OFF

I rarely carry a .380, but it does have a laser. And since I want to damage things deep in the body, I choose the penetration of FMJ. If perp winds up leaking out of two sides I’m good with that. Learned long ago how to alter shot angles to avoid living backstops.
 
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Discussion Starter #33
The article seems pretty close to my opinion too.

Most 380 ACP HP loads seem inconsistent in performance. When they expand they penetrate on the shallow end, quite possibly not deep enough for odd angle shots. FMJ loads penetrate sufficiently but round nose don’t crush tissue well, and flat points which do may not function well.

Thus I’ve gone to the Xtreme Defender bullets in Underwood loads to get what I think is the best blend of penetration and tissue crushing available in the round presently.

Reliability of penetration and tissue damage for quick incapacitation seem better for 9mm and up, but there are times a small 380 is the only viable carry option. For those times I take my BG380. Otherwise I generally carry 9mm or bigger.



C’mon, sir, no need to get snarky.
I used to carry one or two myself...But they keep figuring out how to make the 9's not much bigger.
A person can do a lot worse then a .380 for sure.
It just doesn't make sense for me.
Some who like 40 would never consider a 9...Some who like 45 would never consider a 40 and so one.
I am sure some laugh at 9mm and i am good with that also.
It is all about personal preference and what you feel is right for you.
 

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I carry a Pico when I have to not because I want to. My particular NPE is not a place to get "made". I carry heavy hardcast flatnosed just like I do in my 642 and my GP100 which is my woods gun. Obviously I have little faith in expansion in the lower calibers and the ones that make that FBI test just barely do so which doesn't give me the warm fuzzies. The 357 is for maximum Grizzly bear penetration. I don't worry about overpenetration as much as under penetration from the 380 and the snub 38.
When the barrel gets to 4" I use a semi wadcutter hollow core instead in 38 special. The other reason for flatnosed lead is it stays on the straightest track after it hits something vs JHP so less deflection from bone and other barriers.
Like you, I love cast bullets.

I will say that I have shot a lot of hanging deer with the .380 JHP...most that I have tried will consistently open and totally penetrate a 125lb deer when shot through the shoulder or through the ribs. Now, I am not talking about through the shoulder bone...but through the muscle.
 

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Even though I have several Walther 9mm’s, my primary carry is the PK380. From what I read and view on videos the 380 is a good SD round.
 

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IF the Honeybadger or ARX loads work as advertised then the .380 could be more viable for SD. I do like the CorBons but have no illusions of them mushrooming. Right now I prefer my Kahr .40 as it’s the size of a PPK and only a little heavier.
 

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My P238 is loaded with Winchester FN-FMJ. I doubt .380 JHP will give adequate penetration consistently, and I'm not buying the snake oil with the screwdriver tips...I see those tests and see similar wound channels to FMJ—just at 3-4x the price.
 

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I have no need to carry a 380, thus I do not carry one. I flirted with 380 in the ppk/s and then a ppk for primary carry, both excellent reliable firearms [ late 70's isssue ] but decided long ago, 380 is not as a primary carry caliber for me.

ETA,
I've got no quams about carrying that caliber. Still have a ppk s/s Interarms but it's unlikely to ever be carried. My 380 caliber is a 38spl. Back when I needed to carry, little pocket 380's barely existed that were reliable enough. So it was find a way to carry two J's, not worry about the gun malfing on anything but ball then too. Nothing wrong with ball, but today there's obviously better choices as have been mentioned.

European police carried 380's until about 1973-4. It was the 72 Munich Massacre that convinced the gov it's leo's needed something in 9mm, and ordered 3 firms to develop their own counter terr 9's for governmental approval/adoption. The P5; P6 and P7 were developed and basically all were adopted by various police districts choosing from the 3 as they wished. Was the 380 found lacking at the 72 Munich massacre? I don't know. It had been used for decades before that.

I know I can hold a full mag from an lcp into the head of a B27 at 10 yrds. Buddy wanted me to shoot his to see how accurate it was. Minimum range was 10 yrds, so we went with that. 380's will do, as others have mentioned,

it's the indian, not the arrow.
 

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...it's the indian, not the arrow.
That's the main point.

Nobody seems to have addressed my personal issue, so I will.
I have a couple of very painful bone-joint diseases: Arthritis and Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR–it means "many pains in the joints").
They preclude me from using any of the .45 pistols I've always carried in the past.

Not only is recoil an issue, but also there's the problem of pushing a safety lever down to "off" with my thumb. I just can't reach a 1911's safety lever any more, and I can't properly grip the big fellow either.
The trigger "weight" of my AMT .45 Backup is another impossible hurdle.
Further, even the 9mm is out. First of all there's the recoil. Second, Glocks are uncomfortable to grip. Third, almost all DAO pistols' triggers are very difficult to manipulate, but safety levers are worse.

So I'm carrying a .380 ACP pistol.
I can handle the recoil pretty well. I can still hit accurately at 15 yards (but 20 yards is a stretch).
My EDC is a Colt's M1903/08 Pocket Hammerless from about 1920. I have developed a presentation which absolutely has to involve both hands, in which the weak-side thumb operates the safety lever just before the pistol starts to come up toward the target. It's quite quick from beneath a vest or jacket.
But I have to use both hands. This limits my defensive tactics, but I'm stuck with it.

I can also borrow my wife's Kel-Tec P-3AT. Its trigger action has been modified to make its "weight" lighter, and I have added a home-made grip boot to make its grip more adhesive. But she won't always lend it to me. She wants to carry her own pistol, after all.

Note that there are a few very good reasons for carrying a .380 ACP pistol.
My own case presents one of them.
 

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I carry an LCP or a J frame usually. 380 is a compromise. I carry it because of the size of the gun that I shoot it in. I can hide a LCP in my hand, I can draw it from my pocket without without being noticed. I have no illusion about the power of the 380, but I am confident in my ability to use it. In a kydex pocket holster it disappears into my cargo shorts front pocket and is light enough that I don't notice it.

Having shot the Beretta Nano BU9 recently, I'm considering getting one of those for fall/winter pocket carry. Same amount of rounds, slightly larger and heavier, but shooting a slightly larger and heavier round.
 
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