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Educate Me on the .380

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Never owned a .380; never shot one.  Have read lots of info on both sides of the debate that the .380 is or is not a good round for self-defense.  I know that many of you here carry a .380, so please educate me about a caliber I know nothing about.

Thank you for your feedback!

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Did a lot of research before I really considered a .380, and while I still prefer a bigger round, ya can’t beat a pocket .380  in certain situations where anything bigger is difficult to do...I sometimes carry a S&W .380 Bodyguard with a crimson trace laser in a pocket holster in my front pants pocket as a primary, but usually it’s in the same place as a backup to my 9mm EDC.  Modern .380 rounds are much improved in a self defense round.  I keep mine loaded with Hornady Critical Defense polymer tipped hollow points.

Edited by Defender
Correct spelling errors.
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.380 is better than a spitball through a straw.

.380 is a terrible round. It’s just a 9MM short and is plagued with problems of operating guns of any size.

I had a guy pull a .380 round out of his side and hand it to me after he had been shot. Could that have happened with another round? Maybe, but it didn’t and I saw it first hand in a real world shooting. So my opinion, based on that, and having shot them into various materials, formed my opinion they are pretty much worthless.

Now…lets be fair. Shot placement. If you are one of the people that can, under probably the biggest adrenalin rush you have ever experienced, place a shot where any round would immediately stop the person; caliber is a non-issue for you. Or if you think “Modern Ammunition” figures into this; you might want to check it out.

My goal in a shooting against an armed assailant is to make him unwilling or unable to fire his weapon. I don’t think a .380 is a good round for that. 

🙃

 

:leaving:

Edited by DaveTN
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The wife CC's a LCP II. I'd rather that she carried a 9 but women have different clothing/physical constraints, so I make sure that she carries a round that has reliable function/expansion (same ammo that Defender posted). I often add a .380 as backup to my 9 or .45. Decent round with today's improved loads, but not my preference when dress standards allow a larger frame.

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I carry a Glock 42 or a SIG P 238 as regularly as i put on my pants...  One of them is my constant companion...  I keep mine loaded with the 102 grain Remington Golden Sabers... They function just fine in both pistolas... 

If i'm goin into " The Frontier ", i also carry a big pistola as well..  Remember the words of the old Texas Ranger when the lady at the BBQ saw his SAA on his hip: ..." Are you expecting trouble sir..?"... He replied: " No mam, if i was, i would have brought my shotgun"... 

Remember, the best gun ya can have is the one that is with ya if ya need it...  Dont worry about the caliber; work on shootin straight n true with the one you have when ya need it...

Hope this helps...

leroy

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10 minutes ago, DaveTN said:

I had a guy pull a .380 round out of his side and hand it to me after he had been shot. Could that have happened with another round? Maybe, but it didn’t and I saw it first hand in a real world shooting. So my opinion, based on that, and having shot them into various materials, formed my opinion they are pretty much worthless.
Now…lets be fair. Shot placement.

Exactly.....shot placement. Ok, so a guy survived a .380 round....lots of cases of 9mm survivors (20+ rounds sometimes) too. Do I prefer .380? Not at all. But there are times when that's the best you can do carry-wise, so I don't discount it. Plenty of folk have died from .22 encounters for that matter. And some people (due to age or other reasons) just can't handle more recoil. Better than a sharp stick.

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I sometimes carry a Sig P238 Legion, especially in warmer weather when I wear lighter clothes. I have complete confidence in it and my ability to hit exactly what I aim at with it. Shot placement is everything with it, but it is with a 9mm also. Modern .380 defense ammo has come a long ways in the last few years. I use Hornady Critical Defense, and it is an effective round at close range. Having said all that, it is not my caliber of first choice, but I do occasionally carry it, and it can be effective if you use it and practice with it.

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A miss with a .380 has the same effect as a miss with a 20mm. 

I've blown holes in 2x4's with my .380's. I wouldn't want to get shot with that.  I consider it a "get off me" gun, from contact out to 7 yds.   

The usual small .380's aren't particularly fun to shoot. I shoot mine to confirm function and that's about it. If I can hit a paper plate 3 times fast at 3 yds with one hand I'm happy. But that doesn't mean they're not accurate. I hit one of those spinning gopher targets 4 of 6 shots at 25 yds with my P3AT. 

The LCP is nicer than the P3AT in every way, except it's a little bigger. Both fit comfortably in my pocket (with pocket holster) for convienent and invisible summer carry, and I'm not a big guy. 

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carry a 380 a lot because.... size and places I absolutely can’t reveal I’m a dangerous 2A thug. Kahr 380 and glock 42 run buffalo bore +p well with xtp, gold dot or hard cast.  Not sure I’d want to shoot that in a p3at but Buffalo Bore +p helps that caliber a lot. 

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I happen to be quite fond of 380s. If you do your part, it'll do the job. ;)

Actually, I'm more fond of the guns in that caliber. A little Colt Mustang XSP is my companion for my exercise walks. The stainless slide and poly frame make it very light and about as sweat proof as a gun can get. The locked breech design makes recoil minimal and its very easy to shoot well. The Sig P238 and Kimber Micro are essentially the exact same gun.

I'm not particularly fond of the tiny blowback pistols such as the LCP, Kel-Tech and similar. Recoil in them is just nasty and they're difficult to shoot well.  However, in a slightly larger, heavier gun such as the Walther PPK, its an excellent round. I have been known to carry a PPK/s on occasion. 

The trick with the 380 is to just find the right gun for you. ;)

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Before you decide, check out the Ruger LCP  AND the LC9 (various) .  They're not that much different in size, but with the LC9 you get a lot more power and more rounds.   Look around, you can find LC9 types with or without external safety.  LCP is still the best for tiny pocket carry, but not optimal for self-defense.   There's always a trade-off, but just research anything starting with "LC9" and you might find something good.  If you're gonna go with LCP, practice a lot, because it has a nasty little bite.  You gotta get used to that, or you'll miss when it counts.  Practice!  Best .380 I've ever shot was a buddy's Beretta.   Might want to check those out. Very easy slide pull, and really shoots well.  Not real small though.  Handles recoil well, great for women or men who just don't enjoy recoil.

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10 hours ago, leroy said:

I carry a Glock 42 or a SIG P 238 as regularly as i put on my pants...  One of them is my constant companion...  I keep mine loaded with the 102 grain Remington Golden Sabers... They function just fine in both pistolas... 

If i'm goin into " The Frontier ", i also carry a big pistola as well..  Remember the words of the old Texas Ranger when the lady at the BBQ saw his SAA on his hip: ..." Are you expecting trouble sir..?"... He replied: " No mam, if i was, i would have brought my shotgun"... 

Remember, the best gun ya can have is the one that is with ya if ya need it...  Dont worry about the caliber; work on shootin straight n true with the one you have when ya need it...

Hope this helps...

leroy

I have a 42, and never carry it because it's so close to my 43 in size and weight. Might as well carry the extra snort. I do carry an LCP sometimes. Can't beat the concealability of that little gun. A 380 is pretty weak.

Now, to answer to Dave's story, from his old stompin' grounds. A woman was working as a bar tender, and shot her husband/boyfriend across the bar, in the face with a 38 special (old round nose lead). It bounced off one of his teeth and lodged in his jaw. Pretty much just a flesh wound. He damn near beat her to death before they could pull him off. Pretty sure a .357 would have done a much better job,

Edited by mikegideon
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10 hours ago, QuackerSmacker said:

Before you decide, check out the Ruger LCP  AND the LC9 (various) .  They're not that much different in size, but with the LC9 you get a lot more power and more rounds.   Look around, you can find LC9 types with or without external safety.  LCP is still the best for tiny pocket carry, but not optimal for self-defense.   There's always a trade-off, but just research anything starting with "LC9" and you might find something good.  If you're gonna go with LCP, practice a lot, because it has a nasty little bite.  You gotta get used to that, or you'll miss when it counts.  Practice!  Best .380 I've ever shot was a buddy's Beretta.   Might want to check those out. Very easy slide pull, and really shoots well.  Not real small though.  Handles recoil well, great for women or men who just don't enjoy recoil.

I have both the LCP (.380) and the LC9S Pro (9mm).  You definitely will enjoy shooting the LC9S more.  The LC9S is getting a bit harder to find.  Ruger seems to be making these pistols in limited run. They make a version called the EC9S that is a more economically priced pistol.  The sights are milled into the slide (the LC9S has dove tailed sights) and a cheaper finish, but other than that, it's same pistol. The triggers on the LC9S and EC9S are head and shoulders better than the LCP.  The LC9S Pro does not have a safety. The LC9S weights about 7ozs more, unloaded, at 17oz.

Note: the LC9 was more of blown up LCP with a hammer.  The triggers were pretty bad on them.  When Ruger came out with the LC9S series, they went to a striker, in place of the hammer and made a much better pistol.

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54 minutes ago, Moped said:

I have both the LCP (.380) and the LC9S Pro (9mm).  You definitely will enjoy shooting the LC9S more.  The LC9S is getting a bit harder to find.  Ruger seems to be making these pistols in limited run. They make a version called the EC9S that is a more economically priced pistol.  The sights are milled into the slide (the LC9S has dove tailed sights) and a cheaper finish, but other than that, it's same pistol. The triggers on the LC9S and EC9S are head and shoulders better than the LCP.  The LC9S Pro does not have a safety. The LC9S weights about 7ozs more, unloaded, at 17oz.

Note: the LC9 was more of blown up LCP with a hammer.  The triggers were pretty bad on them.  When Ruger came out with the LC9S series, they went to a striker, in place of the hammer and made a much better pistol.

My girlfriend has the LCP and the original LC9. They both have long crappy triggers. The LC9S had to be a major improvement.

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54 minutes ago, mikegideon said:

My girlfriend has the LCP and the original LC9. They both have long crappy triggers. The LC9S had to be a major improvement.

If you get a chance to shoot one, do so.  I think you will really be impressed with the change.  For the money, I'm not sure it really can be beat.  The only negative is they come with one damn magazine.  

 

Here is a comparison of prices on the EC9S, the LCP and the LCPII.  Tried to find a LC9S, but I think Ruger has stopped making them again.  I know several shops around here still have new ones for sale, though.

https://www.budsgunshop.com/product_info.php/products_id/52078/ruger+ec9s+9mm+312+black+7%2b1

https://www.budsgunshop.com/product_info.php/products_id/54585/ruger+lcp+6%2b1+380acp+275"

https://www.budsgunshop.com/product_info.php/products_id/45032/ruger+3765+lcp+ii+double+action+380+acp+(acp)+275+6%2b1+moon+shine+t

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The problem with .380 is that almost none of it (if any) is IWBA compliant. That is none of it expands well AND penetrates 12". Now do you ALWAYS need 12" of penetration? No . The old dude who killed the guy in the movie theater for throwing popcorn at him had no problem with .380 working. He also shot a guy at arm's length who was wearing nothing thicker than a t-shirt. On the other hand I have seen binder clips used to hang targets get hit with .380 and suffer a dent....the same clips hit with 9mm had holes all the way through them. The only thing that FOR SURE delivers adequate penetration in a .380 is FMJ ( I like the winchester flat point). In a HP the one that seems to open up AND penetrate fairly well is the Hornady XTP (or a similar load using that same bullet like the Fiocchi Extrema using the XTP projectile). Just beware that the Fiocchi case rims are a little thicker than Hornady and can cause extraction/ejection issues in some guns.  

The up side to 380 is it fits in truly small guns that used to only be the size envelope for .25ACP or .32ACP  . The Glock 42 and the Kahr P380 and CW380 are true pocket pistol sized guns that actually work reliably and have decent sights and they can be shot pretty well. 

Edited by Cruel Hand Luke
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13 hours ago, mikegideon said:

Now, to answer to Dave's story, from his old stompin' grounds. A woman was working as a bar tender, and shot her husband/boyfriend across the bar, in the face with a 38 special (old round nose lead). It bounced off one of his teeth and lodged in his jaw. Pretty much just a flesh wound. He damn near beat her to death before they could pull him off. Pretty sure a .357 would have done a much better job,

If she had just asked him to stop beating her azz for a minute while she took better aim; she probably could have used what she had. Sometimes folks just don’t think these things through. :cheers:

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3 minutes ago, DaveTN said:

If she had just asked him to stop beating her azz for a minute while she took better aim; she probably could have used what she had. Sometimes folks just don’t think these things through. :cheers:

I think it pissed him off. I remember you could hear those old round heads hit after you shot them. Kinda like throwing a rock.

Edited by mikegideon

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2 minutes ago, mikegideon said:

He wasn't beating her azz until she shot him.

Well there you go; don’t shoot someone with a .380 unless you are prepared to take an azz whipping.

Edited by DaveTN

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1 minute ago, DaveTN said:

Well there you go; don’t shoot someone with a .380 unless you are prepared to take an azz whipping.

It was a 38 special.

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Just now, mikegideon said:

It was a 38 special.

That too.

 

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7 minutes ago, mikegideon said:

I think it pissed him off. I remember you could hear those old round heads hit after you shot them. Kinda like throwing a rock.

I had a friend that got drunk, and got in a bar fight. The next day his head keep hurting so bad he went to the hospital. He had been shot in the head.

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Yes, the newer striker fired versions of the Rugers have much better triggers. 

Personally, I don't see the point of carrying a .380 when the same size gun is available in 9mm. I carry a .380 solely because it's nearly invisible.  

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4 hours ago, peejman said:

Yes, the newer striker fired versions of the Rugers have much better triggers. 

Personally, I don't see the point of carrying a .380 when the same size gun is available in 9mm. I carry a .380 solely because it's nearly invisible.  

The LC9S is a bit bigger than the LCP and LCPII. It’s comparable to the Shield or Glock 43. If you want a 9mm that’s almost as small as an LCP, you should look at a Diamondback or Kahr CM9.

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I usually carry my LCPII because it is invisible in my DeSantis holster in my back pocket. I use Precision One XTP - 13”+ Penetration according to tests. 

 

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