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Thread: .380 opinions

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    I have been reading and reading about the .380 as a defense caliber. I know there is a big debate, but that is not the point of this post. Assuming that it is pretty ineffective as a defense round, where should one aim if trying to defend against an attacker. I read in Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob that theya used them to try and kill animals that were being killed to be used for food (a pig I think it was) and when shot in the head there were very few types of bullets that even made it through the skull barely far enough to hit the brain. Because of this, they deamed it unfit for the slaughter because they want it to be a painless death for the animal which the .380 did not deliver. It said the most effective was the Golden Saber which is 102 grains (heaviest for the .380). The Winchester Silvertips and federal hydrashok were also as effective as it got. Now to the reason for me writing.

    I carry .380 often (in the winter time I have atleast 38 special on me, but otherwise I carry my p3at anywhere I go) and was wondering...I have federal hydrashoks btw...if Iwere to fend off an attacker, where should I aim? Would I be better off aiming low and hoping to wound them long enough to get away, or go for a headshot which may not even penetrate the skull? All opinions welcome.

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    bellbw wrote:
    SNIP...if Iwere to fend off an attacker, where should I aim? Would I be better off aiming low and hoping to wound them long enough to get away, or go for a headshot which may not even penetrate the skull? All opinions welcome.
    Conventional wisdom is that the head is too small a target to reliably hit when you are moving to cover and the bad guy is dodging at the sight of a gun.

    Go for center of mass. Just apply the maxim, "Shoot and keep shooting until the threat is over."
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Some people expect a LEO to shoot to wound. Aim for the shoulder and let them live.

    But when the person is a threat.. like Citizen said.. Shoot center mass and keep it up till they stop.

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    Also, unless it is just not possible, you'll want to get a sidearm with more muzzle-energy.

    I've done a fair amount of reading. Too many bad-guys have taken multiple hits, even with 38's, and kept coming. You don't want to take a knife between the ribsby someone you've mortally wounded, but is still capable of offensive action.

    Its a subject worth reading up on.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Like any other handgun ammunition terminal ballistics discussion, there are too many variables to really come to a conclusion about which caliber is better. Generally, though, look for 12-16" of penetration. Be careful in evaluating your carry ammunition. Modern expanding 380 ammunition will probably be fine if you do your job. Just become proficient with the gun and be able to score hits against a moving target while moving yourself.


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    LEO, I'm a LE Firearms instructor so back me up here if you agree...

    Center mass is your best bet, largest target, largest concentration of vital organs.

    In a defense situation fine motor skills deteriorate so also learn to instinctively shoot, ie-point and squeeze the trigger. Most defensive situations occur under 7 yards or so, so a fist size knot of shots at 25 yards usually isn't required. Also, the old addage a slower hit is better that a fast miss always holds true, plus if you miss your intended target, ie-the threat, where is that round going to end up? The wall? An innocent bystanders kidney? It's a HUGE responsibility.

    On the subject of caliber, I don't offer any advice on size... shoot the gun you shoot best, be it a .45 or a .380. Shooting a comfortable handgun you shoot well is the most important factor I can think of in a defensive situation when you have choice of what gun you'll carry.

    When confronting multiple assailants, "Border House Rules" apply, that is everyone gets first before anyone gets seconds.

    And on an outside note, when you become proficient with your sidearm, if center mass isn't working on an assailant, the pelvic girdle works wonders for putting someone down.

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    jenzenk wrote:
    LEO, I'm a LE Firearms instructor so back me up here if you agree...

    Center mass is your best bet, largest target, largest concentration of vital organs.

    In a defense situation fine motor skills deteriorate so also learn to instinctively shoot, ie-point and squeeze the trigger. Most defensive situations occur under 7 yards or so, so a fist size knot of shots at 25 yards usually isn't required. Also, the old addage a slower hit is better that a fast miss always holds true, plus if you miss your intended target, ie-the threat, where is that round going to end up? The wall? An innocent bystanders kidney? It's a HUGE responsibility.

    On the subject of caliber, I don't offer any advice on size... shoot the gun you shoot best, be it a .45 or a .380. Shooting a comfortable handgun you shoot well is the most important factor I can think of in a defensive situation when you have choice of what gun you'll carry.

    When confronting multiple assailants, "Border House Rules" apply, that is everyone gets first before anyone gets seconds.

    And on an outside note, when you become proficient with your sidearm, if center mass isn't working on an assailant, the pelvic girdle works wonders for putting someone down.
    I agree with all you stated.

    It is hard enough to hit a small or specific target when your relaxed and well rested. When your stressed and moving around looking for cover.... your lucky to even hit the target at all.

    Hitting the organs versus a head shot is more practical. Wounding as many as possible will limit the ability for a threats to continue to accurately engage you.

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    jenzenk wrote:
    LEO, I'm a LE Firearms instructor so back me up here if you agree...¬*

    Center mass is your best bet, largest target, largest concentration of vital organs.

    In a defense situation fine motor skills deteriorate so also learn to instinctively shoot, ie-point and squeeze the trigger.¬* Most defensive situations occur under 7 yards or so, so a fist size knot of shots at 25 yards usually isn't required.¬* Also, the old addage a slower hit is better that a fast miss always holds true, plus if you miss your intended target, ie-the threat, where is that round going to end up?¬* The wall? An innocent bystanders kidney?¬* It's a HUGE responsibility.

    On the subject of caliber, I don't offer any advice on size... shoot the gun you shoot best, be it a .45 or a .380.¬* Shooting a comfortable handgun you shoot well is the most important factor I can think of in a defensive situation when you have choice of what gun you'll carry.

    When confronting multiple assailants, "Border House Rules" apply, that is everyone gets first before anyone gets seconds.

    And on an outside note, when you become proficient with your sidearm, if center mass isn't working on an assailant, the pelvic girdle works wonders for putting someone down.
    +1 here too.

    But Unless you just have no options, a little more oomph would be a very good idea. A .380 auto makes a very nice backup gun, but is not so good as a primary defense weapon. But it is certainly better than your fists.

    Regards
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Wooley wrote:
    I don't know, I'm pretty good with my fists too...also elbows, knees, and shins.
    Well. I am afraid my skill in hand to hand, is what convinced me to become skilled with a firearm. Fist fighting just hurts too much the next day, and I don't heal like I did when I was 20.

    I have broken a few knuckles with my jaw and forehead though.

    Regards
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Wooley wrote:
    Try using the bottom of your hand. The "hammer fist". Imagine holding a beer can with your hand wrapped around it...nice and cold, frosty, you can hear the fizz....uh, anyways set the can down on the table. Now using the same motion without the can in your paw make a fist and¬*notice the part of your hand¬*that hits the table. Thats the hammer fist and its much better suited for street fighting.

    Hawk, you should maybe try the hammer fist a couple times on people that you've already "supressed" with other means until you get the hang of it. :P
    So you are saying that this works better than a .45 slide to the cheek of the opponent? I usually follow up with a promise to add a nostril if the hostilities do not stop immediately.:what:
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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    Some say .380 isn't enough for defensive purposes. I'd offer the opinion that even a .22 beats bare hands. Carry a handgun of the largest caliber you are willing and able to carry all the time, or that is right for the situation. A .380 in the pocket is better than a .45 at home in the safe.

    Now if only somebody would invent a round that fits a gun the size of a North American mini-revolver, but has the knock down punch of a .500 S & W, well, we'd have something, wouldn't we.

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    My PPK/S is chambered for .380. I use Remington 95 grain FMJ's as my practice/real life round. They shoot well, and a FMJ penetrated deep enough for a .380. Overpenetration is not a concern for a .380 FMJ. I do not have much faith in JHP for this small caliber.

    A .380 will get the job done. Whilst it does not pack the whallop of a 40 or .45, it is important to remember that there is no magic bullet. It took the local PD 8 .45 rounds to stop a threat...

    No .380 round can do very wrong if lodged in someone's chest.

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    Wooley wrote:
    I don't know, I'm pretty good with my fists too...also elbows, knees, and shins.
    I am not that bad either...

    You know the saying.. he brought a knife to a gun fight.. same thing goes for bringing personal weapons.

    People do not settle an argument with a fist fight anymore. They would rather prove their point by shooting you.

    Times have really changed.

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    markand wrote:
    Some say .380 isn't enough for defensive purposes. I'd offer the opinion that even a .22 beats bare hands. Carry a handgun of the largest caliber you are willing and able to carry all the time, or that is right for the situation. A .380 in the pocket is better than a .45 at home in the safe.

    Now if only somebody would invent a round that fits a gun the size of a North American mini-revolver, but has the knock down punch of a .500 S & W, well, we'd have something, wouldn't we.
    I have a .380 and it is just a little bit smaller than a 9mm. The nice thing about my .380 is that is is so very small but still packs a big punch.

    That .22 can kill you too if the shot is placed in the right location.

    You have to be a good shot if you carry a small caliber gun. Head, throat, heart, Lung,groin.... all areas that will help stop a person dead in their tracks.

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    Handguns are relatively low powered firearms to begin with.For a defensive sidearm,you want to usethe most powerful hangun which you can carry comfortably (and for which there are no excuses not to carry) and which you can use proficiently and consistently. If that has to be a .380, then so be it. If it is a .40 S&W or .45ACP, so much the better. The main thing is it must be a weapon with which you are comfortable with and confident in, and which meets your carrying needs and requirements.

    Secondly, once chosen, the most important factors of a defensive handgun in order of priority are; 1) Reliability - the gun MUST go bang when you need it to. 2) Practical Accuracy - you and the gun must be able to deliver fire to the target as effectively as possible. 3) Power - the cartridge must have sufficient power to deliver a bullet with enough force and penetration to minimize potential injury to yourself from your assailant(the fabled one or few shot stops).




    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    I don't know about the effectiveness of the cartridge, but my dad has a nice Berreta Cheetah .380 with nickel-plating. They are neat pistols, and comfortable to carry, especially CC.

    http://products.berettausa.com/frame...;Model=Cheetah

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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    Handguns are relatively low powered firearms to begin with.For a defensive sidearm,you want to usethe most powerful hangun which you can carry comfortably (and for which there are no excuses not to carry) and which you can use proficiently and consistently. If that has to be a .380, then so be it. If it is a .40 S&W or .45ACP, so much the better. The main thing is it must be a weapon with which you are comfortable with and confident in, and which meets your carrying needs and requirements.

    Secondly, once chosen, the most important factors of a defensive handgun in order of priority are; 1) Reliability - the gun MUST go bang when you need it to. 2) Practical Accuracy - you and the gun must be able to deliver fire to the target as effectively as possible. 3) Power - the cartridge must have sufficient power to deliver a bullet with enough force and penetration to minimize potential injury to yourself from your assailant (the fabled one or few shot stops).
    This is why I try to carry my .38 revolver most of the time. I used to feel the reliability of my bersa thunder .380 was enough to bet my life on, but it finally jammed after a year of shooting it. Made me feel really uneasy about having an auto for anything other than range shooting. I wish my revolver would hold more than five...seems that the general pattern of robberies around here occur with multiple attackers. I imagine after those first five shots even with a speed loader you don't have much more of a chance of getting away. Once those five are shot I plan on running really fast. I just stick to the rule quoted earlier..everyone gets firsts before anyone gets seconds. I also am planning on buying some pepper spray since I am not allowed to carry on campus during the school year

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    There's nothing at all wrong with a .380, IMO. To shoot one, or hear one go off, you really can't tell it from a 9mm. We used to practice with .380s on stop signs (not mounted ones), and they will penetrate sheet metal just fine, so stories of bullets bouncing off attackers' skulls are either patent nonsense or are the result of someone engaging at a ridiculous distance.

    Also, aim for the sternum - lots of nearby vital organs and blood vessels. There's no civil immunity if you cause"collateral damage" (in an otherwise justified shooting) by missing a head shot and hitting someone/something unintended.

    My one concern is that a lot of .380 pistols don't handle hollow-point ammo well. Practice with the these if it's the self-defense ammo you intend to use, to make sure that it won't hang up on the ramp when you need it. That or stick to FMJ rounds - overpenetration shouldn't be a problem in this caliber.

    -ljp


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    Legba wrote:
    There's nothing at all wrong with a .380, IMO. To shoot one, or hear one go off, you really can't tell it from a 9mm. We used to practice with .380s on stop signs (not mounted ones), and they will penetrate sheet metal just fine, so stories of bullets bouncing off attackers' skulls are either patent nonsense or are the result of someone engaging at a ridiculous distance.

    Also, aim for the sternum - lots of nearby vital organs and blood vessels. There's no civil immunity if you cause"collateral damage" (in an otherwise justified shooting) by missing a head shot and hitting someone/something unintended.

    My one concern is that a lot of .380 pistols don't handle hollow-point ammo well. Practice with the these if it's the self-defense ammo you intend to use, to make sure that it won't hang up on the ramp when you need it. That or stick to FMJ rounds - overpenetration shouldn't be a problem in this caliber.

    -ljp
    Please remember that a .380ACP has well under half the muzzle energy of a full power 9mm. While better than a hammer, there are a boat load of choices out there for 9mm and even .40S&W in small, easily concealable handguns. I do own a P3AT Kel-Tec which I carry on those occasions when weather or clothes, or both, dictate that piece to be the better choice for the moment. But my preference is a good .40S&W (of which I own several) or a hotly loaded 9mm.

    As for aiming for the sternum, this holds good water for other reasons as well and is what I generally advise people who seek my opinion. The bony material of the sternum will fragment under had impact, becoming secondary missiles, off to do their own level of damage. If your bullet misses some vital spots, perhaps sternum bone material will do the job.


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    I would rather carry a 9mm... but if I had to pack something a little smaller on a special occasion.. I would not turn away a .380.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    LEO 229 wrote:
    I would rather carry a 9mm... but if I had to pack something a little smaller on a special occasion.. I would not turn away a .380.
    Yep, better than nothing. Must gun writers view the .380ACP as the minimum powered cartridge for self-defence work and I believe this is correct. It certainly beats a knife (expect in expert hands) or having no firearm at all. And I do carry my P3AT from time to time. I would advise anyone who wants to use the .380 as a primary carry piece to load it with the most powerful and effective load they can find and that their gun will handle. Same for any handgun really, but as you go down the ladder of power and cartidge size, such becomes so much more important.


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    If you want something light and thin with more punch, maybe check out the Kahr .45 ACP. It's gotta be one of the smallest .45s I've seen (derringers excluded), but it's pricey.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    If you want something light and thin with more punch, maybe check out the Kahr .45 ACP. It's gotta be one of the smallest .45s I've seen (derringers excluded), but it's pricey.
    Kahr is soon coming out with a PM45 which will be about the same size as their PM40.


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Aim for their nuts.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

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    VAopencarry wrote:
    Aim for their nuts.
    If the head is too small a target ...
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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